Every year I furiously watch as many Oscar nominated films as I can to put together my predictions list. Here’s what I’m thinking for this year:
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences
Who I think should win: Viggo Mortensen’s performance was so far reaching from what we know him for. Also, it showed layers that I think were lacking in the other performances. But unfortunately is was an indie film that didn’t get a lot of distribution.
Who will win: I think at this point, Denzel’s edged out Casey Affleck because of Affleck’s controversy surrounding the two sexual harassment lawsuits he conveniently settled before the start of an aggressive award season. Even though Denzel has his Tony from the same performance, Fences was completely Viola Davis’ movie, but I still think he can expect an Oscar to keep his Tony company.
Isabell Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Who I think should win: Although I have a soft spot for foreign actresses and Isabell Huppert won the Golden Globe and was not nominated for a SAG, Elle is a difficult movie to watch, and I think that will turn off academy voters. Plus, she doesn’t get really ugly in it and for a movie about rape to hit home in a looks obsessed industry, she would have to get ugly – think Charlize Theron, Hallie Berry – and Isabell just…doesn’t. Ruth Negga, however, shows such depth and beauty in Loving that you want to watch it more than once. But, this performance was so quiet, it won’t get a lot of attention.
Who will win: Emma Stone has taken almost every award out there, even though she’s far from the best performance out of the five. I’m mean, I was so incredibly distracted by her the prominence of her skinny shoulder blades sticking awkwardly out of her dress, I could barely ignore the bad singing. The industry has spoken – she’ll get it.
Best Supporting Actor:
Maherhala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
Who I think should win: This category is always difficult. Maherahal Ali’s performance was so memorable it swept this category all award season, with the exception of the Golden Globe. But Dev Patel in Lion was so far from the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with his emotional arc that you couldn’t help but root for him. It’s a real tossup between these two.
Who will win: Maherahal Ali. His portrayal of a drug dealer and father figure has you liking and hating him at the same time. Tough. Very tough.
Best Supporting Actress:
Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
Who I think should win: Naomie Harris’ performance was really too short to be considered, even though Judy Dench’s three minute performance in Shakespeare in Love garnered her the statue. Michelle Williams’ role was small and her devastating final scene with Affleck rivals that of Viola Davis. Davis also took home the Tony for her stage performance and she has swept every one this award season. Her moving scene when she lets Denzel have it is so powerful, it makes almost every woman want to stand up and cheer.
Who will win: Viola Davis. She was absolutely on fire in Fences. She’ll take it home, and I can’t wait to hear her acceptance speech.
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Who I think should win: Tough. I have to admit that nothing really moved me this year as much as Moonlight. Such terrible subjects to a terrible story. La La Land left me underwhelmed. Damien Chazelle’s attempt at being the next Orson Wells with his one continuous opening shot was lack luster. And I had enough of leading actors being cast as singers with Pierce Brosnan in Mama Mia and Russell Crowe in Les Miserables – yeah, I said it!! Arrival was over rated and honestly took way too much brainpower, removing watchers from the story to try to figure out the timeline. Where is she? Who knows what? What, wait? What time is it? Too hard. Manchester by the Sea, although well executed, fell short when it came to Moonlight. And as much as Casey Affleck seemed to stretch in his role, he always comes across as a bit whiney to me. Mel Gibson…well, I won’t lie to you, the film wasn’t good enough for me to forgive his drunken tirade on the side of Pacific Coast Highway.
Who will win: As much as I disagree – it’s Damien’s this year. Hollywood is in the mood to pour some love on an extremely over rated film – just like the horrible film Crash was elevated to an okay film to a masterpiece examining social issues. Hooey. It’s all hooey. But it’s also Hollywood.
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Who I think should win: It’s pretty well thought that Best Director and Best Picture usually go to the same project. Although last year they did switch it up with Spotlight winning best picture and best director going to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman. Hell or High Water was way too reminiscent of True Grit (for me) and as much as I feel Hidden Figures should be applauded, the story wasn’t strong enough for me. Hacksaw Ridge is the classic Hollywood winner, but it’s been way overshadowed by the fluff of La La Land and the insightfulness of Moonlight and Lion. Arrival had beautiful cinematography, but did I mention it was…REALLY CONFUSING!!!??? All in all, if you ask me what film moved me the most, it was Moonlight by far. But it won’t win.
Who will win: La La Land. This mediocre musical with super bad singers has managed to elbow its way to the front – a by product of the election and the terrible crap that has transpired in political circles. Hollywood would rather place its highest honor on a relatively forgettable film than reward something for serious thought or groundbreaking topics. It wouldn’t be the first time. Plus, La La Land represents the want and need of art in one’s life, as well as love and who doesn’t want both of those?
So those are my thoughts for the big ticket categories. Oscars are starting any minute tonight. Happy watching!