Oscars: 7 Fringe Contenders to Consider
Courtesy of Lionsgate

They might not have a prayer but they deserve a boost...

Balloting is well underway for the 88th annual Oscars as members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (or their assistants or sons or daughters or dogs or cats) sit down to chalk up the best in 2015 cinema. I’ve already rattled off a personal list of superlatives, but allow me a final “for your consideration” pitch for a few contenders that could really use a leg-up. All of these are on the far outside looking in, but they represent some of the finest achievements of the year. So, to the various branches of the Academy…

Directors Branch: Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen for “Inside Out
I’ve been ringing this bell all season long but here’s one more push: Animation directors deserve some love, too, particularly when they crank out something as thematically and emotionally rich as “Inside Out.” Pete Docter and his co-director Ronnie Del Carmen created, for me, the best film of 2015, but more importantly, this is a barrier that ought to be broken sooner rather than later. When will the directors branch of the Academy finally go there?

Actors Branch: Géza Röhrig for “Son of Saul”
The lead actor race has been intriguingly thin all season, which is certainly out of character. So there’s room to maneuver, and I’d like to pitch a number of actors, honestly. I’ve already spoken up for Andrew Garfield in “99 Homes,” so let’s spread the love to “Son of Saul” star Géza Röhrig here. I’m frankly shocked that not one single critics organization handed him a trophy, because it’s a unique, stunning portrait, the kind that generally gets a boost from the critics circuit. In lieu of that, here’s a nudge.

Writers Branch: Charlie Kaufman for “Anomalisa”
“Anomalisa” should be good to go for an animated feature nomination (though don’t be too sure — last year’s “LEGO Movie” miss was another reminder that outsiders can be treated as hostile by this branch). But the film deserves recognition outside of a ghetto and Charlie Kaufman’s brilliant work on the page was in keeping with the masterful work he’s given us from “Being John Malkovich” to “Adaptation,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” to “Synechdoche, New York.”

Cinematographers Branch: Maryse Alberti for “Creed
There is a wonderful opportunity this year for cinematographers to make history: No woman has ever been nominated for a best cinematography Oscar. No one is asking for a handout, though, because Maryse Alberti’s lensing of “Creed” makes its own case. A striking visual rendering of a familiar tale for a new generation, it captures iconic frame after iconic frame with plenty of technical prowess to spare. (That single-take boxing match, though…)

Film Editors Branch: Chris King for “Amy
It’s very rare for documentaries to get a fair shake outside of their own category, but when they do, the work in piecing together the narrative tends to be what’s noticed. In “Amy,” the best documentary of the year if you’re asking me, editor Chris King pulled in material from all kinds of sources to transcend the simple-minded “behind the music” shade detractors have thrown on the film and help tell a story that makes you fall in love with a victim of the modern media.

Music Branch: Jóhann Jóhannsson for “Sicario
Straight-up, the score for “Sicario” scared the crap out of me. It’s an eerie piece of work that gets into your bones, and though Jóhann Jóhannsson was a darling on the circuit last year with “The Theory of Everything,” he hasn’t received the proper appreciation this time around. (I’ve been a fan ever since his last collaboration with filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, “Prisoners.”)

Sound Branch: “Love & Mercy”
This would be a great way to celebrate the overall aural brilliance of Bill Pohlad’s Brian Wilson biopic. Wilson can’t land a nomination because his original song, “One Kind of Love,” was rendered ineligible. Similarly, Atticus Ross’ score wasn’t able to make it to the starting gate, probably due to the proliferation of Beach Boys music in the film. But the overall sound design and sonic identity of the movie is quite brilliant, bringing the audience into the mind of a musical genius. A mixing nod, in particular, would be splendid.

Latest Predictions:

moonlight Movie Picture
  1. "La La Land" Lionsgate

  2. "Manchester by the Sea" Amazon/Roadside Attractions

  3. "Moonlight" A24

  4. "Lion" The Weinstein Co.

  5. "Hell or High Water" CBS Films

See Full Listing
Damien Chazelle la la land BTS Director
  1. Damien Chazelle "La La Land"

  2. Barry Jenkins "Moonlight"

  3. Kenneth Lonergan "Manchester by the Sea"

  4. Denis Villeneuve "Arrival"

  5. David Mackenzie "Hell or High Water"

See Full Listing
Manchester by the Sea Actor
  1. Casey Affleck "Manchester by the Sea"

  2. Denzel Washington "Fences"

  3. Andrew Garfield "Hacksaw Ridge"

  4. Ryan Gosling "La La Land"

  5. Viggo Mortensen "Captain Fantastic"

See Full Listing
Annette Bening 20th Century Women Actress
  1. Emma Stone "La La Land"

  2. Natalie Portman "Jackie"

  3. Meryl Streep "Florence Foster Jenkins"

  4. Amy Adams "Arrival"

  5. Isabelle Huppert "Elle"

See Full Listing
Hugh Grant Florence Foster Jenkins Supporting Actor
  1. Mahershala Ali "Moonlight"

