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Awards Blend: Why Saoirse Ronan Was Dying To Show Us Brooklyn

Movies are made to be seen. That much is obvious. Sometimes, though, directors and actors have to wait an excruciatingly long time to show their movie to a willing audience – when can be incredibly painful when you know the movie you are sitting on is great.

John Crowley’s immigrant song, Brooklyn, played to raves at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Fox Searchlight bought the beautiful love story for $9 million, and started prepping it for a prestigious Awards run. Then? Nothing. Radio silence. So when I sat down with Brooklyn star Saoirse Ronan ahead of the film’s screening at the Savannah Film Festival, I asked her how hard it is to sit on a movie when a festival audience has let you know that it’s good. She told me:

You actually kind of feel like the reaction isn’t going to be as strong [when people eventually see it]. Because you think… you don’t want to just be a one-hit wonder, you know? And so TIFF [the Toronto International Film Festival] was nerve-racking for us because we wanted to get the same sort of reaction.By the same token, to get the same reaction, and to have people talking about the film in the way that we did – when I talked to my agent or our producers, and they say to us, ‘OK, we just have to let it simmer down a little bit!’ You are so excited. You just want to dive right in to it, start doing press for it, and talk about it. That’s why this is the first time ever that I’ve loved doing publicity, because I love talking about this movie.

My hunch is that Ronan will continue to talk about Brooklyn for the foreseeable future. Crowley has crafted a tender, bittersweet but universal story of change and adaptation, of living and loving. And Saoirse Ronan leads a heartwarming cast in a film that I think will touch a number of older Academy members, enough to help the movie contend in the major categories.

Here’s where I think the Oscar contenders sit on October 26:

oscar winner prediction

BEST PICTURE

The FrontrunnersThe MartianSpotlightSteve Jobs

The ContendersBridge Of SpiesBrooklynCarolConcussionEx MachinaThe Hateful EightInside OutJoyMad Max: Fury RoadThe RevenantRoomTrumbo

The Dark Horses45 YearsAnomalisaBeasts of No NationThe Big ShortBlack MassBy The SeaCreedThe Danish GirlThe End Of The TourIn The Heart of the SeaLove & MercySicarioStraight Outta ComptonSuffragette

The LongshotsThe 33FreeheldMe and Earl and the Dying GirlOur Brand Is CrisisStar Wars: The Force AwakensTruthThe WalkYouth

While I still believe in the Steve Jobs Oscar train – which will pick up and carry everyone from Michael Fassbender to director Danny Boyle – the meager box office results on the film’s "wide" weekend give me slight pause. Universal says it isn’t pushing any sort of panic button, and that Jobs is the type of movie that is built for the long haul – not the smash-and-grab of an opening-weekend headline. I agree… and yet, still. Pause. But Boyle’s on this chart, and I’m not moving him any time soon.

oscar winner prediction

BEST DIRECTOR

The FrontrunnerDanny Boyle, Steve JobsTom McCarthy, Spotlight

The ContendersLenny Abrahamson, RoomJohn Crowley, BrooklynAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The RevenantGeorge Miller, Mad Max: Fury RoadDavid O. Russell, JoyRidley Scott, The MartianSteven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

The Dark HorsesRyan Coogler, CreedScott Cooper, Black MassCary Fukunaga, Beasts of No NationAlex Garland, Ex MachinaF. Gary Gray, Straight Outta ComptonSarah Gavron, SuffragetteTodd Haynes, CarolTom Hooper, The Danish GirlRon Howard, In the Heart of the SeaAngelina Jolie, By The SeaPeter Landesman, ConcussionAdam McKay, The Big ShortJay Roach, TrumboQuentin Tarantino, The Hateful EightRobert Zemeckis, The Walk

The LongshotsJ.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force AwakensPeter Docter, Inside OutDavid Gordon Green, Our Brand is CrisisBill Pohlad, Love & MercyJames Ponsoldt, The End of the TourPeter Sollett, Freeheld

Last season, Best Actor was a ridiculously competitive category, with just as many worthy candidates left on the outside of the category looking in as there was five eventual nominees. This year looks equally impressive, though there are a number of films yet to drop. Is this the year that Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins? Or could Matt Damon’s The Martian performance prove to be the spoiler?

oscar winner prediction

BEST ACTOR

The FrontrunnersMichael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

The ContendersBryan Cranston, TrumboMatt Damon, The MartianJohnny Depp, Black MassLeonardo DiCaprio, The RevenantTom Hanks, Bridge of SpiesEddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

