If you're anything like me, you've been looking for a way to get an edge your Oscar pool since the moment the last ceremony ended earlier this year. If this sounds like you, I have good news in the form of a very likely bet. I'm guessing that Nicole Kidman will be nominated for an Oscar for Lion. What makes me think that? Well, the Palm Springs International Film Festival has announced its intention to honor Kidman at their 2017 ceremony, and, historically, the award show has had their finger very much on the pop culture pulse when it comes to their nominations.
The award that Kidman is being given is the 2017 International Star Award, specifically for her work in Lion. The film tells a true story about a young boy who gets so lost in the chaotic city of Calcutta that he is adopted by an Australian couple, and later returns to his native country to try to relocate his family. It's been generating quite a bit of Oscar buzz, both before and after its Nov. 25 release. Kidman's costars Dev Patel and Rooney Mara are also expected to garner nods, but it's Kidman that I feel most confident about in this moment. It's all down to this award show's previous predictions.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival will hold their Awards Gala on Jan. 2, almost a month before the Academy Awards even announce their nominations on Jan. 24. But that one-month difference has never stopped the PSIFF from giving top honors to future Oscar winners in the past. In the last five years alone, they've been impressively in line with Oscar nominations.
In 2016, the International Star Awards went to Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs and Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn, both of whom later received Oscar nods for their performances. In 2015, they were even closer to the mark: the Desert Palm Achievement Awards were given to Julianne Moore for Still Alice and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory Of Everything, both of whom walked away with Best Acting prizes. In 2014 they went one-for-two, with Sandra Bullock honored for Gravity and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club; the first got a nomination, and the second a win.
The two years before that, 2013 and 2012, again showcased future Oscar nominees. Silver Linings Playbook's Bradley Cooper and The Impossible's Naomi Watts in 2013, and My Week With Marilyn's Michelle Williams and Moneyball's Brad Pitt in 2012. Finally, in 2011, they again nailed it, with Colin Firth and Natalie Portman winning the top prizes, for The King's Speech and Black Swan, respectively, mirroring the decisions made later that year by the Academy. (They also gave their Rising Star Award to Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone, so it was a banner year for Palm Springs when it came to their predictions.)
That's just the past five years alone, but it's ample proof that this early-in-the-year award show is tuned in to both what the public likes and what will receive acclaim at the biggest ceremony of the season. Whether or not Kidman comes away with the award for Best Actress this year, I'm betting good money that she'll be nominated.