  2. Jeff Bridges "Hell or High Water"

  3. Dev Patel "Lion"

  4. Hugh Grant "Florence Foster Jenkins"

  5. Kevin Costner "Hidden Figures"

See Full Listing
Nicole Kidman Lion Supporting Actress
  1. Viola Davis "Fences"

  2. Michelle Williams "Manchester by the Sea"

  3. Naomie Harris "Moonlight"

  4. Nicole Kidman "Lion"

  5. Octavia Spencer "Hidden Figures"

See Full Listing
Arrival Adapted Screenplay
  1. "Moonlight" Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney

  2. "Arrival" Eric Heisserer

  3. "Lion" Luke Davies

  4. "Hidden Figures" Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder

  5. "Nocturnal Animals" Tom Ford

See Full Listing
Hell or High Water trailer Original Screenplay
  1. "La La Land" Damien Chazelle

  2. "Manchester by the Sea" Kenneth Lonergan

  3. "Hell or High Water" Taylor Sheridan

  4. "The Lobster" Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos

  5. "Captain Fantastic" Matt Ross

See Full Listing
Silence Cinematography
  1. "La La Land" Linus Sandgren

  2. "Lion" Greig Fraser

  3. "Arrival" Bradford Young

  4. "Moonlight" James Laxton

  5. "Silence" Rodrigo Prieto

See Full Listing
Fantastic Beasts and where to find them Costume Design
  1. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" Colleen Atwood

  2. "Florence Foster Jenkins" Consolata Boyle

  3. "Jackie" Madeline Fontaine

  4. "Allied" Joanna Johnston

  5. "The Dressmaker" Marion Boyce, Margot Wilson

See Full Listing
hacksaw ridge Film Editing
  1. "La La Land" Tom Cross

  2. "Hacksaw Ridge" John Gilbert

  3. "Arrival" Joe Walker

  4. "Moonlight" Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders

  5. "Manchester by the Sea" Jennifer Lame

See Full Listing
Star Trek Beyond Makeup & Hairstyling
  1. "Florence Foster Jenkins"

  2. "Star Trek Beyond"

  3. "A Man Called Ove"

  4. "Hail, Caesar!"

  5. "The Dressmaker"

See Full Listing
The BFG Original Score
  1. "La La Land" Justin Hurwitz

  2. "Lion" Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka

  3. "Moonlight" Nicholas Britell

  4. "Hacksaw Ridge" Rupert Gregson-Williams

  5. "The BFG" John Williams

See Full Listing
Hidden Figures trailer Best Original Song
  1. "City of Stars" "La La Land"

  2. "How Far I'll Go" "Moana"

  3. "Audition (The Fools Who Dream") "La La Land"

  4. "Runnin'" "Hidden Figures"

  5. "Faith" "Sing"

See Full Listing
Hail Caesar Production Design
  1. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" Stuart Craig, James Hambige; Anna Pinnock

  2. "Hail, Caesar!" Jess Gonchor; Nancy Haigh

  3. "La La Land" David Wasco; Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

  4. "Jackie" Jean Rabasse; Veronique Melery

  5. "Silence" Dante Ferretti; Francesca Lo Schiavo

See Full Listing
Rogue One A Star Wars Story trailer Sound Editing
  1. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

  2. "Hacksaw Ridge"

  3. "Deepwater Horizon"

  4. "Arrival"

  5. "Sully"

See Full Listing
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Sound Mixing
  1. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

  2. "Hacksaw Ridge"

  3. "La La Land"

  4. "Deepwater Horizon"

  5. "13 Hours"

See Full Listing
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Animated Feature
  1. "Zootopia" Walt Disney Studios

  2. "Kubo and the Two Strings" Laika/Focus Features

  3. "My Life as a Zucchini" GKIDS

  4. "The Red Turtle" Sony Pictures Classics

  5. "Moana" Walt Disney Studios

See Full Listing
Weiner Sundance 2016 Documentary Feature
  1. "O.J: Made in America" Ezra Edelman

  2. "Cameraperson" Kirsten Johnson

  3. "Weiner" Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

  4. "13th" Ava DuVernay

  5. "I Am Not Your Negro" Raoul Peck

See Full Listing
Toni-Erdmann-1 Foreign Language
  1. "Toni Erdmann" Germany; Maren Ade

  2. "Land of Mine" Denmark; Martin Zandvliet

  3. "A Man Called Ove" Sweden; Hannes Holm

  4. "The Salesman" Iran; Asghar Farhadi

  5. "Tanna" Australia; Martin Butler, Bentley Dean

See Full Listing
Jungle Book Visual Effects
  1. "The Jungle Book"

  2. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

  3. "Doctor Strange"

  4. "Deepwater Horizon"

  5. "Kubo and the Two Strings"

See Full Listing

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 22