Oscars 2017 predictions from a year ago got it laughably wrong

Mike P Williams
·Contributor

Oscars season is that time where Hollywood excessively glams up and describes to eager media types who they’re wearing and why.

Credit: Columbia Pictures
Credit: Columbia Pictures

It’s also about winning golden statues, too. But once the dust settles on the films that either sweep up or are cruelly snubbed, we’re instantly bombarded with articles predicting next year’s winner, which, as you may agree, is mildly insane.

Not only is it near impossible to know what’s going to do well in 12 months’ time; we’ve no idea what surprise films will emerge or gems get discovered as the year develops. But that didn’t stop plenty of big movie sites, including us, from making wild prediction about who will win in January of 2016.

And, as you’ll see, the tipped movies and actors are, in many cases, hilariously off.

Acting

This is the category that had some crazy early entries purely based on previous work and popularity.

‘Passengers’ seemed a popular choice amongst writers, with What Culture ominously saying, “There’s sure to be plenty of room for two fantastic lead performances,” when referring to awards season and people of the moment Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Only, that wasn’t to be, after scathing reviews across the board and awful word of mouth.

Cinema Blend were also keen to big Lawrence up, but they did make a note of Meryl Streep who, if history tells us anything, was an inevitable nomination for ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’.

However, and as many outlets also incorrectly backed, CB had high hopes for ‘The Birth of A Nation‘. Nate Parker was touted as one of the “first year nominees, with a special focus being put on Parker, all thanks to the impressive showing of ‘The Birth of A Nation’ at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.”

Since the controversy of a past rape allegation (where the victim killed themselves) emerged, it was the beginning of the end for the actor/director’s Oscars-tipped film about slavery.

Supporting Actor

The most eyebrow-raising, if not totally bonkers suggestion also came from CB, who touted Jared Leto’s portrayal of The Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’ as one-to-watch. They said that “his Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’ seems like a perfect candidate.” Unfortunately it wasn’t, mainly because Leto barely featured and, let’s be honest, the film was a bit of an ungodly mess. Even director David Ayer said so on reflection, despite the film still grossing a hefty sum.

Jared Leto as the Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’ Credit: Warner Bros.
Jared Leto as the Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’ Credit: Warner Bros.

Directing

Again, Nate Parker was lined up as the success story of 2017, and in truth no one could have predicted how he and his film would fall into obscurity and be completely shunned. CB had ideas on Parker and ‘Snowden’ lead Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but neither of them won the acclaim many predicted.

On reflection it’s probably one of the most daring of films to back, but What Culture did precisely that for Duncan Jones’ ‘Warcraft’. “Jones’ talent and passion for the source material will enable him to pull all of these constitute pieces together to create a masterpiece, and it’s his directing that will be rewarded.” A masterpiece, as many, many people would agree, it was not. In fact, it was a flop in most English-speaking countries; with its success in China preventing it from completely bombing at the box office.

Best Picture

There are plenty of bonkers choices here, including CB’s thoughts that ‘Deepwater Horizon’, ‘Passengers’, and ‘Snowden’ would feature in the Best Picture running.

What Culture backed the ‘safe’ bet of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ yet it’s barely scraped a nom. But it seemed totally plausible that a “po-faced historical drama dealing with religious persecution is practically a shoo-in”, especially with Marty helming.

Yahoo Movies UK also gave the whole prediction game a go. “Given the #OscarsSoWhite race controversy which engulfed this year’s show, ‘The Birth Of A Nation’ seems primed to tackle that issue head on when awards season kicks into gear later this year.” How wrong we were. We also tipped ‘The Circle’ which, as you’ll no doubt be aware, isn’t even out until March.

Credit: Cappa Defina Productions
Credit: Cappa Defina Productions

Timeout also thought ‘Silence’, as do many others did, would thrive. They’re perhaps guilty of the most haunting sentence their writer probably rather jovially typed out: “Its themes of religious extremism and acceptance could prove to be particularly timely (hopefully in the wake of Donald Trump failing to win the US Presidency).” We shan’t comment on the last part of that sentence, but you get the just of its regrettable whimsy.

While The Hollywood Reporter accurately said ‘Lion’ and ‘Manchester By the Sea’ would compete, they also reckoned ‘Passengers’ would too.

The obvious pattern we can pick up on from the above guesses is that they are just that – complete stabs in the dark that and, in the cases of many, now feel laughable with hindsight of how badly some of the films turned out.

Interestingly, a lot of hype seemed to be around ‘Passengers’. Admittedly, there was reason for excitement: a sci-fi, space-set thriller starring arguably the most bankable names in Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Yet no one could have predicted how critics would slam its illogical story and poor acting, which unfortunately turned a lot of people off.

No one in any of these predictions mention ‘Moonlight’ though, which is a fascinating talking point but largely because there was barely any talk of it at the time. It’s now in the spotlight for Mahreshala Ali and Naomie Harris performances which earned both supporting nods, as well as Picture and Directing inclusions. Similarly, ‘Hacksaw Ridge’, which is up for six awards, doesn’t get a word in either, but it’s up for Best Picture, Director, and Actor in Andrew Garfield.

Other big omissions so early on were Ruth Negga for ‘Loving‘, Denzel Washington in ‘Fences’, Dev Patel for ‘Lion’, and Octavia Spencer’s ‘Hidden Figures’ role.

Credit: Black Label Media
Credit: Black Label Media

However, there was absolutely zero hype for ‘La La Land’ this time last year, which seems kind of surprising as it’s now all anyone seems to be talking about. If that doesn’t walk away with at least a handful of Oscars, it’ll be a shock that’s for sure.