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90th Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2017 - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes only

 discuss on the blog

 

AUGUST 31st PREDICTIONS

LAST PRE-FESTIVAL GUESSWORK

 

COSTUME DESIGN
Jacqueline Durran will be competing with herself with three major films. If she is nominated which film will it be for?


Tier 1 - Predicted 5

Wonderstruck
Sandy Powell
(12 noms | 3 wins)

Powell's work is always stellar and she gets two time frames to play with here

The Current War
Michael Wilkinson
(1 nomination)

Early set photos have us exciting for these costumes already despite so many suits

The Greatest Showman
Ellen Mirojnick
(never nominated)

Circus costumes, top hats, etcetera. It better look great

Victoria and Abdul Consolata Boyle
(2 nominations)

Boyle gets to costume Britiah and Indian VIPs this time around

Beauty and the Beast Jacqueline Durran
(4 noms | 1 win)

 The visibility is there as well as the iconic costumes recreated. But will that be enough without reinventing them (a la Cinderella)

Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Wonder Woman
Lindy Hemming (1 nom | 1 win)

 If a big campaign makes a dent anywhere, might it be here?

Darkest Hour
Jacqueline Durran
(4 noms | 1 win)

World War II is a favorite Oscar time frame but Churchill isn't exactly a fashion plate. So much Durran this year!

The Beguiled
Stacey Battat
(never nominated)

Civil War era girls school. There are plenty of dresses to gawk at and their finery is noted within the film

Phantom Thread
Mark Bridges
(2 noms, 1 win)

It's a fashion drama, at least in its milieu though Anderson has never seemed that obsessed with clothes in his movies

Murder on the Orient Express
Alexandra Byrne
(4 noms | 1 win)

Early hopes that it would be a visual spectacle and not just a parade of famous faces are slowly dying - the trailer didn't have as much costume pizazz as we expect from Byrne. Curious.

Tier 3 - Or Maybe...

Tier 4 -Too Early to Rule Anything Out!

  • Battle of the Sexes (Mary Zophres, 2/0)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (Renée April, 0/0)
  • Dunkirk (Jeffrey Kurland, 1/0)
  • Lost City of Z (Sonia Grande, 0/0)
  • Marshall (Ruth E Carter, 2/0)
  • Mudbound (Michael T Boyd, 0/0)
  • On Chesil Beach (Keith Madden, 0/0)
  • The Seagull (Ann Roth, 4/1)
  • Valerian... (Olivier Bériot, 0/0)
  • Woman Walks Ahead (Stephanie Collie, 0/0)
  • Zookeeper's Wife (Bina Daigeler, 0/0)
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin 
    Odile Dicks Mireaux (never nominated)
  • All the Money in the World (Unknown)

 

How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Sandy Powell
(12 noms | 3 wins)

Powell wowed last time she conquered this era (70s)

My Cousin Rachel
Dinah Collin
(never nominated)

Rich work and the costuming branch doesn't require heat in other categories. They vote how they vote.

 

 

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Can Roger Deakins finally take home the gold or will Dunkirk block him?

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

Dunkirk
Hoyt Van Hoytema
(never nominated)

 

Hoytema is next in line for the  "when are they going to nominate him after so many great looking films?" complaints

Blade Runner 2049
Roger Deakins
(13 nominations)

If he doesn't win soon they'll have to give him an honorary.

Darkest Hour
Bruno Delbonnel (4 nominations)

His last two nominations were for very monochromatic work. Hopefully there's more variety this time

Wonder Wheel
Vittoria Storaro
(4 noms | 3 wins)

He's a legendary cinematographer and early word says his work is impressive. Not that cinematographers readily embrace Woody Allen pictures...

Wonderstruck
Ed Lachmann (2 nominations)

This great cinematographer could wow again. We're still gawking at Carol every chance we get

 
Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Mother!
Matthew Libatique
(1 nomination)

Can Black Swan magic happen again? 

The Greatest Showman
Seamus McGarvey
(2 nominations)

He was recently in the mix (if not nominated) for Nocturnal Animals. Will this musical fare better?

 

Shape of Water
Dan Laustsen
(never nominated)

The Current War
Chung Chung-hoon
(never nominated)

Primitive lightbulbs should give him lots of expressive opportunities

The Papers
Janusz Kaminski
(6 nominations / 2 wins)

Tier 3 - Or Maybe

Tier 4 -So many possibilities

  • Battle of the Sexes (Linus Sandgren, 1/1)
  • Detroit (Barry Ackroyd, 1/0)
  • The Mountain Between Us (Mandy Walker, 0/0)
  • The Beguiled (Philippe le Sourd, 1/0)
  • Call Me By Your Name (Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, 0/0)
  • Logan John Mathieson 2/0)
  • The Lost City of Z (Darius Khonjdi, 1/0)
  • Mudbound (Rachel Morrison, 0/0)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Harris Zambarloukos, 0/0)
  • On Chesil Beach (Sean Bobbit, 0/0)
  • The Snowman (Dion Beebe, 2/1)
  • Thank You For Your Service (Roman Vasyanov, 0/0)
  • Phantom Thread (PT Anderson himself, 0/0 in this category)
  • Woman Walks Ahead (Mike Eley, 0/0)
  • All the Money in the World (Dariusz Wolski, 0/0)

Breathe 
Robert Richardson
(9 noms/3 wins)

Richardson is an Oscar favorite but will they like this romantic drama?

