News Flash: Oscar Race Wide Open! | EW.com

Movies | Oscars 2017

News Flash: Oscar Race Wide Open!

The big Hollywood EXTRA! EXTRA! that came over the wires yesterday afternoon? An Associated Press article saying that there still are few clear Oscar favorites this year. Which made me think three things:

  1. Well, duh!
  2. Is that really true?
  3. Heck, that’s a good thing.

Sure, you can’t blame the editors over at the AP for reporting on the anticipation currently sweeping through Los Angeles for next Tuesday’s nominations announcement. But, well, let’s just talk it through.

  1. Indeed, there is no Titanic or Return of the King that everybody just knows will sweep all the prizes. Dreamgirls is probably the closest to a sure thing this year, but its suddenly slowing box office returns are troubling. And The Departed had seemed to be chugging along until Babel’s Golden Globe victory possibly derailed its chances. Much of the rest of the picture is, as the AP wrote, “muddy.”
  2. Actually, it would be a Crash-wins-Best-Picture-esque shocker if folks like Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy and Martin Scorsese aren’t nominated. In fact, the races for acting and directing seem to be pretty set; my smart money is already riding on Mirren, Whitaker, Hudson, Murphy, and Scorsese winning it all. Best Picture may be a tad up in the air (really, though, it’s about which of seven or so movies will fill the five slots), but, otherwise, where’s the big mystery?
  3. We’ve got a good-old-knock-down-drag-out race on our hands! Say it with me: Hallelujah! Wouldn’t we all rather go into next Tuesday’s nominations and the Feb. 25 Academy Awards show unsure of the outcome? Doesn’t a little cold cocking a la Fernando Meirelles’ out-of-nowhere 2003 Best Director nod or last year’s upset of Brokeback Mountain make the Oscars – something that people are always complaining has grown terribly stale – fresh and exciting? This is what makes it all so fun, people!

That’s just my three cents. What say you? Any surprises we should be looking out for? What omission would most upset you? For who or what are you still clutching that last, tiny shred of hope?