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The State of the Race: Circling Monsters, Looking for Redemption

There are still four movies pushing to the center of this year’s Oscar race. They can be divided into two distinct pairs – the epics and the character dramas. Three ...

The State of the Race: Hunting Down the Most Powerful Oscar Narrative

The current Oscar race seems very much like two races in one. Usually, there are two films that dominate and go head-to-head. This year, it feels like there are two ...

The State of the Race: A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

The time has come to humbly admit that some of us may have been wrong about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. First, by not seeing how fast it would overtake ...

The State of the Race: Inside the Doomsday Machine

“I think this was a nice idea we had in this country and a nice landscape to experiment with. But I think there comes a time in almost any experimentation ...

The State of the Race: Breaking the Story, Breaking the World

Telluride seems to be the premiere launching pad for the Oscar winning Best Picture.  With very little time for opinions to settle, the earlier films tend to be the ones ...



The WGA Awards are announcing now.

  • bullet points indicate the winners as they come in.

We’re predicting The Big Short and Spotlight to win here.  Anything else will be a big surprise in a season full of surprises. Stay tuned.



  • Spotlight, Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy; Open Road Film


  • The Big Short, Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay; Based on the Book by Michael Lewis; Paramount Pictures

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One of the reasons we keep returning to 1976 is that it’s supposedly the one year that many people in the Oscar game point to as one of the worst Best Picture wins in Academy history, when a scrappy little movie called Rocky bested films as impressive as All the President’s Men, Network, Taxi Driver, and Bound for Glory. The more I’ve learned about the Oscars in the years I’ve been covering them, the more I’ve understood why that Rocky win represents a valuable a lesson: it was an inclusive, not an exclusive win. In that the Oscars are better, I think, when they take into account the public at large and do not turn too much inward — as they did pointedly last year, with Birdman — thus very nearly exiling themselves onto Oscar Island. Movies are made for everyday people in the real world. The further the Oscars get away from that, I think, the more they lose their value in terms of defining a snapshot in time of our cinematic culture overall.

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You know it’s a crazy year when even the pundits can’t agree on which movie is going to win Best Picture. Usually by now we have a consensus. If there is any disagreement, usually it’s over one or two films, not three. My best argument for and against each of the three frontrunners winning.

As surprising as it all seems, if any of these three wins Best Picture, it won’t be that surprising. The Revenant? Not a surprise; it won the DGA. Spotlight? Not a surprise; it won the SAG Ensemble award. The Big Short? Not a surprise, it won the PGA. No one is really helping us out here — any kind of traditional stat hunt supports a win for The Big Short. Yet it seems to go against the grain of common sense and the winds of the moment. Here is a quick for and against:

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Deniz Gamze Erguven is one of only two female directors nominated for an Academy Award this year, the other is Liz Garbus for Whatever Happened, Miss Simone? Erguven’s film, Mustang, has received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Mustang almost didn’t happen after producers dropped out right before filming. However, Charles Gillibert stepped in and the coming of age film was made. I had a brief chat with Erguven about her Mustang journey and what it’s like to be a filmmaker in France.
Awards Daily: Congratulations on being nominated for Mustang, but the film almost didn’t happen — and now here you are.

Deniz Gamze Erguven: We went from a low to a high.

AD: On that high, how is the experience for you.

DGE: It’s a responsibility. The Foreign Language Oscar goes to a country, and you’ve been chosen by France where I feel like the adopted child. It means a lot to me. I want to be worthy of the trust we’ve been given. So there’s this emotional responsibility. When the nominations came out for me, the pressure was huge. I was relieved.

AD: How did Mustang happen?

DGE: It’s my second film project. I had worked long years on another film, and at the point when I started off I was hungry of everything, about working with actors and picking a film. I tried getting into production with a sense of urgency. Also the subject matter of the film was urgent. It was urgent in every possible way. It took longer than planned. I was hoping to shoot during the Summer of 2013. I had written it in Summer 2012, but the financing took longer than expected. We were ready to shoot by 2014. At that point the producer had completely dropped the film. We later found out it was under-financed and left for dead. We had three days to find another producer. I actually didn’t tell the girls about it.

I had also discovered I was pregnant the week before so it all felt dramatic at that point. Since then, it’s been one straight line. Aside from being postponed for four weeks, then it was a race. I wanted to finish before the baby came. I remember we didn’t even stop for Christmas. We were with the editor, alone in the office with piles of garbage. I was getting bigger and bigger. The baby was born, and we hadn’t finished, so I had my little koala sticking on me, and we went on in post production right until Cannes.

Mustang started running really fast once it was at Cannes. The French distributor released it early on, and we were doing a lot of press.

I was making jokes at the beginning of Cannes that we would show the film on Tuesday, do press on Wednesday, and be has-beens on Thursday. That Thursday never came, and we were doing endless press and it became bigger and we went from doing student magazines, the film was released and we did festivals, the film won lots of awards. Then it was released here and in Europe which meant more travel and more press right up to today, and here we are.