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool
Urszula Pontikos
(never nominated)

She shot the crisply gorgeous Lilting. Will this be another calling card? 

 

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN
I'll be watching this one closely to see if they finally give it up for the great Mark Friedberg who has a dual time frame / narrative challenge with Wonderstruck

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

The Greatest Showman
Nathan Crowley
(3 nominations)

The circus milieu gives Crowley plenty of chances to shine. And if they don't fall for this he's also got Dunkirk

Shape of Water
Paul Austerberry
(never nominated)

Should give him and the team ample opportunity to shine and reviews are already stellar

The Current War
Jan Roelfs
(2 nominations)

This drama about the war to make electricity work for the public could provide wonderful period design

Blade Runner 2049
Dennis Gassner
(5 noms | 1 win)

They love Gassner and the first film is arguably the most influential art direction of the last 30 years. Can this possibility live up to it?

Dunkirk
Nathan Crowley
(3 nominations)

He could be competing with himself: see also The Greatest Showman 

 
Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Beauty & the Beast
Sarah Greenwood
(4 nominations)

She could well be competing against herself. But will they go with the noisy Disney recreation or the war drama?

Darkest Hour
Sarah Greenwood
(4 nominations)

She could well be competing against herself. But will they go with the noisy Disney recreation or the war drama?

Wonderstruck
Mark Friedberg
(never nominated)

He's an amazing designer and Todd Haynes movies always look fantastic.

The Papers
Rick Carter (4 noms, 2 wins)

Newsrooms might not give him enough room to shine but Oscar does like him and he pulled off a surprise win with Lincoln

Wonder Wheel
Santo Loquasto (3 noms)

Production Design isn't a common nomination for Woody Allen pictures but Loquasto often does very fine work

Tier 3 - Or Maybe

Tier 4 So many possibilities

  • On Chesil Beach (Suzie Davis, 1/0)
  • The Beguiled (Anne Ross, 0/0)
  • Dark Tower (Christopher Glass,0/0)
  • Downsizing (Stefania Cella, 0/0)
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin (David Roger, 0/0)
  • Logan François Audouy (0/0)
  • Marshall (Richard Hoover, 0/0)
  • Mudbound (David J Bomba, 0/0)
  • Murder on Orient Express (Jim Clay, 0/0)
    Shape of Water
    (Paul Austerberry, 0/0)
  • Phantom Thread (Mark Tildesley, 0/0)
  • Woman Walks Ahead (Geoffrey Kirkland, 1/0)
  • Wonder Woman (Aline Bonetto, 2/0)
  • Zookeeper's Wife (Suzie Davies, 1/0)
  • The Snowman (Maria Djurkovic, 1/0)

 

Battle of the Sexes
Judy Becker
(1 nomination)

How Becker only has one nomination is maddening. Hopefully she'll have fun with this time frame / sports environment

Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
Rick Heinrichs
(3 noms/1win)

Star Wars films haven't been nominated in this category since 1983. But they like Heinrichs. 

 

 

FILM EDITING
This category generally requires Best Picture heat or a lot of noticeable editing (as with action and war films) so it's hard to know in advance which films might make the editor's swoon (unlike other craft categories where you can suss out the particular challenges and how visible they'll be)

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

Dunkirk
Lee Smith
(2 nominations)

  The Papers 
Michael Kahn (8 noms, 3 wins)

Get Out
Gregory Plotkin (never nom'ed)

 Mother!
Andrew Weisblum 

(1 nomination)
Downsizing
Kevin Tent
(1 nomination)
 
Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong
Wonderstruck
Affonso Gonçalves
(never nom'ed)

 Darkest Hour 

Valerio Bonelli
(never nom'ed)

 Detroit

William Goldenberg (5 noms/1 win) & Harry Yoon (never nom'ed)
Phantom Thread
Dylan Tichenor
(2 nominations)

Blade Runner 2049
Joe Walker
(2 nominations)

Tier 3 - Or Maybe...

