2017 Oscar Predictions

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Hey everyone! It’s Oscar time!

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I know how you feel. Why on God’s green earth should you be obsessed with rich famous people handing each other little gold statues and congratulating themselves, right? I feel like that every year, myself…but then they announce the nominees, the competition starts, and I begin following it like it’s a laser pointer.

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Hey, it’s not like it’s any more or less important than football or the Olympics. Don’t judge me!

Truth be told, once you get down to the finish line it can get a bit exciting. Every year there’s the possibility of an upset. Politics is always involved, one way or another. Then there’s a little bit of controversy mixed with racial tensions. This year is jam packed with divisiveness, so it can skew in any direction. I’ll break it all down for you as we go.

I’m mostly not interested in who wins for their own sake, mind you, I just want to test my prediction skills. Remember this: The Academy Awards do not actually decide the best film of the year. I do!

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Oh no. I’ve been arrogant now. The pressures on! Here we go.

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Let’s get the big one out of the way first. La La Land is going to win Best Picture.

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I have to say, the contest this year is far stronger than it has been for a while. Two of my favourite films are actually in the running. That’s unusual. Normally I’m lucky to find just one up there.

I’d personally be happy with either La La Land or Manchester by the Sea taking it home, but Manchester ain’t got a shot in hell. It’s going to be La La Land. The film is, at this point, what’s known as a juggernaut. It’s an unbeatable favourite. So let me tell you how it can be beaten. With…

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The Academy found themselves in the thorny nest of controversy last year when their nominations looked like the guest list to a Klan’s meeting. I still haven’t heard a lot of suggestions as to which Caucasian nominees should have been replaced by African Americans, or which “white” films were inferior to which “black” ones, but that didn’t stop people from complaining.

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It’s a fair point to make that in an increasingly multicultural country, like the United States, diversity should be represented on the silver screen and recognised on the red carpet.

The problem, however, is that The Academy tends to make its biggest mistakes in reaction to controversy. I’m worried that this year they will snub La La Land, a musical about two white dreamers in Hollywood, and instead reward Moonlight, a film about a gay black man growing up in Miami. I did like Moonlight a lot, but La La Land is just a better film. It deserves to win, and all signs suggest that it will. But if Moonlight snatches Best Picture at the last minute, it’ll be out of guilt and not merit…and that’s a real shame.

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The other half of the equation is Best Director. I personally believe that Damien Chazelle will win, and deserves to.

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However, the Academy may split the difference and give Barry Jenkins the award for his work on Moonlight. Don’t do it, Academy! Don’t let me down!

Damien is responsible for every shred of La La Land‘s intricate design. He made that gorgeous little musical romance out of pure love and he’s owed an Oscar. He’s a freaky genius. Give it to him! Give it! Give iiiiiit!

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Are we done with the controversy? No? Alright, let’s keep going.

It’s been a foregone conclusion for some time now that Casey Affleck would win Best Actor for his part in Manchester by the Sea.

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I’m going to stick with this prediction, but it’s become less certain in recent days because of an old story that’s resurfaced about allegations of Affleck sexually harassing a woman on a film set. A lawsuit surrounding the matter was settled years ago, but its resurgence in the press has put him on shaky ground.

Couple this with the Oscars So White controversy from last year, and we could see Denzel Washington swoop in and take his third Best Actor Oscar, for Fences.

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This one’s really interesting. For an excruciatingly long time Isabella Huppert was picked as the favourite for Best Actress. There were almost no challengers, until recently the conversation started to orbit Emma Stone for La La Land.

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That’s what I thought too, Emma, but I’m hearing buzz.

You know what, good for her. I hope she does win! She clearly put a lot of work into the movie, and has successfully transitioned from cute newcomer to classic leading lady in the span of just a few years. An Oscar would make it official.

I’m putting my chips on you, girl!

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And how about if you win we go out to celebrate? You and me? Ey? For drinks?

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No need to be sarcastic. Let a man down gently, at least. Jeez.

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I don’t think there’s going to be much surprise here. Dev Patel and Jeff Bridges have been greatly lauded for their performances, but Mahershala Ali might as well be Muhammad Ali.

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He’s going to win, and that’s a good thing. His very short screen time in Moonlight has an enormous impact. You’ll probably see a lot of him over the next couple of years.

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Again, not much more I can do but safely say that Viola Davis will take home Best Supporting actress for her role in Fences.

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She gave the role everything she had, to the point where the entire contents of her nose appears to be running down the front of her face.

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Alright! Relax! It’s OK. Have a golden statue. There you go, relaaaaax.

