It’s that time of the year! As Cannes is currently going, here’s my first stab at predictions for the 89th Academy Awards. Ten years ago, The Departed won in the tightest Best Picture race (prior to the one early this year), Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren steamrolled through critics and televised awards, an Idol reject named Jennifer Hudson took Oscar glory, and an overdue Martin Scorsese finally can call himself an Oscar winner.
This year, we might have Marty coming back again, the birth of a nation, Ang Lee at another shot to a Best Picture win, as well as Meryl Streep getting nod #20, and Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert? Here’s my take on the top six races.
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Photo courtesy of Zimbio
In just a few hours, the 66th Cannes Film Festival is about to close. After almost two weeks of non-stop film premieres, the biggest movie festival in the world will soon end. And it is up to jury head Steven Spielberg, together with members Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz, Lynne Ramsay, Naomi Kawase, Cristian Mungiu, Daniel Auteuil, and Vidya Balan, to reveal their choices on the winning films and performances for this year. It’s definitely one of those up in the air years, as there were a lot of films that gained positive response from the media and the Cannes audience this year. And of course, there’s also those surprising choices that came from movies that received cold reception.
I’ll give my shot on who I think will end up as winners in the festival this year. However, it is noteworthy to emphasize that it is really difficult to predict these things since there’s no trend to follow as the jury members change every year. But with that said, here are my predictions for the seven categories to be awarded at the closing festivities:
Prediction: Ethan and Joel Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
As of now, the Coens’ latest entry is turning up to be the best reviewed American film of the year thus far (with a perfect 100 score), and Llewyn seems to be destined to win something in the festival. While chances of directing, actor for Oscar Isaac, and even the Palme d’Or (critics are comparing it to Barton Fink which won them a Director prize), I think they will spread the wealth and reward it with a Screenplay win.
Alternate: Asghar Farhadi, “Le Passé”
Farhadi is shaping out to be one of the notable names in festivals and his follow up to 2011’s A Separation also gained notable mentions from the critics. If Farhadi won’t win the top plum this year, then they can pick up multiple wins including this one for screenplay.
PREDICTION: Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”
While odds for a tie are slim, I’m predicting the team up of Matt Damon and Michael Douglas to pick up the top male plum for this year. It really sucks that this won’t get a theater premiere (which easily eliminates them from Oscar contention), but Douglas’ unanimous reviews (and even mentions of his all time best work) is definitely a shoo-in for an Emmy already. It’s also likely that it will solely be Douglas who will win, but with Damon working with Spielberg in the past, he can easily sneak Damon for the win too.
ALTERNATE: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
If not Douglas, then one can expect Bruce Dern to snatch up the Actor prize for his work in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. This can be some sort of a prelude to his possible Oscar season, and they can also tag team Will Forte as well, in case they give Behind the Candelabra a higher award.
PREDICTION: Adèle Exarchopoulos, “Blue is the Warmest Color”
If the jury doesn’t connect to a consensus choice of Blue… being the Palme d’Or, then it can find its way to recognition by winning the Actress award via Adèle Exarchopoulos’s unanimously praised performance. If the Damon/Douglas tie don’t work in Actor, then expect a consecutive tie here (after last year’s victory from Beyond the Hills ladies) between Adèle Exarchopoulos and co-star Lea Seydoux.
ALTERNATE: Marion Cotillard, “The Immigrant”
After failing to win this category last year for Rust and Bone, Cotillard can see herself in contention and even a win for this year, thanks to James Gray’s The Immigrant. Cotillard is a famous French star who has been a regular at Cannes for the past few years. This can also be The Immigrant’s win especially if the movie divides the jury.
PREDICTION: Paolo Sorrentino, “La Grande Belleza”
Sorrentino surprised everyone when he got overwhelming positive response for this year’s The Great Beauty. Reviews specify the good combination of breathtaking visuals and the strong direction, which leads me to believe that if Sorrentino wins anything from the festival, it’ll most be likely this one.
ALTERNATE: Steven Soderbergh, “Behind the Candelabra”
Soderbergh is one of the true Cannes breakouts. His career started out with sex.lies.videotape in 1989, and this could be a statement from the jury for Hollywood passing up on the film because of its theme. Also, Soderbergh hasn’t won in this category yet, and this can be his first prize here.
PREDICTION: Hirakazu Kore-eda, “Like Father, Like Son”
Kore-eda’s drama about the nature vs. nurture of two children switched at birth was a hit at Cannes, and Jury Prize seems to be the most fitting category to reward it. Rumor also have it that Kore-eda is already back at Cannes, which means that it’s likely that the film will be rewarded for something. It also seemed to be getting raves from the jury with Spielberg quoted as emotional to the film’s theme.
ALTERNATE: James Gray, “The Immigrant”
Gray is such a divisive filmmaker. His works is always between a love it or you hate it. It’s either for you or not. With that said, I can also see a scenario where they give him the Jury Prize in order to satisfy members of Jury who wants it to be rewarded with something while also satisfying those members who do not like it, as it won’t get the top prize.
PREDICTION: Jia Zhangke, “A Touch of Sin”
Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin seems to be perfect for the Grand Prix category. It’s not a total standout to win the Palme, but it gains specific supporters that can push it for this. He was also spotted already back in Cannes, and he’ll probably get something tomorrow.
ALTERNATE: Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color”
I can see this following the scenario of The Master over at Venice last year. It’s the unanimously praise film that gets the jury pumped up. But since the top prize can’t win anything else, they’d have to settle giving the runner up prize to it in order to accommodate other noteworthy things about the film such as rewarding the lead actresses. It can be a battle between giving a sole top prize or settling for second with multiple mentions to go home.
PREDICTION: Asghar Farhadi, “The Past”
And I guess the top prize will be given to Farhadi’s The Past. It’s French, it has Farhadi, it’s the conventional choice, it made jury member Kidman in tears after leaving the screening. The Past seems to be the logical choice that will not be hated; after all, it got solid reviews, it’s not as particularly polarizing from the other commendable entries, and you know everyone is just in love with Asghar Farhadi right now. While this is no sure thing, I can see this getting the consensus pick among the jury members.
ALTERNATE: Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color”
Lo and behold, this is really the film that towered among everyone else in terms of critical reception. It has already gained buzz and world interest, and the reviews are really staggering and far and away from the other contenders. The thing though that makes it an easy choice to win is that the theme might alienate others. We still don’t know for sure what type of jury is this, and we don’t know if they’re really gonna go for something as bold as this to receive the top prize. But as always, it can easily snoop in the top prize if it gets the jury fired up.
That’s it. I’m really excited to see a lot of entries from this year’s batch, as it’s one of the most lauded in years. I’m also gonna miss Legend Kidman’s red carpet appearances and teaching everyone how it’s done. I’m looking forward to the closing and awarding ceremonies later. Now, who are you rooting and predicting to win? Post it there in the Comments section.
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