We’re back with Part Deux of the list of potential Oscar contenders for next year. Remember: this list is only a prediction of who I see as the most likely of candidates to be pushing for Oscars come February 2017. So don’t get mad at me. Please.

And if you missed Part 1 CLICK HERE.

More Honorable Mentions:

The Founder

Starring: Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman

Directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side)

Michael Keaton playing the McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. He wants that Oscar. Badly.

Passengers

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne

Directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong. And Chris Pratt is in this too?! Morten Tyldum directing a Science Fiction picture? You already know I’m in.

La La Land

Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, JK Simmons

Directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in another film? Why aren’t they dating already? Director of Whiplash, Damien Chazelle is attached to make this love story. And it’s being released in Oscar season, December 16.

Here’s the second part of the list you all have been waiting for…

Collateral Beauty

Staring: Kate Winslet, Will Smith, Keira Knightley, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren

Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me)

Release Date: December 16, 2016

Synopsis: A tragic event sends a New York ad man on a downward spiral.

The cast in this film is stellar, with 16 Academy Award acting nominations between them. But, there are only two wins, which belong to Kate Winslet for Best Actress in The Reader and Helen Mirren for Best Actress in The Queen. So, I think it’s safe to say that there is a lot of potential for Oscar nominations for these actors from this film.

The director of this film, David Frankel, has not done any films that have received recognition from the Academy, but he has certainly delivered some crowd-pleasers. And, hey, if Adam McKay can get an Academy Award nomination, it’s safe to say that Frankel can grab one too.

The release of this film also screams “Oscar Contender” with a late year release. To go along with that, the film is circled around tragedy and a life spiraling out of control. What’s not to love?

Silence

Starring: Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield

Directed by Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, The Departed, Raging Bull)

Release Date: 2016

Based on the novel “Silence” by Shusaku Endo

Synopsis: In the 17th century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity.

This film has “Academy Awards” written all over it, although the combined number of Oscar nominations for these actors is only one (Liam Neeson – Best Supporting Actor – Schindler’s List). But, Andrew Garfield is bound to have a big 2016 with this film and Hacksaw Ridge (see Part I of this article), and Adam Driver is another actor to look out for now that he has broken into the film industry (Inside Llewyn Davis, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens) after his breakout role on the popular HBO show, Girls. The acting talent is there, there’s no arguing against that.

But on top of all that, this film is being directed by Martin Scorsese. Scorsese is a one of the most respected and influential director of the past 50 years, if not more. He has 8 Academy Award nominations for Best Director, and unfortunately only one win, for The Departed.

Throw this film into 17th century Japan about religious tensions between cultures, and you have yourself an Oscar contender. Check back with L2L later this year, and you should most likely find a Podcast on this film/novel.

Weightless

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Benicio Del Toro, Haley Bennett, Val Kilmer, Holly Hunter

Directed by Terrence Malik

Release Date: 2016

Synopsis: Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.

Did you read the cast listing? Do I really need to go over this with you?

Okay, fine. Let’s skip the cast for a second and just talk about Terrence Malik (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thine Red Line, Tree of Life). He’s considered an artist amongst film directors. His films are more than just pretty faces on a screen. They’re cerebral, they’re complicated, and they are not to be appreciated with a single viewing. With this cast, I really believe Mr. Malik will be able to do some wonderful things. And the fact that this is set against the music scene in Austin, TX keeps me intrigued.

Cast. Need I say more?

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nicholas Hoult, Natalie Portman

Directed by Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother, Tom at the Farm, Mommy, Laurence Anyways)

Release Date: 2016

Synopsis: An American movie star finds his correspondence with an 11-year-old actor exposed, prompting assumptions that begin to destroy his life and career.

Xavier Dolan may be the most sought-after young director in Hollywood, born 1989. The French-Canadian director has made quite the name for himself with four critically acclaimed films (listed above) by the time he was 25-years-old. Many working film directors don’t even that many critically acclaimed films over their entire careers. Now he’s getting his chance to work with actors who are internationally known, so it’s bound to be seen in numerous theaters across the United States, unlike his previous films which were not.

So, I know you all know about my love for Emily Blunt, but my love for Jessica Chastain is equal, if not more. She is, in my mind, one of the most talented actresses working in Hollywood today. If you don’t believe me, watch Zero Dark Thirty, A Most Violent Year, or The Help to see that she is no joke. She has one Best Actress nomination for Zero Dark Thirty and one Best Supporting Actress nomination for The Help. Along with Chastain comes Natalie Portman, who won Best Actress for Black Swan in 2010, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Closer all the way back in 2004. And then there’s Nicholas Hoult, who played a crazed lunatic war-slave in the film with the most Academy Awards from last month, Mad Max: Fury Road.

The synopsis of this film doesn’t necessarily grab my attention, but the people behind it sure do.

The Birth of a Nation

Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley

Directed by Nate Parker

Release Date: October 7, 2016

Synopsis: Nat Turner, a former slave in America, leads a liberation movement in 1831 to free African-Americans in Virginia that results in a violent retaliation from whites.

This is going to be the most interesting film of the lot this year. A lot of factors will come into play with this film. But firstly, let’s get into what we do know. The actors in this film are largely unknown, but familiar faces nonetheless. There is one Academy Award nomination between the top-billed actors in Jackie Earle Haley for Little Children. The actor/director, Nate Parker, is directing his first feature-length film, while he has two short films to his directing credit so far.

This film was released for viewing at the Sundance Film Festival back in earlier this year, and won two awards for the film fest including the Audience Award for a dramatic film and the Grand Jury Prize for a dramatic film. These are two of the bigger awards at this event. With these wins, the film created quite the buzz on the Internet as well, and already a great deal of accolades from critics.

Now, with all of this known, let’s get into the stuff we don’t know. This film seems to primed to have a very big impact come Oscar season, with the film industry and beyond. With that said, we all know what happened this past year at the Oscar with #OscarsSoWhite, and how much backlash there was on social media, activists and others standing up for the lack of racial diversity with the candidates for the big four acting categories. Do I think it’s possible that this film could win Best Picture in 2017, without all this going on? Yes. Do I think it’s more than likely the Academy will award this film Best Picture not only if it’s very good, but also for damage control? Yes. I don’t like it when the Academy does things like this, but I can also understand why. Certain films are more important and socially relevant than others during the time of their release. I believe this film will be very impactful, not just on the film society, but the American society in general.

If this film gets good reviews, and makes a large impact socially, I think it will be a lock for Best Picture. The Birth of a Nation is my front runner right now, and I can’t wait to see it.

Once again, thanks for reading!

Till next time.

L2L

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