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This one could go to La La Land, but it’s most likely going to Manchester by the Sea.

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A great script, well deserving of the award. No qualms with that.

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It would be nice to see Arrival take home the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. It’s an incredible adaptation of a supposedly un-filmable short story. What is the Adapted Screenplay category for if not to honour those tricky medium-transitions that end up successful against all odds?

It’s not going to happen, though. Moonlight is an adaptation of an experimental play concerning personal struggle, and hence it’ll get the award.

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That’s alright. It could be worse. Fences could win.

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Yeah. If you’ve seen Fences, you’ll know. There isn’t a lot of “adapting” going on.

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I love how every year the Academy tries to make themselves look edgy by nominating strange animated features. My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle are this years “look at us, we’re artsy” token nominations. These admittedly deserving films never win in the end, though. It always goes to a  big budget Disney crowd-pleaser. This year it’ll either be Moana or Zootopia.

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I’m putting my money on Zootopia because it has an intelligently interwoven moral about bigotry. Very topical, and fun for the whole family!

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I’m not up to date with the Foreign Language films this year. I haven’t seen any of them.

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The only one I’ve really heard good things about is Toni Erdmann.

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So I’m picking that one and crossing my fingers.

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I would be very surprised is Ava DeVernay’s outstanding documentary, 13th, doesn’t win the Oscar. O. J.: Made in America and I Am Not Your Negro are strong contenders as well, but 13th really hit home with a lot of critics and viewers.

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I’d be happy to see it win. It’s an incredibly powerful piece.

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Now is when things start to get really hard. I don’t have much information to go on with these next few categories. All I’ve got is logic and instinct. This is what separates the men from the boys. Here we go…

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I think La La Land will win for Best Original Score. Not just because it’s a musical, but because it’s a film built on music. The score is integral to the development of the plot, and it also acts as connecting tissue between the large musical numbers.

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However, Jackie featured a hypnotic score by one of my favourite composers ever, Mica Levy, and had a tremendous response from critics because of it.

I’m going to stick with La La Land, but it’s a tough call.

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I also believe that La La Land will win for Best Original Song. “City of Stars” is just such a catchy tune. Many people have found themselves whistling after seeing the film. I dare you to name any other song from any other movie on this list without the help of google.

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You can’t do it, can you?

Aw, I guess predicting these minor categories isn’t so hard after all. I’m starting to like this.

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Shit! Back in a minefield again! Christ almighty, this is a difficult one! Fuckin’ Production Design…you’re all the same!

Could it possibly be La La Land again? They do have a lot of great sets and extravagant backgrounds, but how dominant can one film be?

Arrival had a wonderfully designed alien ship. Hail, Caesar! and Fantastic Beasts were both meticulous in their own way. Passangers had a wonderfully crafted sci-fi settings.

Hmmm. I’m going to say Hail, Caesar! simply because of the attention to detail in the period setting.

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It’s also a film about the golden age of Hollywood, and doesn’t show up anywhere else in the running.

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This one ain’t easy either. I’m going to say…La La Land.

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Mostly I’m picking it because of the long single takes. Detectable difficulty is often rewarded at the Oscars.

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This really could be anyone’s game. I’m going to take a stab at Hacksaw Ridge because of the complex cutting during the war sequences.

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Hell or High Water is also a strong possibility, but so is any of them, really.

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For me this is a three way split between Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Doctor Strange has such weird visuals that are unlike anything else you’ve seen. The Jungle Book is stunningly well realised with respect to foliage and animal fur in particular. Rogue One is probably the best quality CGI there is, though.

I’m going to go for The Jungle Book.

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I just think it’s the one that will impress the most Academy members.

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Who knows which way this thing’s going to swing. I have a hunch that Suicide Squad will get it.

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The makeup was well and truly on display in Suicide Squad. Despite being a terrible film, it didn’t look bad. Killer Croc and Jared Leto’s version of The Joker were all created using some pretty complicated makeup application.

Also, It was great to see Harley Quinn realised on screen for the first time. She was a well designed version of the character.

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Both La La Land and Allied could take the Oscar for Best Costume Design, but Jackie must be the most likely winner.

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Jackie‘s a really boring film, unfortunately, but the way it cuts 60’s footage together with film footage and hides the seam between them through precise costume design is impressive.

Alright, that’s it. I’m not going to bother with Sound Mixing and Sound Editing this time around. They’re not unimportant categories, I just don’t have the time to spend on them. I’m already over the Oscars and they haven’t even started yet!

But there we go, I’ve thrown the ball. Here’s hoping for a perfect strike!

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-Rant Over!

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