Oscars 2017 (final call)

So, it’s time to put all the cards on the table and make my final bets. The end of awards season has definitely clarified some of the potentials, but there are always surprises. 538’s ongoing statistical analysis was interesting, but felt somewhat flawed for a while. By the end, I was pretty much aligned with the stats which clarified as the post SAG awards season crept onward. Best Actress and Best Picture initially had the biggest gaps due to late arrivals of some films and the lack of eligibility of others to all the awards used as guidance.

I didn’t quite manage to get to all the films again… some just weren’t available to me. But I did get to most…  Reminder this is about predicting winners, not necessarily who I think should win. And with that disclaimer, here we go…

THE MAJORS

Best supporting actress

Viola Davis still has the edge here after a long awards season. I couldn’t argue with her win, but I think Spencer’s performance was more controlled and subtle.

Winner: Viola Davis

Best supporting actor

Mahershala Ali continued to dominate the season. It is possible he could still lose it, but not particularly likely.

Winner: Mahershala Ali

Best actress

This one of the categories that could surprise. Stone has been the favorite and La La Land is dominating all the awards ceremonies. But Huppert wasn’t even eligible for a number of the same awards, so we’ve not seen the play-off of the two. And Huppert has been doing well in foreign awards. I still bemoan the snub of Amy Adams for Arrival, but what can you do? Given the tidal wave of love for La La Land, I think it will carry this award away with it as well.

Winner: Emma Stone

Best actor

I’ve been surprised to see Affleck’s star still ascendant in this category, but Washington was very late to the season. There really is no comparison, to my mind, in ability. Washington’s performance is much more compelling. Gosling is great in La La Land, but the role doesn’t have the depth to compete here despite the juggernaut of a musical behind him.

Winner: Denzel Washington

Best director

Chazelle is still the likely winner here, especially after his DGA win. My preference is still Villenueuve. Arrival is beautifully and mindfully directed and structured. It isn’t as easy a movie as La La Land, but it is much better crafted.

Winner: Damien Chazelle

Best foreign language film

Winner: Toni Erdmann

A Man Called Ove is gaining some late momentum, but I think Erdmann’s momentum was stronger early, when a lot of votes probably were logged.

Best picture

 

My personal pick for best in this field is still Arrival. It accomplished some very difficult feats and left the audience with some very interesting ideas and did it all honestly, while managing to let you trick yourself. Hidden Figures managed to deliver a powerful, but personal story. Either are solid choices for the win.

However, La La Land, which I also enjoyed a great deal, has the Hollywood and Broadway inside track and massive momentum (not to mention 14 new nominations).

Winnner: La La Land

 

THE MINORS

Best adapted screenplay

Arrival. Period.  It even improved on the award-winning original story it was based upon. But, honestly, likely to be Moonlight. This gets harder to predict due to Moonlight being here rather than in Original (as it was for BAFTA and WGA where it won).

Winner: Moonlight

Best original screenplay

This is a bone that may get thrown to someone other than La La Land. While Lobster is quite unique, it just isn’t that great a script/story at the end of it all. Manchester, as well, fell flat for me. The strength it has is really the performances, not its words or story, but it has been gaining momentum due to its BAFTA win. Given the political tides, it could end up Hell or High Water, but think it released too long ago to capture the votes. Admittedly, after WGA, where Manchester lost to Moonlight (which is in the Adapted category here), it is even less clear. Given the continued groundswell for La La Land, I’m going with them to break the musicals curse (An American in Paris was the last time a musical won original script, back in 1951, with Gigi getting adapted in 1958).

Winner: La La Land

Best animated feature

Kubo and Two Strings came back into the running after BAFTA, despite the Anie going to Zootopia. But the momentum is clearly with Zootopia, despite all its weaknesses and flaws.

That said, I’m sticking to my guns on on this one for the right choice rather than the likely. It’s Kubo for the statuette because if it doesn’t win I will scream at the reveal.

Winner: Kubo and the Two Strings

Best documentary feature

Winner: OJ: Made in America

It is possible that 13th still takes this category, but the general winds suggest not.

Best original song

  • La La Land – Audition (The Fools Who Dream) by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • La La Land – City of Stars by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • Moana – How Far I’ll Go by Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Trolls – Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
  • Jim: The James Foley Story – The Empty Chair by J Ralph and Sting

Winner: Fools Who Dream (or City of Stars… but La La either way unless they split the vote)

Honestly, I have a strong feeling that Miranda will take this to promote him to that rare PEGOT category.  But the support for a La La sweep is pretty strong and How Far I’ll Go just isn’t as good as the other options.

Best original score

Winner: La La Land

Really, is there any doubt on this one?

Best live action short

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

As usual, throw a dart and pick one.

Winner: Sing

Best documentary short

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

Winner: The White Helmets

No particularly good reason for this pick other than its topical nature.

Best animated short

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

For its pure audacity, going with the new tech.

Winner: Pearl

THE TECHNICAL

Best costume design

Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best make-up and hairstyling

Both Suicide Squad and Star Trek received awards from their peer awards ceremony, but since the whole Academy votes here, I think it is Suicide Squad hands-down.

Winner: Suicide Squad

Best production design

Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Passengers impressed me more, but the broad scope of Beasts and its popularity will probably take the night.

Best cinematography

Winner: La La Land

I don’t think it was the best, but I think it will get caught up in the tsunami that has been building for the movie.

Best film editing

Winner: Arrival

The editing made Arrival. No other nominee can claim that integral a role for its success. I know Hacksaw took BAFTA, but however adept, the story didn’t change based on the editing. I’m being stubborn here, I realize.

Best sound editing

Winner: La La Land

Hacksaw has a real chance here. The work during the battle is pretty amazing.

Best sound mixing

I’ve made this mistake in the past by going for the big action flicks like Rogue One… keeping any dialogue intelligible over all that racket took some serious effort. But given that the CAS award went to La La Land, I’m going to believe the professionals since they get to vote on it again for Oscar night.

Winner: La La Land

Best visual effects

Winner: Jungle Book

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