Oscar Night 2017

In a few short hours the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will hand out the hardware at the 89th Oscars ceremony. Once again I have done my best to see as many of the nominated films prior to the awards so I can develop an opinion of who they should go to, write it down here, and remember that nobody gives a rat’s ass what I think! Oh well, I’m going to do it anyway.

This year I have seen: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight. So as always, I fell short of seeing them all, but the ones mentioned encompass the favorites for all of the big awards, so I feel good about myself. On to the predictions.

Per usual, I don’t have a lot of insight into the more technical awards, with the exception that La La Land is going to win a shit ton of them. Cinematography, Editing, Sound, Score..I wouldn’t be surprised if these are all swept by La La. Also, the ESPN OJ documentary is a lock for that award. One point of interest is the original song category. I fully expect City of Stars from La La to win, but I would be very happy to see Lin-Manuel Miranda pick this one up for his work on Moana. It would cap off an amazing 18 month run that this Broadway product has had and would grant him access to the EGOT club.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion and Moonlight

Quite frankly the four I have seen all have worthy screenplays. I think it is cool as shit that August Wilson is nominated here and would love to see Fences take it home just for that fact. However, I think this is Moonlight’s category to lose. Moonlight is a powerful film, and personally my vote for best film this year, and I think the Academy is going to give it some love here.

Will/Should Win – Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Hell or High Water, La La Land, The Lobster, Manchester by the Sea, 20th Century Women.

Fun fact, I don’t sleep well on airplanes. This is particularly troublesome when you fly overseas for work and are expected to be productive the next day. I bring this up because on my last work trip to Europe I had downloaded The Lobster to watch. First time I’ve slept on a plane in years. I feel like I need to give it another shot, but damn was that shit boring. This category really comes down to La La versus Manchester by the Sea. I really hope that I will be pleasantly surprised tonight and La La won’t sweep a ton of awards, but I’m sure I won’t be. I’ll get more into it later, lets just say the story is a tad thin and a script that touches on as many issues that Manchester does should actually walk away with the award.

Should Win – Manchester by the Sea

Will Win – La La Land

Best Supporting Actor

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

The DUDE! I love Jeff Bridges, he is just simply the man. I still need to see Hell or High Water, but I am rather certain I will like it. Nice to see Lucas Hedges get some love here, he did a bang up job as the nephew who just lost his dad in Manchester. Good to see Slumdog guy getting back in it as well. He seems like a good dude when I see him in interviews. End game is this Mahershala Ali is f’ing great in Moonlight. The drug dealer with a heart, who takes in young Chiron and tries to teach him to be a man. It’s a standout performance in a great film. Plus who doesn’t love Remy Denton?

Will/Should Win – Mahershala Ali

Best Actor

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

Yeah no need to add the last name, we all know who Denzel is. Regarding Andrew Garfield, sorry you sucked as Spider-Man, any actor who makes me wish it was Toby Maguire in a movie shouldn’t get Oscar love. Gosling is a very likable actor, seems like a good hang so nothing against him, but he is headed down the path of Leo and will experience some Oscar heartbreak before winning. This is a two horse race between Casey “Ben’s brother” Affleck and Denzel. When I saw Manchester, I figured this was an open and shut race. Affleck is simply a revelation in this movie, I didn’t think that someone who shared Affleck DNA could pull something like this off. He is subtle and still dominates the screen, it’s impressive*. Then I saw Fences, and man this may be Denzel’s best performance. As my aunt put it, “You know Denzel has done a good job when he’s in a movie and I don’t like him.” Touche Aunt Sue, he was a downright prick in this film, but it was a damn master class. I’m really torn here because they are each amazing performances in their own right, but I have to make a call…

Will/should win – Denzel.