The Dark HorsesMichael Caine, YouthSteve Carell, The Big ShortJohn Cusack, Love & MercyJoseph Gordon-Levitt, The WalkO’Shea Jackson, Straight Outta ComptonMichael B. Jordan, CreedIan McKellen, Mr. HolmesBrad Pitt, By The SeaEdgar Ramirez, JoyWill Smith, Concussion

The LongshotsAntonio Banderas, The 33Bradley Cooper, BurntRichard Gere, Time Out Of MindJake Gyllenhaal, SouthpawTom Hardy, LegendChris Hemsworth, In The Heart of the Sea

There have been a few interesting developments in the Best Actress race, which we’ll continue to track. Cate Blanchett may end up competing against herself (we call that "Pulling a Soderbergh") if her performances in Carol and Truth continue to get recognition. And buzz has reached a deafening level for Brie Larson in Room, allowing me to move her into the Frontrunner category. (We gave the movie a perfect 5-star grade.) As for the rest of the category? Take a look.

oscar winner prediction

BEST ACTRESS

The FrontrunnerBrie Larson, Room

The ContendersCate Blanchett, CarolCarey Mulligan, SuffragetteCharlotte Rampling, 45 YearsSaoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

The Dark HorsesEmily Blunt, SicarioSandra Bullock, Our Brand is CrisisMarion Cotillard, MacbethAngelina Jolie, By The SeaJennifer Lawrence, JoyJulianne Moore, FreeheldCharlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury RoadLily Tomlin, Grandma

The LongshotsCate Blanchett, TruthBlythe Danner, I’ll See You In My DreamsHelen Mirren, Woman in GoldCarey Mulligan, Far From The Madding CrowdAmy Schumer, TrainwreckSarah Silverman, I Smile BackMaggie Smith, The Lady in the Van

More audience members will start to see Spotlight in the coming weeks, as Tom McCarthy’s gripping and airtight journalism drama opens in an increased number of theaters. Hopefully, from there, you all can help me figure out which of the male performers gives the better performance. I was blown away by the quiet fortitude Liev Schreiber brings to his role as the Boston Globe’s new publisher. But he’s equaled by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery… really, everyone is awesome. So, who makes the cut? We’ll see, in the next few weeks.

oscar winner prediction

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The FrontrunnersMark Ruffalo, SpotlightMark Rylance, Bridge of SpiesJacob Tremblay, Room

The ContendersTom Courtenay, 45 YearsPaul Dano, Love & MercyMichael Keaton, SpotlightSeth Rogen, Steve JobsLiev Schreiber, SpotlightJason Segel, The End of the Tour

The Dark HorsesChristian Bale, The Big ShortJim Broadbent, BrooklynAlbert Brooks, ConcussionBradley Cooper, JoyRobert De Niro, JoyBenicio Del Toro, SicarioBruce Dern, The Hateful EightJoel Edgerton, Black MassIdris Elba, Beasts of No NationRyan Gosling, The Big ShortTom Hardy, The RevenantOscar Isaac, Ex MachinaSamuel L. Jackson, The Hateful EightJason Mitchell, Straight Outta ComptonBrad Pitt, The Big ShortKurt Russell, The Hateful EightMichael Shannon, 99 HomesSylvester Stallone, Creed

The LongshotsJohn Goodman, TrumboHarvey Keitel, YouthSir Ben Kingsley, The WalkMichael Sheen, Far From the Madding CrowdBilly Bob Thornton, Our Brand is Crisis

Right now, this is the only category with an actual lock for a nomination. Once Alicia Vikander announced she’d run in Supporting, the category became hers for her stirring turn as a supportive (but confused) wife in Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. But who will compete against her? The field is snapping into place, and here are my best guesses.

oscar winner prediction

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The FrontrunnersAlicia Vikander, The Danish GirlRooney Mara, Carol

The ContendersJoan Allen, RoomElizabeth Banks, Love & MercyJane Fonda, YouthJennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful EightRachel McAdams, SpotlightKate Winslet, Jobs

The Dark HorsesHelena Bonham Carter, SuffragetteMelanie Laurent, By The SeaMelissa Leo, The Big ShortHelen Mirren, TrumboGugu Mbatha-Raw, ConcussionEllen Page, FreeheldMarisa Tomei, The Big ShortJulie Walters, BrooklynKatharine Waterston, Steve Jobs

The LongshotsJessica Chastain, The MartianDakota Johnson, Black MassDiane Ladd, JoyJulianne Nicholson, Black MassTilda Swinton, Trainwreck

Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.