70th Academy Awards (1997): The Hopefuls






L.A. Confidential
As Good As It Gets
Good Will Hunting
Boogie Nights
The Fifth Element
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Wag the Dog
Jackie Brown
Men in Black
The Apostle
The Wings of the Dove

Boogie Nights
As Good As It Gets
Good Will Hunting
L.A. Confidential
Ma Vie en Rose
Mrs. Brown
The Fifth Element
Ulee’s Gold

Winner Prediction (c-First Chart Placement, n-Nom Pred Date Set, o-Win Pred Date Set) — Chance at Nomination —
Nominee Prediction (c-First Chart Placement, n-Nom Pred Date Set) — Chance at Nomination —
Alternate Prediction (c-First Chart Placement) — Chance at Nomination —

Sure Thing: It would be a major shock if these selections weren’t nominated. The buzz would be deafening.
Safe Bets: These are selections that I think are pretty certain, but I cannot quite declare them as guarantees.
Possibility: These are the achievements that I think are fighting for the slots not taken up by the others above. None of these selections are safe and could be bumped off by any other title with the “Distant” description.
Distant: These are outside contenders that have been in the conversation, but whose prospects have dimmed over time. They remain on the list because sometimes the Academy does some strange stuff.

Best Picture

  • Titanic (c-6/5, n-10/11, o-12/19) — Sure Thing —
  • L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Sure Thing —
  • As Good As It Gets (c-12/10, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Good Will Hunting (c-12/10, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Amistad (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • The Sweet Hereafter (c-12/28) — Possibility —
  • Wag the Dog (c-1/28) — Possibility —
  • The Full Monty (c-1/27) — Possibility —
  • Contact (c-7/11) — Possibility —
  • The Ice Storm (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Jackie Brown (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Boogie Nights (c-10/21) — Distant —
  • Kundun (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • The Wings of the Dove (c-9/23) — Distant —

L.A. Confidential and Titanic appear to be locks for nominations. As Good As It Gets is as good as locked leaving Good Will Hunting and Amistad. Good Will Hunting has Miramax pushing it and with Miramax’s success in getting picture nominations, Good Will Hunting appears to be heading to a nod.

What about Amistad? Amistad is not a critical favorite, but has a certain popular appeal to it. The Academy has been criticized in the past for not honoring Spielberg, this is their best chance to change that. What would take Amistad’s spot if it lost the nomination? Most likely the slot would go to The Sweet Hereafter, but the film hasn’t been heard from much other than a mention from critics, it doesn’t appear to have the momentum it would need for a nomination.

The Ice Storm was acclaimed, but came out too long ago and has been virtually forgotten. Contact has also been forgotten, being a summer release. Boogie Nights is too controversial, despite major critical support and Wag the Dog is another comedy; with As Good As It Gets getting a nomination, another comedy would be unlikely. This also prevents The Full Monty from being a dark horse candidate, even though it is still in the running for the slot along with Wings of the Dove.

Best Director

  • James Cameron – Titanic (c-6/5, n-10/11, o-12/19) — Sure Thing —
  • Curtis Hanson – L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Sure Thing —
  • James L. Brooks – As Good As It Gets (c-12/10, n-12/10) — Safe Bets —
  • Steven Spielberg – Amistad (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • Gus Van Sant – Good Will Hunting (c-12/10, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Atom Egoyan – The Sweet Hereafter (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Barry Levinson – Wag the Dog (c-1/28) — Possibility —
  • Jim Sheridan – The Boxer (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Paul Thomas Anderson – Boogie Nights (c-10/21) — Possibility —
  • Ang Lee – The Ice Storm (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Woody Allen – Deconstructing Harry (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Alan Rickman – The Winter Guest (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Martin Scorsese – Kundun (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Quentin Tarantino – Jackie Brown (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Robert Zemeckis – Contact (c-7/11) — Distant —

For the first time in 16 years, we could see a 100% alignment between Best Picture and Best Director. Cameron and Hanson are both guaranteed nominees. Brooks and Spielberg are heavily likely with Spielberg a contender for the reasons of past snubs. Gus Van Sant is the weak link.Not a majorly popular director with Hollywood, but Good Will Hunting is in a major push by Miramax, this will likely cement Van Sant’s nomination.

