As of 5pm PST, ballots were due and the Oscar season as it were was set in stone. Almost immediately after the deadline, the Hollywood Reporter (a publication I adore) published their Brutally Honest Oscar ballots. I despise this Oscar season tradition. It's like feeding a Mogwai after midnight. Or maybe throwing a Gremlin in water...it just feeds negativity that has already boiled out of hand, and Twitter responded exactly as expected. It's exactly why they do it. But it means nothing.
Around 7:30 CST I finished my own Oscar viewing with "Sing" the live action short. It was a great film and an incredible way to finish out my season. I have never managed to finish watching all of the nominated films by the ballot deadline, which means my predictions will be as pure as they could possibly be. Those will be posted tomorrow. 47 feature films and 15 shorts. Not the most I've ever watched, but an accomplishment nonetheless.
Speaking of "Sing...."
Best Live Action Short
La Femme et le TGV
"Timecode" has a unique premise. Two security guards communicate with each other through post it notes, security cameras and modern dance. And "La Femme et le TGV," about a baker, Elise, who begins a correspondence with a train operator is a charming, if slight little film. But this is the Academy Awards. I know there are better shorts out there. I saw some at Oxford Film Festival! "Ennemis Interieurs" is timely and quite well acted, a distant 2nd place.
That leaves "Sing." It is really brilliant. As bad as the actors were in "Silent Nights," the kids in "Sing" are remarkable. Shorts have the opportunity to be so many things, but I prefer them when they are simple, succinct, and with a nice little twist. I think the Academy likes that as well. This is a no-brainer for me. If you can, check it out.
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Denzel Washington, Fences
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
This is going to be one of those categories that might make all the difference when it comes to predictions. Last year I was able to get all of the major awards except for Rylance, although I had been writing about the fact that he might win. I'm going to go with my gut in all categories, and I have to go with Casey Affleck. It is the best performance of the year. Especially by a man. As good as Denzel is, I just can't see the Academy going a different way. Denzel has really only won one award. The SAG. And suddenly all the pundits are abandoning Affleck. Not me. I could be wrong, but if I miss this I want to miss it honestly. I'm not going to pick Denzel or Patel. Last year I picked "The Revenant" all based on last minute bugaboos and a couple of wins. It was always "Spotlight." Always.
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Ruth Negga, Loving
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
This category might be harder for me in terms of what should win, not who will win. We merely have to look at 2013 and Emmanuelle Riva, Julie Christie in 2008 and 2000 with Ellen Burstyn to know how this is going to play out. As fantastic as Isabelle Huppert is, I just can't see it happening. When I saw "Jackie" I honestly couldn't see anyone beating Natalie Portman. And I had already watched "Elle." If I was voting, I would struggle between the two of them. And I think this could be why Emma Stone will win. And she is really great in the movie.
OK...that's almost all the categories.
Until tomorrow, I leave you with possibly my favorite still from all of the nominated films. From "Sing":