So here we are again, the biggest night in Hollywood and one of my most anticipated days of the year (more than my birthday) is finally upon us where we get to celebrate all of the incredible films released in the last year. Will La La Land sweep 14 awards? Or will it only grab a handful? Only time will tell. So here i will be giving my predictions for who i think WILL win each of the awards and i will also be highlighting who i think SHOULD win the awards. I won’t be covering every category here but the majority i will be giving my brief thoughts on.
Just so you know… Who i think WILL win will be highlighted in RED. Who i think SHOULD win will be highlighted in GREEN. And if both answers are the same you’ll figure it out.
BEST PICTURE – NOMINEES
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
La La Land is the most nominated film of the 2017 Oscars with stakes in 14 categories equalling the record currently held by both ‘All About Eve’ (1950) and ‘Titanic’ (1997). It is an incredible musical with a great story, incredible performances, stunning cinematography and just really is the whole package….. hence the 14 nominations. This is my pick to take home the Best Picture Oscar but it may not be a certain win for this love letter to Hollywood. ‘Moonlight’ is offering up some strong competition in other award ceremonies and could spoil the party for Damien Chazelle and the crew. Either way, both films are very deserving of the award no matter who takes it home.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE – NOMINEES
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences
This may be the toughest category to pick at this years Oscars just because the race at the top is so tight between Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington that i’ve changed my prediction 6 times today. Both actors had two very very distinctly different roles to fulfil and both of them did a phenomenal job. Personally i would pick Denzel for his performance in Fences as he was just so commanding on screen and his deliverance of every line was immensely powerful and it hits you hard with emotion and realism. But as Casey played a more subdued role where his spoken lines in the film were very limited he had to do more acting and conveying of emotion with just his facial expressions and body language alone. And it is this fact which makes me think Casey Affleck will be the one with the Academy Award at the end of the night. I also want to highlight that it is great seeing Viggo Mortensen get a nomination for Captain Fantastic. He doesn’t have the slightest chance at winning but the acknowledgment of his efforts is nice to see.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – NOMINEES
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Emma Stone in La La Land was the best she has ever been, her performance as Mia was inspiring, heartbreaking, and just incredible from start to finish. Her chemistry with Ryan Gosling in the film was a big part of her performance but what she also does in her solo scenes is the stuff you watch and just think right away she deserves the Oscar. For those who have seen the movie, her ‘Audition’ scene alone is enough to warrant her getting the Oscar. One thing to also note is that i actually missed all of the other films the other nominees are nominated for. I have heard they are all great roles with the only one posing any threat is Natalie Portman for Jackie but i just can’t see a scenario where Emma Stone loses this category.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – NOMINEES
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
I mean, come on, this category isn’t even close….. Mahershala Ali was that astounding in Moonlight with an extremely limited amount of screen time that i’d say he could even go up against 3 of the 5 Lead Actor nominees and come out on top. What he accomplishes in the brief time he is on screen is some of the best acting not only of the film but of the entire year. What he does with his performance in like 15 minutes sticks with you for the entire duration of the film and has a strong influence on how the rest of the film plays out and how you perceive certain events. So yeh this is a no brainer, if he doesn’t win i’ll be beyond shocked. Besides, Michael Shannon was in Nocturnal Animals great but he wasn’t even the best supporting role in the movie.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – NOMINEES
Viola Davis – Fences
Naomi Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
This is another category that seems like a definite lock this year as Viola Davis was just incredible in Fences. Just like Denzel her performance was very emotionally driven and her dialogue was almost just as powerful and hard hitting to the point where there are many scenes throughout the film in which she steals the show. All of the other performances on that list were good but if you line up any of them alongside Viola Davis in Fences they get blown out of the water. Similar to Michael Shannon in the previous category, Octavia Spencer was the 3rd best performance in Hidden Figures, so there’s no chance she’s gonna win. Michelle Williams or Naomi Harris have the slightest outside chance but it’s so small there’s not much point in even acknowledging it.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM – NOMINEES
Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
I don’t fucking get it……. Still to this day after all the awards this movie has stolen….. i still don’t get why Zootopia is as high as it is on the list of favourites to win. It’s taken home the Golden Globe, the PGA, and i don’t see how it could possibly be topping Kubo and the Two Strings….. hell, it isn’t even the best DISNEY movie to come out in 2016 as Moana killed it in terms of quality. But don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a bad movie, it’s still a good movie but we’re talking about the BEST animated feature film and i can’t see how it comes close. The whole thing about this film being a symbol for diversity and overcoming xenophobia is a moot point for me when comparing which film is better. So i hope Kubo manages to take home the award but somehow i think Zootopia will snatch it.
CINEMATOGRAPHY – NOMINEES
La La Land
This is a tough one also as Arrival, La La Land, and Moonlight all feature exceptional uses of beautiful cinematography that are unique to the style of film each one is. Personally i would be fully on board with either one of these films taking home the Academy Award for Best Cinematography but if i was going to give it to one it would be Arrival. The scope of Arrival is at times very small and confined and at times very large, this is due to the way Bradford Young uses carefully placed wide shots to establish scale, location, and tone with one beautiful look at a single scene. But, when it comes to who i think will win this award i can’t help but think La La Land is going to get all the votes. Its beautiful, pristine, and flawless visual representation of LA and Hollywood is a detail that i think is going to secure the film with the win come Oscar night.
