Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Final Oscar Predictions For 89th Academy Awards

We are getting closer and closer to the big night. The Oscars are on Sunday and here are some of my predictions for the major categories. Take a quick look:

Best Picture:

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester By The Sea

Will Win: La La Land
Could/Should Win: Moonlight

There is hardly a way that La La Land loses this. It's a crowdpleasing movie about show business and it won every Best Picture award it needed to. But that doesn't mean it should because Moonlight is the best film of the year and deserves to take it.

Best Director:

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Will Win: Chazelle
Should Win: Jenkins

Damien Chazelle is unstoppable along with his film. There's no way he loses unless Barry Jenkins has something to say about it as he should.

Best Actor:

Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Will/Should Win: Washington

I know Casey Affleck has dominated the precursors (BFCA, Globe, and BAFTA). But I feel like Denzel Washington is out in front because he won SAG and no Lead Actor winner at SAG since Johnny Depp has lost the Oscar. Also, there's the nature of the performances themselves. Washington displays a sense of grandeur that is the kind of performance voters like to gravitate towards as opposed to Affleck's subtlety. So even though this would be Washington's third, I don't think voters will care that it's his third.

Best Actress:

Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Will Win: Stone
Should Win: Huppert or Portman

Emma Stone is likely going to be swept along with the La La Land love and win this category. While I'm not against Stone winning an Oscar, it's a bit of a shame that she's such a lock because Natalie Portman and Isabelle Huppert give such powerhouse performances that demand recognition.

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell Or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester By The Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Will Win: Ali
Could Win: Patel
Should Win: Hedges

Mahershala Ali is still out in front to win Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight. He won SAG and he's also in Hidden Figures to increase his familiarity. While I would give the win to Lucas Hedges, I would have no arguments with Ali winning. Watch out for BAFTA Winner Dev Patel, though. It's evident with his win there that there is passion for his film.

Best Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester By The Sea

Will/Should Win: Davis

Case closed. Done deal. Moving on.

Best Original Screenplay:

Taylor Sheridan, Hell Or High Water
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimus Filippou, The Lobster
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea
Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Will Win: Lonergan
Should Win: Lanthimos and Filippou

Since Manchester By The Sea is unlikely to win Best Picture and Casey Affleck isn't a lock to win Best Actor, this would seem like a good place to reward the film. As deserving as Kenneth Lonergan would be, I would love to see the writers of The Lobster win for the most original film of the year. But their nomination itself is a win.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Eric Heisserer, Arrival
August Wilson, Fences
Theodore Melfi and Alison Schroeder, Hidden Figures
Luke Davies, Lion
Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight

Should/Will Win: Jenkins and McCraney
Could Win: Heisserer

Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney are in a strong position to win Best Adapted Screenplay. They won Best Original Screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards and the USC Scripter Award which is often a strong predictor for Best Adapted Screenplay. But Arrival won Adapted Screenplay at the Writers Guild. If it loses everywhere else, it could nab a win here as a consolation for losing Best Picture.

Best Animated Feature:

Kubo And The Two Strings
My Life As A Zucchini
The Red Turtle

Will/Should Win: Zootopia
Could Win: Kubo And The Two Strings

Zootopia will almost certainly take this. Partially because of the category's love for Disney and also because no animated film this year is more deep and timely than Zootopia which expertly depicts themes of prejudice and bigotry. If any film will derail it, it'll be Kubo. But who knows how big its fanbase will be.

Best Foreign Language Film:

Land Of Mine (Denmark)
A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
The Salesman (Iran)
Tanna (Australia)
Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Will Win: The Salesman
Should/Could Win: Toni Erdmann

The Salesman is likely out in front due to the publicity its garnered over D***** T****'s controversial Muslim ban and Asghar Farhadi not attending the ceremony because of it. So if voters are going with their hearts as they fill out their ballots, it could result in a win for Farhadi. But Toni Erdmann has been catching fire with its recently announced American remake that'll star Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig. So a case could be made for either one winning.

Best Documentary:
Fire At Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life Animated
OJ: Made In America

Will/Should Win: 13th
Could Win: O.J.: Made In America

I'm going out on a limb and saying 13th might be out in front to win Best Documentary over presumed frontrunner O.J.: Made In America which I fear will suffer from "TV movie" bias due to how it's 7 hours and divided into different episodes as opposed to 13th which tackled racial issues as well but at a feature film's length.