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Featured: 2017 Oscar Predictions

Featured: 2017 Oscar Predictions

Well, tonight is the night! It’s the Super Bowl of the movie season. It’s Oscar night, the final celebration of 2016 and everything it had to offer in film. Some categories are a lock, while other are up in the air, so it should be interesting to see how things play out. La La Land is sure to grab a ton of awards, but will it take Best Picture? It should be fun to see. At any rate, here are our predictions for this year’s Oscars:

BEST PICTURE
Arrival

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

Brendan

Will Win: Yes, it comes down to La La Land and Moonlight, but I find this one surprisingly tighter than I think people are giving it credit for. On one hand, the Academy loves movies about movies and performance (look at past winners like Birdman, Argo, The Artist, and Shakespeare in Love) and it’s such a joy of a film with all the statistics and momentum on its side. With that said, given the political landscape this year, Moonlight represents a commentary and statement that Academy voters are most likely willing to make. Plus, Moonlight already has its needed Screenplay and Acting win on its side to qualify for a Best Picture win as well (we all know the Academy loves to deviate its wins). La La Land is still the clear favorite, but a hunch tells me that we will see yet another split between Best Director and Best Picture, and I think Moonlight will ultimately take it home.

Should Win: This I’ll just keep simple and say Moonlight is easily my favorite of all the nominees, and arguably the objective best. Plus, it would be a huge blow and celebration for Moonlight to win given the political landscape in the U.S. these past weeks. But La La Land is my second favorite, and it’s rare that the two “frontrunners” in this category also happen to be my two favorites of the list of nominees. This ultimately makes me happy.

JD

Will Win: This should get interesting. The numbers say that La La Land will win Best Picture this year. Most pundits seem to believe that as well. However, there is a major X-factor here. Since the voting process began, President Trump has took office, which has spurred on lots of backlash from the Hollywood community. I would not be surprised if voters (many of them actors – who are very vocal about their political beliefs) went for Moonlight, as a way of speaking out against Trump and his politics. With that in mind, I’m picking Moonlight to upset La La Land for Best Picture, as it will send a stronger statement that will be historic in years to come.

Should Win: In terms of craft on its own, I think La La Land is quintessential in emulating the magic of cinema and why we go to the movies. It’s fun, inspiring and represents everything that cinema should be in terms of craft. Moonlight, in its own right, illustrates all those traits as well. As far as *should* goes, just pick one. I’ll be happy either way, even if I slightly (and I mean ever so slightly) prefer La La Land.

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

Brendan

Will Win: A few months ago I would’ve said Casey Affleck had this locked down, but now with his scandal looming a little stronger, it’s not so cut and dry. lus, with Denzel Washington having the SAG win on his side (no actor since 2003 who has won the SAG has then lost the Oscar), I ultimately feel Denzel Washington will take it home this year now.

Should Win: My feelings toward Viola Davis also tailor to Denzel Washington as well; he’s great in the film, but I can’t help but feel he’s given this performance before. Casey Affleck is on another level in Manchester by the Sea, and gives arguably my favorite performance of 2016; he’s my personal pick.

JD

Will Win: I know that Casey Affleck has been losing steam due to his scandal, and Denzel has been gaining steam, but I’m still going with Affleck here.

Should Win: As much as I love Denzel (and Viola Davis), their performances in Fences have already been recognized when they gave the exact same performances on the stage. As a result, I’m not as high on them as most people seem to be. That, and I think Affleck gave a performance of the decade so far. The subtlety and conviction of his performance was heartbreaking and true. He should win this award.

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

Brendan

Will Win: For a while, Natalie Portman was the frontrunner for her uncanny portrayal of Jackie Kennedy, but the film itself has begun to lose a little steam unfortunately, putting her a little more behind than before. And while Isabelle Huppert may certainly win for Elle (she does have a Golden Globe win on her side), I feel Emma Stone’s performance will speak most to the Academy’s soft spot.

Should Win: I would not be opposed to Emma Stone winning for La La Land, even if I slightly prefer Natalie Portman’s performance. But on a subjectively level, Ruth Negga’s performance in Loving hit me most hard than any of the other nominees; what she was able to convey with subtle eye contact and little to no dialogue speaks so much truth that I can’t quite say about the other nominees. Also, please put Meryl Streep in the penalty box.

JD:

Will Win: Huppert does pose a threat here, but given all of La La Land‘s momentum, I think that Stone wins this one here. And if you ask me, she absolutely deserves it.

Should Win: Amy Adams *should* have won this category for Arrival. But nope, The Academy lost its goddamn mind and didn’t even nominate her for this category. The only other true contender in this category is Portman’s immaculate portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in Jackie. Objectively speaking, I’d argue she gave the best performance of a lead actress last year and probably should win this award. However, Stone is great and is also deserving. Anyone else winning and I’d consider it an undeserved victory, even though I love Huppert as an actress.

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

Brendan

Will Win: It’s not even close, Mahershala Ali has it in the bag.

Should Win: Also not even close, Mahershala Ali for his unforgettable presence in Moonlight, a presence that lingers on even after his character leaves the film.

JD

Will Win: I agree with Brendan, Ali will take this one and it’s not close.

Should Win: MICHAEL SHANNON BABY!!!!! In all seriousness, while I love these nominees, this should be Ali’s to lose.

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

Brendan

Will Win: She won the Tony for Leading Actress back in 2010, and will win the Oscar for Fences; it’s Viola Davis’ to lose. She also has arguably the most screentime of all the nominees here; jeez, shouldn’t she be nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role?

