Oscars Against the Clock!
Lots of us have been there: A friend invites you to a party to see the Oscars telecast and you say “Yeah! I love movies! I’ll be there!” You’ve been to these parties before. They can be fun. Then as the days go on and you get caught up in your day to day life the memory of this invite recedes. Now it’s just a week until the party and you take another look at that list of nominees your favorite pop culture blog posted a few weeks ago and realize that you’ve seen practically none of the nominated movies. What the heck are you going to do? Come up with an excuse for missing your friend’s party? Risk looking like an uncultured slob?
Well, if you’re willing to dig in just a little you can probably hit some sort of happy middle ground. We here at LeBlog want to help you if you have found yourself in this sort of conundrum. Below you’ll find a list of the top nominated films and performances and where you can find them. If you make efficient use of this information you can look like a relatively with-it individual at your big social gathering!
Okay, first things first-
La La Land
This is the hands-down favorite to take home more awards than any other film this year, so it’s the best place to start if you haven’t seen it yet. Honestly, this whole exercise is a waste of time if you’re not planning on seeing La La Land. Along with Best Picture and Best Director, Emma Stone is currently the favorite for Best Actress.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song
Where to see it: Fortunately, La La Land has been pretty popular, so you can still see it on the big screen if you set aside a night out between now and next Sunday. It’s showing in fourteen different locations in my area, so I’m betting you’ll be able to find it near you.
Okay, so now that you have that handled…what else should be high on your list?
What we really want to do here in this race against the clock is to see the movies with lots of nominations and those which are most likely to feature a winner. Viola Davis is one of the few sure things this Oscar season to take home the award in the Best Supporting Actress category. On top of that, after early dominance by Casey Affleck in the awards shows leading up to the Oscars, Denzel Washington jumped up and won the Best Actor prize from the Screen Actor’s Guild. Because of that, the Best Actor competition is now a two man race. Fences also stands a chance in the adapted screenplay category.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay
Where to see it: Although Fences is not as widely available as some other nominees, it is stilt there in the theaters. Each of the three Carmike locations in my area is showing it. It will not become available for home rental until March 14th, so this is another one you’ll have to go out of the house to see. Hurry though, because there’s a chance it could disappear on Friday the 24th.
If you’re looking for possible winners in major categories, you’d be smart to take the time to see this painterly portrait of inner city pain and alienation. While not quite a sure thing like Viola Davis, the Supporting Actor category does have a favorite at this point and his name is Mahershala Ali. This award is given out early in the evening, so having a winner in your pocket right off the bat could feel good and help you relax. Again, this is no guarantee, but it’s a strong possibility. If Fences doesn’t win Best Adapted Screenplay, then Moonlight stands a good chance.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay
Where to see it: Moonlight can still be found here and there on the big screen and its beautiful cinematography makes that a fine option, but you should also keep in mind that it will become available for home streaming this coming Tuesday the 21st. It will probably cost you about $6. I’d recommend leaving it for a home viewing in the middle of the coming week.
Manchester By the Sea
This is the primary spoiler pick in multiple categories, and it’s well liked, so there’s a good chance that even if Casey Affleck loses in the Best Actor category the movie could still grab Best Adapted Screenplay for Kenneth Lonergan. If Viola Davis fails to win for Supporting Actress, the number one upset possibility there is Michelle Williams.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay
Where to see it: Manchester by the Sea is another nominated film which is still in theaters at the moment but will become available for home rental on Tuesday. You should probably see it that way, just like Moonlight, but I’d probably avoid seeing them on back-to back nights. They’re both pretty heavy stuff.
Best Animated Feature: Zootopia, Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana
I’ve bunched these three movie together, because it’s very very likely that only one of them will win anything, and that’s in the Best Animated Feature category. Although Zootopia appears to be the favorite at the moment, any of these three could win the category without being a huge surprise. Both Kubo and Moana have nominations in other categories, but wins there would be considered moderate surprises. If you’ve got children you’ve probably seen one or two of these already and could include the kids in this project one night. Very little ones might be scared by Kubo though.
