2017 Oscar Predictions

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:

Best Actor:

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.

Best Actress:

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.

Best Director:

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.

Best Picture:



Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

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!

Fantastic Beasts…And What I Think of Them

This review contains SPOILERS and lots of them. Don’t continue reading if you don’t want to know. Really. Stop right here!

trailer fantastic beasts and where to find them

Probably by now all the diehard Harry Potter fans have made their way to the theater to see the latest installment – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film, written this time, directly by J.K. Rowling herself is a visual delight, although, it does lack in the story department.

Newt Scamander (adequately played by Eddie Redmayne) comes to New York City, fresh off the boat from the U.K., which formulates the first question – Why did he have to come by boat? Can’t he just apparate? I mean, what’s the point of being a wizard if you can’t easily get to point A to point B? Also, he claims he’s come to America to release one of his creatures back into the wild of a magical place known as…Arizona. Couldn’t he just go straight there and bypass NYC all together? It’s a confusing way to start.

There also seems to be every opportunity imaginable to preach the ever popular Potterverse of tolerance. Don’t get me wrong, I like the message of everyone should get along, but the character of Mary Lou, (played by Samantha Morton) a regular ‘ol human who believes there are witches among us, but turns out to be quite a witchy person herself, seems oddly conceived and oddly used. Honestly, there are too many characters in this film and a lot of new Potterverse world building stuff is introduced to propel the plot forward. It would have made it stronger to stick with Newt and what drives him to do what he does, rather than introduce so many new people and the war In America with keeping magic secret, as well as the ever growing powers and threat of the dark wizard Grindewald. Too much. Too much happening!

The film is visually stunning. The beasts are real and beautiful and the wonderment of the wizarding world is experienced by the Muggle, or to use the U.S. lingo, No-Mag, Jacob Kowalski (notice the initials here?), which is delightful. The experience is reminiscent of the magic at the first viewing of the very first Harry Potter film. And who doesn’t want to relive that moment?

Interstellar – Nothing Really Stellar About It


Christopher Nolan – famously known for his breakout film Memento – and more recently for his contributions to the Bat Man universe – has come out with another special effects heavy film Interstellar. Unfortunately it is so reminiscent of his previous work, Inception. This time the Ellen Page character is pretty much the ENTIRE cast of  Interstellar. There is so much exposition in this movie that you begin to doubt your ability to comprehend anything – nothing is truly explained. All it manages to do is demonstrate how little trust the writers have in their audience to catch on to what is going on. And that just makes for the fodder of more jokes to be mined by the writers of The Big Bang Theory. Continue reading “Interstellar – Nothing Really Stellar About It”

Oscars are over. Now what?

So all the pomp and circumstance around the Oscars is over. Ellen DeGeneres headed up a great party, even providing her guests pizza. And who knew that all those famous people could photo bomb so well? Overall, it was an entertaining evening with not many surprises outside John Travolta’s new toupee and his terrible faux pas – who the hell is Adele Nazeem? Poor Idina.

John Travolta, Idina Menzel, Oscars Show

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Continue reading “Oscars are over. Now what?”

Divergent and Matched – Repressed Virgins Save the World!

So the YA book market as well as the movie world are living large off the many versions of dystopian futures where the youth of the time must save the day – Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched just to name a few. But the thing NOBODY is talking about is how these books have 16-year-olds basically ready to beat the shit out of each other – but none of them ever think or want to have sex. Have the teenagers of the future turned into a bunch of eunuchs and nuns?

I think it’s really interesting that the super uber Christian authors, particularly Veronica Roth author of the Divergent books, thinks it’s okay to have a female character want to expand her world by entering a society without any sort of parental supervision that revels in violence, where bashing in someone’s face until they bleed is rewarded, and where one reveals personality and shows rebellion by getting tattooed, but can never express one ounce of lust or simple human biology. Her characters are mired by their need to save society and yet are completely clueless of what it means to be human.

The Matched series by Ally Condie is even more repressed. The dystopian society built in this series eliminates all creative outlets, matches kids up on their seventeenth birthday but they can hardly touch each other and where relationships are only maintained to propagate the species – but then again sex is NEVER mentioned. And it’s still up to the teenagers to save the world.

I’m not saying that all YA novels have to be as blatant and open as Forever, by Judy Blume, but it’s just ridiculous to continue to place teenagers in incredibly adult situations and never expect it to come up.