If he can’t get the nomination, he will be replaced by Atom Egoyan, another Hollywood outsider. His film Sweet Hereafter won’t be good enough for director, but they may feel bad and give him the nomination here. Barry Levinson could also face this predicament. Wag the Dog isn’t going to get a picture nomination, but he could take the fifth slot if the Academy doesn’t align Picture and Director.

Jim Sheridan, Paul Thomas Anderson and Ang Lee appear to be stronger contenders. Sheridan because of his Golden Globe nomination. Anderson could get the nod in a People vs. Larry Flynt nomination (too controversial, but we’ll nominate you anyway, just not in Picture). Ang Lee is a contender because of his snub for Sense and Sensibility. They could feel sorry for not nominating a Picture nominee two years ago.

Best Actor

  • Peter Fonda – Ulee’s Gold (c-8/19, n-8/19, o-9/23) — Sure Thing —
  • Jack Nicholson – As Good As It Gets (c-12/10, n-12/10) — Sure Thing —
  • Matt Damon – Good Will Hunting (c-12/10, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Robert Duvall – The Apostle (c-12/14, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Dustin Hoffman – Wag the Dog (c-12/10, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Ian Holm – The Sweet Hereafter (c-12/28) — Possibility —
  • Djimon Hounsou – Amistad (c-12/18) — Possibility —
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Titanic (c-12/18) — Possibility —
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – The Boxer (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Mark Wahlberg – Boogie Nights (c-10/21) — Possibility —
  • Guy Pearce – L.A. Confidential (c-11/1) — Possibility —
  • Russell Crowe – L.A. Confidential (c-11/1) — Distant —
  • Aaron Eckhart – In the Company of Men (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Ralph Fiennes – Oscar & Lucinda (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Kevin Kline – The Ice Storm (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Kevin Kline – In & Out (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Al Pacino – Devil’s Advocate (c-9/23) — Distant —

Fonda and Nicholson hold nomination locks, Nicholson will receive his 11th career nomination, making him the most nominated actor in Oscar history and one behind Katharine Hepburn for the title of most acting nominations. Damon and Duvall appear to be very close to nominations, but aren’t as strong as Fonda and Nicholson.

The remaining slot is the biggest toss-up in recent memory. Hoffman appears to be the early favorite with Ian Holm, Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel-Day Lewis in the near running. Of those,only Holm and Hounsou appear to be good shots at the remaining slot. Holm because of the weak reception for Sweet Hereafter, they’ll feel the need to honor it somehow. Hounsou to keep the Academy from appearing anti-black. This could be one of two categories that goes for one black nomination, but Hoffman is a Hollywood actor and has been around for quite sometime. He maintains the sentimental favorite slot.

DiCaprio will receive the nomination if the Academy decides to press past its record-setting of 15 nominations to Titanic, but most likely it will have to remain 15 as this category is too heavily contested to generate much more than that. Daniel Day-Lewis has been nominated twice before for Jim Sheridan films, the Academy may be tired of the combination, which may explain why The Boxer will be virtually ignored when nominations are announced.

Best Actress

  • Judi Dench – Mrs. Brown (c-8/19, n-8/19, o-1/6) — Sure Thing —
  • Helena Bonham Carter – The Wings of the Dove (c-9/23, n-11/4) — Sure Thing —
  • Helen Hunt – As Good As It Gets (c-9/23, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Kate Winslet – Titanic (c-12/18, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Pam Grier – Jackie Brown (c-12/10, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Julie Christie – Afterglow (c-1/27) — Possibility —
  • Jodie Foster – Contact (c-7/11) — Possibility —
  • Joan Allen – The Ice Storm (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Victoire Thivisol – Ponette (c-10/11) — Possibility —
  • Robin Wright Penn – She’s So Lovely (c-1/27) — Possibility —
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh – Washington Squaer (c-10/11) — Distant —
  • Julia Roberts – My Best Friend’s Wedding (c-8/19) — Distant —
  • Emma Thompson – The Winter Guest (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Emily Watson – The Boxer (c-9/23) — Distant —

Dame Judi Dench won the Golden Globe and Helena Bonham Carter carried a majority of the critics awards, this makes them nominations locks. One of the remaining slots will be filled by Helen Hunt, also a Golden Globe nominee.

