Saturday, January 23, 2016

No Globe, No SAG...No Problem?

Last year it was Bradley Cooper-who can get in
without the love in 2015?
This article has become a bit of an annual tradition here at The Many Rantings of John, and since I'm still relatively new compared to some other decade-old blogs on the internet, I feel like I have to carry out the few traditions that I have going.  Every year in the past ten, seemingly without fail with the strange exception of 2006 (which was largely due to the bizarrely robust nature of the Supporting Actor race that year where nine different actors were cited by the Globes and SAG Awards), at least one actor has managed to be nominated for an Academy Award without having previously been cited by the Globes or the SAG Awards for the same performance.  Take a look below:

2014: Bradley Cooper, Marion Cotillard, and Laura Dern
2013: Jonah Hill
2012: Quvenzhane Wallis, Emannuelle Riva, and Jacki Weaver
2011: Gary Oldman and Max von Sydow
2010: Javier Bardem
2009: Maggie Gyllenhaal
2008: Michael Shannon
2007: Laura Linney and Tommy Lee Jones
2006: Zero (let's pay attention people-we've already been over this)
2005: William Hurt

As is evidenced here, when you've missed at both awards it helps a ton to be in a film that people are actually watching.  Of these fifteen actors, six of them were in films that would also be nominated for Best Picture, and all but Jones and Cotillard had their films nominated in other categories.  It also helps to be a major player at the Academy Awards-only Wallis and Riva had never been nominated before, and they were nominated for leading a Best Picture, so it's quite unlikely at this point in the race for a nominee to pop up out-of-nowhere for a film people aren't discussing elsewhere.  With that being said, I've gone through and looked at the ten actors who haven't received any of the major precursor love yet, and ranked them by who is the most likely to be nominated for an Oscar anyway.  This year was particularly hard because of the erratic nature of the race, especially when you consider so many unexpected names like Bryan Cranston and Sarah Silverman ended up showing up at the awards prior to nominations, leaving a few contenders that were widely expected in the dust to new theoretical nominees.  Share your thoughts on this list and who was left out (and especially who you think will be left in) below in the comments!

Honorable Mention: I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the likes of Tom Hanks, Blythe Danner, Ian McKellen, Kristen Stewart, and Benicio del Toro would have normally made the cutoff, but I decided to go with ten per tradition-usually I'm scrounging for contenders, but this year it was a plethora of near-misses so hopefully we get some genuine surprises come Oscar morning.

10. Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy)

For Her: It's hard to deny Banks made a huge splash this year onscreen.  After all, her directorial debut in Pitch Perfect 2 went off extremely well, making a mountain of cash (even if the film itself was never quite as beloved as the fans of the first were hoping), while also getting rave reviews for her work in Love and Mercy.  With Paul Dano scooping up a number of awards, it's not like the screener isn't available to Academy members, and though she's never been nominated before you can sort of get the sense that she's about ready for some sort of industry acknowledgement.
Against Her: If they're seeing the movie and voting for Dano, why isn't she scoring at the Globes in particular?  Dano made it, and she's a big enough celebrity for HFPA, so where's the love for her?  Is it simply that they're responding to Dano rather than Banks, in which case she's a have-not in this situation?  The film is really only gunning for Supporting Actor based on precursors, and that's somewhat tenuous as can be evidenced by a film like Rush (where the Academy skips out if you aren't a player elsewhere).

9. Carey Mulligan (Suffragette)

For Her: She's a former nominee who spent most of the year at the top of Oscar prediction charts.  Suffragette is a movie that is clearly relevant and I suspect it's one the Academy would like to put a "me too!" on agreeing with at this point.  Period dramas are catnip for the Best Actress category, and she has to do a lot of deglam.  Plus, doesn't it feel like Carey Mulligan should have a second Oscar nomination by now?
Against Her: No one is talking about this film anymore, and it's mostly out of "really, she's not gaining traction?!?" that I kept this on here as it makes so much sense on paper, even though in reality Mulligan's opportunity seems to have all-but-disappeared.  That being said, I thought the same thing about Tommy Lee Jones in 2007 and he still won a nod so it's not totally out-of-the-question.

8. Michael Caine (Youth)

For Him: He's Michael Caine, beloved actor and Academy Award favorite.  Were he to be nominated, he would become the first actor ever to be nominated in six different decades, and he's a major movie star that has long been hungry for a lead Oscar and is willing to schmooze for it.  Caine's also in a movie that, if they see it, seems like the older Academy members would love as it's about, well, older artists and entertainers.  I suspect that those completely downgrading Caine in their predictions are missing what could be a great surprise opportunity.
Against Him: Since the Globes clearly saw the film (they voted for Fonda in the same movie), why not Caine?  They even went with him for The Quiet American, so you know they're fans.  Youth itself has gained almost no traction this season and may be too out-there for the voting community's tastes.  I think this could happen, but I have no evidence of it so one wonders if Caine will continue to have to find a shot at that sixth decade.

