My 2017 Oscar Picks!

And the Winner is…

This Sunday night’s 89th Academy Awards show on ABC is one of the most uncertain and open races in recent years.  First-time Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel kicks off the telecast at 5 pm, Arizona time.  Despite La La Land netting a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations (joining Titanic and All About Eve for the most ever), Oscar Night always manages to entertain and surprise viewers.  Expect the Hollywood love story to get stiff competition from Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight for the 8 ½ pound golden statuettes.

Here are my selections for who’ll win this year’s Academy Awards, honoring the highest achievements in filmmaking:

 

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Despite not being enthralled with either Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea, both films provided exceptional performances from their talented casts.  My vote would easily go to Viola Davis in FencesLion and Hidden Figures are the best movies on this 5-picture list, but Kidman and Spencer face an uphill battle.  And Williams?  Come on, she was barely in Manchester by the Sea…but her one memorable scene may be enough to sway Oscar voters.

Viola Davis (Fences) – Winner

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

 

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Never one to underestimate “The Rock”, I would be surprised if Moana mounted a serious enough challenge to Zootopia.  In fact, I’d place Kubo and the Two Strings slightly ahead of the Baywatch lifeguard.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life As A Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia – Winner

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

The best early indicators as to which film will take the Best Picture award is usually found in the winner’s circle of the acting, directing and cinematography categories. Without Amy Adams (Arrival) in the running for Best Actress, the edge here goes to La La Land, Moonlight, and Lion—in that order.

Arrival

La La Land – Winner

Lion

Moonlight

Silence

 

VISUAL EFFECTS

Although Doctor Strange didn’t gain tons of critical acclaim from either movie reviewers or audience members, everyone agreed that it look phenomenal on the big-screen.  The Doctor’s closest competitor is The Jungle Book, which I wouldn’t mind watching it take a well-deserved Oscar in this category.

Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange – Winner

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

COSTUME DESIGN

Early favorite Jackie still poses the greatest threat to Fantastic Beasts, followed by Florence Foster Jenkins.

(PHOTO: Russell Crowe in “The Nice Guys”.  Not nominated for any Oscars.)

 Allied

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Winner

Florence Foster Jenkins

Jackie

La La Land

 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

If you’re going to live long and prosper in the future, you need to look good doing it.  Mr. Scott, one golden statute to beam up.

A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond – Winner

Suicide Squad

(PHOTO: Chris Pine, Sofia Boutella, and the late Anton Yelchin in “Star Trek Beyond”)

 

SOUND MIXING

If Hacksaw Ridge has any hope of scoring gold in the telecast’s last hour, the World War 2 true story will need to mount a serious charge to this objective. Doubtful, but the spirit of Desmond Doss can’t be ignored or downplayed entirely.

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land – Winner

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

 

SOUND EDITING

Most winners in the Sound Mixing category run the table and take this Oscar too.  I’m counting on it.

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

 La La Land – Winner

Sully

 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

If Bridges doesn’t walk out with the Oscar in his hands, I’m going be unearthing some west Texas oil lands to find out who stole it! The scene near the end of Hell or High Water–where Bridges takes a rancher’s rifle into his own hands—should be studied in acting classes.  His range of emotions as grief, shock, elation, and back to sadness overwhelm him is fascinating to see unfold.  In the end, though, I think Academy scorecards give Ali the win with a TKO decision.

Mahershalia Ali (Moonlight) – Winner

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)

Dev Patel (Lion)

Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

 

FILM EDITING

So far, La La Land has been dominating Oscar Night.  This category will let us know which film has the best chance at taking the night’s top prize –Best Picture. La La Land is the heavy favorite in this category, but don’t discard Moonlight too quickly.  Outside shot…Arrival.

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

 La La Land – Winner

Moonlight

 

 

 

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

La La Land will withstand the test of time.  An instant classic that will continue to gain popularity in the next few decades a la Titanic.  Long shot is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Arrival

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

 La La Land – Winner

Passengers

 

ORIGINAL SCORE

This one feels like a no-brainer.  If the popular musical can’t take the top prize in this category, they’re going to have a bad night.  A very bad night.

Jackie

La La Land – Winner

Lion

Moonlight

Passengers

 

ORIGINAL SONG

Again, this should be an easy-peasy victory for the song and dance number from director Damien Chazelle. But from here on out, La La Land will have a serious fight on its hands in the acting, directing and best picture categories.

Audition – The Fools Who Dream (La La Land) – Winner

Can’t Stop The Feeling (Trolls)

City of Stars (La La Land)

The Empty Chair (Jim: The James Foley Story)

How Far I’ll Go (Moana)

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

I initially had given this one to Hidden Figures. But that was my heart talking, telling me that a win by the feel-good NASA true story would make Oscar’s trajectory all good in the world.  Or, perhaps, 2016’s most emotional film—Lion.  Unfortunately, the crack-addition narrative Moonlight makes her move here.

Arrival

Fences

Hidden Figures

Lion

Moonlight – Winner

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

I’m hoping to see some west Texas justice for Hell or High Water, but think that it may actually come to Manchester by the Sea, which steals an Oscar from the City of Stars.

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea – Winner

20th Century Women

 

DIRECTING

As the youngest director to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, the now 32-year old Chazelle is the heavy favorite.  Moonlight’s leader Barry Jenkins is a close second. Outlier: Lonergan for his Manchester by the Sea.

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)

Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson)

La La Land (Damien Chazelle) – Winner

Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

If were based solely on an actor’s ability to carry a film, Denzel Washington wins this easily.  Packing a stronger storyline with a larger supporting cast, Affleck’s distraught uncle character in Manchester by the Sea outshined Washington’s Pittsburgh garbage collector.

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) – Winner

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

One of the night’s biggest upsets could happen here.  Huppert’s portrayal of a rape victim in Elle has earned her numerous awards late last year and into 2017.  This remains, though, Stone’s Oscar to lose.

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Ruth Negga (Loving)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Emma Stone (La La Land) – Winner

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

 

BEST PICTURE

I only gave 3 films in 2016 an A+ letter grade—Hell or High Water, Lion, and La La Land.  But 3 of these nine nominees didn’t even make my Top 20 List for last year (Arrival, Fences, and Moonlight). Deservedly, Hidden Figures has gained momentum in recent months. Enough to earn the top award?  Probably not.  This one comes down to Moonlight and La La Land.

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

 La La Land – Winner

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Congratulations to all the winners!

 

 

© 2017, Patrick. All rights reserved.



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