These are, right now, your 10 likely Best Picture contenders

I do believe that the nominees might also change based on the political climate around Oscar time, but as we stand these 10 seem to be the sure-fire contenders with the most buzz at the moment. Notice, four have yet to be seen, but that will change this week as Ang Lee's "Billy Lynn's Long Haltime Walk" will finally get its world premiere at the New York Film Festival.



Best Picture


(1) La La Land
People have really gone Ga Ga over La La. What more is there to say? Also, the fact that it's an actual great picture that merits all the buzz definitely helps its case. I am NOT a fan of the movie musicals we have gotten the last 20 or so years, but I do believe this is the best movie musical since "All That Jazz."

(2) Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk
The big day is this week, that's when Ang Lee's latest premieres at the New York Film Festival. Wouldn't it be tragic if it ends up being an average movie? All signs point to it being a groundbreaker. Some people have actually seen it and there really is nothing negative thus far that has come out about it. Plus, this is Ang Lee. 

(3) Manchester by The Sea
Ever since I saw this at Sundance I've been touting it as a contender. The reviews are unanimous and the buzz is deafening. Casey Affleck is also a likely Best Actor contender. This is a movie movie. No special effects, no showiness whatsoever. It's the perfect example of why we became film fans in the first place. 

(4) Fences
The teaser for this Denzel Washington movie landed last week with universal acclaim. I'm not entirely sold just yet. Washington as a director has been spotty at best, but, again, the #Oscarssowhite movement might push this one to a nomination. If it does end up with positive reviews then we might be talking about a possible winner. 

(5) Silence
I think we're all very happy this is actually coming out this year. It will be a hard sell, 3+ hours Japanese epic about the crusades, but since this is Marti Scorsese I presume it will get a nomination. A win is another story. The trailer has yet to be released, but it might tell us a lot about what to expect and its Oscar chances.

(6) Sully
The reviews are positive. Not all-out raves, but positive. Clint Eastwood is beloved in the industry. But most of all, it was number one at the box-office for three straight weeks. It struck a chord with mainstream audiences. This proves that they do, in fact, want a serious adult drama from time to time. Don't you just love fall movie season? 

(7) Lion
Struck a major chord with the Toronto crowd. I even tweeted after the world premiere, and the response it got from the crowd, that I believed it could win the People's Choice Award. It didn't, but it got a very admirable runner-up spot. It's the Weinstein Brothers doing what they do best and giving us a crowd-pleaser that will surely win many hearts and minds. I didn't care for it, but that doesn't matter.

(8) Loving
What #Oscarssowhite did last year was open up possibilities for a slew of African-American artists in the industry. Good thing that happened. This year we are seeing the effects of that movement. "Loving" is just that, a lovingly told true story that is simply told, but also avoids any of the cliches that come with such a movie. Jeff Nichols is also an up and coming artist that is only starting to get his engines rolling. Ruth Negga will get a Best Actress nomination for her incredible performance.

(9) Patriot's Day
The Boston Marathon bombings as directed by Peter Berg. Word of mouth says this is great, but we will have to wait and see what the critics say about it. There are no festival showings as we speak, but this is a hard movie to fuck up. The news that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will be scoring it brings additional street cred to the film. 

(10) Moonlight
Why is this #10? Because I have seen it and I know it is not the most accessible film. It's a great, artful, meditative film, but I don't know if it can cross the mainstream. At the very least I hope it gets a nomination because it is such a groundbreaker and director Barry Jenkins is an artist in the truest sense of the word. 

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