2017 Oscar Predictions



If "Moonlight" wins Best Picture it will not be because the Academy is trying to make a point or right a wrong. It will be because they believe it to be the Best Picture of the year. The campaigning for "Moonlight" has been intense the last couple of weeks. It is everywhere. People are practically begging the Academy to vote for it. Right the wrongs of the past!

Here's the thing. Nothing will ever change the fact that "Brokeback Mountain" lost to "Crash."
And, perhaps most importantly, the Academy won't right a wrong they don't think exists. They are the people who made that decision in the first place!

I am predicting a 10 win sweep for "La La Land," which terrifies me.  One upset (Original Screenplay, Ryan Gosling) or perhaps Costume Design (which I'm not predicting) and it could, if I am right, tie the record for most Oscar wins ever.

I could be completely off here, blinded by my passion for the film. We will know soon enough.

For better or worse, here are my predictions. I've linked my original discussion on each category if you'd like some additional thoughts.


BEST PICTURE

La La Land
Moonlight
Arrival
Manchester by the Sea
Hidden Figures
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Fences
Lion

With all of the noise that comes with Oscar campaigning, it's easy to forget the beginning. I can remember quite clearly when the trailer for "Moonlight" broke, shocking almost everyone.  Could a movie about a gay black man actually be an awards contender? Could there be a successor to "Brokeback Mountain?" I honestly believed that was our only shot at a "gay" film winning Best Picture. "Carol" couldn't even get nominated. And then the film came out and certainly lived up to expectations.

And then there is "La La Land." The first headline I read from Vanity Fair was "La La Land Stuns at the Venice Film Festival." The reviews were knock outs. It didn't win the big prize at Venice, but Emma Stone did. It did win in Toronto and premiered to huge success at Telluride. "La La Land" is still the film that stunned, no matter how many think pieces were published. Remember, outlets need articles. They need readers. And they need conflict to get those readers.

There is some talk that "Hidden Figures" could sneak in, and that would certainly be an exciting end to the ceremony and the season. But it just wouldn't be right. This season is about these two films, "Moonlight" and "La La Land," and always has been. Sorry "Manchester." These are the best 2 films I have seen in six years. And for me, "La La Land" is better. And I believe the Academy will agree.

Will win: La La Land
Should win: La La Land

BEST DIRECTOR

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

Again, what Barry Jenkins does with "Moonlight" is incredible. And he should be awarded for his work in the screenplay category. Watching the video of Damien Chazelle directing the camera operator in the club scene with Ryan Gosling playing on the piano reminds me of a video of Tarantino directing "Pulp Fiction." And the opening scene. The "Lovely Night" number. The epilogue! I could go on and on. Chazelle deserves this win.

Will win: Damien Chazelle
Should win: Damien Chazelle

BEST ACTOR
Actor, Actress, Live Action Short (27 Days of Oscar, day 27 part 2)
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Denzel Washington, Fences
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

I've been saying over and over that Casey Affleck gives the best performance of the year in "Manchester By the Sea," and I believe the Academy will come through for him. So many pundits are going with Denzel, and they could be right. 

Will win: Casey Affleck
Should win: Casey Affleck

BEST ACTRESS
Actor, Actress, Live Action Short (27 Days of Oscar, day 27 part 2)
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Ruth Negga, Loving
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

I rewatched "Elle" last night, and Huppert is superb, but I think Stone is going to take this. I actually have a harder time picking my "should win." Portman and Huppert are so incredible. But Natalie Portman takes it for me. And if she hadn't won for "Black Swan" (which would have sent me into hysterics!) she would be winning here. Emma Stone is also remarkable in "La La Land." I watched it for a third time and she is beyond effervescent as Mia. And the performance goes much beyond that. Just look at the very first audition. And of course, the last one. It's a great year for actresses. 

Will win: Emma Stone
Should win: Natalie Portman


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress (27 Days of Oscar, day 24)
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Will it be an upset if Ali loses? Not to Patel, I guess. Many people are going with him for the win. Based on one award. I just don't see it happening. If anything, the Academy will go with Bridges, (Remember Rylance!) but doubtful.

Will win: Mahershala Ali
Should win: Jeff Bridges

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress (27 Days of Oscar, day 24)
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

This is probably a bigger lock that Damien Chazelle for Best Director. DO NOT listen to the nonsense from the Hollywood Reporter's Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot. That is one person amongst 6000. The HR isn't going to publish something vanilla. (Again, the conflict gets the readership!) Viola will win. Viola should win. It's not category fraud.

Will win: Viola Davis
Should Win: Viola Davis

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Screenplay (27 Days of Oscar, day 15)
La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
Hell or High Water
20th Century Women
The Lobster

I am not in the camp that thinks "La La Land" shouldn't be here. I think it has a fantastic screenplay. The epilogue is part of the screenplay even if it is told without words. But some people don't get that and will never get it. I think that "20th Century Women" is absolutely worthy of the win as well. But this award belongs to Lonergan.

Will win: Manchester By the Sea
Should win: Manchester By the Sea

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Screenplay (27 Days of Oscar, day 15)
Moonlight
Fences
Hidden Figures
Arrival
Lion

Will win: Moonlight
Should win: Moonlight

There are some people suggesting that "Lion" could sneak in here. I actually see "Fences" having a better shot at an upset. But really. It has to go to "Moonlight."

