Awards Chase

Each Monday through the week of the 2016 Academy Award nominations in January, Take 2 is handicapping the Oscar rush with The Award Chase. To keep up with the chase, read past posts here.

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mickey O’Hagan in "Tangerine," a Magnolia Pictures release.

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mickey O’Hagan in “Tangerine,” a Magnolia Pictures release.

Much of the awards season has been focused on two topics: “Steve Jobs’ and transgender and gay themes. Before September rolled in, anticipation was high for Michael Fassbender’s performance as the Apple founder and for movies like “About Ray” with Elle Fanning and Naomi Watts, “Freeheld” with Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, and “The Danish Girl” with Eddie Redmayne. In the shadows is a midsummer-released indie that combined both themes in its own way and has gathered quiet awards buzz in the process, “Tangerine.”

Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in "Tangerine," a Magnolia Pictures release.

Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in “Tangerine,” a Magnolia Pictures release.

Director Sean Baker, whose previous work included the 2012 release “Starlet,” shot the 87-minute film entirely on iPhones. The revenge comedy stars two unknown, transgender actresses Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor as sex workers wanting to get back at a cheating pimp. The movie explores race and gender issues with the backdrop of Los Angeles’ underground culture.

So far, “Tangerine” has garnered three Gotham Independent Film Award nominations, including best feature and two breakthrough acting awards for Rodriguez and Taylor, with Taylor as the winner. It was included in the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound’s top 20 films of the year, and last week it received four Independent Spirit Award nominations.

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, James Ransone and Mya Taylor in "Tangerine", a Magnolia Pictures release.

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, James Ransone and Mya Taylor in “Tangerine”, a Magnolia Pictures release.

While the award nominations are good, both organizations recognized U.S.-only made/produced fare, eliminating a great deal of the awards season field like “The Danish Girl,” “Room,” “Brooklyn” and “45 Years.” If “Tangerine” can land on critics’ end-of-the-year lists and compete on a large stage, the season will be even more interesting.

Mickey O’Hagan and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in "Tangerine," a Magnolia Pictures release.

Mickey O’Hagan and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in “Tangerine,” a Magnolia Pictures release.

“Tangerine” is available on DVD and is streaming on Amazon.

Other observations

"The Assassin" (Central Motion Pictures, China Dream Film Culture Industry, Media Asia Films)

“The Assassin” (Central Motion Pictures, China Dream Film Culture Industry, Media Asia Films)

  • The aforementioned Sight & Sound poll named the visually striking “The Assassin” its top pick. Also making the list are “Carol,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Amy.”
  • “Carol” leads the Independent Spirit Award nominations with six, followed by “Beasts of No Nations with five. Download the full list here.

This week’s chart has now factored in awards buzz thanks to the Spirit and Gotham awards, shaking up much of the competition and adding two new titles, “Creed” at No. 11 and “Tangerine” at No. 17. Plus, there’s a new No. 1 with “Carol.” With this, the chart will be broken down by top contenders, buzzworthy and on the bubble. As always, you can find all the charts here.

Rank

Change

Title

Point Total

Top Contenders

1

(+ 2)

“Carol”

4.4

2

(- 1)

“45 Years”

4.25

3

(- 1)

“Macbeth”

4.1

4

“Sicario”

3.95

4 (tie)

“Bridge of Spies”

3.95

4 (tie)

(+ 3)

“Beasts of No Nation”

3.95

7

(- 3)

“Spotlight”

3.85

7 (tie)

“Brooklyn”

3.85

Buzz Worthy

9

(- 2)

“Room”

3.75

10

“The Martian”

3.55

11

“Creed”

3.5

12

“Youth”

3.45

13

“Son of Saul”

3.35

14

“Inside Out”

3.3

15

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

3.1

15 (tie)

“The Lobster”

3.1

On the Bubble

17

“Tangerine”

3

18

“Black Mass”

2.9

18 (tie)

“The Danish Girl”

2.9

20

“Steve Jobs”

2.85

21

“Straight Outta Compton”

2.5

22

“Joy”

2.3

23

“The Revenant”

2.05

24

“The Hateful Eight”

1.8