Oscar mystery: Is ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ the Best Picture nominee no one sees coming?

When Oscar nominations are announced Tuesday morning there are certain to be a few nominations that no one saw coming. Most often these surprises happen below the line in the harder-to-gauge craft categories, but every now and then the unexpected can happen above the line. This year the Best Picture lineup has been in an exciting amount of flux, setting it up as one of the fields that could surprise us with a nominee out of left field. While many are guessing that could happen for “Deadpool,” “Nocturnal Animals” or “Sully,” few if any predictors are placing their bets on “Florence Foster Jenkins,” currently ranked 19th with longshot 100/1 odds at a nomination.

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If you’re looking for evidence that surprise nominations happen in the Best Picture field look no further than director Stephen Frears’s previous effort, 2013’s “Philomena.” In the last week of predictions leading up to that year’s nominations, “Philomena” was ranked 12th in the Best Picture race with 66/1 odds of a nom. It jumped “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Blue Jasmine” to become the ninth and final Best Picture nominee.

In addition to its Best Picture nomination, “Philomena” was nominated in Best Actress for Judi Dench, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score. Of those, both Dench and the screenplay were expected, while Alexandre Desplat’s music was eighth in line for a nomination with 80/1 odds. This year “Florence Foster Jenkins” occupies similar territory with a couple of expected nominations and a few outside chances at surprising the field.

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Meryl Streep is expected to earn her 20th career Oscar nomination — her 15th as a lead actress — for her role as the title character, and Hugh Grant is looking good to earn his first in the supporting race as her husband, St. Clair Bayfield. Those are perhaps the film’s surest bets at Oscar recognition, but it also contends for nominations in Best Costume Design (third place with 11/2 odds), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (leading 9/5 odds) and Best Original Score (eighth place with 66/1 odds), again composed by Desplat.

“Florence Foster Jenkins” has already seen its share of surprise nominations this year, most notably when the Golden Globes nominated Simon Helberg for the Best Film Supporting Actor over presumed favorites Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”) and Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”). The film also boasts support from some of the many guilds weighing in on the race with notices from the Costume Designers Guild (CDG) for Excellence in Period Film, Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild (MUAHS) for Best Period and/or Character Hairy Styling and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) for both Streep and Grant.

Do you think “Florence Foster Jenkins” has a shot at Best Picture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and join the discussion about this and more in our forums.

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