Who should and will win at this year’s Oscars

By Brian Chu and Glen Coco

It’s February, which means it’s time for every critic worth his press pass to explain exactly why Movie A should beat Movie B for the hallowed golden statuette that validates a film or actor’s success that year. So without further ado, here is who will and who should win at the Oscars this year.

Best Picture

It’s pretty much a two horse race between Damien Chazelle’s love letter to Hollywood, La La Land, and Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed character study Moonlight. The two movies could not be more different in tone and subject matter, and yet, both clearly stand above the rest for the top prize. Although some pre-Oscar backlash has begun to percolate around La La Land’s seeming invincibility at other awards shows, I think Academy Award voters will vote for the uplifting tale of two star-crossed lovers trying to make it in their town.

Should Win:  La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Best Director

By default, I’ll almost always pick the director of my best picture prediction to win the award unless there’s a clear difference that the director’s work was superior to the resulting film (i.e. Alfonso Cuaron and Gravity). So I’m going to go ahead and stick with Damien Chazelle for La La Land. I don’t think another director could have pulled off a movie musical with such style and aplomb. Chazelle’s fingerprints are all over this film from the first scene on the freeway to the soaring final number.

Should Win: La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Best Actress

The Academy loves a good narrative and no narrative is stronger this year than that of Emma Stone, a longtime star who has diligently built a career working on comedies (with a brief foray as a comic book damsel in distress) breaking through with a breakout performance. Stone’s winning charms are on full display in La La Land and her chemistry with Ryan Gosling is palpable. And although there is almost no doubt that Stone will win the award, I’m just going to soapbox here for a second and say that it’s a travesty that Viola Davis wasn’t up in this category for her superlative work in Fences. She’ll get her award regardless, in the Supporting Actress category.

Should Win: Viola Davis

Will Win: Emma Stone

Best Actor

The Casey Affleck coronation has begun to lose some steam for his work in Manchester by the Sea. And when you have Denzel Washington turning in yet another showstopping performance in Fences, it’s a tough call. The dark horse here is Ryan Gosling, who has surprisingly not gotten as much Oscar buzz as his co-star but could snag this award in the event of a La La Land sweep. This is one of the closest calls of the major awards, and I think Affleck may take this award, but if I had a vote, I’d give it to Denzel.

Should Win: Denzel Washington

Will Win: Casey Affleck

Best Supporting Actress

Lock it down right now. This is Viola Davis’s award. If for no other reason than as an apology that she’s even in the supporting category. With all due respect to the other women in this category, it’ll be hard to top Davis’s performance in Fences.

Should Win: Viola Davis

Will Win: Viola Davis

Best Supporting Actor

Jeff Bridges is fantastic as a Texas Ranger on the hunt for a pair of bank robber in Hell or High Water. But this award is also looking pretty secure in the hands of Mahershala Ali in Moonlight. Ali has had a long Hollywood career in both TV and films, and his standout performance in Moonlight wlll almost surely net him Oscar gold.

Should Win: Mahershala Ali

Will Win: Mahershala Ali

Best Animated Feature

Quite honestly, it’s like choosing between my two children here. Zootopia is an absolutely fantastic film with a surprisingly adult story that will appeal to parents, even as their kids enjoy the animal hijinks. But Moana might have been the most moving and uplifting Disney film in the past decade. And Kubo and the Two Strings is an underrated, and beautiful tale that is probably the most innovative film in terms of animation. I have a feeling that Zootopia is going to win this award, but I’m definitely on Team Moana.

Should Win: Moana

Will Win: Zootopia

And here are Glen’s predictions:

Image result for 2017 academy awards

This is it. After a year of fine films, the Oscars are finally here to crown those the Academy deems most deserving of the film industry’s highest honor. Admittedly, 2016 wasn’t the strongest year for film in recent memory and even the best movies seem inferior to those from recent years. That said, there were still some great motion pictures and some very talented cast and crew that will go home with big shiny statues. So, I’d like to take the time to give my opinion on who should win in each category and who actually will win. Last year, as suspected, my number of correct predictions was slightly lower than usual at 12 out of 19 correct. I’m hoping to bring that number up a bit. And I’m making predictions in a whopping 20 categories this year!

But, before I give my picks, I’d like to mention some snubs and locks.

 

SNUBS

20th Century Women (Best Picture)

Silence (Best Picture)

Sully (Best Picture)

Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals (Best Adapted Screenplay)

Clint Eastwood, Sully (Best Director)

Robert Eggers, The Witch (Best Director)

Martin Scorsese, Silence (Best Director)

Amy Adams, Arrival (Best Actress)

Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (Best Actress)

Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen (Best Actress)

Joel Edgerton, Loving (Best Actor)

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals (Best Actor)

Michael Keaton, The Founder (Best Actor)

 

LOCKS

La La Land (Best Picture)

Casey Affleck (Best Actor)

Viola Davis (Best Supporting Actress)

 

SIDE NOTE #1

I’ve included 20 out of the 24 categories as I didn’t see enough movies in the Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject and Foreign Language Film categories to make legitimate predictions.

 

SIDE NOTE #2

Although he gave a great performance, I have no idea why Dev Patel is nominated in a supporting category. He plays the main character, granted in the second half of the film. It’s his story and all other characters serve to support that story and his character, not the other way around. It’s very confusing.

 

Finally, here are my picks:

 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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

Should Win: Jeff Bridges
Will Win: Mahershala Ali

 

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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

Should Win: Viola Davis
Will Win: Viola Davis

 

WRITING: ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

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

Should Win: Arrival
Will Win: Moonlight

 

WRITING: ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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

Should Win: Manchester by the Sea
Will Win: Manchester by the Sea

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

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

Should Win: La La Land
Will Win: La La Land

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Nominees: Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, Silence

Should Win: Silence
Will Win: La La Land

 

COSTUME DESIGN

Nominees: Allied, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Florence Foster Jenkins, Jackie, La La Land

Should Win: La La Land
Will Win: La La Land

 

FILM EDITING

Nominees: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Moonlight

Should Win: La La Land
Will Win: La La Land

 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Nominees: A Man Called Ove, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad

Should Win: Star Trek Beyond
Will Win: Star Trek Beyond

 

MUSIC: ORIGINAL SCORE

Nominees: Jackie, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, Passengers

Should Win: Jackie
Will Win: La La Land

 

MUSIC: ORIGINAL SONG

Nominees: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”, 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

Should Win: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
Will Win: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land

 

SOUND EDITING

Nominees: Arrival, Deepwater Horizon, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, Sully

Should Win: La La Land
Will Win: La La Land

 

SOUND MIXING

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

Should Win: La La Land
Will Win: La La Land

 

VISUAL EFFECTS

Nominees: Deepwater Horizon, Dr. Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Should Win: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Will Win: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

SHORT FILM: LIVE ACTION

Nominees: Ennemis Interieurs, La Femme et le TGV, Silent Nights, Sing, Timecode

Should Win: Timecode
Will Win: Silent Nights

 

SHORT FILM: ANIMATED

Nominees: Blind Vaysha, Borrowed Time, Pear Cider and Cigarettes, Pearl, Piper

Should Win: Piper
Will Win: Piper

 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

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

Should Win: Casey Affleck
Will Win: Casey Affleck

 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

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

Should Win: Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (not nominated)
Will Win: Emma Stone

 

DIRECTING

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

Should Win: Denis Villeneuve
Will Win: Damien Chazelle

 

BEST PICTURE

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

Should Win: Lion
Will Win: La La Land

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