Oscars 2017 Predictions And Thoughts In All Major Categories

With the 89th annual Academy Awards (Oscars) fast approaching, We dedicate this week to looking at the awards, the films they honor and everything in between. Here are our picks for all the major categories.

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 Projected Winner
If I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateLa La Land / Moonlight La La Land
MichaelLa La Land / Moonlight Moonlight

MichaelLa La Land has won over the Hollywood crowd with its tale of breaking into the business and following your dreams; while it is certainly a strong contender for the big prize, Moonlight’s sensitive and beautiful spotlight on black lives in America has left an impression on most critics. The decision will come down to whether Hollywood wants to award one of its own or give it to a film about with pertinent social issues at its core.

Nate: Echoing what Michael said, it’s a two-horse race between Moonlight and La La Land,  My personal pick is for La La Land (as I noted in my review, I think it is stellar) but beyond that I believe La La Land is a universal story that will gravitate to more people across all demographics and cultures. That is the slight edge that should lend itself to the big prize come Sunday.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateCasey AffleckCasey Affleck
MichaelCasey AffleckCasey Affleck

Nate:  Affleck is so powerful, so moving in Manchester By The Sea that I feel comfortable locking him in as both my own and the Academy’s pick come Sunday. With all due respect to the rest of the (stellar) field, Affleck easily had the performance of the year in his quiet yet poignant portrayal. The only thing holding him back is some of the issues in his personal life but if taken on performance alone, this is Affleck’s to lose.

Michael: As always the nominees in the category all brought their A-game to their respective films, hence their nominations. Affleck, however, was deeply affecting in his role and brought the everyman to life in the moving Manchester by the Sea. The sadness and redemption of his character should be enough to convince Academy members to vote in his favor.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had A Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateEmma StoneIsabelle Huppert
MichaelEmma StoneIsabelle Huppert

Michael: This will once again be a case of winning the big award for a performance that is not necessarily the actor’s best. Though Di Caprio greatly deserved the Oscar, his role in The Revenant was not his best. It seems the same with Stone; though she’s won a number of other awards to win the Oscar for this role in La La Land would not be the best example of her work. Easy A, for instance, was Stone in a more memorable role, that showed her comedic timing as well.

Nate: I disagree on some parts of Michael’s sentiments, I think La La Land is Stone’s best performance in her career (thus far), She is better than her co-star Ryan Gosling in the film and showcased a deeper range than her previous roles. However, I agree with Michael in that she should not win this year just because Huppert (and to a lesser more contentious extent Portman) give better performances. Unfortunately (or fortunately for Stone) the lack of promotion in the case of Portman, the lack of exposure to foreign film in the case of Huppert coupled with La La Land’s skyrocketing momentum should see Stone win on Sunday


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateDev PatelLucas Hedges
MichaelToss UpMahershala Ali

Nate: Ali isn’t in enough of the film to warrant the award (though I suppose you could argue that’s what makes it supporting) despite being the frontrunner. Patel had the most prominence in his respective film compared to the rest and is certainly deserving though he is very much the lead in his film I personally went with Hedges – a strong compliment to the lead (Casey Affleck) which is what I feel is the job of a supporting actor. The Academy, however, I could see going with any of the nominees as this is easily the tightest of all the races.

Michael: All of these men are in my view equally likely to win, including the newcomer Lucas Hedges. I do however disagree with the placing of Dev Patel in this category. Not because of his performance, but simply because he is in no way ‘supporting’. He plays the title character “Lion”. The rules around supporting and lead performances must be better clarified.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateViola DavisViola Davis
MichaelViola DavisViola Davis

Nate: Viola Davis crushes the field here and it’s not even close, outshining Denzel Washington in his own movie is a rare feat given Washington’s pedigree but a case could be made here that Davis does just that. Casey Affleck’s personal life dramatics have put a damper on my lock in his category but I have faith in Davis to uphold lock status going into the Oscars

Michael: Fences is an emotional powerhouse of a film, and the performances within it are exceptional. Davis’s role is a fine example of the best of the art of acting. Alongside Denzel Washington (who could very well win for Best Actor) Viola Davis took the brilliant work of August Wilson and transformed it into a brilliant work of acting on film.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateZootopiaKubo and the Two String

Michael: All the nominees are outstanding and it’s a pity only one can win. Because Zootopia was able to provide commentary on race relations and prejudice with colorful animated characters, it seems to have won over many juries. Though I still believe Moana is the most beautifully animated of all the features.