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Adapted by Emma Donoghue from her own novel, Room, Lenny Abrahamson’s claustrophobic but ultimately life-embracing film tells the story of a young woman held captive in a small shed for years and her son who was born there. For the first 5 years of his life, his entire world is defined by the boundaries of Room. Brie Larson’s strong performance has won her great reviews and Best Actress accolades at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, she is tipped to win Best Actress at the Oscars.

Room has been nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress. Re-visit our interviews with Brie Larson and Lenny Abrahamson, as well as Sasha’s piece on why we should start taking Room seriously as a potential Best Picture winner.


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Load More ...
Bob Burns
well, Spotlight is about a news story, and The Big Shor ...
I think Rocky was an excellent and important Best Pictu ...
Chus von Demuth
I still think it's a travesty, anyone would vote for Th ...
Are all romances the same? How about comedies? Dramas? ...
The Revenant is NOT Taxi Driver. Ugh. Wish I could wash ...

Contender Tracker


Best PictureNBR top ten/+winner*
NYFCC winner*
LAFC winner+
SAG nominee*
Globe winner+/nominee*
SEFCA winner+/topte*
Critics Choice nominee*
AFI Top Ten+
Ace Eddie noms*
Producers Guild winner+/noms*
ASC Nominations*
WGA win+/nominations*
USC Scripter*
BAFTA nom*
CAS nominee*
DGA win+/Nominees+

The Big Short****++++***
The Revenant+******+
Mad Max: Fury Road+***++****
The Martian*+**+*****
Room**** +
Bridge of Spies***+*****

Best ActoRLeonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant++**
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo**+**
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs+ ****
Matt Damon, The Martian+* **
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl ****

Best ActressBrie Larson, Room++++**
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn+****
Cate Blanchett, Carol****
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years+*+
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy+*

Supporting ActorSylvester Stallone, Creed++*
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies***+*
Christian Bale, The Big Short**
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight**
Tom Hardy, The Revenant*

Supporting ActresS
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl+*
Rooney Mara, Carol***
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs*+* *
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight+***
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight**

Alejandro Inarritu, The Revenant+**+
Adam McKay, The Big Short**
George Miller, Max Max: Fury Road+*+**
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight***
Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Original Screenplay
Spotlight, Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer+*+*++*
Straight Outta Compton, Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff*
Bridge of Spies, Charman, the Coens***
Inside Out, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Pete Docter**
Ex Machina, Alex Garland**

Adapted ScreenplayAdam McKay, The Big Short**+**
Cariol, Phyllis Nagy++**
Room, Emma Donoghue****
The Martian, Drew Godard+***
Brooklyn, Nick Hornby***

EditingThe Big Short+*+*
Mad Max: Fury Road*+*
The Revenant***
The Force Awakens*
Spotlight *

The Revenant***
Mad Max: Fury Road++***
Carol +*+* *
The Hateful Eight *

Production Design
Mad Max: Fury Road**
The Revenant *
The Martian**
The Danish Girl
Bridge of Spies*

Sound Mixing
The Revenant**
Mad Max: Fury Road**
The Martian*
Bridge of Spies**
Star Wars

Sound Editing
The Revenant
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Costume Design
The Danish Girl**
Mad Max: Fury Road**
The Revenant

Original Score
The Hateful Eight+*
Star Wars: The Force Awakens*
Bridge of Spies

Foreign Language Feature
Son of Saul+++
Mustang (France)**
Columbia (Embrace of the Serpent)
Theeb (Jordan)
Denmark (A War)

Documentary Feature
Cartel Land
What Happened, Miss Simone?
The Look of Silence
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Animated featureInside Out++++**+
Shaun the Sheep **
When Marine Was There
Boy and the World

Visual Effects
Mad Max: Fury Road**
Star Wars: The Force Awakens*
Ex Machina**
The Martian**
The Revenant*

The Revenant **
Mad Max: Fury Road **
The 100 Year-old-man

Til it Happens to you, The Hunting Ground (Lady Gaga)
Writings on the Wall, Spectre+
Earned it, 50 Shades
Manta Ray, Racing Extinction
Simple Song 3, Youth

Live Action ShortShok
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay
Ave Maria

Animated Short World of Tomorrow
Bear Story
Sanjay's Super Team
We Can't Live without Cosmos

Documentary ShortChau Beyond the Lines
Body Team 12
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
Last Day of Freedom
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

The Case For


If you think back over Oscar history and wonder why no films about journalists have ever won Best Picture, it suddenly becomes all too clear how much things have changed. ...

– Sometimes…it’s better for a man just to walk away. – But if you can’t walk away? – I guess that’s when it’s tough. ― Arthur Miller, Death of a ...


Beasts of no nation




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