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Mon. Feb 24th, 2020

2016 Oscar Predictions: BEST PICTURE – Spotlight, Bridge Rise; Steve Jobs’ Stock Plummets

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In the new set of Best Picture Oscar predictions from The Gold Rush Gang you’ll see some big changes and watch the race really start to take shape. Joy still holds onto #1 but finds its closest rival ever in Spotlight. The Open Road film continues to shine, rising three spots to its highest place so far, #2. It displaces Carol, which drops to #3. The Revenant holds strong at #4, but is that good enough?

Inside Out also holds onto its previous slot at #7 but some of us are starting to feel like the Pixar film just isn’t going to get the number of #1 votes it will need for a Best Picture nomination. Part of the problem may lie in the fact that, as I talked about on a recent Oscar Poker podcast with Sasha Stone and Jeff Wells, there are at least five films that are female-led (six really, if you count Mad Max: Fury Road…and we should) and in a boys club like AMPAS that could spell disaster for one or more of them. The only animated films to land a Best Picture nomination since the expanded field have been Up and Toy Story 3, both from Pixar and both with male leads and one, Up, featuring a lead that is basically the main demographic of the voting Academy; old, white and male. For what it’s worth both were also years of a field of a solid 10 nominees before changing to a fluid 5-10 possibles. Looking at the other female-led films in the race Joy and Carol seem to have the best chances of holding on through the season and securing a Best Picture slot. But what about Room? The film has been an explosively huge critical hit and star Brie Larson has been working every circuit possible. A24 is really going all out in what is their first real Oscar campaign and they’re doing a great job so far. The box office for the film over the last two weeks has been good but not great but understandable for a film with such dark subject matter. It could end up being a nice fall sleeper though and be carried through the season by critics and industry awards. Then there’s Brooklyn. The film is turning into Fox Searchlight‘s main (only?) Best Picture contender and after winning the top award for two years in a row, to struggle to even have a nomination here will feel like a pretty big failure. Still, the film is sitting pretty on Rotten Tomatoes at 100% with 23 reviews and its 1950’s nostalgia could prove a strong emotional pull to many voters.

Along with Room as a Best Picture newcomer this month we also have Paramount‘s The Big Short. The newly announced December release stars Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt and could be that ‘boys club’ movie that breaks up the glut of women’s films this year. That is, if AMPAS is actively searching for a male-dominated film to root for. They still have The Hateful Eight, Bridge of Spies, Spotlight, The Revenant and The Martian to round out their lists. Speaking of Bridge of Spies, the Spielberg film makes a huge jump back into the top 5 this month after two weeks of very solid box office and even though the reviews are respectable it will have a prestige factor that could prove undeniable.

But let’s talk about Steve Jobs. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Once a top contender here, the box office flop this weekend really torpedoed the film and it drops all the way down to #9 and barely even holds onto that; The Big Short is tied right there with it. Interestingly, despite being a well-reviewed film there is a lack of passion for it in the sense that Jobs as a character is so unlikeable that the shoe-horned father/daughter element of the film (which is heavily fictionalized) apparently wasn’t enough to bring in audiences. It’s as if Universal thought that every person that’s ever bought an iPhone would show up to the Church of Steve Jobs when in reality most people don’t care about or for him. Add to that the instant reactions from people when they found out Michael Fassbender was playing the tech icon (responses ranged from “who?” to “he doesn’t look anything like him”) and you have a recipe for a launch disaster. It was only made worse by two pieces from the biggest trades in the business, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, that are almost nothing short of hit pieces on the film. It’s pieces like those that can irreparably destroy a campaign. Right now, Kate Winslet and Aaron Sorkin should still be secure (especially Winslet, as she’s campaigning like crazy) but Michael Fassbender, notoriously an avid non-campaigner and currently away shooting Assassin’s Creed, hasn’t been at any events or festivals to promote the film and that puts him in a very precarious place. Especially in a category as fluid as Best Actor is right now.

Also suffering a big blow this month was Beasts of No Nation. While many of us had been pretty bullish on the film and its prospects, it was always going to depend on how its campaign and even its minimal box office panned out. Since Netflix won’t share its viewership numbers with the public there’s no way of knowing exactly how many people watched the film’s October 16th release but its theatrical box office was nothing to write home about. (UPDATE: In a surprising turn, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos has revealed that Beasts of No Nation has been seen by over 3 million viewers). Even with a solid 90% on Rotten Tomatoes can’t seem to save the film and right now only Idris Elba looks like he’ll survive the coming months. Former top 5 candidate The Danish Girl is barely holding on to even having a placement but is so far out of the top 10 now it seems all but impossible for it to climb back up. Add to that the disappointing box office and critical results for Focus Features’ other hopeful, Suffragette, and you have another studio without a player.

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Don’t forget, you can always get up to the minute Oscar predictions from the Gold Rush Gang on our 2016 Oscar Prediction Charts:

BEST DIRECTOR
BEST ACTOR
BEST ACTRESS
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

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