Predicting The Oscars 2017

Of all the awards shows on television, there is none with more clout than the Academy Awards. Year after year people turn their eyes to their televisions to discover with utter jubilation or unfettered rage who was deemed worthy enough to take home a little golden man. For movie fans like myself, The Oscars are a night we look forward to all year. A night in which the cinephile finally feels justified in his or her taste in film that for the rest of the year is deemed too “high brow” or pretentious. For while the more casual moviegoer may look at the nominees and say, “These are just a bunch of movies that nobody saw.” Those of us who are committed to enjoying cinema as an art look onward with admiration as films like Manchester By The Sea finally get their moment in the sun. The Academy announced their nominations this morning for the films that will go head to head in the great battle of merit that is the Oscars. And thus, it is only right to sit down with the freshly minted ballot and predict exactly what’s going to happen on the evening of February the 26th.

It is indeed an interesting year at the Oscars. Fan Favorite La La Land, hot off its record-breaking run at the Golden Globes, was nominated for a historic 14 awards, a feat only previously accomplished by the classic All About Eve and the “legendary” yet overrated Titanic. Seven actors of color were nominated this year, as well as nominees in the directing category, and for the first time in Editing and Cinematography. This expansion into diversity is a major step up from last year’s ceremony which was plagued by the “Oscars So White” controversy. This year was uncommonly favorable to the independent market, giving attention to films like The Lobster and Captain Fantastic. They even went so far as to nominate Hell or High Water, an indie favorite of last year for Best Picture. And they nominated Mel Gibson for best director; a feat that seemed impossible after years of ostracism in Hollywood. The nominations weren’t entirely just and joyful however, as once again snubs were made painfully evident in certain categories. There were a few minor discrepancies that truly could have gone either way, but the most egregious error was found in the best actress category, in which Meryl Streep was given her twentieth nomination for her role in Florence Foster Jenkins. This spot should have been given to another more deserving actress. Most people have been protesting with the opinion that Amy Adams should have been nominated for her performance in Arrival. This is an argument that I certainly don’t disagree with, as I though Adams’ performance was wickedly brilliant in its subtlety and quiet nature, but-if it were me-I would have given the fifth slot to Annette Bening for her fantastic turn in 20th Century Women. Upon seeing the film, I left convinced that Bening should win the award for that role, yet she didn’t even get nominated. But in the end, I suppose it wouldn’t be the Oscars if they didn’t make us every bit as frustrated as excited. And there is certainly a lot to be excited about. This was a great year for Oscar movies, and there are some phenomenal films nominated. I wouldn’t get too excited about La La Land, though. While it did sweep the Golden Globes, I don’t suggest you put any stock into that awards show as it is purely a waste of time. The Oscars are a bit more open to diversifying their winners where it matters, rather than just showering a single film with praise. I do think La La Land will win its fair share, and where it does win it will win big. But you are truly a fool who dreams if you think it’s going to walk away with fourteen awards to its name. Certainly watch La La Land, but also keep your eye on Moonlight. This film was an absolute favorite of all those who saw it, which was albeit a small audience as it had a very limited platform release, yet it’s easy to assume that a large majority of the people who saw it in New York and L.A. were Academy voters. Lastly, I would urge you to keep an eye on Arrival, a film that I believe will take the Mad Max: Fury Road course and sweep up a handful of “minor” awards, even if it doesn’t bring home any of the big six. But, you didn’t necessarily come here to read my musings about the nature of the show itself, you came to hear what films I believe will bring home a statue on Oscar Sunday. So without further ado, here is my definitive ballot of the films that I think will win. I wouldn’t put too much stock into it, this is purely my own speculation and will probably result in me being very, very wrong come the 26th. Either way, enjoy:

Original Screenplay

Who Will Win

Manchester By The Sea

Who Should Win

20th Century Women

Adapted Screenplay 

Who Will Win

Fences

Who Should Win

Arrival

Visual Effects

Who Will Win

The Jungle Book

Who Should Win

Kubo and the Two Strings

Sound Mixing

Who Will Win

La La Land

Who Should Win

La La Land

Sound Editing

Who Will Win

Arrival

Who Should Win

Arrival

Best Short (Live Action)

Who Will Win

Timecode

Who Should Win

Timecode

Best Short (Animated)

Who Will Win

Piper

Who Should Win

Piper

Production Design

Who Will Win

La La Land

Who Should Win

La La Land

Best Original Song

Who Will Win

City of Stars (La La Land)

Who Should Win

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

Best Original Score

Who Will Win

La La Land

Who Should Win

La La Land

Makeup

Who Will Win

Star Trek Beyond

Who Should Win

Star Trek Beyond

Costuming

Who Will Win

Jackie

Who Should Win

Jackie

Best Foreign Language Film

Who Will Win

Toni Erdmann

Who Should Win

Toni Erdmann

Film Editing

Who Will Win

Arrival

Who Should Win

Arrival

Documentary Short Subject

Who Will Win

The White Helmets

Who Should Win

The White Helmets

Documentary Feature

Who Will Win

13th

Who Should Win

13th

Best Director

Who Will Win

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Who Should Win

Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Best Cinematography

Who Will Win

Arrival

Who Should Win

Arrival

Best Animated Feature

Who Will Win

Zootopia

Who Should Win

Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Supporting Actress

Who Will Win

Viola Davis (Fences)

Who Should Win

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Win

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Who Should Win

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Who Will Win

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Who Should Win

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Who Will Win

Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)

Who Should Win

Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)

Best Picture

Who Will Win

La La Land

Who Should Win

La La Land

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