Tier 4 - So many possibilities

  • Baby Driver
  • Downsizing Kevin Tent (1/0)
  • The Beguiled (Sarah Flack, 0/0)
  • Breathe (Masahiro Hirakubo, 0/0)
  • Call Me By Your Name (Walter Fasano, 0/0)
  • Current War (David Trachtenberg, 0/0)
  • Greatest Showman (unknown)
  • Logan (Michael McCusker, 1/0 and Dirk Westervelt 0/0)
  • Marshall (Tom McArdle, 1/0)
  • Mudbound (Mako Kamitsuna, 0/0)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Mick Audsley, never nom'ed)
  • Shape of Water (Sidney Wolinsky, never nominated)
    The Snowman
    (Claire Simpson 2/1)
  • Stronger (Dylan Tichenor 2/0)
  • Suburbicon (Stephen Mirrione, 3/1)
  • Thank You For Your Service (Jay Cassidy 3/0 and Dino Jonsäter 0/0)
Battle of the Sexes
Pamela Martin
(1 nomination)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Bob Ducsay
(never nominated)
 

 

VISUAL EFFECTS
This category was once far more predictable than it is now. That's because visual effects movies have been all the rage for years at multiplexes and there are more and more of them. Even the sure things aren't sure things with so many sequels in the mix. Even the Star Wars franchise has missed before! 

Tier 1 - Predicted 5

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Revenge of the Sith is the only Star Wars film to miss out on Visual FX honors

Blade Runner 2049

It's still horrific that the original film lost this category (to the much less deserving ET). Do over?

War of the Planet of the Apes

The previous two pictures in this rebooted franchise have been nominated

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Can Vol 2 win the same nominations? (Makeup and Visual FX)

Dunkirk

This will be interesting to watch. Will they go for all practical effects in this era of CGI worship?

Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Wonder Woman

 Historically speaking Oscar shrugs at Warner Bros superhero movies that aren't Batman films. On the other hand, it's a mega hit and there will be a campaign

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Oscar liked this franchise... back when Sam Raimi was directing it. Will they come around again?

Pirates of Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Oscar loved this franchise at first. Will the time away soften their hearts (they ignored the last film completely)

Kong Skull Island

Though the effects are impressive it's got a ton of competition. And they passed over its predecessor Godzilla (2014)

Transformers: The Last Knight

Another franchise Oscar loved at first. 50% of them have been nominated in this category

Tier 3 - Or Maybe...

Tier 4 - So many possibilities...

  • Alien Covenant 
  • Dark Tower
  • Downsizing
  • Geostorm
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Justice League
  • Life
  • Logan
  • The Mummy
  • Shape of Water
  • Thor: Ragnarok

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Certain to be a spectacle but they don't love Besson films - even The Fifth Element wasn't nominated for this honor

Ghost in the Shell

The critical and public response will probably kill it but the visual fx are actually quite phenomenal

 

 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Year after year one of the hardest categories to get a bead on. They love old age prosthetics except when they don't. They love lots of wig work except when they don't. They don't like CGI characters, except when they do. Etcetera.

Tier 1 - Predicted 3

   
 

Darkest Hour
Ivana Primorac (never nominated) 

Transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill might be a challenge that will catch their eye. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
John Blake (1 nomination), Camille Friend (never nominated) 

The original was nominated in this category. Since there will be some new characters they could repeat

Logan
Joel Harlow (3 noms / 1 win), Gloria Pasqua Casny (1 nomination)

The X-franchise has not been an Oscar favorite but they like Harlow's work and this film, more serious and definitely better reviewed could make a play for this prize.

 
Tier 2 - Also Could Be Strong

Shape of Water
Jordan Samuel (never nominated) 

This 60s set fantasy from Guillermo Del Toro might look great but Oscar hasn't embraced many of his films. 

Greatest Showman
Nicki Ledermann (never nominated)

The circus setting could well mean lots of fun makeup and definitely wigs. But will they prefer showier genre fare instead?

Wonder
Naomi Bakstad (never nominated), Robert Pandini (1 nomination)

Will facial prosthetics still trigger Oscar love? It worked for Mask in the 80s

Blade Runner 2049

If one could ever since what the Oscars were looking for in this category one might have a better idea...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Peter King (2 noms | 1 win), Rick Findlater (1 nomination)

Diminishing Oscar returns for this franchise but 50% of them have been nominated in Makeup

Tier 3 - Or Maybe...

Tier 4 So many possibilities in this often mystifying category

  • Atomic Blonde
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Valerian and...
  • Wonder Woman
  • Dunkirk
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • How to Talk to Girls at Parties
  • Kong Skull Island
  • Lost City of Z
  • Power Rangers
  • Star Wars: Last Jedi
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Woman Walks Ahead
  • Wonderstruck
  • Victoria and Abdul

 

Wonder Woman

If the campaign is great and they realize that the makeup is actually good here (the makeup branch is impossible to predict)

The Mummy
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiu (1 nomination), David White (1 nomination) 

Sofia Boutella could become a good luck charm. She plays the Mummy but it was most certainly her Star Trek character that prompted a nom in this category last year