Final Oscar Predictions - 2017

Final Oscar Predictions - 2017

Best Picture

“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Hidden Figures”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: Moonlight

Should Have Been Nominated: O.J.: Made In America

Tying the record with 14 nominations in total, La La Land looks set to walk away with several prizes. It has picked up momentum throughout the season and has pulled away from one-time contenders like Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea. Because this award will be handed out last, there will be several indications as to whether or not its big night is coming together. Watch Best Costume Design and the two Sound categories if you want to see the writing on the wall. 

Best Director

Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Will Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Should Win: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Should Have Been Nominated: Garth Davis, Lion

Damien Chazelle is a wunderkind--achieving more at a very young age than most directors do in their entire career. It is fitting then that he will likely become the youngest person to win this award, at just 31 years of age. Barry Jenkins is an outside threat to make noise here, but it is hard to pick against the man who directed the juggernaut. 

Best Actor

Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”

Will Win: Denzel Washington

Should Win: Casey Affleck

Should Have Been Nominated: Joel Edgerton, Loving

I prefer not to give you an acting award if you were not the best thing in your movie and no offense to Denzel, but Viola owned every frame she was in. While he certainly acted the most, Affleck's work not only stuck with me the longest, but was also the thing from his film that most contributed to its quality. Washington gets points for also directing his performance, which might be enough to push him over the top on Sunday, but Affleck is still my choice. Closest race in my head, so I will be happy for either.

Best Actress

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

Will Win: Emma Stone

Should Win: Viola Davis

Should Have Been Nominated: Sally Field, Hello, My Name Is Doris

I know, I know! Viola Davis is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. That doesn't make it right, however, and I am fairly certain that if she was nominated in the right category, she would become just the second Black woman to win Best Actress at the Oscars. Of the five that made the cut, Emma Stone is a fine choice and fits the usual Academy mold of the young ingénue in one of the year's most acclaimed films. She carries the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture, so this makes a lot of sense. The film doesn't give her a ton to do, but she makes it work throughout. 

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: Mahershala Ali

Should Win: Mahershala Ali

Should Have Been Nominated: Joel Edgerton, Loving

I prefer not to give you an acting award if you were not the best thing in your movie and no offense to Denzel, but Viola owned every frame she was in. While he certainly acted the most, Affleck's work not only stuck with me the longest, but was also the thing from his film that most contributed to its quality. Washington gets points for also directing his performance, which might be enough to push him over the top on Sunday, but Affleck is still my choice. 

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, “Fences”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”

Will Win: Viola Davis

Should Win: Viola Davis

Should Have Been Nominated: Janelle Monáe, Hidden Figures

Here is your lock of the night. If someone, for some strange reason, is forcing you to bet your life on a win, Viola Davis is the surest call of the lot. Overdue, accomplished stage, television and movie performer at the peak of her powers and with no real competition in sight. I thought Janelle Monáe was the single best thing about Hidden Figures, so it would have been great to see her included, but because there is no real race, the field matters a little less. Viola in a walk. 

Best Original Screenplay

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

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: The Lobster

Should Have Been Nominated: Zootopia

This is one of those categories that could signal a La La Land sweep. It has no business really competing in this category, but here we are. It's somewhat inconsistent in its use of song and Emma Stone's character really isn't all that developed, but it doesn't really matter. It just might be that kind of year. In 10 years, we will look back at The Lobster and realize that a story that turns you into the animal of your choice if you don't find a mate was the most "original."

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

Will Win: Moonlight

Should Win: Moonlight

As much as I love August Wilson's words in Fences, what Jenkins and McCraney created in Moonlight is movie magic. Of all the wins, this is the non-lock I would be most excited about. 

Best Animated Feature Film

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“The Red Turtle”

Will Win: Zootopia

Should Win: Zootopia

In a year dominated by President Trump, this film was one of the first answers to the climate. Still just as timely as when it was released, this one is head and shoulders above the rest in my book. 

Best Cinematography

Bradford Young, “Arrival”
Linus Sandgren, “La La Land”
Greig Fraser, “Lion”
James Lixton, “Moonlight”
Rodrigo Prieto, “Silence”

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: Arrival

The famous "Traffic" open is one of the most iconic scenes of the year at this point--having even been parodied at the Golden Globes. If La La Land wins, those shots will be a big reason why. Arrival, however, does some amazing things with perspective and Bradford Young's work has been under-appreciated for years. It won't happen, but that would be a cool win. 

Best Costume Design

Joanna Johnston, “Allied”
Colleen Atwood, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
Consolata Boyle, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Madeline Fontaine, “Jackie”
Mary Zophres, “La La Land"

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: La La Land

La La Land will win this because it is just it's year. That yellow dress is iconic at this point and will probably be one of the lasting images from the film, so it seems fair. 

