The Oscars are continuing to draw closer and, this week, it was the turn of the Directors’ Guild of America to hand out their awards, completing the trio of main predicting organisations. Elsewhere, the rankings were mostly steady from last week, with only one film taking a surprise step up the list.
Here’s the latest set of rankings…
1. La La Land (-)
Damien Chazelle helped to cement his film as the Best Picture frontrunner this week when he scooped the main prize at the Directors’ Guild of America Awards. The ceremony is seen by many as the most accurate predictor of the Best Picture Oscar, correctly honouring eight of the last ten winners.
With this latest success, La La Land seems to be close to a dead cert for Best Picture, having picked up two out of the three main precursor prizes, as well as a record number of Golden Globes. There is something of a backlash forming around the film given its awards season ubiquity, but that won’t stop it winning with ease. Full review.
2. Hidden Figures (-)
With its surprise SAG triumph, Hidden Figures remains a legitimate contender for Best Picture at the Oscars. It has a genuinely inspiring true story at its heart, top actors and it has the added bonus of being a major box office success. We’re still a few weeks away from the film’s British release, but it has become an Oscar hopeful that stands an outside chance.
Hidden Figures wasn’t even close to being part of the conversation until the SAG Awards, but it now looks like a big hopeful. If it can add a couple of extra victories at the Oscars, especially in the Best Supporting Actress category, then it stands a chance of emerging victorious. Release: Feb 17.
3. Manchester by the Sea (-)
There’s no doubt that Manchester by the Sea is one of the best films competing in the Oscars 2017 race for Best Picture and, if Casey Affleck can pull off his expected triumph in the Best Actor category, the film immediately becomes one of the top contenders to dethrone La La Land. Outside of that clear frontrunner, the chasing pack is pretty close.
Losing the SAG Best Actor gong to Denzel Washington in Fences was a huge knock for the film, but Affleck is still on course to emerge from Oscar night with the prize. If that happens, and if Lonergan can get past Chazelle in Best Original Screenplay, there’s still a chance for Best Picture. Full review.
4. Moonlight (-)
Once touted as the big opponent seeking to slay the behemoth of La La Land, some of the shine seems to have come off Moonlight as the race to the Oscars 2017 has continued. It missed out on the top SAG prize and, with the exception of Mahershala Ali’s supporting turn, it has failed to win the other prizes it needed to nab in order to keep the momentum moving forward.
There’s still a chance that Oscar voters plump for Moonlight, but the film certainly isn’t looking like the potential giant killer that it appeared to be just a few weeks ago. A good run in the UK could put it back in the minds of voters, but that doesn’t seem hugely likely at this stage. Release: Feb 17.
5. Fences (-)
Fences was one of the big SAG winners, scooping Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. The first of those categories was a big scalp for Denzel Washington and it is that victory that has moved the film into real contention, when it seemed like something of a stagey also-ran just a few weeks ago prior to its shocking showing at the SAGs.
There’s still very little chance that Fences ascends to mount a serious Best Picture challenge, but Viola Davis should win her category at Oscars 2017, which gives it something of a shot. Another nod, perhaps for Adapted Screenplay where Moonlight is its main competitor, could push the film over the line. Release: Feb 10.
6. Arrival (-)
Arrival is this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road at Oscars 2017 and could do very well in the technical categories that don’t necessarily seem to be flowing in the direction of La La Land‘s heaving trophy cabinet. It’s a blockbuster technological marvel, but combined with the brains and sophistication to wow serious-minded voters.
The lack of an acting nomination for Amy Adams seriously hurts the chances of Arrival, but Denis Villeneuve stands a decent chance at upsetting Chazelle in the Best Director category and, if that happens, there could be a surprising name in the golden envelope at the Dolby Theater – and that name could be Arrival. Full review.
7. Lion (up 1)
Lion nabbed itself a little extra awards momentum this week when its director, Garth Davis, picked up the award for the best debut film at the DGA Awards. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the film, which I found to be something of a disappointment, is now in the heart of the competition, but it does mean that it has a little more of a horse in the race.
Unfortunately for the film, though, it needs to pull off an acting upset. The film has another ace in the pack with DoP Grieg Fraser, who won the top gong at the American Society of Cinematographers Awards this week. If he can repeat that on Oscar night, Lion could become a contender. Full review.
8. Hacksaw Ridge (down 1)
Mel Gibson is a controversial name and that controversy is dominating any awards discussions surrounding the movie. Any chatter about whether Hacksaw Ridge should win Best Picture quickly becomes a discussion about Gibson making a comeback, or a rant about how he should not be allowed back at the summit of the Hollywood mountain.
Positive or negative though it is, that buzz is completely in the way of Hacksaw Ridge mounting any serious challenge at the Oscars 2017. It could pick up a technical award or two but, when it comes to the headline-grabbing gongs, this isn’t a film we are going to be hearing much about in terms of victory. In cinemas now.
9. Hell or High Water (-)
As good a film as it is, Hell or High Water absolutely has not been talked about since its name was announced as part of the Best Picture shortlist. David Mackenzie‘s film is the definition of also-ran in the awards race and the fact is that it simply came out too long ago to be fresh in voters’ minds as their favourite movie of the year.
It has been entirely absent from precursor awards and there doesn’t seem to be buzz behind it. If Jeff Bridges is able to pull off a major Supporting Actor shocker and Tye Sheridan’s script gets love from voters, there’s a chance. Otherwise, this isn’t a film that will get much Oscar rub. Full review.
What do you think of my Oscars 2017 rankings? Which film will emerge victorious with the Best Picture prize? Let me know in the comments section and come back next week for another set of power rankings.
Featured image by Isabelle Veronese.