Industry News: Oscar Predictions in Eight Major Categories

UPDATE: Moonlight was the upset Best Picture winner, and Casey Affleck prevailed as Best Actor in one of the most unusual awards ceremonies of recent years!

 

Original Story:

The countdown begins until Academy Awards weekend!  2016 ended up being a pretty good year for movies, with a slate of outstanding films vying for top honors Sunday night at the Oscars. Below are the nominations for the main prizes in acting, writing and directing along with my predictions of the expected winners.

Best Picture

The nominations are:

La La Land is a celebration of Hollywood and romance among films with heavier and darker themes. It has swept most of the precursor awards and is expected to win the top prize. If there is an upset, it could be crowd-pleasing Hidden Figures, a surprising box office hit with historic gravitas and an empowering message. Moonlight, Manchester, Hell or High Water and Arrival are my favorites. And I’m a loner in my tepid response to Lion, which is the only head-scratcher on the list.

Best Director

The nominations are:

This is likely a year when Best Picture and Best Director will match, thus a win for Damien Chazelle. After he emerged on the scene with the critically lauded Whiplash, his La La Land continued to make a profound mark in a great young career. Barry Jenkins also created a masterpiece with Moonlight, but it’s less showy.

Best Actress

The nominations are:

There’s talk of an Isabelle Huppert upset, but I’ll stick with a prediction for Emma Stone, who in her one-take “audition scene” transforms from everywoman to transcendent movie goddess. It was a great year for actresses, and I wish Annette Bening were in the mix for 20th Century Women.

Best Actor

The nominations are:

I’m on Team Affleck or Team Mortensen for their magnificent portrayals of unexpected dads, but my prediction is for Denzel Washington who acted and directed himself in August Wilson’s domineering daddy of a role in Fences. The chance to honor the actor with a third statuette and induct him into a rarefied pantheon of multiple winners seems enticing to the Hollywood chattering class.

Best Supporting Actress

The nominations are:

She campaigned in the wrong category, because Viola Davis would have won for lead or supporting actress for her role in Fences. She is superb. In a different year, we’d be toasting Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams for their wonderful working class performances, but Washington and Davis have an August Wilson script and Tony awards already and have been refining these immortal roles for a while.

 

Best Supporting Actor

The nominations are:

As the drug dealer with a heart of gold, Mahershala Ali appears in only the first third of Moonlight, but he is unforgettable. This could be an upset category for Dev Patel or any of the nominees, but Ali stands tall in a noble role and sends a strong anti-bullying message.

Best Original Screenplay

The nominations are:

This category is a great chance to honor Lonergan, a journeyman playwright and screenwriter who penned a corker of a script this year with Manchester by the Sea. Or, Academy voters could just check every box for the Hollywood musical. I predict Lonergan and Manchester in this category.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The nominations are:

  • Arrival (Eric Heisserer, based on a short story by Ted Chiang)
  • Fences (August Wilson, adapted from his play)
  • Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly)
  • Lion (Luke Davies, based on the memoir A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose)
  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, based on the play by Tarell Alvin McCraney)

This category is a great chance to honor Moonlight; and if there is an upset in Supporting Actor, there should be a win here for this moving coming of age film. After last year’s #oscarssowhite, this year’s ceremony should bask in a bit more of the rainbow.

 

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I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2017, Industry News

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