Oscar Predictions 2017

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By Matt Reinstein

Arts Reporter

Best Picture

Nominees:

Arrival– Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder, and David Linde

Fences– Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington, and Todd Black

Hacksaw Ridge– Bill Mechanic and David Permut

Hell or High Water– Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn

Hidden FiguresDonna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi

La La Land– Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt

Lion– Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder

Manchester by the Sea– Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh

Moonlight– Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

Will Win: La La Land

Could Spoil: Moonlight

Should Win: Moonlight

Shouldn’t Be There: Lion

Was Robbed: The Lobster

It will come as no surprise to me if the Academy chooses La La Land as their top film of the year, because the Academy historically cherishes everything that La La Land is. A film which pays homage or any sort of respect to classic Hollywood will surely be honored. It’s what happened in 2012 with The Artist and it’ll likely happen again this year with La La Land. The only way La La Land won’t win, in my opinion, is if either the Academy gains any small amount of modesty, or– and it’s a big “or”– if because the race between Moonlight and La La Land is very tight, they give Best Director to one, and Best Picture to the next. However, I don’t see this happening, as the Academy has a notorious history of overlooking films that shine a spotlight on race and culture. Because Moonlight embodied a sense of rawness and placidity with such naked and vulnerable views towards growing up and self-discovery, along with exceptional all-around acting, it would be my pick for the year’s best, with a distant second of Manchester by the Sea. Again, in my humble opinion, I’m apprehensive to even put La La Land in the top five of the nominees, let alone the best of all of the films of the year.

Best Actor

Nominees:

Casey Affleck- Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield- Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling- La La Land

Viggo Mortensen- Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington- Fences

Will Win: Denzel Washington

Could Spoil: Casey Affleck

Should Win: Casey Affleck

Shouldn’t Be There: Ryan Gosling

Was Robbed: Colin Farrell- The Lobster

There has been quite some controversy in this category due to sexual harassment allegations against Affleck. I have thought long and hard about whether or not this should affect the outcome of the award, because I do believe Affleck gave the best performance. To me, all of the other actors in the category were living in their roles, but I challenge you to watch Affleck’s performance and tell me he was doing anything else other than being his character, which is the ultimate form in the art of performance. Now, back to the controversy: However heinous these accusations are and however seriously I believe they should be taken, I do not believe that they should affect the outcome of this category. The award is for Best Actor, not Best Person; it celebrates performance, not personality. Personally, my respect for the Academy would lessen if I felt they refused Affleck the award due to political reasons, no matter how serious those reasons might be.

Best Actress

Nominees:

Isabelle Huppert- Elle

Ruth Negga- Loving

Natalie Portman- Jackie

Emma Stone- La La Land

Meryl Streep- Florence Foster Jenkins

Will Win: Emma Stone

Could Spoil: Natalie Portman

Should Win: Emma Stone

Shouldn’t Be There: Meryl Streep

Was Robbed: Viola Davis- Fences

Emma Stone has been moving and grooving this awards season, and I don’t think anyone, except a possible spoil from Natalie Portman, can slow her down. This is definitely one of the weaker categories, along with “Best Supporting Actor,” and there were a lot of snubs, in my opinion. Min-Hee Kim from The Handmaiden was excellent, and I would have liked to see a foreign movie nominated for one of the core five awards. While Amy Adams’ role in “Arrival” didn’t seem to ask much of her, her performance was better than most of the nominees on the list. And yes, I know, Viola Davis was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but that was a leading role! She would probably win this category, and is probably more deserving of the award than anyone this year.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

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

Could Spoil: No one

Should Win: Mahershala Ali

Shouldn’t Be There: Dev Patel

Was Robbed: Ben Foster- Hell or High Water

Just give the award to the entire cast of Moonlight, please? There is absolutely no one more deserving of the award than Ali. With his masterful control and tone, as well as overall presence, Ali should just be handed the award right now. This is not to say that the other nominees’ performances weren’t good– they were all great. Jeff Bridges was cowboy Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water, which was awesome; Lucas Hedges gave some dark humor and life to Manchester by the Sea; and Dev Patel was wonderful in the final moments of Lion. But this year was Ali’s, and the only people who could dethrone him are the three actors who portrayed Chiron in the same film.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