The remaining two slots are not guaranteed, but one of them appears to be a pretty good guess. Kate Winslet will be the nomination that propels Titanic to a record 15 nominations. This leaves the final slot.As with the lead actor trophy, this position has many in contention.Pam Grier, Julie Christie, Jodie Foster and Joan Allen are the battlers here.

Grier will most likely get the slot and be the only African-American nominated at this year’s awards. If the Academy doesn’t honor African Americans or gives the token slot away in another category, Julie Christie will be the sentimental favorite to take the slot. Christie is a veteran actress and winner for 1965’s Darling, this makes her a prime candidate.

Jodie Foster is a darling and heavy favorite of the Academy, she rarely does wrong. Her performance could be good enough to get a nomination in the face of other vote splitting, she’s popular, but probably not popular enough to beat out a superb year in women’s roles. What about Joan Allen? If there’s a surprise groundswell for The Ice Storm, expect Joan Allen to carry a nomination, but this event seems more and more unlikely as the Pre-Oscar Awards continue to ignore it.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Burt Reynolds – Boogie Nights (c-10/21, n-9/23, o-1/6) — Sure Thing —
  • Anthony Hopkins – Amistad (c-12/18, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Greg Kinnear – As Good As It Gets (c-10/12, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting (c-12/10, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Rupert Everett – My Best Friend’s Wedding (c-8/19, n-8/19) — Safe Bets —
  • Kevin Spacey – L.A. Confidential (c-11/1) — Possibility —
  • Billy Connolly – Mrs. Brown (c-1/27) — Possibility —
  • Robert Forster – Jackie Brown (c-1/6) — Possibility —
  • Samuel L. Jackson – Jackie Brown (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Robert De Niro – Jackie Brown (c-10/12) — Possibility —
  • Ben Affleck – Good Will Hunting (c-12/10) — Distant —
  • James Cromwell – L.A. Confidential (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Danny DeVito – L.A. Confidential (c-9/23) — Distant —

Burt Reynolds’ win at the Golden Globes makes him the only lock for a nomination. However, the other four slots appear to be filled by the same people on almost everyone’s list. I’ve talked to many people and they all feel that Hopkins, Kinnear, Williams and Everett will be the nominees.

The only slot that’s even iffy is that of Rupert Everett’s. Once considered the favorite to win, many other performances appeared and his chances became more dim. Finally the Screen Actors Guild avoided giving him the nomination and therefore made his chances even worse.Instead, SAG looked to Billy Connolly from Mrs. Brown for a nomination,this was a major surprise as Kevin Spacey was also considered a likely candidate for that remaining slot and still is.

Robert Forster could be a sentimental favorite after his comeback in Jackie Brown. With so many good actors in L.A. Confidential, Spacey’s votes will likely be split up between himself, James Cromwell and Danny DeVito. I don’t anticipate his name being on the list, but surprise soften occur on Oscar Morning.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Julianne Moore – Boogie Nights (c-11/17, n-11/17, o-12/10) — Safe Bets —
  • Kim Basinger – L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Sure Thing —
  • Gloria Stuart – Titanic (c-11/4, n-11/4) — Safe Bets —
  • Minnie Driver – Good Will Hunting (c-1/27, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Joan Cusack – In & Out (c-12/18, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Sigourney Weaver – The Ice Storm (c-12/10) — Possibility —
  • Sarah Polley – The Sweet Hereafter (c-1/6) — Possibility —
  • Allison Elliot – The Wings of the Dove (c-1/27) — Possibility —
  • Kathy Bates – Titanic (c-11/4) — Possibility —
  • Anne Heche – Wag the Dog (c-12/10) — Possibility —
  • Christina Ricci – The Ice Storm (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Joan Allen – The Ice Storm (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Kirstie Alley – Deconstructing Harry (c-11/4) — Distant —
  • Judy Davis – Deconstructing Harry (c-10/11) — Distant —
  • Heather Graham – Boogie Nights (c-10/21) — Distant —
  • Phyllida Law – The Winter Guest (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Debbie Reynolds – In & Out (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Maggie Smith – Washington Square (c-10/11) — Distant —
  • Teresa Wright – The Rainmaker (c-9/23) — Distant —

