Saturday, February 25, 2017

Oscar predix 2017

While 2016 was a very good year for movies, it's yielded a somewhat dull Oscars season - which is to say, the main debate has been about whether LA LA LAND will sweep and whether its dominance would be a travesty or toast-worthy. But if you look a little closer, there are, as always, some very tight races and others that seem completely up for grabs. And hanging over them all is the question of whether recent political undercurrents will push outcomes that hang by a thread in one direction or another. One thing's for sure: even if the results remain unaffected by our larger national politics, we can expect the ceremony itself to be more politically charged than usual. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are my predictions for the major categories:


Will win: La La Land

Should win: Moonlight

Dark horse: I really don't see La La Land not winning; the rest seem to have about equal chances of an upset (i.e., extremely low) - except for Fences, which has zero chance.


Will win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Should win: Either Chazelle or Barry Jenkins for Moonlight. Moonlight is the better film of the two (although I loved both), but there's something about Chazelle's passion for his project and the difficulty of pulling off a modern-day musical that can't be denied.

Dark horse: Again, this is Chazelle's to lose. Even in the highly unlikely event that La La Land loses the big prize, I still think he gets this one.


Will win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Should win: It's a strong group, but none of them. This should have been Annette Bening's. Despite not even being nominated, her performance in 20th Century Women was one for the ages.

Dark horse: Again, I don't really see one, though Isabelle Huppert (Elle) is the closest thing to a threat.


Will win: Our first real toss-up! At post time, I'm gonna go with Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea over Denzel Washington for Fences. But this one could go either way.

Should win: Denzel. It's a big, theatrical performance, but that's also the essence of the character. Which is not to say Casey Affleck wouldn't be a worthy winner; he fully captures the pain of someone who's been completely emotionally gutted yet still nurses a core of intense pain and guilt that he can never dislodge.

Dark horse: Ryan Gosling, if La La Land really sweeps. But I'm not feelin' it. It's either going to be Casey or Denzel.


Will win: Viola Davis, Fences

Should win: Viola Davis, if you look past the fact that this is really more of a lead performance, not supporting. Although here is my best attempt at playing devil's advocate on that point.

Dark horse: None - this one's a lock


Will win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Should win: Ali - a tremendous presence, despite being in only a third of the film.

Dark horse: Dev Patel, who's excellent in Lion (although, again, his is more of a lead performance; or at least a co-lead with Sunny Pawar, who plays his character as a little boy)


Will win: Manchester by the Sea

Should win: The Lobster

Dark horse: La La Land, if it sweeps


Will win: Moonlight

Should win: Moonlight

Dark horse: Arrival, which for the most part very deftly adapts a seemingly unfilmable story.


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