They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?
Mid-year State of the 2017-2018 Oscars
By J. Don Birnam
August 24, 2017
Hello, hello, is this thing on? Well hey there, BOPers. It’s been nearly six months since Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty got jiggy with it, causing F-Bombs to drop around the vaunted halls of the Academy after botching the biggest prize of the night. Have you recovered? Have they? Who knows, but the cruel truth of the awards season is that it waits for no one, and we are but mere days away from the unofficial official kickoff with the Telluride Film Festival.
So where are we so far? First, my usual pep talk. The beginning of the Oscars race really is like the start of an amazing new relationship. There is excitement, the promise of more to come, surprises, thrills, emotion. We know that by the end of it I always want the title of the column to become reality. But before we get to that point, it’s really peachy keen. Plus, let’s face it, no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, don’t you want a break from all the wall-to-wall coverage?
So let’s get to where we are but be sure to add me on Twitter: @jdonbirnam and Instagram: @awards_predix for daily coverage, particularly of the film festivals.
The Pre-Fall Lineups Usually Hold a Contender Or Two
There is no use denying what has become obvious in the past years. At least a movie or two released before the fall film festivals has been getting a Best Picture nominations in recent years. At the very least we have The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mad Max, and Hell or High Water, each within the last three years. So while in the last couple I have shown off just how bad my predicting abilities are - last year, for example, stating that Hell or High Water “may get an acting or writing nod” when it in fact made it to Best Picture - this year I am going to resist the urge to dismiss the pre-September fare and look deeply in there for something good to give.
Let’s look at the potential films one by one.
If any movie that has hit theaters so far is going to make a move in Best Picture, it has to be Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. The film really has it all, from respectable box office to critical and audience acclaim, to World War II heroism, to Mark Rylance. It is a well-acted, solid piece that entertains and enthralls. Nominations for Best Sound seem in the bag, but others could follow, including (if they’re feeling creative) the mostly silent script, the taut directing, and the overall product. Rylance himself could return to the list of nominated supporting actors. Warner Bros. has announced it will engage in an aggressive campaign for the film, and I for one would love to see it nominated.