As with Burt Reynolds, the Golden Globe brings the only lock in this category to Kim Basinger. Not to mention she’s the only major female character in the entire film. The remaining slots will be divided among Moore, Stuart, Driver, Cusack and Weaver. Of which Weaver is the odd man out. Julianne Moore has gotten heavy critical support as well astwo pre-Oscar trophies for her performance in Boogie Nights. Stuart is the sentimental favorite. Driver is part of the heavy push by Miramax for Good Will Hunting, which leaves Joan Cusack as the vulnerable candidate. She would have been a greater lock if she had secured a Screen Actors Guild nomination. Her pre-Oscar trophies might not mean as much as that snub by SAG.

That leaves Weaver a possible candidate and if the Academy goes for a Sweet Hereafter surprise, Sarah Polley could generate a nomination.That is if Allison Elliot doesn’t repeat her SAG nomination. Which could leave a heavily popular Titanic with two nomination, including Kathy Bates. This doesn’t seem as likely, however.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Good Will Hunting (c-12/10, n-12/10, o-12/10) — Sure Thing —
  • As Good As It Gets (c-9/23, n-12/10) — Sure Thing —
  • Boogie Nights (c-10/21, n-11/17) — Safe Bets —
  • Titanic (c-12/18, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • The Apostle (c-2/1, n-2/1) — Safe Bets —
  • The Full Monty (c-2/1) — Possibility —
  • Deconstructing Harry (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Chasing Amy (c-11/4) — Possibility —
  • Grosse Pointe Blank (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • In the Company of Men (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Amistad (c-1/6) — Distant —
  • The Myth of Fingerprints (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • Nil By Mouth (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • She’s So Lovely (c-6/5) — Distant —

Good Will Hunting and As Good As It Gets are as good as nominated. That leaves three slots likely to go to 2 WGA nominees and one to a Hollywood vet. Boogie Nights and Titanic are likely to get nomination.Their WGA nominations help tremendously and allow for their nomination.

The fifth slot, however, will likely be filled by Hollywood vet Robert Duvall. His first shot at writing and directing, Duvall is a heavy favorite of the Academy and will most likely carry off the nomination.The only screenplay with major upset ability is WGA nominee The Full Monty. While I don’t expect it to get a nomination, we’ve had more bizarre things happen in the past.

Deconstructing Harry could earn Woody Allen another nomination, as he is a writer’s favorite, Chasing Amy could bring Kevin Smith acknowledgement, but the film isn’t going to be remembered come Oscar Morning. Grosse Pointe Blank and In the Company of Men remain the only other contenders, both are unlikely, but were highly praised by critics.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23, o-12/14) — Sure Thing —
  • Wag the Dog (c-12/18, n-1/28) — Safe Bets —
  • The Ice Storm (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • The Sweet Hereafter (c-1/6, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • Jackie Brown (c-12/19, n-12/19) — Safe Bets —
  • The Wings of the Dove (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Donnie Brasco (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Contact (c-7/11) — Possibility —
  • Kundun (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Amistad (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Washington Square (c-10/11) — Distant —
  • Welcome to Sarajevo (c-9/23) — Distant —
  • The Winter Guest (c-9/23) — Distant —

L.A. Confidential remains the only guaranteed nomination. The film has won almost every major pre-Oscar critic award for Screenplay.

Two of the remaining slots will go to almost-locks Wag the Dog and The Ice Storm. Both are Picture wannabes and will get their deserved nominations here. What might stand in Wag the Dog’s way is the hoopla over Levinson and Mamet claiming it was original, but Henkin getting nominated with Mamet by the WGA who told Levinson and Mamet that it was adapted and that Henkin would receive credit.

