Matt’s 2017 Oscar Thoughts and Predictions

The Academy Awards are upon us once again. It’s easy to be cynical about the Oscars, whether it’s because your favourite films never win or because of the endless campaigning, or because it’s, or because of the whole “rich people giving each other statues” thing, but I still kinda like them.

This year the nominees are mostly good, so here they all are along with some thoughts, opinions, and a prediction or two.

The Oscars are being held on the 26th of February. Join us on the day for our 6th annual liveblog of the ceremony!

### Best Foreign Language Film

* Land of Mine
* A Man Called Ove
* The Salesman
* Tanna
* Toni Erdmann

One of the categories that I never see enough of the nominees in and this year is no different. Let’s guess that _Toni Erdmann_ will take it though, because everyone seems to love it.

### Best Animated Feature

* Kubo and the Two Strings
* Moana
* My Life as a Zucchini
* The Red Turtle
* Zootopia

This year the animated feature race is as good as it has ever been. _Zootopia_ is probably the front runner but I sincerely hope that _Kubo and the Two Strings_ takes home the statue. They both have great messages, they’re both well acted, they’re both just gorgeous, but Kubo is the one that resonates for me, even if it’s not as much fun.

### Best Documentary Feature

* Fire at Sea
* I Am Not Your Negro
* Life, Animated
* O.J.: Made in America
* 13th

I know it’s been the toast of the town but I still don’t get how _O.J.: Made in America_ is a feature. It’s fantastic, but it’s a TV series?

Anyway, _13th_ is fantastic and should win.

### Best Documentary Short

* Extremis
* 4.1 Miles
* Joe’s Violin
* Watani: My Homeland
* The White Helmets

There are so few chances to actually see these and as a result I have no seen any of them. I’m gonna guess _The White Helmets_ though, since those folks do great work.

### Best Animated Short

* Blind Vaysha
* Borrowed Time
* Pear Cider and Cigarettes
* Pearl
* Piper

I don’t see how anything other than _Piper_ could take this.

### Best Live-Action Short

* Ennemis Interieurs
* La Femme et le TGV
* Silent Nights
* Sing
* Timecode

Another one I haven’t seen any of, so I don’t have a horse in this race.

### Best Visual Effects

* Deepwater Horizon
* Doctor Strange
* The Jungle Book
* Kubo and the Two Strings
* Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

it’s simultaneously awesome and weird that an animated film could make it into the visual effects category, but given the blend of stop motion characters photographed against green screens to add CG backgrounds, it seems warranted.

That said, the crazy world bending effects of _Doctor Strange_ are my choice here. _Rogue One_ has some fantastic shots too, in fact one of the best space battles I’ve seen, but I think Strange did the best integration of live action and CG of the two and that counts a bit higher for me.

### Best Sound Editing

* Arrival
* Deepwater Horizon
* Hacksaw Ridge
* La La Land
* Sully

I hope _Arrival_ wins because I think it should win a bunch of awards, but probably _La La Land_ will win this (and deservedly so).

### Best Sound Mixing

* Arrival
* Hacksaw Ridge
* La La Land
* Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
* 13 Hours

_La La Land_ again. I mean, it makes sense that the musical will win the sound awards.

### Best Original Score

* Jackie
* La La Land
* Lion
* Moonlight
* Passengers

Everyone talks about the songs in _La La Land_ but the score is also fantastic.

### Best Original Song

* “Audition,” La La Land
* “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

First off, let’s just talk about how “I’m So Humble” from _Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping_, “Drive It Like You Stole It” from _Sing Street_, and “Montage” from _Swiss Army Man_ all aren’t nominated. They’re all great songs, and it would be amazing to see any of them –let alone all of them– be staged.

That said, it’s gonna be one of the _La La Land_ songs, and if it is I hope it’s “Audition”. “City of Stars” is great but Audition is not only more powerful, it’s effectively an ode to Hollywood itself and Hollywood sure does love odes to itself.

This is slightly upsetting though, since it’ll put off Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Oscar by at least a year, and it’s the only one he doesn’t have (and he deserves them all).

### Best Production Design

* Arrival
* Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
* Hail, Caesar!
* La La Land
* Passengers

_Hail, Caesar!_ has scenes from a musical, a water ballet, a swords and sandals epic, a western, and it s pitch perfect recreation of the 50s themselves. It’s tailor made for this category. Also, it’s a great film and deserves a win.

### Best Costume Design

* Allied
* Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
* Florence Foster Jenkins
* Jackie
* La La Land

I have no idea, _La La Land_ because the costumes are homages to other musicals?