Best Actress & Best Supporting Actress

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

Actress Nominees: Isabelle Huppert – Elle, Ruth Negga – Loving, Natalie Portman – Jackie, Emma Stone – La La Land, Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

I am putting these together for a very specific reason and that is simply that Viola Davis should be up for Best Actress. She is on the screen just as much as Denzel in the film, and is just as key to the story. There is no supporting in her role, it is lead all the way (the Tony’s treated it that way) and she owns it. Davis is the best performance male or female this year, simply powerhouse. Emma Stone is perfectly fine, and she has talent. I mean she was actually believable that she may jump Jonah Hill’s bones in Superbad…that alone proves her talent. Still this role is pretty thin and it doesn’t strike me as an Oscar winning performance.

In the supporting category a race between Naomie Harris and Michelle Williams would be way more interesting then the Davis runaway. Both Harris and Williams bring a lot of emotional baggage to their parts. I would lean Harris because its impressive that the new Moneypenny pulled off a crack addict…to the point you wouldn’t even recognize her otherwise.

One last thought, can we stop nominating Meryl Streep? We get it, she’s great…but come on man. She has like 20 nominations at this point. Just bow out of consideration Meryl. You’re a legend and we appreciate you, but let others get some love.

Actress Will Win – Emma Stone

Actress Should Win – Viola Davis

Supporting Will Win – Viola Davis

Supporting Should Win – Naomie Harris

Best Director

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

Interesting that Mel got a nomination, I guess everyone get forgiven at some point. I loved Arrival, just genius filmmaking that gets me super excited for the Blade Runner sequel to see what Villeneuve does with that. I’d also be really happy if he was related to race car driver Jaques Villeneuve but he’s not. Manchester is a really good film and expertly paced which shows Lonergan’s talents, especially for someone who isn’t a seasoned director. I like Damien Chazelle. Whiplash was a fantastic movie and has aged very well on the cable movie channels. He clearly is talented, but I think the love for his film is misplaced. Barry Jenkins made a FILM. I have always said there are movies and then there are films. I felt this way after watching the Revenant last year (which was robbed). My thoughts sit the same here. Moonlight is fantastic and Barry Jenkins should take home this hardware as his reward.

Should Win – Barry Jenkins

Will Win – Damien Chazelle

Best Picture

Nominees: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight

I have touched on a lot of these already in some light, and I do think this is down to a two horse race between Moonlight and La La Land (and it probably really isn’t a race). I could see Hidden Figures pulling an upset win here as it won best cast at the SAG awards, but it is a long shot. My thoughts on La La Land can be summed up as such, if I wanted to watch Singin’ in the Rain, I’d watch Singin’ in the Rain. La La pays so much homage to movie musicals of the past (Singin’ being the most prominent) that it basically is ripped from those films. However, it won’t matter much, it’s a movie about movies and the people who make them. That formula worked for The Artist (which is horrible) and it will work here. I feel bad for the Moonlight team. It’s the best film of the year and it won’t win this award. That’s Oscar for you though. It’s not 100% that they get it right, and that’s ok. It keeps the conversation going and will do the same next year as well.

Should Win – Moonlight

Will Win – La La Land

That’s it, enjoy Oscar night everyone! See ya on the flip.


Author: Jeff

There was some latin shit here once, but nobody uses that language now except the Pope…and I am no Pope. What I am is a student. Not a student in the literal sense, but someone who believes that you have to always be challenging yourself to learn. Not necessarily things we have learned from textbooks. My learning is more about putting myself in difficult situations to understand more about me and the world around me. It is the challenge that allows you to grow as a person. That is my philosophy. Some of the things that I will eventually get around to posting may focus on that, reflections on a life that has seen me through the rust belt to the new (and not so new) south and through a life abroad. However many of these posts will focus on the lighter things that interest me. My obsession with 80’s/90’s pop culture, my obsession with sports especially of the Cleveland and Ohio State variety, and maybe even my obsession with musical theater…who knows. Maybe somebody will read this, maybe they won’t…but that isn’t the point. The point is that if I find something interesting I will try to dissect it here, maybe not timely (I do have a day job) but eventually.

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