The Sweet Hereafter and Jackie Brown failed to get WGA nominations and this could hurt both of their chances. However, Adapted Screenplay is not a very good category in respect to selecting WGA nominees. Last year’s Emma and Birdcage both got WGA nominations, but failed in Oscar attempts. I can see that happening again as the Academy may feel obliged to nominate picture-nomination-loser Sweet Hereafter and praise Tarantino for bringing a great character-driven piece to the screen and employing some of Hollywood’s brightest in the cast.

Who will get those two slots if one or both fail to get the nomination?The Wings of the Dove and Donnie Brasco both have WGA nominations and one or both could replace the last two for nominations. Contact and Kundun both have chances at being upset winners and Amistad is left in the cold. Amistad was thought to be Adapted, prompting a court case against the film. DreamWorks has been pushing the film for Original Screenplay and as with many confusing pushes, adapted/original votes will be cancelled and it will not get the nomination.

Best Original Song

  • My Heart Will Go On – Titanic (c-11/22, n-11/22, o-12/10) — Sure Thing —
  • Journey to the Past – Anastasia (c-12/18, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Once Upon a December – Anastasia (c-12/18, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Go the Distance – Hercules (c-7/11, n-7/11) — Safe Bets —
  • How Do I Live – Con Air (c-10/21, n-10/21) — Safe Bets —
  • Tomorrow Never Dies – Tomorrow Never Dies (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • A Song for Mama – Soul Food (c-12/28) — Possibility —
  • Surrender – Tomorrow Never Dies (c-1/28) — Possibility —
  • Little Light of Love – The Fifth Element (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • The Gospel Truth – Hercules (c-7/11) — Possibility —
  • At the Beginning – Anastasia (c-11/4) — Distant —
  • Gotham City – Batman & Robin (c-11/4) — Distant —
  • I Won’t Say (I’m in Love) – Hercules (c-11/4) — Distant —
  • Men in Black – Men in Black (c-11/4) -Ineligible-

My Heart Will Go On is one of many locks for nomination Titanic has. No other song appears to have as much momentum. The closest to nomination are Journey to the Past and Once Upon a December from Anastasia.Hercules could generate its once-annual nominee in Go the Distance and the remaining slot could go to GG-forgotten How Do I Live from Con Air.

How Do I Live is the major weak link here that could be replaced by Tomorrow Never Dies or Surrender from Tomorrow Never Dies, Little Light of Love from The Fifth Element or The Gospel Truth from Hercules.Hercules won’t get more than one nomination, Fifth Element has been forgotten and with two songs from Tomorrow Never Dies, Surrender the more James Bond-esque and Tomorrow Never Dies written by Sheryl Crow,could easily cancel each other out. Men in Black falls into the category of R&B, Dance and Rap. These are categories that year-to-year the Academy never recognizes. This year should be no exception.

Watch out for a possible surprise from Soul Food nominee A Song for Mama, but again, it’s R&B and could be left behind.

With little surprise, Men in Black was declared ineligible because it contained snippets of another song. Sorry Will.

Best Dramatic Score

  • Titanic (c-6/5, n-6/5, o-12/19) — Sure Thing —
  • L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Sure Thing —
  • Kundun (c-12/18, n-12/18) — Safe Bets —
  • Amistad (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • Contact (c-7/11, n-7/11) — Safe Bets —
  • Gattaca (c-2/1) — Possibility —
  • Good Will Hunting (c-12/10) — Possibility —
  • Boogie Nights (c-10/21) — Possibility —
  • Seven Years in Tibet (c-12/18) — Possibility —
  • The Fifth Element (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Washington Square (c-10/11) — Distant —

Titanic and L.A. Confidential are locks in this category. Kundun and Amistad are by respected composers and with their heavily-dramatic tones and subject matters, nominations should come easily.