### Best Make-up and Hairstyling

* A Man Called Ove
* Star Trek Beyond
* Suicide Squad

_Star Trek Beyond_ should win this because the makeup and hairstyling is fantastic, and because I can’t quite stand the sound of the sentence “Academy Award winning film _Suicide Squad_”. Then again, I haven’t seen _A Man Called Ove_, maybe it blows them away? Still. _Star Trek_, because _Star Trek_.

### Best Film Editing

* Arrival
* Hacksaw Ridge
* Hell or High Water
* La La Land
* Moonlight

_Arrival_, because it probably won’t win best picture, but like Mad Max: Fury Road last year could take home all the awards that let you know it was actually the best picture.

### Best Cinematography

* Arrival
* La La Land
* Lion
* Moonlight
* Silence

_Arrival_ again, for the same reasons, but also because it’s beautifully shot.

### Best Original Screenplay

* Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water
* Damien Chazelle, La La Land
* Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, The Lobster
* Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
* Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

There are so many good films this year, but I’d like to see _Hell or High Water_ win this one because it’s hell of a movie with a hell of a screenplay. It’s also a great movie with very little chance of winning best picture, and those are the types of movies that tend to win the screenplay awards.

That said, if _The Lobster_ takes this one home I’ll be a very happy man.

### Best Adapted Screenplay

* Eric Heisserer, Arrival
* August Wilson, Fences
* Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures
* Luke Davies, Lion
* Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McRaney, Moonlight

Let’s go with _Arrival_ again, because it’s fantastically told.

### Best Supporting Actress

* Viola Davis, Fences
* Naomie Harris, Moonlight
* Nicole Kidman, Lion
* Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
* Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

This is Viola Davis’s award to lose, right? She is but all accounts fantastic in it. Second choice would be Naomie Harris as she is just heartbreaking in _Moonlight_.

### Best Supporting Actor

* Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
* Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
* Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
* Dev Patel, Lion
* Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Mahershala Ali is amazing in _Moonlight_ and this is his to lose as well. My second choice would be Lucas Hedges in _Manchester by the Sea_. Casey Affleck is getting all the press, but Hedges is also fantastic. Both of their performances as men working through their grief are essential.

### Best Actress

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

This category is stacked with 4 amazing nominees but for once I wish the Academy would suspend their “we must nominate Meryl Streep if she was in a movie” by-law. There’s no excuse for her to be in this category and for Amy Adams to not be. _Florence Foster Jenkins_ quality is debatable, but _Arrival_ is a straight up masterpiece and that’s largely due to Adams performance.

At the end of the day though, Emma Stone should win this. She’s transcendant in _La La Land_, and I’m not sure the movie would be as good without her in it. Second choice would be Natalie Portman, who perfectly captures not only Jackie Kennedy but also a woman trying to impose order on a world made chaos. She is stunning.

### Best Actor

* Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
* Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
* Ryan Gosling, La La Land
* Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
* Denzel Washington, Fences

Another tough one. Casey Affleck won the Golden Globe, but Denzel won the SAG Award. I loved Ryan Gosling in _La La Land_, but it feels like despite his Golden Globe he doesn’t quite have the momentum behind him to win.

I’d actually really like to see Viggo Mortensen take it home for _Captain Fantastic_ though. His performance is both bold and subtle, and it’s great to see a small scale picture get nominated among all the studio campaigning.

Casey Affleck is my second choice though. His performance is raw, and gut wrenching, and real.

### Best Director

* Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
* Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
* Damien Chazelle, La La Land
* Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
* Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Another tough one. Of the four good choices there is case to be made for each one. For a start, they’re all masterpieces in their own rights. The smartest and most heartfelt SciFi in years, a treatise on grief and guilt, an homage to the musicals of old, and an examination of what it’s like to be black and queer in the American south.

I think that Damien Chazelle might win this one, but I hope that Barry Jenkins does. I just called four films masterpieces, but _Moonlight_ is a nearly perfectly crafted masterpiece. _La La Land_ is a great movie that speaks to Hollywood, but _Moonlight_ is by far the more important film, and Barry Jenkins wastes not a single frame in telling it’s story.

### Best Picture

* Arrival
* Fences
* Hacksaw Ridge
* Hell or High Water
* Hidden Figures
* La La Land
* Lion
* Manchester by the Sea
* Moonlight

Much of what I just said about the director choices applies here as well. _La La Land_ may well win the day, but _Moonlight_ is the more deserving film. It’s perfectly crafted, and it’s an examination of what it means to be black and queer in American society. Beautiful and heartbreaking and affirming all at once, _Moonlight_ is the film that should win best picture, and I say this as a person who loved _La La Land_.

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