2017 Oscar Predictions and Preferences

It’s that time of year.  The end of this week brings us the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony.  Here is my list of the nominees followed in each category by which film I think should win, and which performance the Academy will choose.  Use this list for your own Oscar Pool and you can either look like a genius or get to blame your stupid picks on me.  It’s pretty much a win-win for you.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Arrival 

Fences

Hidden Figures

Lion

Moonlight

Who do I think should win the Academy Award?  This is the category Arrival should get its win for.  Arrival is an amazing film, but the fact that it was nominated for 8 categories, none of those categories being Best Actress, was a little shocking.  The reason Arrival is so fantastic is because of its oh so smart script and Amy Adams’ amazing performance.

Who will get the Oscar? All 5 picks are strong contenders, and all solid nominees, but I think this is one on which the Academy will agree with me, and we’ll see Eric Heisserer get a golden statue for his astounding screenplay for Arrival.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea

20th Century Women

Who should get the award?  Hell or High Water was a perfectly paced film which has appeal for nearly every audience.  It has strong characterization and contemporary themes explored intelligently and empathically.  Taylor Sheridan has given us a film which could be the voice of an entire generation.

Who will win the Oscar?  Hell or High Water could win here, because I don’t think it will win anything else and the Academy will want to recognize it.  However, I think the winner will be Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea.  Hollywood voters have short memories and they relate more to the tribulations of the working class in New England than of those in west Texas.landscape-1485268166-oscars-2017-noms

Visual Effects

Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Who should win the prize?  First let me say what a pleasant surprise it is to see Kubo and the Two Strings in this category.  It neither will nor should win, but I’m quite tickled to see it acknowledged.  This is a battle between The Jungle Book and Rogue One in my opinion, and between the two I’d like to see The Jungle Book take home the award.  The entire film was pretty much a half naked kid surrounded by seamless visual effects from start to finish.

Who will win?  The fact that The Jungle Book is essentially an animated film, just with hyperrealistic animation and a non-animated progtagonist, could hurt its chances.  I am going to go with Rogue One and The Jungle Book splitting a lot of votes, allowing Doctor Strange to get this one, even though it doesn’t deserve it due to its less than stellar effects in its finale.

Production Design

Arrival

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

Passengers

Who would get the award of only Shaun was voting?  This is a rough choice between La La Land and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but I would have to give the award to La La Land.  While the loved how atmospheric Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was, primarily due to its set design, La La Land perfectly captured the mood of every scene with its use of color, motion, and scale.

Who will win the Academy Award?  This is another case where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will agree with me.  Expect this to be one of quite a few wins for La La Land.

Music (Original Song)

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from Trolls; Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

“City Of Stars” from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

“The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story; Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana; Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Who should win the Oscar according to Shaun?  This category is really just “Which song from La La Land will win the Oscar?  I personally think “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” is the best song of the year, since it is beautiful, haunting, and perfectly captures both the moods and themes of the movie like no other song this year has.

But, who will win the Oscar?  I think the odds on favorite is “City of Stars” from La La Land, however, the two La La Land songs could pull the infamous split vote and hand the Oscar to “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.  Still, put a gun to my head and I’m saying “City of Stars” from La La Land will get the win.

Music (Original Score)

Jackie

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Passengers

Who should win the Academy Award?  La La Land.  Duh.

Who will win the award?  See above.  This is the most obvious award of the night.maxresdefault2

Makeup and Hairstyling

A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond

Suicide Squad

Who should win the award?  I have to give this one to Suicide Squad and wonder at the fact that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wasn’t nominated.

Who will the Academy give the Oscar to?  Suicide Squad is actually going to win and deserve an Oscar.  Who woulda thunk?

Film Editing

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

La La Land

Moonlight

Who does Shaun want to give the award to?  This is another very strong category, and in any given year any of these 5 could be deserving.  I have to give this one to Moonlight, however, as this is a case where the visual story telling has to work perfectly with the screenplay in order to give the film its powerful emotional impact. Joi McMillion is the first African American woman ever nominated for film editing, and I think she should also be the first to win it.

Who will win the Oscar?  This is going to be a tight race, and this is one of those categories in which I really could see the final vote tallies, but I predict that Tom Cross for La La Land is going to get the Academy Award.

Directing

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Who should go home with a golden person named Oscar?  This really is a battle between Moonlight and La La Land.  I personally give the nod to Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight by the slimmest of margins because while La La Land is slightly more technically proficient, Moonlight has more depth, emotion, and meaning behind it, and that all comes from the film’s total package and not just the script.