Contact is a weak nominee. Alan Silvestri could be honored, but will have to fend off Michael Nyman for Gattaca, a Good Will Hunting juggernaut launching composer Danny Elfman or even Boogie Nights or also-John-Williams-scored Seven years in Tibet. If they decide The Fifth Element is a drama, then a nomination could be eminent in the wake of major vote cancelling.

Best Comedy/Musical Score

  • As Good As It Gets (c-12/10, n-10/12, o-1/6) — Sure Thing —
  • Anastasia (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Sure Thing —
  • Hercules (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • Wag the Dog (c-12/18, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Men in Black (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • The Full Monty (c-2/1) — Possibility —
  • In & Out (c-12/28) — Possibility —
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding (c-10/11) — Possibility —
  • Liar Liar (c-7/11) — Distant —

Anastasia and As Good As It Gets are heavy favorites with Hercules and Wag the Dog very likely.

The remaining slot could go to Danny Elfman for Men in Black, he’s been virtually ignored by the Academy and this could happen again. This would give The Full Monty a good shot at the nomination. In & Out and My Best Friend’s Wedding sit by with very little chance, but could be surprise nominees.

Best Editing

  • Titanic (c-6/5, n-10/11, o-12/19) — Sure Thing —
  • L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Sure Thing —
  • As Good As It Gets (c-12/10, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Amistad (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • Boogie Nights (c-10/21, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • Good Will Hunting (c-1/6) — Possibility —
  • Air Force One (c-2/9) — Possibility —
  • Contact (c-7/11) — Possibility —
  • Jackie Brown (c-12/14) — Possibility —
  • Kundun (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • The Sweet Hereafter (c-1/6) — Possibility —
  • The Ice Storm (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Washington Square (c-10/11) — Distant —

Film Editing is a category that often mirrors Best Picture and this year should be no different.

Titanic and L.A. Confidential are the only locks with As Good As It Gets a great bet. Boogie Nights and Amistad are weak links that could be replaced by Picture nominee Good Will Hunting or one of the Picture-wannabes Contact, Jackie Brown, Kundun or The Sweet Hereafter.Then there’s ACE nominee Air Force One with an outside shot at a nomination.

Best Cinematography

  • Titanic (c-6/5, n-6/5, o-12/19) — Sure Thing —
  • Kundun (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Sure Thing —
  • Amistad (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Safe Bets —
  • Contact (c-7/11, n-7/11) — Safe Bets —
  • Seven Years in Tibet (c-2/1) — Possibility —
  • The Boxer (c-2/5) — Possibility —
  • The Sweet Hereafter (c-2/1) — Possibility —
  • The Ice Storm (c-2/1) — Possibility —
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • The Fifth Element (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Paradise Road (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Washington Square (c-10/11) — Distant —

The American Society of Cinematographers surprised us nominating The Boxer, which will inevitably be lost in the fold.

Titanic and Kundun remain the only locks with L.A. Confidential a near-lock. Amistad is a heavy favorite and the remaining slot goes to the general weak position, Contact. Seven Years in Tibet, The Boxer,The Sweet Hereafter, The Ice Storm and even The Lost World could fill the slot if Contact can’t take the nomination.

Best Art Direction

  • Titanic (c-6/5, n-6/5, o-6/5) — Sure Thing —
  • The Fifth Element (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Sure Thing —
  • L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Safe Bets —
  • Kundun (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Safe Bets —
  • Amistad (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • Mrs. Brown (c-8/19) — Possibility —
  • The Wings of the Dove (c-12/28) — Possibility —
  • Boogie Nights (c-10/21) — Possibility —
  • Seven Years in Tibet (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Batman & Robin (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Austin Powers (c-2/1) — Distant —
  • Washington Square (c-9/23) — Distant —

The only locks in both Art Direction and Costume Design belong to Titanic and The Fifth Element. Both are lavish, beautiful and expensive.

L.A. Confidential is a heavy favorite and Kundun is Martin Scorsese’s standard technical superiority. Amistad is the weak nominee in this category with Mrs. Brown, The Wings of the Dove, Boogie Nights, Seven Years in Tibet and the critically-panned Batman & Robin breathing down its neck.