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
Oscars' Foreign Language Nominees
Toni Erdmann (Germany)
The Salesman (Iran)
A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
Land of Mine (Denmark)
Tanna (Australia)

Will win: The Salesman
Should win: The Salesman

This is a tough one. Erdmann is the critical darling. But not winning at Cannes is telling. I think all 5 films are worthy of a win. But "The Salesman" is a fantastic film and has the Oscar story.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Cinematography (27 Days of Oscar, day 10)
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Will win: La La Land
Should win: La La Land

I was tempted to choose "Silence" for my should win. But I'm feeling "La La Land."

BEST FILM EDITING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Hell or High Water
Moonlight

Will win: La La Land
Should win: La La Land

Looks like I never really talked about this. I think that "Moonlight," in another year could really win here. And it would be fantastic as this is the first time a black woman (2nd black person), Joi McMillion, has been nominated in this category. But the craft in "La La Land" is simply undeniable.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Production and Costume Design (27 Days of Oscar, day 11)
Arrival
La La Land
Hail Caesar!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Passengers

This one is a bit up in the air for some. As I said in my earlier piece about this category, "Fantastic Beasts" may fit the "mold," but no Harry Potter film has ever won an Oscar. Don't see this being the first.

Will win: La La Land
Should win: La La Land

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Production and Costume Design (27 Days of Oscar, day 11)
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Jackie

Will win: Jackie
Should win: Jackie

Just last night "Jackie" lost to "Hidden Figures." But "HF" isn't nominated for the Oscar. Contemporary rarely wins in this category, so I'm betting against "La La Land" and going with "Jackie."

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Makeup and Hairstyling (27 Days of Oscar, day 22)
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Will win: Star Trek Beyond
Should win: Star Trek Beyond

Another tough one. It would be fantastic if "A Man Called Ove" came away with the win, but I think the Academy will go with Star Trek.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Animated Feature, Animated Short (27 Days of Oscar, day 21)
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

I cannot listen to my passion in this category. "My Life as a Zucchini," according to me, is clearly the best of the 5. Followed by "The Red Turtle." I enjoyed "Zootopia," but I just don't get the fact that it's going to win. I thought the same with "Big Hero" six and was wrong.

Will win: Zootopia
Should win: My Life as a Zucchini

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Score, Song, Visual Effects (27 Days of Oscar, day 27 part 1)
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

I want to go with "Doctor Strange" here. Mostly because I feel the Academy as a whole will go for the showiest of the bunch. But "Jungle Book"'s visuals are so phenomenal, I have to believe that they will see that.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Score, Song, Visual Effects (27 Days of Oscar, day 27 part 1)
"The Empty Chair" from Jim: The James Foley Story
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls

I like "City of Stars." I do. But for me, "Audition" is the best of these nominees. "How Far I'll Go" could win. It could...but how can they not give the musical that will more than likely sweep, Best Original Song?

Will win: City of Stars
Should win: Audition

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Score, Song, Visual Effects (27 Days of Oscar, day 27 part 1)
La La Land
Lion
Jackie
Moonlight
Passengers

Will win: La La Land
Should win: Moonlight

This is such a touch category! "La La Land" has a fantastic score, and it will win. But the best scores of the year, in my opinion, belong to "Jackie" and "Moonlight." They are like additional characters in the film. The thing is, though..."La La Land"'s score IS the film.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Documentary, More Accessible and Necessary Than Ever
13th
Fire At Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life Animated
O.J.: Made in America

Will win: O.J. Made in America
Should win: Fire at Sea

This could really go several ways. I'm SO tempted to go with "I Am Not Your Negro." I've been feeling the momentum build for months and months. And OJ peaked a long time ago. But I simply don't have the nerve to go against OJ. I wish "Fire At Sea" was more of a contender. But it's nomination is its prize.

BEST SOUND MIXING
Sound Mixing, Sound Editing (27 Days of Oscar, day 26)
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

This one is "La La Land' all the way.

Will win: La La Land
Should win: La La Land

BEST SOUND EDITING
Sound Mixing, Sound Editing (27 Days of Oscar, day 26)
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

The sound in "Arrival" is so stunning. In the way I described "Moonlight" and "Jackie"'s scores, I would also apply the sound in "Arrival." But I think this will be one of those years where both sound awards go to one film. 

Will win: La La Land
Should win: Arrival

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Actor, Actress, Live Action Short (27 Days of Oscar, day 27 part 2)
Ennemis Interierus
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Time Code

Here's the thing with the shorts. Go with your heart. This one is easy because the category is so week. "Sing" is by far the best.

Will win: Sing
Should win: Sing

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Animated Feature, Animated Short (27 Days of Oscar, day 21)
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

"Pearl" is the first VR (I think) nominee in this category, and it is my favorite. It could honestly go any way. 

Will win: Pearl
Should win: Pearl

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Documentary Short (27 Days of Oscar, day 19)
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe's Violin
Watani My Homeland
The White Helmets

"Joe's Violin" was ok. Quite moving. But "Extremis" is the one that immediately shook me and has stayed with me. And I'm guessing Netflix spared no expense on the campaign. 

Will win: Extremis
Should win: Extremis

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