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The Hollywood Film Awards Series: Jane Fonda and Will Smith could be on their way to Oscar?

Good afternoon folks! Yes, we’ve got another installment of the Hollywood Film Awards Series for you today, this one coming on the heels of two big announcements. Yes, the decision makes for the 19th annual Hollywood Film Awards have decided to bestow two of their remaining big prizes on Will Smith and Jane Fonda. The former is a Best Actor contender for Concussion, while the latter is a Best Supporting Actress hopeful for Youth. Both now have precursors to their credit and figure to be in the Oscar conversation all season long. This was just a boost to their Academy Award push to come…

Here’s the two honors announced for the upcoming Hollywood Film Awards:

“Hollywood Actor Award”
Will Smith for Concussion

“Hollywood Supporting Actress Award”
Jane Fonda for Youth

Both are contenders in fields wide open for the taking, so let’s discuss that now…

First up, we have Smith’s candidacy in Best Actor. Usually the most jam packed of categories, things are a little less crowded this year, especially at the front, so that’s an opportunity. No one can say for sure if Smith’s work in Concussion is win worthy, but this is the first promising sign. Unless you think Johnny Depp can win for Black Mass or Matt Damon can ride the box office of The Martian to a win, the only current contenders who seem poised to take the Oscar here are Leonardo DiCaprio (mostly sight unseen for The Revenant) and Michael Fassbender (the current frontrunner for Steve Jobs). That’s a definite opportunity for Smith, not just to get a nod, which would be his third, but to turn that nom into his first Academy Award win. Concussion is still an X factor, but this is a promising turn for the movie in advance of its World Premiere at AFI Fest.

As for Fonda, she’s in the Best Supporting Actress race and honestly doesn’t face too much competition. It’s a weak field, this Supporting Actress one, so her chances are strong if the precursors are kind to her. Another sight unseen contender is considered the frontrunner in Jennifer Jason Leigh (for The Hateful Eight), so aside from Rooney Mara (for Carol), I don’t think anyone else has any winner’s buzz surrounding them. That’s a definite boon to Fonda. If she gets enough love on the precursor circuit, a nomination is easily attained, which would be her eight, with a potential third win more or less within her grasp. Youth was well received at the Cannes Film Festival, so this could be just one of a few potential citations for the flick.

Working to the advantage of both of these contenders is weaker fields, of course, but also their star power. Smith is about as A-list an actor as it gets, while Fonda is pretty much Hollywood royalty. Both have been away from the Oscar game for a bit now, but both are certainly still viable and powerful within the industry. Smith picks his projects carefully, while Fonda has been acing it on television for the last few years. Neither were initially too highly ranked in my predictions, but both have been moving up the charts in recent days, so it’s possible one or both could show up next time I update my Oscar predictions.

Overall, these are two other very worthy honorees from the Hollywood Film Awards. They’ve done a great job so far in citing some very interesting 2015 contenders, so my hat is off to the decision makers there. We won’t know for a few months if Fonda and Smith are true contenders or not (with the same going for Concussion and Youth as films on the whole), but they’re in the running right now for sure. We’ll see what happens, but you’d be foolish not to consider them seriously right now. Sit tight folks, as this is going to be a really interesting precursor season, no question about it…

Be sure to stay tuned for the rest of the honorees for the 19th annual Hollywood Film Awards!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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