Best Costume Design

  • Titanic (c-6/5, n-6/5, o-6/5) — Sure Thing —
  • The Fifth Element (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Sure Thing —
  • Boogie Nights (c-10/21, n-1/27) — Safe Bets —
  • L.A. Confidential (c-9/23, n-9/23) — Safe Bets —
  • The Wings of the Dove (c-12/28, n-1/6) — Safe Bets —
  • Kundun (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Amistad (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Seven Years in Tibet (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Gattaca (c-2/1) — Possibility —
  • Austin Powers (c-1/28) — Distant —
  • Batman & Robin (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Washington Square (c-9/23) — Distant —

As mentioned above, Costume Design has Titanic and The Fifth Element as the major contenders. Boogie Nights and L.A. Confidential appear to be near-guarantees leaving a still strong Wings of the Dove as the low man on the nomination list. If Wings loses, it will be to either Kundun, Amistad, Mrs. Brown, Seven Years in Tibet or dark horse Gattaca.

Best Makeup

  • The Fifth Element (c-6/5, n-6/5, o-9/23) — Sure Thing —
  • Men in Black (c-12/28, n-12/28) — Sure Thing —
  • Titanic (c-12/19, n-12/19) — Safe Bets —
  • Mimic (c-1/6) — Possibility —
  • Spawn (c-12/28) — Possibility —
  • An American Werewolf in Paris (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Wishmaster (c-9/23) — Possibility —
  • Alien: Resurrection (c-12/28) — Distant —
  • Starship Troopers (c-6/5) — Distant —

The Fifth Element will likely carry away the award for makeup with Menin Black as a distant second. Titanic sits in the weak spot, but will require this category to set the nominations record. Mimic and Spawn are the only other contenders and with so little special about them,they remain extremely distant.

Best Sound Mixing

  • Titanic (c-11/4, n-10/12, o-12/19) — Sure Thing —
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Sure Thing —
  • Contact (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • Starship Troopers (c-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • The Fifth Element (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • L.A. Confidential (c-1/28, n-2/9) — Possibility —
  • Air Force One (c-11/4) — Possibility —
  • Con Air (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Tomorrow Never Dies (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Volcano (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Dante’s Peak (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Hercules (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Men in Black (c-6/5) — Distant —
  • Spawn (c-8/19) — Distant —

Sound is a pickle, The English Patient managed to win this category last year surprising many. Picture nominees are finding themselves nominated here more often.

Titanic is a lock as is The Lost World. With the original Jurassic Parka winner in the three bottom tech categories, the sequel is an extremely good bet. Contact appears to be a lock and both Starship Troopers and The Fifth Element are extremely weak.

L.A. Confidential stands a good chance at a nomination, as do Air Force One and Con Air.

Best Sound Editing

  • Titanic (c-12/19, n-12/19, o-12/19) — Sure Thing —
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Sure Thing —
  • The Fifth Element (c-6/5, n-1/13) — Safe Bets —
  • L.A. Confidential (c-1/13) — Possibility —
  • Face/Off (c-1/13) — Possibility —
  • Air Force One (c-1/13) — Distant —
  • Con Air (c-6/5) — Distant —

These are the Official Selections for the Sound Effects Category.

These are the 7 official finalists from the offices of the Academy. How interesting that one of my pics was left off, Contact. It’s very surprising to me. Especially when something like L.A. Confidential gets a nomination. That’s just sad.

With a maximum of seven films to choose from, this category, along with Visual Effects are much easier to predict.

Titanic and The Lost World seemed destined for nominations. The last slot should easily go to the technically superior Fifth Element. L.A.Confidential and Face/Off could sneak in, but I don’t know if the Sound Editors will be all that willing.

Best Visual Effects

  • Titanic (c-11/4, n-11/14, o-12/19) — Sure Thing —
  • Contact (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (c-6/5, n-6/5) — Safe Bets —
  • Starship Troopers (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • The Fifth Element (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Men in Black (c-6/5) — Possibility —
  • Batman & Robin (c-1/13) — Distant —

These are the Official Selections for the Visual Effects Category.

