Monday, February 20, 2017

Oscar Predictions 2017

Your Guide to the Academy Awards
by Kam Williams

Will La La Land make history by eclipsing the record of 11 Academy Awards? Damien Chazelle's magical homage to the Hollywood musical definitely has a decent shot. After all, it's a lock to win in 5 categories: Best Picture, Director, Score, Original Song, and Sound Mixing. And it 's the heavy favorite in another 5: Lead Actress, Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design and Film Editing. 
That leaves Sound Editing, Original Screenplay and Lead Actor. La La's best shot at tying the record will be by beating the World War II epic, Hacksaw Ridge in Sound Editing. 
If successful there, it has two paths to 12. Unfortunately, Ryan Gosling is unlikely to win for Lead Actor because he's up against some very stiff competition in Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington. That leaves Original Screenplay where Manchester by the Sea has the advantage by virtue of its being a super-realistic drama as opposed to an escapist musical fantasy.

Nevertheless, I'm optimistic that the Academy voters will pull the lever for the very-deserving La La Land a record-breaking dozen times.

The Envelope Please
Who Will Win, Who Deserves to Win, Who Was Snubbed

Best Picture

Will Win: La La Land
Deserves to Win: La La Land
Overlooked: Deadpool

Best Director

Will Win: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Deserves to Win: Damien Chazelle
Overlooked: Denzel Washington (Fences) and Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures)
Comment : Wunderkind Damien Chazelle, at 32, becomes the youngest Best Director winner in history.

Best Actor

Will Win: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Deserves to Win: Casey Affleck
Overlooked: Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Comment: Denzel Washington might upset Affleck, if the Academy decides to overcompensate for its complete snubbing of minority actors the last two years. And Ryan Gosling has a puncher's chance of prevailing if La La Land's sweep turns out to be a record-breaking tsunami.

Best Actress

Will Win: Emma Stone (La La Land)
Deserves to Win: Emma Stone
Overlooked: Amy Adams (Arrival) and Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
Comment: Stone is a shoo-in for three reasons. First, Viola Davis opted to compete in the Supporting Actress category. Second, it was an off-year for perennial-nominee Meryl Streep whose performance in Florence Foster Jenkins was undeserving. Third, Amy Adams wasn't even nominated. Fourth, Emma's the only Lead Actress nominee whose movie was also nominated for Best Picture.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Deserves to Win: Mahershala Ali
Overlooked: Andre Holland (Moonlight) and John (La La Land)
Comment: 2016 was a breakout year for Mahershala Ali who was only on screen in Moonlight for about 20 minutes. But he always cuts such a mesmerizing presence that he could have just as easily been nominated for Hidden Figures, Kicks or Free State of Jones.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Viola Davis (Fences)
Deserves to Win: Viola Davis
Overlooked: Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women) and Janelle Monae (Moonlight)
Comment: Viola Davis finally gets the Oscar she deserved for The Help. This go-round, she strategically avoided a head-to-head showdown with Meryl Streep by downsizing her starring role into a support performance.

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: La La Land
Deserves to Win: La La Land
Overlooked: Loving
Comment: La La Land manages to squeak by Manchester by the Sea, a critical win on an historic night.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: Moonlight
Deserves to Win: Moonlight
Overlooked: Deadpool
Question: Why was Moonlight nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, but nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category by both the British Academy and the Writers Guild of America?

Predictions for the Balance of the Categories

Animated Feature: Zootopia
Foreign Language Film: Toni Erdmann
Documentary Feature: 13th
Cinematography: La La Land
Costume Design: La La Land
Production Design: La La Land
Film Editing: La La Land
Makeup and Hairstyling: Star Trek Beyond
Original Score: La La Land
Best Song: La La Land ("City of Stars")
Sound Editing: La La Land
Sound Mixing: La La Land
Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
Animated Short: Piper
Documentary Short: Extremis
Live-Action Short: Ennemis Interieurs

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