Do the Critics Matter ?
Last year Carol was one of the critics darlings, it was the best reviewed film (according to Metacritic, scoring a 95). 45 Years was number 2 with a 94. Both showed up at the Oscars, which is great, but neither were in the Best Picture or Director category, and neither won any Oscars. Carol won the top prize at the NY Film Critics awards, and many other places.
The LA film Critics went for Spotlight, the eventual Best Picture winner, and another critics darling. Spotlight was the fourth highest rated film with critics. This was put on the map at Toronto, and was well liked across the board. I would argue this won Best Picture and was helped by critics, but the actors pushed this through, because it was a true ensemble piece.
This year the two films that seem to be highest on the critics radar are Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight. Both films did well at the Gotham Awards (nominations wise) and the Independent Spirit Awards. Moonlight and Manchester, will do best at the NY Film Critics awards. I would bet La La Land wins at the LA Film Critics Awards. There are of course other groups play a role. The National Board of Review picked Mad Max last year, and it was highly talked about it pushed the film into serious contention. In the end critics can help rubber stamp and a push a performance on the trajectory.
The acting win narrative, like the Best Picture win is a different narrative. Look for Casey Affleck and Natalie Portman to scoop a lot of lead acting wins with the critics, but I will argue that Washington and Stone stand a better chance at winning the Oscars. The nominations/winners start getting announced this week, but they are never a perfect crystal ball.
The Sound of Silence
There is not much to say, other than the first trailer which was released in the last week was stunning. I am curious if critics/journalists/voters will get to see this film anytime soon. This will impact its nomination tally, especially if critics can help add to the passion project story.
I have laid out my predictions for the major categories (outside of screenplay). Films/performances that have been seen are ranked above any film or performance that has not been seen.
1-La La Land
2-Manchester by the Sea
*Hell or High Water and Loving were bumped for Arrival and Hidden Figures
20th Century Women
Hell or High Water
*Hacksaw Ridge was added as a contender
1-Damien Chazelle-La La Land
3-Kenneth Lonnergan-Manchester by the Sea
*this list remains the same
*Ang Lee was bumped from this list
1-Casey Affleck-Manchester by the Sea
5-Ryan Gosling-La La Land
* list remains the same, but Gosling bumped to five, Washington moved to two
Andrew Garfield-Silence/Hacksaw Ridge
Michael Keaton-The Founder
*Jake Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals and Robert DeNiro for The Comedian were removed from this list
1-Emma Stone-La La Land
3-Annette Benning-20th Century Women
*Amy Adam bumped up to this list
Jessica Chastain-Miss Sloane
Taraji P. Henson-Hidden Figures
Meryl Streep-Florence Foster Jenkins
*Meryl Streep bumped to contender, Adams is no longer a contender for Nocturnal Animals
2-Jeff Bridges-Hell or High Water
3-Lucas Hedges-Manchester by the Sea
*Ali was bumped to one, Bridge moved from contender to 2, Hedges from 1 to 3, Patel was moved from Lead to Supporting.
Hugh Grant-Florence Foster Jenkins
Michael Shannon-Nocturnal Animals
*Aaron Eckheart in Bleed for This was removed, Stephen Henderson in Fences was added
Best Supporting Actress
1-Viola Davis-Fences Naomi Harris-Moonlight
2-Michelle Williams-Manchester by the Sea
5-Janelle Monae-Hidden Figures
*Monae jumped from non entity to top five
Laura Dern-The Founder
Gretta Gerwig-20th Century Women
Felicity Jones-A Monster Calls
Molly Shannon-Other People
*Gerwig was bumped to contender
Best Adapted Screenplay
*Stays the same
Best Original Screenplay
1-Manchester by the Sea
3-La La Land
5-Hell or High Water
*Stays the same