Best Documentary - Feature

"Fire At Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Life, Animated”
“O.J.: Made In America”

Will Win: O.J.: Made In America

Should Win: O.J.: Made In America

Should Have Been Nominated: Weiner

Other than Hamilton, which feels like a medium unto itself at this point, O.J.: Made In America was the best thing I saw this year. It should have been nominated for Best Picture and would be my choice to win if it had been. It is that good. Also belongs in Best Editing and perhaps more if I thought hard enough. That the Academy can only award it with this will just have to suffice. One of the few truly excellent pieces of filmmaking in the last few years. 

Best Documentary - Short Subject

“4.1 Miles”
“Joe's Violin”
“Watani: My Homeland”
“The White Helmets"

Will Win: Joe's Violin

Should Win: Watani: My Homeland

Sometimes, the orange in the bunch of apples breaks through. In a category with heartbreaking stories of death and tragedy, and with so many striking such a serious tone, this one is a little more heartwarming. The academy could definitely go for the more serious  fare, but something tells me to pick the brightest spot. 

Best Film Editing

“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell Or High Water”
“La La Land”

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: Moonlight

Best Picture is traditionally closely aligned with recognition in this category. La La Land will likely win because of the ways in which its seamless editing contributes to its beautifully told story. 

Best Foreign Language Film

"Land of Mine”
“A Man Called Ove”
“The Salesman”
“Toni Erdmann"

Asghar Farhadi will have President Trump's "travel ban" to thank for his Oscar. Toni Erdmann has been the frontrunner all year, but the Iranian filmmaker behind "The Salesman" made waves when his country was included on the list of ones from which travelers were banned by President Trump's executive order. He has said he does not plan to attend the ceremony as protest regardless of the legal standing of the ban. Expect the Academy to get their big political moment of the night with this award. 

Best Makeup and Hairstyle

"A Man Called Ove”
“Star Trek Beyond”
“Suicide Squad”

There are a couple of characters in Star Trek Beyond made entirely of makeup and hopefully we are all working together to ensure nobody ever has to say the words "Academy Award winning Suicide Squad"

Best Original Score

Mica Levi, "Jackie”
Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”
Dustin O'Hallaran and Hauschka, “Lion”
Nicholas Britell, “Moonlight”
Thomas Newman, “Passengers"

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: Moonlight/Jackie

The category is pretty close to a lock for La La Land, but either of those two alternates would make fine winners. Both involved sounds that were unexpected and helped to give the film structure rather than the other way around. 

Best Original Song

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" from "La La Land”
“Can't Stop The Feeling" from "Trolls”
“City Of Stars" from "La La Land”
“The Empty Chair" from "Jim: The James Foley Story”
“How Far I'll Go" from "Moana"

Will Win: "City Of Stars"

Should Win: "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)"

Should Have Been NominatedSomething from Popstar: Never Stop Stopping

Of all the elements of La La Land, its original songs are probably the biggest weakness. These aren't the earworms certain songs from musicals past have been. That said, they are fine. "City Of Stars" shows up over and over again, which probably gives it an advantage over "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," but flip a coin. The one reason to expect something else to sneak in is that they could split the vote. If that happens, expect Lin Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame) to become the youngest EGOT winner ever for "How Far I'll Go" from Moana

Best Production Design

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Hail, Caesar!”
“La La Land”

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: La La Land

Old Hollywood had a big year, but nothing felt more magic than that final dream sequence in La La Land. The world they created for those few minutes is just perfect. 

Best Animated Short Film

"Blind Vaysha”
“Borrowed Time”
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes”

Truly groundbreaking visuals probably won't be overlooked here. Plus, I hear people think Pixar is pretty good at this animation thing. 

Best Live Action Short Film

"Ennemis Intérieurs”
“La Femme et le TGV”
“Silent Nights”

Good place to take a break from the reading. Lots of throwaways, so here's a pick. 

Best Sound Editing

“Deepwater Horizon”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“La La Land”

Best Sound Mixing

“Hacksaw Ridge”
“La La Land”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi"

Mixing vs. Editing can be confusing and war movies can sometimes be at an advantage, which is why I'm calling Hacksaw Ridge in Sound Editing. Still going with the juggernaut that is La La Land in Sound Mixing, though this is where it is weakest. If both of these dominos somehow fall in its favor, it's a wrap. Arrival would be a cool winner in Sound Mixing because of the silences and the totally foreign sounds of aliens "speaking."

Best Visual Effects

"Deepwater Horizon”
“Doctor Strange”
“The Jungle Book”
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

Will Win: The Jungle Book

Should Win: The Jungle Book

Have you seen King Louie? Should be a slam dunk.


Enjoy the show! *And don't kill me if I lose you your Oscar pool!*


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