Should Win: While I can’t deny that Viola Davis is great in Fences, I also can’t help but wonder how much of this performance is a recycling of what she already did on stage back in 2010. With that said, Michelle Williams makes such a pivotal impact in roughly 15 minutes of screentime in Manchester by the Sea; if that’s not what gets you an Oscar win, I don’t know what does.

JD

Will Win: No question, it’s Viola Davis for Fences.

Should Win: Of these nominee’s, it comes down to Naomie Harris of Moonlight and Williams from Manchester by the Sea. Either one should win the award.

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

Brendan

Will Win: The battle between La La Land and Moonlight continues. Either of these two young talented directors could very well take it home, but ultimately the technical prowess and tribute to Hollywood in La La Land’s direction will give Damien Chazelle his win in this category

Should Win: While I’m so happy to finally see Denis Villeneuve finally recognized as a Best Director nominee, Barry Jenkins’ use of seamless storytelling and cultural relatability makes this my personal pick here, easily. Although, I would not be disappointed to see Damien Chazelle inevitably win here.

JD

Will Win: Ideally, I would love to see Barry Chazelle win here for MoonLand. Since that’s probably not going to happen, Chazelle will take this one for La La Land.

Should Win: As much as I love Jenkins and Villeneuve, what Chazelle brings to La La Land in terms of old-school filmmaking and blending that with modern aesthetics, full-body choreography, great music, wonderful performances and cinematography, is breathtakingly beautiful. He deserves this award.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hell or High Water

La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Brendan

Will Win: This really comes down between Damien Chazelle or Kenneth Lonergan. Chazelle’s win would continue the momentum La La Land will inevitably receive, but I do think this will be the major win for Manchester by the Sea, and think Kenneth Lonergan will take it.

Should Win: I would love to see Kenneth Lonergan take it home, but my preference of all the nominees is absolutely Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for The Lobster, for their absurdity and satire on modern relationships. It won’t happen though, and the nomination itself will be their reward.

JD

Will Win: Manchester By the Sea all day baby.

Should Win: I do echo Brendan (above) that seeing The Lobster nominated here is pretty exciting. That screenplay (and film) is so weird, but immensily satisfying. That said, Lonergan’s screenplay for Manchester is beautifully nuances, too real and achingly sorrowful.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival

Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

Brendan

Will Win: Its seamless narrative and culturally timely story will give Barry Jenkins his win for Moonlight, and rightfully deserved.

Should Win: One of the few occasions in which my predicted winner is also my personal top choice, as I truly adore Barry Jenkins’ script for Moonlight. But I do at least want to acknowledge the complications and research that went into Eric Heisserer’s script for Arrival, which would be my second choice.

JD

Will Win: I agree with Brendan here, Jenkins and Moonlight will take this one away.

Should Win: The way Moonlight gives a voice to a demographic that is mostly voiceless in film is significant and should be noted. However, on the page, it’s simplicity keeps this film at #2 for me. In terms of screenplay, it’s impressive how Heisserer took a complex narrative and made it feel attainable as a story about a mother and a daughter. In theory, it could have failed miserably, but instead the screenplay for Arrival thrived massively. For that, it should win here, but most likely it will not.

BEST CINEMTOGRAPHY
Arrival

La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Brendan

Will Win: La La Land will continue its momentum for Linus Sandgren’s precise use of full-bodied choreography and camera mobility, and is his to lose at this point.

Should Win: I do love what Sandgren is doing in La La Land, but James Laxton’s slow, methodical, and poetic precision is something I just can’t ignore. That, alongside its subtle use of long takes and gorgeous color, makes Moonlight my pick.

JD

Will Win: Sandgren’s visual beauty in La La Land will deservedly take home this award.

Should Win: For clarity, I will be happy to see Sandgren win this award, but subjectively, I slightly prefer to see Laxton win for Moonlight. The way he captures the soul of the characters in Moonlight by focusing on the eyes of the performances, is simply breathtaking and magical.

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Brendan

Will Win: For both Disney and political reasons, Zootopia is most likely going to take this home; it’s too hard to say that the Academy will overlook an animated family film with such a timely and progressive political agenda as it relates to racial stereotypes.

Should Win: While Zootopia may be the more important and timely win, Kubo and the Two Strings just spoke on another level both emotionally and visually, and is my personal pick of the nominees.

JD

Will Win: Zootopia‘s acheivement is mighty impressive. It’s an animated film for kids, and adults, that tackles ideas of racism and prejudice, and does so without overbearing the film’s main narrative. It does deserve this award in many ways.

Should Win: Despite the prowess of Zootopia, Kubo and the Two Strings was on another level technically, while also providing an important story of its own about accepting grief as being human. Additionally, it’s the only other animated film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects since The Nightmare Before Christmas.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Jackie

La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Brendan

Will Win: Justin Hurwitz better have his acceptance speech ready, it’s his to lose.

Should Win: While I love Hurwitz’s music for La La Land, what Mica Levi did in adding to Jackie’s psychological turmoil and horror makes her score the most thematically relevant to its respective film; she is my personal pick here.

JD

Will Win: Hurwitz has this in the bag, as he should.

Should Win: The score to La La Land is alluring musically, but more than that, it wonderfully amplifies the film’s notions of dreams and reaching for the stars.

Huge movie fanatic and InSession Film founder and owner. I pretend to know a lot about movies, but mostly I'm good at discussing them. My favorite movies include Shawshank Redemption, Warrior, Top Gun and Transformers (fav as a kid!). Follow me on Twitter @RealJDDuran

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