7. Michael B. Jordan (Creed)

For Him: He's a young up-and-coming actor, arguably the best American male actor under thirty in my opinion, and Creed continues to be a great word-of-mouth hit that could score with the Academy as it feels in their wheelhouse.  Let's not forget Bradley Cooper in American Sniper in all of this, as Clint Eastwood's picture went from being a non-entity in most of the precursor awards to being a huge deal at the Oscars, which could well be what's about to happen to Creed (though Stallone did score at the Globes).
Against Him: Jordan's not Bradley Cooper (who had two previous Oscar citations to rely upon), and this film isn't directed by Clint Eastwood-it's a boxing sequel.  Perhaps the Academy can't quite get over that hump (or they just don't love it) and are content to go with Stallone as their way of giving the film recognition.

6. Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)

For Her: This is my annual, one-time-only mention of the BFCA Awards, as one might question why I don't include them on this list since they are a televised precursor and of course Theron got nominated there.  I don't mention them for two reasons: one, they have six nominees and that's cheating, and two (and much more importantly) they are far more intent on predicting the Oscars than actually rewarding what they like (compare Rotten Tomatoes scores with who actually gets nominated for a reference point), and that's not an awards show, it's just a Vegas betting board so I shall not mention them again for a year until I write this article again.  That being said, the nomination for Theron has to indicate something, and she's an Oscar-winning lead in a film that increasingly looks likely to be a Best Picture nominee-that's usually a recipe for a surprise nomination.
Against Her: It'd be a nearly unprecedented nomination (with the very glaring exception of Sigourney Weaver in Aliens), and can Theron actually do this without being a huge presence on the campaign trail?  It seems a bit telling that the Globes didn't go for this at all as it seems more in their recent wheelhouse (think Uma Thurman in Kill Bill) but there's clearly at least one very open slot in Best Actress so I wouldn't totally eye-roll here.

4 & 5. Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton (Spotlight)

For Them: I combined these two for two reasons, one of which is that they are both obvious contenders on-paper.  Both men are recent (like, last year recent) nominees who didn't win, which the Academy sometimes feels the urge to correct if you make enough good movies back-to-back, and they are headlining a major Best Picture contender, the only film to score nominations for Best Cast AND Best Drama Picture at the Globes.  That has to matter, and you can imagine these two being on a lot of ballots.
Against Them: The second reason I put them together, though is that they're clearly costing the other one their nomination.  With Keaton going supporting instead of lead (not the worst decision, but potentially costly for Ruffalo who has the more "big moment" role) that means that two men whom the Academy feel are "due" are competing for the same turf.  No film has been nominated for two supporting actors since 1991's Bugsy for a reason-it's because Academy members don't like voting for the same film twice for two male actors.  That's clearly causing some issues for these two as they are competing in a race that is starting to coalesce around other individuals.

3. Tom Hardy (The Revenant)

For Him: He's had an amazing year.  With dual roles in Legend, a title role in Mad Max, and now a significant role opposite the film that's probably going to win Leo his Oscar in The Revenant, Hardy has to be considered for this performance, which also is clear Oscar bait from the trailers (he plays the chief antagonist, a classic Supporting Actor part).  Hardy's been a rising star for years now, and if a year like this doesn't bring him into the fold, I don't know what will.
Against Him: "Why didn't he score at the Globes" is a recurring phrase this year (mostly because I have no idea WHAT was happening at the SAG Awards), but Hardy is hot and could have been an easy arm-candy presenter to Jennifer Lopez at the ceremony so one wonders what the hold-up was there.  Is it a case where he's just not compelling in "the Leo Show?"  He might also be too pretty for Oscar (they like to make the sexy guys wait until the wrinkles come).

2. Joan Allen (Room)

For Her: On-paper, almost everything.  If I was looking at the recipe above, I'd need someone headlining a likely Best Picture nominee (check), someone in a supporting role when everyone is gushing about a lead performance (check and check), and someone whom the Academy has shown a fondness for before but hasn't really been nominated in a little while (and three times-nominated check).  Allen is the sort of performer like Tommy Lee Jones or William Hurt whom the Academy might just want to say "we remember you!" to and her role in Room, while not particularly meaty, isn't without its big moments, and seems more Oscar-friendly than Globes or SAG Awards.
Against Her: It's not a particularly meaty role.  That hasn't stopped people in the past (hello, Jacki Weaver), but with so many lead performers making a play for this category it's difficult to tell whether or not there will be a room for a performance the size of Allen's against the likes of Mara and Vikander.

1. Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)

For Her: She's an acting god who did score a few critical citations so far, and it's worth noting scored a BFCA nomination when Theron was clearly the sixth place finisher in that list.  45 Years has gotten rave reviews, and screeners are a pretty good answer to people saying she won't make it because the film is small (which becomes less of an argument as years go by and the Academy doesn't reflect the Box Office like it used to do).  Rampling feels like she should get a nomination at least once in her career-this could be the moment.
Against Her: She's the exact opposite of Allen in predictive ways, though, and a nomination would be kind of unprecedented in recent memory as she's not in a film that will be nominated somewhere else, she's not a former nominee or winner, and no one thinks of this as a Best Picture contender.  Even Marion Cotillard, who seems most indicative for Rampling, was an Oscar winner when she came out of the blue for Two Days, One Night last year.  Still, records break every year, and I think Rampling is probably the one to do it in 2015.

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