Oscar Thoughts and Predictions 2017

oscars2017The Oscars are just around the corner once again, I’ve just about managed to catch every major film that was available to me, once again my predictions are in bold, thoughts underneath. While the films I was rooting for didn’t win last year, it was the first time in a very long time that I got the Best Picture pick wrong, so who knows, maybe we’ll be in for a few surprises this year too? Ultimately I think this is going to be the year of La La Land.

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

First of all, I’m so so happy that Arrival got in, it was my favourite film of last year and certainly the one I’d be voting for, but sadly it has no chance of winning. The Hacksaw Ridge nom is a little baffling, and the category is rounded out by fine if unremarkable films like Lion and Hidden Figures, I’m pleasantly surprised to see Hell or High Water in there as well, however this has been rumoured to be a three-horse race between Manchester by the Sea, La La Land and Moonlight for months now, with only in recent weeks Manchester dropping off. I can see Moonlight winning, and it would certainly be a bold statement to reward such an unconventional film over a, let’s be honest, very conventional one with La La Land. However, I did love La La Land, it’s the easy option and it’s probably going to sweep the board, and while it’ll lead to a drearily predictable backlash, I’d personally find little to complain about.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Not the strongest category this year, I’m pleased to see Viggo Mortensen got in, and he’s who I’d vote for from this batch. I don’t really know what Andrew Garfield’s doing there, and Gosling will probably win at some point or another, but it’s unlikely to be his this year. This looks to be between Casey Affleck and Denzel. I recently became aware that Affleck had some personal history brought to light that may well count against him, and Denzel would be a deserving ‘safe’ alternative. This could easily go either way but I’m going to pick Affleck.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

The good: Isabelle Huppert nominated for Elle, probably the boldest performance of last year, she could get in and deserves to, but this will more likely go to Emma Stone, as I feel the divisive Elle might have proven a bit too off-putting for some. The bad: where the hell is Amy Adams? She should be winning this, and instead has been passed over for yet another Meryl Streep nomination. We know, Meryl’s the best ever, but you don’t need to keep nominating her whenever she makes a movie, I’m sure she’ll happily go to the ceremony anyhow.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

 Some ridiculous category fraud going on here as usual, Jeff Bridges and Dev Patel were both top billed in their respective movies, and I really think that being so should disqualify you. Maybe then Sam Neill would have gotten in for Hunt for the Wilderpeople? Anyhow, Mahershala Ali seems to have had this in the bag for months now and I’d have no complaints about that.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea                

And in an even more blatant piece of category fraud, Viola Davis has been entered in supporting. It’s just ridiculous, if she’s a supporting performer in Fences then Ryan Gosling could be supporting in La La Land. Not only that, she’d almost definitely still win if she was in the lead. Anyhow, I didn’t like Fences that much overall but’s it’s hard to deny the power of her performance. She’s definitely going to win.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

This category has been a perpetual disappointment pretty much since it was first introduced, continually rewarding mediocre box office hits over genuinely innovative and great animated movies, and this year seems to continue that trend yet again. While it is great to see Kubo get a nomination, this will almost certainly go to Zootopia, which I’d rate below Moana even. Worst of all, that Japanese film Your Name is considerable better than every film here (caveat: I haven’t seen My Life as a Zucchini) and it isn’t even nominated. Oh well, yet another win for Disney, snooze.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

 A string category here, I’d vote for Arrival but would be fine with La La Land or Moonlight taking it, as with several categories that will likely be between them, I think La La Land will come out in front. I haven’t had a chance to see Silence yet but this is the only category it made it in.

COSTUME DESIGN
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land 

I see this going to Jackie’s sixties re-recreations.

DIRECTING

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

Again, so happy that Denis Villeneuve got a nomination, would love it if he wins but this is between Jenkins and Chazelle. I can see a scenario happening where Moonlight and La La Land split Best Picture and Director, which would be nice, but realistically I think La La Land is more likely to take both.  Also, though it would be totally ridiculous if he won, I can’t help but morbidly wonder what Mel Gibson’s acceptance speech might be.

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

I’ve seen three of these, O.J., 13th and Life, Animated and I think this has to go to the monumental achievement that is O.J.: Made in America, which would be richly deserved.

FILM EDITING

Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

The all-important Editing Oscar is often an indicator of the eventual Best Picture winner, and I think this will be another example of that with La La Land winning.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

I’ve only seen The Salesman and Toni Erdmann, the two favourites, and it could go either way but I’d give it to The Salesman, which would also, let’s be honest, send a positive message considering the controversy over Director Asghar Farhadi being potentially denied entry to the US.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

 Ah yes, the Oscar-nominated Suicide Squad! It would be somewhat hilarious if it were to actually win but this will probably go to Star Trek.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

An interesting bunch this year, plus Passengers, and while I think Jackie has the most unique and innovative score by far, this has got to be going to La La Land yes?

MUSIC (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

As I say every year, I hate this category and want it abolished. La La Land has two nods this year, and I think they could split the vote leaving it open for Moana to get in. City of Stars might well take it though, which I didn’t think was even the second best song from La La Land.

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

Great to see that Hail, Caesar! Got in somewhere, and I’d vote for Arrival, but it’s probably going to be another La La Land win.

SOUND EDITING
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

This has occasionally been a category where something that doesn’t win anything else gets in, and I think that’s going to happen again with Hacksaw Ridge this year, though I’d vote Arrival.

SOUND MIXING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

 A surprise nod for 13 Hours here, this could go to Hacksaw Ridge again bit I think it’ll be La La Land’s umpteenth win.

VISUAL EFFECTS
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 I didn’t much like The Jungle Book, but it’ll likely go down as a landmark in terms of visual effects, and it deserves to win here.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

As Moonlight and La La Land aren’t in the same category here, this should be Moonlight’s for the taking.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Despite that, I think that Manchester by the Sea is going to take the original, and it’s deserving of that.

I’ve not included the shorts again as I’ve seen hardly any of them

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