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Yikes, it's time to place those Oscar bets!

Given the results of the awards contests so far, including the Golden Globes and SAG nominations, the Gotham Awards and the critics'races, there seem to be at least a few likely shoo-ins.

I think few would argue that it's unsafe to place money on "Manchester by the Sea" star Casey Affleck for best actor and "Jackie's" Natalie Portman for actress (an upset would undoubtedly be Isabelle Huppert for "Elle").

Damien Chazelle's musical "La La Land" appears to be the frontrunner for best picture, but we can't totally count out Barry Jenkins'coming-of-age drama "Moonlight," can we?

Viola Davis for best supporting actress in "Fences"--that seems like a no-brainer. Mahershala Ali for "Moonlight"--very likely.

The big question is whether some of the folks who were shut out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn, and the Screen Actors Guild, including "Hidden Figures" star Taraji P. Henson and "Sully's" Tom Hanks, will be recognized by the Motion Picture Academy.

It will also be interesting to see if Globes and SAG best actor nominee Viggo Mortensen, who delivered a standout performance as a father of six in the quirky indie "Captain Fantastic," will make the Oscar cut. And does anyone doubt that "Zootopia" will bring home animation gold?

The race for best director is harder to call. For sure, Jenkins, Chazelle, and Kenneth Lonergan ("Manchester by the Sea") will be in the mix. But there's a chance that Oscar will ignore Hollywood legends Martin Scorsese and Warren Beatty, as the Globes did.

To help you, our beloved readers, sort through the awards morass while remaining excited about how it all plays out, we are thrilled to serve up our fifth annual Ultimate Awards Nomination Guide.

This special issue, produced by our features team, is filled with compelling content.

There are capsules highlighting the leading candidates for all above-the-line and below-the-line Oscar categories; a photo album of stunning portraits from Variety's Actors on Actors series; top-10 lists from our chief film critics, Peter Debruge and Owen Gleiberman; ballots for Golden Globe and SAG film candidates; and an analysis of SAG TV drama and comedy acting categories, the Golden Globe television nominees, DGA and WGA nominees, and the top Grammy categories.

Our awards pundit Tim Gray weighs in with a smart story, "The Year of Voting Dangerously," about all the drama surrounding the awards season--including the reversal of fortunes for Nate Parker and his Sundance darling "The Birth of a Nation," which saw their Oscar chances evaporate after the actor-director's rape allegations from his college days resurfaced in the press.

TV critic Maureen Ryan writes a great piece on how awards don't just bring Hollywood recognition and career opportunities to the recipents; they also honor the diverse characters represented by the winning projects, delivering their messages about crucial issues--such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and immigration--to the world's stage.

We hope you thoroughly enjoy our special issue and, of course, all of the fun to come in yet another wild awards season!


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Title Annotation:EDITOR'S LETTER
Author:Eller, Claudia
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 16, 2016
Previous Article:Catherine Deneuve.
Next Article:The year of voting dangerously: a glut of prestige late-year releases, new distribution players, and revived veterans make for awards-season overload.

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