DIRECTING – NOMINEES
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Now in terms of who i think should win this award it’s one of the easiest decisions of the 2017 Oscars. What Mel Gibson managed to accomplish with Hacksaw Ridge after 10 years out of the directing chair is truly incredible. The way he films and constructs dramatic scenes as well as action oriented war sequences and has them both blend together flawlessly is something not many filmmakers working today can do. Although i just think Hollywood is at a point where they are willing to forgive Gibson enough to nominate him although not enough to give him the win. Which is unfair and a shame but thats just how it is. Really though this is another 2 man race it seems between Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins where it could really go either way. They might go for Damien Chazelle as La La Land is almost destined to win Best Picture or they might give it to Barry Jenkins just to share the awards around and give Moonlight something to celebrate.
FILM EDITING – NOMINEES
Hell or High Water
La La Land
This is probably one of the least recognised categories at the Oscars and should be one of the biggest. La La Land may not be the best at everything but the inventive and playful application of editing in the film i believe will get this film the win. The scene transitions and clever cuts to simulate a single seamless shot gives this film another hint of uniqueness and improves the overall quality of the film. Of the other nominees Hacksaw Ridge is one that stands out predominantly for how confronting and brutal the war scenes were made with clever editing especially in the final 30 minutes. Arrival is also up there mainly for a few key moments of editing that were especially notable such as the flashback sequences.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE) – NOMINEES
La La Land
If you think any film other than La La Land is going to win for original score something is very very wrong. I mean, the music is a character in the film, it is what brings everything; the tone, the story, and the emotion together to make everything work in unison. So yeah, no doubt this is going to be another win for La La Land.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG) – NOMINEES
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” – La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Trolls
“City of Stars” – La La Land
“The Empty Chair” – Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go” – Moana
Now for the category that takes up the most time at the ceremony. When it comes to best song none of my top 3 songs of 2016 even got nominated. “Drive it Like You Stole it” from Sing Street, “Another Day of Sun” from La La Land, and “Someone in the Crowd” from La La Land all missed out on nominations so i had to default back to the next song on the list which was “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. If i was to pick out of those 5 songs it would go to that from Moana which i do think has an outside shot at winning if somehow no-one votes for La La Land’s two entries……. But seriously, it’s going to be La La Land and if i was to take a punt, id say “City of Stars” will take it home.
SOUND EDITING – NOMINEES
La La Land
Now this is a tough category to call with both who i think should win and who i think will win. Really both of those answers are between Arrival, Deepwater Horizon, and Hacksaw Ridge as all three of those movies feature absolutely phenomenal sound design and editing. It is so close that no matter which one i choose i won’t be happy with the decision when i look at the other two choices and remember how good they were. So i’ll go with Hacksaw Ridge taking the win as the sound during war sequences was so harrowing that it sucks you into the world and makes you feel like you are on the battlefield with Andrew Garfield. Argh, it’s so hard but i’ll go with Deepwater Horizon for should win… no, wait, i’ll go with Arrival…. no, Hacksaw Ridge… It’s so damn close.
VISUAL EFFECTS – NOMINEES
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Well here it is, the annual ‘lets give Star Wars a nomination’ category… but unfortunately for Lucasfilm it isn’t going to win this award…. at least not this year. What ‘The Jungle Book’ managed to do with its visual effects is undeniably groundbreaking in the visual effects world, similar to how Avatar was in 2009. You wouldn’t even know without someone telling you that not only are the animals not real but 98% of what you see on screen looks like a green wall in real life. So for that achievement alone it is going to take home the Oscar. But for me, the stop motion animation in ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is the best stop motion i have ever seen to this day. It is so good and so clean that you forget at times that you are watching an animation, which is just brilliant. Do yourself a favour and look up behind the scenes videos of Kubo and the Two Strings, it is incredible seeing how they pulled everything off in such great detail.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY) – NOMINEES
Another two horse race here and it looks as though it will most likely end in Moonlight walking away with the award. Both Moonlight and Fences shine with fantastic, gripping, and emotional stories and also feature intense, real, scene stealing dialogue all the way through. Especially when looking at the dialogue and the way characters move about in a single long take i think Fences has the 1up on Moonlight in terms of who i’d give the award to. But, with Moonlight being just as good in that department and probably missing out on Best Picture i can see it taking home this award.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY) – NOMINEES
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women
Manchester by the Sea is a film i personally didn’t love all that much, aside from the phenomenal performance by Casey Affleck i thought the rest of that film was just fine. But that being said, it is one of the frontrunners to win this award and i’d say it is probably going to claim it come Oscar night. For me though it’s La La Land…. for all the reasons i’ve talked about in the above categories it just harbours great writing of story, characters, and character developments so i can’t pick anything else for the award.