These are the 7 official finalists from the offices of the Academy. Well, I got 6 of the 7, except for Batman & Robin

Titanic appears to be the only guaranteed nominee with the other films duking it out for the remaining slot.

Contact had brilliant effects and The Lost World pushed beyond the original to generate even more believable effects with the humans interacting with the Dinosaurs, as opposed to in the original film where they were more of a background nature.

Starship Troopers used computer effects heavily and may seem to computer-looking and crisp for a nomination. The Fifth Element used some brilliant effects to create the city of New York and is the dark horse nominee. Leaving Men in Black as a mediocre, standard set of Visual Effects. This is also true about Batman & Robin.

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Belgium – Ma Vie en Rose (c-11/26, n-11/26, o-1/27) — Sure Thing —
  • Italy – The Best Man (c-11/26, n-12/19) — Safe Bets —
  • Russia – The Thief (c-11/26, n-12/19) — Safe Bets —
  • Japan – Princess Mononoke (c-11/26, n-11/26) — Safe Bets —
  • Iran – Gabbeh (c-11/26, n-11/26) — Safe Bets —
  • Canada – Cosmos (c-11/26) — Possibility —
  • France – Western (c-11/26) — Possibility —
  • Mexico – Deep Crimson (c-11/26) — Possibility —
  • Czech Republic – A Forgotten Light (c-11/26) — Possibility —
  • Switzerland – For Ever Mozart (c-11/26) — Possibility —
  • Brazil – Four Days in September (c-11/26) — Possibility —
  • Croatia – The Little Shoemaker (c-11/26) — Distant —
  • Finland – The Collector (c-11/26) — Distant —
  • Norway – Junk Mail (c-11/26) — Distant —
  • Spain – Secrets of the Heart (c-11/26) — Distant —
  • Taiwan – Yours and Mind (c-11/26) — Distant —

These are some of the Official Selections for the Foreign Language Film Category.

This category is anybody’s guess. Belgium’s Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink), because of its Golden Globe win becomes the ONLY lock for a nomination in Foreign-Language film, whereas last year’s Kolya and Ridicule were both guaranteed.

The best bets for nomination are Italy’s The Best Man and Russia’s The Thief, both received GG nominations. That leaves two slots. The candidates for that slot include submissions from favorite countries and some with high profile critical support. The two most likely to fill the slot are Japan’s Princess Mononoke, a Japanese animation phenomenon and Iran’s Gabbeh because it’s name has been passed around since its US release.

The other contenders are Canada’s Cosmos. With so many directors,Cosmos appears to be a dark horse and unlikely at the same time, too many trophies means too much money to the Academy. France, the most nominated country in Oscar history could use its power to get Western nominated, but since Ponette was not submitted as the choice from France, the Academy could rebel. Other possibilities are Mexico’s Deep Crimson, Czech Republic’s A Forgotten Light, For Ever Mozart from Swizterland and Four Days in September from Brazil.


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  1. But i’m curious, does that book do what you do your hopefuls forums do? And are they speculated in every category? If yes, i’m buying that book.

  2. I like these predictions. Your judgment seems pretty accurate with the actual awards. Question, have you thought about adding a few more hopeful nominations?

    I mean those from 1996 to 1987? I’m just curious is all. Sorry if i’m putting too much on your plate, I just want to know what you would’ve wanted to see get nominated.

    1. I appreciate the complement. My site started in 1996 and my first real-time hopefuls started in 1997. That’s why there isn’t anything prior to that. These hopefuls lists were produced way back then. If you want to know more about what was in contention, I would recommend Damien Bona and Mason Wiley’s book “Inside Oscar,” which contains a lot of nuggets of wisdom from the beginning of Oscar history.

      1. Anytime. But regarding the book, is it mostly similar to what you do for these pages? Like give out your ideal top 5?

        1. Not quite. They went a lot more into the backroom elements of the show. They have a section on eligible song nominees that weren’t nominated and have lists of nominations, but there wasn’t a lot of personal predictions infused into their writing.

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