Viola Davis- Fences

Naomie Harris- Moonlight

Nicole Kidman- Lion

Octavia Spencer- Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams- Manchester by the Sea

Will Win: Viola Davis

Could Spoil: Michelle Williams

Should Win: Viola Davis

Shouldn’t Be There: Nicole Kidman

Was Robbed: No one

This is Davis’s category, similar to the Supporting Actor category being Ali’s. Despite this, Williams’ performance in Manchester by the Sea made for one of the best scenes of the year, and also the most heartbreaking. Additionally, Harris gave a difficult-to-watch performance, portraying Chiron’s crack-addicted mom who doesn’t have any time to be a mother. Though these two performances were powerhouses, I don’t see anything to the caliber of Davis’s performance in Fences.

Best Director

Nominees:

Denis Villeneuve- Arrival

Mel Gibson- Hacksaw Ride

Damien Chazelle- La La Land

Kenneth Lonergan- Manchester by the Sea

Barry Jenkins- Moonlight

Will Win: Damien Chazelle

Could Spoil: Barry Jenkins

Should Win: Moonlight

Shouldn’t Be Here: No one

Was Robbed: No one

Everything is in the right place here, except for the outcome. All of the nominees are perfect. Nobody was snubbed in this category, and no one is in the running who shouldn’t be. Every director is deserving of the award. Denis Villeneuve, the mind behind the twisted, mature, dramatic, and most importantly, realistic portrayal of an alien arrival; Mel Gibson, providing the realism, vividness, grit, and courage; Damien Chapelle, the man who created the “modern musical” (though it’s not that different from a classic one); Kenneth Lonergan, the New York man who orchestrated a film whose production and final product can be compared to a death or funeral; and finally, Barry Jenkins, The man who poured his heart and displayed it on screen with such tenderness and vulnerability. This category is up for grabs, and the most tightly contested, and could very well determine the winner of Best Picture.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Hell or High Water– Taylor Sheridan

La La Land– Damien Chazelle

The Lobster– Yorgos Lanthimos

Manchester by the Sea– Kenneth Lonergan

20th Century Women– Mike Mills

Will Win: Damien Chazelle- La La Land

Should Win: Yorgos Lanthimos- The Lobster

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees:

Arrival– Eric Heisserer

Fences– August Wilson

Hidden Figures– Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

Lion– Luke Davies

Moonlight– Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Will Win: Barry Jenkins- Moonlight

Should Win: Barry Jenkins

Shouldn’t Be There: Luke Davies- Lion

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Arrival– Brad Youndford

La La Land– Linus Sandgren

Lion– Greg Fraser

Moonlight– James Laxton

Silence– Rodrigo Prieto

Will Win: Rodrigo Prieto- Silence

Should Win: James Laxton- Moonlight

Shouldn’t Be There: Greg Fraser- Lion

Best Animated Picture

Nominees:

Kubo and the Two Strings– Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner

Moana– John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer

My Life as a Zucchini– Claude Barras and Max Carli

The Red Turtle– Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki

Zootopia– Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Will Win: Kubo and the Two Stings

Should Win: Zootopia

Shouldn’t Be There: Moana

Best Editing

Nominees:

Arrival– Joe Walker

Hacksaw Ridge– John Gilbert

Hell or High Water– Jake Roberts

La La Land– Tom Cross

Moonlight– Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Will Win: John Gilbert- Hacksaw Ridge

Should Win: John Gilbert- Hacksaw Ride

Shouldn’t Be Here: Tom Cross- La La Land

Best Music (Original Score)

Nominees:

Jackie– Mica Levi

La La Land– Justin Hurwitz

Lion– Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka

Moonlight– Nicholas Britell

Passengers– Thomas Newman

Will Win: Justin Hurwitz- La La Land

Should Win: Nicholas Britell- Moonlight

Shouldn’t Be There: Justin Hurwitz- La La Land

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