Who will the Academy actually send the Oscar home with?  However, La La Land‘s director Damien Chazelle will be the one who goes home a winner. Moonlight, for all its depth, can be slow and dour at times while La La Land is thougtful and has technical  merit while still being upbeat, and that’s what the Academy wants to see right now.landscape-1485872024-elle-oscar-predictions-2017

Costume Design

Allied

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

Jackie

La La Land

Who should win the Oscar?  I probably shouldn’t be even making a stab at predicting this one, as of the categories I am attempting to predict, this is the one I know the least about.  It really just comes down to what I like, and in this case the one I like the most is La La Land.  The costumes are vibrant, have both a modern and late forties, early fifties style to them at the same time, and perfectly fit the characters they are assigned to.

But, who will win?  The Academy loves period pieces, and they especially love biopics.  I predict that this one will go to Jackie.

Cinematography

Arrival

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Silence

Who does Shaun want to win?  Another very stacked category, with Arrival being the only one of the five I don’t really feel belongs here.  I have to give the award to Moonlight, though, as it has not only the best cinematography of this year, but possibly the best cinematography of the decade.  The last film I saw shot this well was Children of Men.

Does the Academy agree with Shaun?  In this case, I think they will.  I predict James Laxton will be walking home with an well deserved Oscar for his work on Moonlight.

Animated Feature Film

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

Who does Shaun want to see get an Oscar?  If I were to judge these films exactly as I were to judge any other film, I would give the edge to Zootopia.  But, film animation is a different art, and the precision, beauty, and love put into Kubo and the Two Strings made for an experience not like any other animated film of this year.  Laika deserves its first Oscar win for Kubo and the Two Strings.

What does the Academy think should win?  Kubo and the Two Strings could win based on what I said above plus the fact that every film Laika has made is excellent and it has never won an Oscar.  However, Zootopia deals with contemporary issues regarding racism, and deals with them well.  Add to that the fact that it was a more accessible story and Disney is going to get yet another Oscar to put on its collective mantle.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Who should win the Oscar according to Shaun?  First, why is Viola Davis in the supporting role category?  Because her role wasn’t quite as large as Denzel Washington’s?  And, I’m not even sure that’s entirely true, it could actually be larger than his.  That being the case, she deserves this award for her heart-rending performance in Fences, and that’s saying something as every single one of these actresses was the emotional core of their respective movie, and Michelle Williams had the best single scene of the year in Manchester by the Sea.

Who will go home with a new really expensive knick-knack?  The Academy will absolutely agree with me.  This one is nearly as much a no brainer as the Original Music (Score) Award.  Michelle Williams could sneak in and take it, but I would be at least mildly shocked.oscar-nominees

Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel, Lion

Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Who should win the Academy Award?  Of all the stacked categories in the Awards this year, this is the closest of all.  I would be happy with any of these five performances winning, but since I am being forced by me to pick one, I have to go with Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals.  He was riveting, mysterious, a bit sinister, and was easily the best part of this film, which was pretty darn good in every way.

Who will win the prize?  This is Mahershala Ali’s award to lose.  The Academy wants to make up for the Whitest Oscars debacle of last year, and Mahershala gave three excellent (and one so-so) performances this year, even if two of those performances were for Netflix series.  And, that’s not to take anything away from what he did this year.  As I said, all five of these performances were amazing, these facts just put him over the top.

Actress in a Leading Role

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Emma Stone, La La Land

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Who does Shaun want to win?  Isabelle Huppert gave not only the best of these performances this year, but the best performance of any actor in any category.  Her portrayal of a rich, powerful, possibly sociopathic rape victim was brave, powerful, and unlike any performance I had ever seen before and is the reason to see Elle.

Who will win the Academy Award?  Hollywood never awards foreign films nor actors, though, and Elle isn’t even in English.  Emma Stone gets this award for her excellent turn in La La Land.

Actor in a Leading Role

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington, Fences

The Oscar in Shaun World goes to?  This category is really a battle between Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington, and I have to give the edge to Casey Affleck.  His performance here is incredibly insightful, I’d even use the word wise, in his understanding of how a person reacts to tragedy.  Manchester by the Sea takes this award.

The Oscar in the real world goes to?  The Academy will agree with me on this one.  Casey will be the first Affleck to win an Oscar for acting.  Who woulda’ thunk?shutterstock_153625988

Best Picture

Arrival 

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Who would Shaun give the big award to?  My three favorite films of the year were La La Land, Moonlight, and Hell or High Water.  All three of these films were masterpieces in their own right, but the one I give the slight edge to is La La Land.  While I didn’t feel it was the best in many specific areas, as a whole it worked incredibly well while remaining accessible to all audiences and with a strong emotional and intellectual core.

What movie will the Academy give the granddaddy of awards to?  The Academy gives this to La La Land, of that I have little doubt.  It is possible Moonlight could sneak in and grab this one, but the smart money goes to Damien Chazelle’s golden child.

Categories I did not comment on due to lack of knowledge of the subject or not seeing the majority of the films:  Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Short Film (Animated), Short Film (Live Action), Foreign Language Film, Documentary (Feature), Documentary (Short Subject)

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