Nate: This one really should go to Kubo and the Two String, it’s animation style is unique and the film is packaged in a way that is light-hearted yet powerful. But for the political commentary that Zootopia offers (that is increasingly pertinent in the current political climate) along with the fact that the Oscars will air on ABC (whose parent company is Disney) it looks to be another win for the House of Mouse.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateToni ErdmannToni Erdmann

Nate: First let me say this, some of the nominees in this category baffle me given some of the films that failed to land a nomination (Korea’s The Handmaiden [‘아가씨’], Right Now Wrong Then [지금은맞고그때는틀리다], Finland’s The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki [Hymyilevä mies]  and France’s Elle come to mind). As for those who were nominated, If Jack Nicholson coming out of retirement to star in the remake of Toni Erdmann wasn’t an indication of its quality and status of far and away front runner then I don’t know what is. It is by far the best film of the bunch though one should note Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman as a very good film (though not as good as his previous effort A Separation).

Foreign films need to be better marketed to other countries if there is any hope of this changing but for now, we will have to live with the sub par Swedish film A Man Called Ove [En man som heter Ove] being nominated that is sure to have Ingmar Bergman rolling in his grave.

Michael abstains from voting in this category and blames the lack of foreign film availability for his lack of a vote.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateDamien ChazelleDamien Chazelle
MichaelDamien ChazelleDamien Chazelle

Nate: Chazelle proved he isn’t a one-hit wonder following up Whiplash with La La Land. Compared to his competition in this category I would say he had the flashiest film as the others (Moonlight, Manchester, and Arrival) are much more subdued movies. The wild card in this category is Gibson with Hacksaw Ridge but it’s hard to look past what Chazelle did in creating the look and feel of La La Land.

Michael:  Chazelle has been showcasing himself the last few years as the promising future of filmmaking. He solidified himself with Whiplash, and his creative work behind La La Land has confirmed his talents. Let’s hope for more great projects from him moving forward.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateLa La LandLa La Land / The Lobster
MichaelLa La LandLa La Land

Nate: I’ve tossed around the idea of picking The Lobster just because I found it to be so unique but in the end, I can’t pass on the grand appeal of La La Land. Not only did it speak to me on a personal level with regards to trying to make a dream a reality but if you have visited the site at all over the past month, you’d know that I am fascinated by the emotion of love and how it seems to evoke a response in all of us. As a result, I expected the Academy to select along those same lines.

Michael: Damien Chazelle not only directed the film but was behind its very conception. This is a movie about making it in Hollywood, but it’s also an inspiring and genuine tale. Behind every great script is a great writer, and Chazelle has proven he is great.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...

Michael: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney Moonlight’s power lies in its realism and ability to address race issues in America that many today still don’t want to acknowledge. McCraney took his play and worked very closely with director Jenkins to take this stage work and make it just as powerful on the silver screen.The striking nature of this film is due to a firsthand experience by its writers and worthy winners of this Award.

Nate:  A story becomes infinitely better when you can feel the passion and emotion of the writer/storyteller behind it. This is true for Chazelle and is also the case for Jenkins/ McCraney. It is a pleasure to be able to watch their experiences shine through on screen.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateJustin Hurwitz (La La Land)Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)
MichaelJustin Hurwitz (La La Land)Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)

Nate: Come on now, I don’t think anyone walks out of La La Land without having at least one of the film’s compositions stuck in their head. Of all the films nominated, it is the most prominent, another award added to what should be a big haul for La La Land by the end of Sunday night.

Michael: La La Land is an homage to the golden age of the musicals set in the modern day. Hurwitz’s score has a classic feel, but it also has jazz, and like any good musical has a timeless quality to it. While it’s not the best score this year, it’s very pleasing and nice and among this set of nominees stands out the clearest.


 Projected WinnerIf I Had a Ballot, I'd Pick...
NateCity of Stars / Can't Stop This Feeling (Trolls)Either song from La La Land (City of Stars or Audition: The Fools Who Dream)
MichaelOne of La La Land or How Far I'll Go (Moana)Either song from La La Land (City of Stars or Audition: The Fools Who Dream)

Nate: Both of La La Land ‘s nominated songs should be perceived as the frontrunner given its status as a musical. Trailing it though are two music superstars in Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame) and Justin Timberlake (of N’Sync and bringing sexy back fame) who could both make noise in the race. Timberlake being the performer of the song, its popularity beyond the movie and Timberlake’s own worldwide fame makes a particularly strong case especially for those experiencing La La Land fatigue.

Michael: An extension of Hurwitz’s score is the songs that make La La Land a good musical, and he’ll likely be awarded. Watch out for Lin-Manuel Miranda however; with his great success with Hamilton, he could take this award from Hurwitz for his excellent work in giving Moana her voice.

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