Oscars watch 2017: nominations

It’s an honor just to be nominated

At the end of January we finally found out who would be in the race for the Oscars in a few weeks, and boy do I have some opinions. Below are my 100% biased opinions on who will hopefully win come next Sunday.

Best Picture

Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester By The Sea, and Moonlight.

Who I want to win

This years crop is pretty exceptional, and I think that of all of them, Moonlight is the most important that should be honored with the top prize. It’s a heartbreaking movie of importance and immediacy, a work of art that has to be seen. Every performance is flawless and the movie is technically breathtaking for its small budget.

Who will win

However, I do live in the real world and I can read the room a bit. La La Land will win Best Picture. It’s a fun, well crafted movie-musical with great performances from the leads. I don’t think it’s the most deserving of the 6 nominees I’ve seen or the 9 total, but it’s a safe pick from the Academy, despite recent backlash about the lack of diversity and quality of the singing.

Best Director

Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea), Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)

Who I want to win

Barry Jenkins has this award in the bag, and has had it since Moonlight premiered in the fall. I’ve never seen a movie so delicately wrought from start-to-finish, and most of that is due to Jenkins’ incredibly talented directing.

Who will win

If La La Land wins Best Picture, I think the Academy will give Barry Jenkins the award he deserves. It used to stand that the person who wins won wins the other, but lately they tend to award director to the runner-up (or in some cases, the more deserving movie that voters didn’t want to vote for) as a consolation. It’s no small consolation, make no mistake.

Best Actress

Emma Stone (La La Land), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving.

Who I want to win

Natalie Portman’s performance as a grieving and unstable Jackie Kennedy immediately after JFK’s assassination was a marvelous spectacle. She is a powerhouse in this role, chewing scenery in one scene and showing the former First Ladies grace and eloquence in the next. From the first 15 minutes of this weird movie, I felt in my bones that Natalie would win top honors for this part.

Who will win

Unfortunately for Natalie, Emma Stone has this on lock. Emma’s performance in La La Land is one of the best parts of the film, especially everything unsaid in the audition sequences. Natalie’s performance is more showy and screams “OSCAR” to me, but it’s also pretty campy and didn’t sit as well with others.

Best Actor

Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea), Denzel Washington (Fences), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic).

Who want to win

Denzel Washington 1000 times over. His performance is intense and the exact thing that the Oscars love to award.

Who will win

It’ll be Denzel. Winning the SAG Award in late January always helps, and while his other nominees all give solid performances, Denzel has been the one taking home most of the awards and since he won’t win for Best Director, they’ll give him this huge consolation.

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Dev Patel (Lion), Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals).

Who I want to win

Mahershala Ali’s appearance in Moonlight is brief, but leaves as much of an impact on the viewer as his character does on young Chiron. Ali’s performance is incredible and will be one of the many highlights in a movie we’ll be talking about for years to come.

Who will win

Mahershala Ali has this award sewn up. It would take an act of god for anyone else to unseat him, although it wouldn’t totally shock me to see Michael Shannon win for his impressive scenery chewing moments as a vengeful cop in Tom Ford’s weird thriller Nocturnal Animals.

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis (Fences), Michelle Williams (Manchester By The Sea), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Who I want to win

This was a really tough category for me, because every performance in it is worthy, but I think I’d want Naomie Harris to take it home the most. The performance isn’t as showy as others, but it’s heart-wrenching, especially during the third act.

Who will win

This is Viola Davis’ award and has been since Fences first premiered at film festivals last year. Her performance is heartbreaking and brilliantly filmed and she deserves every award she’s won for this role.

A (long) note on snubs and #OscarsSoWhite:

Before I leave you all for this awards season hopefully winning some money in your Oscars pool thanks to me (I want a 25% cut thanks so much!), I want to talk about what didn’t make the cut and the ongoing controversy about diversity in the awards. This year wasn’t so bad, besides snubs for Amy Adams, 20th Century Women and Birth Of A Nation, plus the shock of seeing Suicide Squad and Passengers getting random (and undeserved) nominations. That may seem like a lot, but most of what was nominated deserved it, and the nods that Suicide Squad and Passengers got they surely won’t actually win. As for the diversity, we’re more diverse than the last few years, with 7 nonwhite acting nods plus screenplay and score, but we still have a lot of work to do. Not necessarily nominating more women and POC, but getting them the opportunities in the first place. Inclusivity and diversity are incredibly important in awards, but it starts before the movies are even made.

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