Nominations: 5 (spread out among all three)
Major Nominations: Best Animated Feature (all three), Best Original Song (Moana)
Where to see them: Zootopia is the easiest one of these to see if you’ve got Netflix. You’ve even already paid for it. In fact, why haven’t you seen this already? Kubo and the Two Strings has been available for home streaming for a while now. It’s also up for a visual effects award. Moana is still in theaters nationwide.
Here is where we start entering the territory of movies that might not take home any awards at all. Arrival grabbed a bunch of nominations, but doesn’t currently look to be a favorite in any of those categories except maybe Best Sound Editing, which obviously isn’t a prestige category worthy of setting aside one of your nights for this week. On the other hand, I can enthusiastically recommend Arrival as artful, impressive, emotional, and entertaining. Plus, it’s nice to know what is getting beat sometimes. Amy Adams was widely believed to be snubbed for this performance which might motivate some extra votes in smaller categories.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
Where to see it: Arrival is currently the number one home rental, so you could join the large number of people who are catching it at home, but I’d actually recommend seeing it on the biggest screen you can if you’ve got the above films covered prior to Sunday.
This movie is generally considered to be in second or third place in two categories, including with Natalie Portman for Best Actress. She came out of the gate as the favorite, but after people saw Emma Stone in La La Land and fell in love with that movie, Portman’s chances receded a bit. Still, it would be only a mild upset if Portman’s name got called. A win for Best Costumes wouldn’t be a shock either, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Major Nominations: Best Actress
Where to see it: Jackie appears to have disappeared from the theaters in my area, and although you can pre-order it through iTunes, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that it will be available for rent before the Oscars show. You might be out of luck on this one.
This Best Picture nominee has recently seen its central performance from Dev Patel close the gap between himself and Mahershala Ali. With so many popular actors in the Supporting Actor category, a win for Patel would be a surprise, but many prognosticators have him in the number two slot in that category right now.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best adapted Screenplay
Where to see it: If you want to see Lion you’re going to have to go to the movie theater. It’s still out there, but considering its relatively low chance of winning anything you’ll want to caver some other territory first.
Mel Gibson appears to have been forgiven in Hollywood, and the nominations he and this film received are probably the full measure of that. You’re not likely to see any major wins here, but a sound or editing win is not completely out of the question though.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor
Where to see it: This Tuesday Hacksaw Ridge will be there on iTunes for home rental. If you’re hoping to see every Best Picture nominee, that will make it pretty accessible even though it has mostly left theaters.
I would never have put this movie this high on the list, but then its cast went and won the big award from the Screen Actor’s Guild. You can’t do that without jumping onto the Oscars radar. I’d still consider it a surprise if Hidden Figures won anything, but it’s not like we’re not on notice of the possibility.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay
Where to see it: Hidden Figures has done well at the box office and is still widely available on the big screen. It’s a good movie (if a little conventional), but I’d put this one off until the weekend of the Oscars telecast and see it if you’ve got most of these others under your belt.
Hell of High Water
Never count out Jeff Bridges. He’s a favorite of the Academy, and obviously Hell or High Water is well-liked also. Bridges and the film are pretty easy to recommend in the year’s movie landscape as both exhibitions of pure skill and genuine entertainment that only rarely steps outside what’s believable.
Major Nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay
Where to see it: Hell or High Water has been available for home rental for a while now. That’s how I saw it more than a month ago. This is one to squeeze in at home on Sunday prior to the awards that night. You just might be rewarded with a win for Bridges.
Almost as well-considered as Bridges is the always interesting and idiosyncratic Michael Shannon. Nocturnal Animals somehow didn’t get any other nominations. You can see what you think of that state of affairs when the movie becomes available for home rental this Tuesday. The civil rights story of Loving and the light comedy of Florence Foster Jenkins are both already there for streaming, making seeing most of the Best Actress performances little hassle if you have the time. Elle will most likely be difficult to catch, but unless you’re a big fan of Paul Verhoeven’s that’s probably no big loss. On the other hand, Viggo Mortneson’s turn as an intense counter-culture homeschooler who has his kids living in the woods in Captain Fantastic is definitely worth a look. Not that he stands a chance of winning for it.
Okay, so hopefully that all is helpful if you’re behind where you want to be at this point. Be sure to keep checking in here at LeBlog as we cover the Oscars all month long!