Sunday night is the 89th annual Academy Awards. Will La La Land, with its record tying 14 nominations dominate the Oscars or will smaller films like Moonlight or Hidden Figures get in the mix and shake things up?
I am picking who I think will win, not who I want to win. I also, when necessary, I pick a possible upset winner.
La La Land – Hollywood loves movies about itself and this film is a homage to the old Hollywood musicals.
Possible Upset – Moonlight
Damien Chazelle – La La Land – That incredible opening dance number on the LA freeway is enough to win the Oscar.
Possible Upset – Barry Jenkins – Moonlight – It’s hard to tell a tale that moves between three time-periods but Jenkins does it and does it well.
Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea – Affleck gave the performance of a lifetime as a man tortured by his past who tries to do the right thing.
Possible Upset – Denzel Washington – Fences
Actress in a Leading Role
Emma Stone – La La Land – Stone is loved by everyone in Hollywood and gives a magical performance.
Possible Upset – Natalie Portman – Jackie
Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight – This is a sure thing. No possible upset on this one.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis – Fences – I think Davis should be in the Actress in a Leading Role category as she has almost as much screen time as Washington.
Possible Upset – Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea – Williams is only in a few scenes in the film but they have the most impact.
Animated Feature Film
Zootopia – Wonderful and funny film that has a great message.
Possible Upset – Kubo and the Two Strings – A great story with amazing animation.
La La Land – The dance sequence at the Griffith Observatory wins it for me.
Possible Upset – Arrival – Beautiful looking film.
La La Land – Emma and Ryan’s costumes while dancing seem to have a life of their own.
Possible Upset – Jackie – The film perfectly capture the icon that Jacqueline Kennedy was.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney – Beautiful, moving script.
Possible Upset – Arrival – Eric Heisserer – A science fiction story with heart.
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan – Once again I will point to the scene where Michelle Williams character begs for Casey Affleck’s character’s forgiveness.
Possible Upset – Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan – I loved this modern western tale.
O.J.: Made in America – This is probably one of the most seen documentaries in the last ten years.
Possible Upset – Life, Animated – Out of the group, the only feel good film.
La La Land – Tom Cross – The musical numbers just flow.
Possible Upset – Hacksaw Ridge – John Gilbert – The final action sequence is just amazing.
Foreign Language Film
The Salesman – While not as good as writer/director Asghar Farhadi such as A Separation and About Elle, it’s still a fine film.
Possible Upset – A Man Called Ove – Sweet, funny film. Just the kind that Oscar loves.
Makeup and Hairstyling
Jackie – When you watch this film, you believe that Natalie Portman is Jackie.
Possible Upset – Star Trek Beyond – This is the one category that big action movies almost always win.
Music (Original Score)
La La Land – My guess is that this is a sure thing.
Music (Original Song)
City of Stars – La La Land – Another sure thing.
La La Land – See the opening musical number.
Possible Upset – Arrival – The scenes with the aliens are breathtaking.
Documentary (Short Subject)
The White Helmets – The footage at Aleppo is some of the most amazing documentary footage I have ever seen.
Possible Upset – Joe’s Violin – Touching story of a Holocaust survivor donating his violin to an inner city schoolgirl.
Animated (Short Subject)
Piper – Beautiful, touching film about a young sandpiper learning how to fend for himself.
Possible Upset – Pearl – This is the first VR (Virtual Reality) film to be nominated for an Oscar.
Live Action (Short Film)
Sing – A group of school children are picked for a choir but a new girl finds out that not everything is correct.
Possible Upset – La Femme et la TGV – Legendary actress Jane Birkin gives her last performance on screen.
La La Land – I wonder how much was done live to film?
Possible Upset – Hacksaw Ridge – Again, I point to the final action sequence.
La La Land – See above.
The Jungle Book – This film was sadly overlooked by Academy voters.
Possible Upset – Kubo and the Two Strings – Due to its incredible stop-motion animation.
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