By Vivian Crucet
The Road To The Oscars.
The Toronto International and The Venice Film Festivals kick off Awards Season 2016.
In the past few years, TIFF and La Biennale have been a Launchpad to forecast the films, actors and directors that will vie for upcoming award nominations, leading up to the Oscars in February.
We are approaching the time of the year when most contenders will be released on the silver screen and the Fall of 2016 will bring a welcomed respite to film buffs after a tremendously boring Summer.
But an early look at possible contenders and much awaited films, brings up again the narrative of diversity. At least in the big screen, there still a void and is a case of same old, same old.
The Governing Board of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences has implanted new membership rules, pretty much kicking aside those long-time members with no recent cinema activity to show for; and inviting fresh blood to join the ranks, such as more women directors, African-Americans and Hispanics.
But here is the thing, unlike TV productions, The Grammys for music, and even the Tonys for Broadway, movies are still in the hands of a few.
So far, these are the front-runners for Hollywood glory 2016-2017:
Movies: La La Land, Silence, Billy Lynn's Long HalfTime Walk , Live By Night, Lion, 20th Century Woman, Nocturnal Animals, United Kingdom and Passengers.
The directors: Warren Beatty, Damien Chazelle (5 Oscars for Whiplash); Martin Scorcese, Ben Affleck.
Actors: Casey Affleck, Ryan Gosling, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck and Joel Eggerton (for Loving about an interratial marriage which case went all the way to the US Supreme Court).
Actresses: Emma Stone, Amy Adams Ruth Negga (for Loving), Annette Bening, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman and Jessica Chastain.
The supporting roles: Liam Neeson, Kyle Chandler, Jeff Bridges , Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, Elle Fanning, Rachel Weitz and Nicole Kidman.
Most of the names in all categories are previous winners or nominees.
As far as diversity, the possibilities are: the films Loving and Fences; Eddy Murphy (Mr. Church) and David Oyelowo (United Kingdom), Guatemalan Oscar Isaac, Chinese director Ang Lee ( twice an Oscar winner and whose genre diversity in cinema are truly a treat) and Viola Davis (Fences).
Birth of a Nation is facing backlash from some Academy members due to resurfaced details that both the director and protagonist, Nate Parker, and co-writer, Jean Celestin, were accused of rape at the University of Pennsylvania, and the victim ended up commiting suicide. Parker was found not guilty and Celestin's guilty conviction was later overturned on appeal.
So far, the best films this year are Zootopia, which openend in January and did not make as much $$$ as Finding Dory or Pets this Summer, and British flick Sing Street, which does not figure to be looking for contention any category for awards, except for Song. Zootopia, at least, is leading the pack for Best Animated Film, but there is some rivarly coming up.
Aside for the surprising Captain America, the Summer of 2016 was a bummer, so we are looking forward ahead to Arrival, Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story, all those aforementioned motion pictures and most of all, to imports such as Toni Erdman from Germany; Graduation from Romania and The Salesman from Iran.
Can't wait thou to have some fun with the best uplifting film of 2016, "Sing".