Oscar Predictions for 2017
Once again, the Oscars are upon us, and it’s time that I stare into my admitted fuzzy crystal ball. I wouldn’t go to Vegas and bet on my predictions, but I’m not afraid to be wrong. After all, I have been practicing criminal defense work for over 40 years!
BEST PICTURE: La La Land
La La Land is a special film. It recreates musicals while focusing on the tragedy of lost love, and I just think it wins this award.
BEST DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
While Barry Jenkins dances in the shadows with Moonlight, Mr. Chazelle has given us a memorable work of cinematic art.
BEST ACTRESS: Emma Stone, La La Land
Ms. Stone gives a powerful performance that centers on humor, romance, dancing and song.
BEST ACTOR: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Mr. Affleck’s performance will rip your heart out, revealing a man who is left condemning himself for a horrible accident that he caused years earlier.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Viola Davis, Fences
Though there was a lot in Fences that I did not like, Ms. Davis’ performance as a dedicated, caring wife of an angry, hateful husband saves this film from disaster.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
I would be extraordinarily happy if either Lucas Hedges wins for Manchester or Dev Patel for his moving portrayal in Lion. However, Mr. Ali will win this award, though he only appears in one-third of the film. Furthermore, I am one of many who is dying to see this Muslim actor’s acceptance speech.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: La La Land
La La Land was a work of genius and deserves this award.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Hidden Figures
Though Moonlight is considered the overwhelming favorite for this award, I think Hidden Figures was a far better film. It not only had historical significance, but I personally observed the emotional reaction of numerous black women in the theater when this film was first released.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Zootopia
Though it will be rivaled by Moana, Zootopia was a splendid thrill from beginning to end.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: I Am Not Your Negro
First of all, I remain upset that neither Eagle Huntress nor Weiner were recognized in this category. To make matters worse, O.J.: Made in America remains the favorite, though I still find it to be a splendid television series that unfairly gained recognition as a movie. In any event, while I think that it would be a great reward to give this prize to Ava DuVernay for her splendid 13th, I Am Not Your Negro is overwhelmingly powerful. It summarizes the state of race relations in our county today, and I hope that it gets this reward.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: A Man Called Ove, Sweden
I should pick The Salesman, directed by Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian who is refusing to attend the Oscars in protest of our president’s racially discriminatory immigration policy, However, Ove was an overwhelming delight. You watch a bitter, aging man finding meaning in life from unanticipated places, and I found it to be a gift for the moviegoer.
BEST SOUND EDITING and BEST SOUND MIXING: Hacksaw Ridge
Who would have ever thought that Mel Gibson would find his way back to the Oscar stage in two categories? Yet this film proved to be one of the real surprises of 2016, and I think it will prevail over La La Land in both categories.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Yes, I know that La La Land could win this award, and Jackie does a remarkable job recreating the appearance of our first lady at the time her husband was assassinated. But this glorious film had many strengths, and costume design stood at the top.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Beasts was the better nominated film, and that was due in large part to the visual effects.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: La La Land
Who will ever forget the spectacular opening scene in La La Land when hundreds of people danced on the top of their cars on an LA highway exit?
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: La La Land, Linus Sandgren
I expect La La Land to add to its haul at this year’s awards. Again, the opening scene on the highway combined with Gosling and Stone floating through the stars as they danced is the work of a creative genius.
BEST FILM EDITING: La La Land
The editing lies at the heart of what made this marvelous film work on the screen, so I expect this award to appropriately land in their lap.
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING: Suicide Squad
Though Suicide Squad was an average film at best, Margot Robbie was unforgettable as the twisted sister known as Harley Quinn. On top of that, I know that several mothers dressed as Ms. Quinn while taking their children trick or treating at Halloween. I think that Squad wins the Oscar for that reason alone!
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “How Far I’ll Go”, Moana
Either of the two nominated songs from La La Land, “Audition” or “City of Stars”, could win. On top of that, it is likely that Justin Timberlake will be one of the singers for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls. However, given that fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote and will sing “How Far I’ll Go” at the Oscars, I think he will become legendary for winning an Oscar and a Tony in the same year.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: La La Land
How could a movie that rediscovered the glorious joy found in a great musical not win an Oscar in this category?
BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATED: Borrowed Time
Pixar will obviously have some influence with its cute little film Piper, but Borrowed Time hits at emotion seldom seen in animated cinema. A young boy is forced to deal with personal grief, and in the process it will bring a tear to your eye.
BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION: Sing, Hungary
Sing is a cute, engaging and creative film, and I suspect that the only way it will lose is if the Swiss film, The Railroad Lady is able to nip it by a nose at the finish line
BEST DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECT
Haven’t seen any of these films in time to meet my deadline. How unfortunate that none of these movies have played here in Indianapolis.
See you at the movies.