The season is changing from summer to fall, and for moviegoers, that means one thing: Oscar season is coming. This summer has been a particularly dreadful one for blockbusters, so cinephiles everywhere should be delighted for the transition into this year's promising slate of dramatic features.
While this year has been severely disappointing, there have still been quite a few incredible films, and even some that will be worthy of Oscar consideration at the end of the year.
So, here's my list of six films and their relevant categories that may be possibilities for the Oscars:
6. Hail, Caesar! — Alden Ehrenreich, Supporting Actor
At the start of 2016, Hail, Caesar! was one of the most anticipated films of the year. I mean, what film buff doesn't get excited for a movie directed by the Coen Brothers? Unfortunately, when the film was actually released it didn't receive the sort enthusiasm that many critics expected. Hail, Caesar! wasn't a bad movie, but it was a disappointment by Coen Brothers standards.
While much of the film was underwhelming, the performance of Alden Ehrenreich fell on the opposite end of the spectrum. In a cast filled with A-listers such as Scarlett Johansson, George Clooney, and Channing Tatum, Ehrenreich stole the show. His turn as actor Hobie Doyle was the most charming and hilarious part of an otherwise uneven film. If you haven't seen the movie yet, this clip alone might be enough to convince you that Ehrenreich's performance is worthy of award consideration. He matched up against star after star, and the young actor still managed to be the one that people talked about as they were walking out of the theater.
5. Zootopia — Animated Feature
Disney has absolutely dominated the box office this year, releasing each of the top-four highest grossing films of 2016, including the animated feature, Zootopia. In years past, Pixar has always seemed to dominate the animated feature film landscape, but it seems that the highest competition is now coming from within Pixar's own parent company.
Many people might be expecting Finding Dory to run away with the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but Zootopia might actually be the superior movie. Zootopia has themes that are more convincingly conveyed to its viewers, and Zootopia simply seems to be having more fun the whole way through. This isn't to say that Finding Dory is a bad film, Zootopia is simply better.
4. 10 Cloverfield Lane — Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Leading Actress
When 10 Cloverfield Lane came out back in March, John Goodman was the talk of the town for his acting prowess in the film, but the more I watch the movie, the more impressed I am by Winstead's performance. She does a ton of the heavy-lifting during the movie, especially in the opening scenes when she has to convey a ton of information about her character without being afforded any dialogue. Without her performance, the story easily could've lacked the extreme level of intensity that it had.
In a field that tends to be less crowded than the Leading Actor category (it's hard to make a competitive category when most award season movies don't feature female leads), Winstead's performance stands out as one of the best of the year. She's had a breakout 2016 thanks to her roles in 10 Cloverfield Lane, Swiss Army Man, and BrainDead and an Oscar nomination would be a nice way to cap off her year
3. Midnight Special — Michael Shannon, Leading Actor
In case you haven't heard, Michael Shannon is one of the greatest actors of his generation. Shannon has already garnered an Academy Award nomination for his work as a supporting character in 2008's Revolutionary Road, but it's about time that he started getting the recognition he deserves as a leading man.
Shannon plays Roy Tomlin in Midnight Special, a father who's doing everything that he can to get his super-powered son to safety, and as usual, Shannon's collaboration with director Jeff Nichols works wonders. Shannon's body language is the key to his character, and he nails it in a way that few else could. His performance is emotional and captivating, and he deserves a look in the leading man category for his presentation of Roy.
2. Captain Fantastic — Original Screenplay
Captain Fantastic, written and directed by Silicon Valley's Matt Ross, received only a limited release in the United States and it also stands as one of the most under-appreciated film's of the year. It's a movie that makes bold statements whenever it can, both through dialogue, and through character's actions, making it stand out as one of the most unique films of 2016.
The story revolves around a man who is raising his kids somewhere off in the forests of the northwest and their journey back into society after the death of the wife/mother. The philosophical discussions that the characters engage in can be trying at times, but they truly do make you think, even when you disagree with every word coming out of their mouths. The script is clever, original, and unlike any other story being told right now. That originality and intelligence are more than enough to merit being mentioned in the best original screenplay category.
1. Hell Or High Water — Cinematography
I've already talked fairly extensively about the cinematography of Hell or High Water, but I think it's worth bringing up again. Hell or High Water is one of the best movies of 2016 so far, and the cinematography is a huge reason why. Epic landscapes and carefully crafted interior shots pull you into that world, leaving you with a deeper understanding of the relevant subject matter. Conveying a message through cinematography is no easy task, but Giles Nuttgens does a beautiful job of it in Hell or High Water.
So, what movies have I missed? Are these selections going to be worthy of discussion come nomination time? Let us know what you think in the comments!