We’re less than a week away now from the Big Show, and whilst many will be weighing in with their opinions and predictions, I thought you could probably do with some more and check out my picks!
Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
Newcomer Lucas Hedges did astonishing work in Manchester by the Sea, and Mahershala Ali is likely the favourite after his SAG win, but for me the winner should be Michael Shannon. Whilst the noticeable absence of Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals (which is criminal considering he won the Golden Globe in the same category) is definitely felt, Michael Shannon was truly wonderful in this film as well, as the grizzled law-enforcer in the fictional story within the story. I think the prize will go to Ali however so that has to be the sensible pick!
Pick: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
La La Land
Lowkey my favourite category at any awards ceremony, this is a hotly contested list this year! The gorgeous visuals of Arrival would win in any other year, but with La La Land and Moonlight in the running it is relegated to having somewhat of an outside shot. Picking up its only nomination, Scorsese’s Silence is beautifully shot, and perhaps a bit of a dark horse in this category. The subtle, transcendent beauty of Moonlight would be a worthy winner, but I can’t see anything other than La La Land picking up the prize, and it would be my pick as well. Its sumptuous technicolour and vibrant palette make it truly stand out, and every shot, from the framing and the lighting and everything else in between is immaculately conceived.
Pick: La La Land
Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences
A competitive category this year, and whilst I adored both Mortensen in Captain Fantastic and Gosling in La La Land, I don’t think they stand a chance sadly. Andrew Garfield was great in Hacksaw Ridge, but really he should’ve been nominated for Silence instead; in my mind a far superior performance. This category is pretty much a two horse race between Denzel Washington and Casey Affleck. The latter has been the favourite and frontrunner pretty much from the start, picking up the BAFTA and Golden Globe, however with a surprise win for Denzel Washington at the SAG awards, and being a popular choice, there could be a bit of an upset in store. For me though, whilst Washington was incredible in Fences, this is Casey Affleck’s one to lose.
Pick: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
La La Land
With my favourite score of the year, Abel Korzeniowski’s gorgeous work on Nocturnal Animals, being shamefully overlooked, I am ever so slightly bitter about this category. Only slightly mind, as La La Land is in there, and obviously it is going to win, because it is majestic and wonderful in every possible way. Passengers has no business being here (even though I did like the score), but I can’t think about this film too much because otherwise I’m going to feel shouty again…
Pick: La La Land
Audition (The Fools who Dream), La La Land
Can’t Stop the Feeling, Trolls
City of Stars, La La Land
The Empty Chair, Jim: The James Foley Story
How Far I’ll Go, Moana
I have a huge bone to pick with this category, because as wonderful as the La La Land soundtrack is (and it is wonderful), it picks up two nominations in this category, whilst the amazing songs of feel-good film Sing Street have been entirely overlooked. “Drive it Like you Stole it” is not just the best original film songs of the year, but one of the catchiest pop songs in ages. The “WTF?” pick of “The Empty Chair” only fuels my rage fire even more, but thankfully one of the La La Land songs will win this, and whilst “Audition” is superior (in my opinion), “City of Stars” has this one in the bag.
Pick: City of Stars, La La Land
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women
I love the leftfield pick of The Lobster in this category, and it being praised for its “originality” seems only fitting, but it is very much the underdog here! Many would have this penned as an easy La La Land win, but with it set to pick up a lot of awards in other categories, I can see this one going to Manchester by the Sea. They’re two a piece at the moment, with the BAFTA going to Manchester and the Golden Globe going to La La Land so it is anyone’s to win, but personally I think the screenplay itself for Manchester deserves more plaudits as it is such a dialogue heavy narrative, and it is just beautifully written.
Pick: Manchester by the Sea
Again, a very competitive category this one! It is surprising that Nocturnal Animals doesn’t feature once again, and that would’ve been my pick. Whilst a posthumous award for August Wilson’s Fences would be nice, the screenplay of the film is not vastly dissimilar from the play script so considering it as an “adapted” screenplay is a bit of a stretch. Moonlight is my favourite film out of the ones on this list, but for the screenplay and the fact such a wonderful story was taken from incredibly little source material, my pick has to be Arrival. It’ll be overlooked in a lot of the other categories as La La Land and Moonlight will likely pick up the bulk of the awards, so it would be great to see it win this one.
Whilst Disney typically picks up a pair of nominations, it is nice to otherwise see a bit of diversity in this category. As Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name was rather shamefully overlooked, my vote has to go instead to Laika’s gorgeous Kubo and the Two Strings. Possibly seeming like a bit of an outside shot, it became a bit more of a frontrunner after it nabbed the BAFTA, perhaps to the surprise of some. Zootopia picked up the Golden Globe and it is probably still the favourite for the Oscar. It certainly would be a deserving winner as well, but I love the plucky underdog, so it has to Kubo!
Pick: Kubo and the Two Strings
Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
I mean, is this even a contest? Viola Davis has absolutely slayed all the competition so far, taking home the SAG, the BAFTA, and the Golden Globe! This is the safest bet of the entire night, and it would be a HUGE (and sacrilegious) upset if anyone else won it. Viola Davis’ work in Fences is absolutely astonishing and whilst Harris and Williams give excellent performances also, they don’t have the same amount of screentime that Davis does and she completely annihilates the competition in every single way.
Pick: Viola Davis, Fences
After seeing both Arrival and Nocturnal Animals, I was considering which Amy Adams performance would get nominated; both equally great, with perhaps Arrival having a slight edge as Nocturnal Animals didn’t seem to be sitting as well with judges. Alas it seems Adams double-booked herself out of the running entirely and she didn’t even pick up one nomination! Disgraceful! Anywhos, considering the ones that did get nominated, and considering she has picked up the SAG, BAFTA and Golden Globe, this is Emma Stone’s award, easily. Fiercest competition probably comes from Isabelle Huppert who picked up the Globe in the drama category, and is a bit of a leftfield choice but not out of the question. Natalie Portman shouldn’t be entirely ruled out either with her stunning, transformative turn in Jackie.
Pick: Emma Stone, La La Land
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Getting into the nitty gritty now, and aside from Gibson who I still harbour deep feelings of resentment towards, there isn’t a name on this list that isn’t deserving. Villeneuve’s Arival is gorgeously grandiose yet surprisingly intimate, Lonergan’s Manchester is melancholic and understated, Jenkins’ Moonlight is simple, tender and beautiful, and Chazelle’s La La Land has a visual flair far surpassing this director’s young age. The Oscars have a habit of awarding a different film in the Directing and Best Picture categories (see Iñárritu and Spotlight from last year!), so this and the following are incredibly difficult to call, but if the trend continues, I think it’ll be Chazelle for La La Land.
Pick: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
The big one, and for me it really only comes down to two films; La La Land and Moonlight. The Golden Globes with its split categories usually gives a fairly good indication of the frontrunners for the Oscars, and with La La Land and Moonlight picking up the Musical/Comedy and Drama gongs respectively, it has to come down to those ones. It is a shame not to see Nocturnal Animals in this list as well, but let’s not get too bogged down by that! As already mentioned, the winner of this one could entirely depend on who picks up the award for directing, and I think even though most are expecting La La Land to easily walk away with this one, it would be foolish to count Moonlight out. After the race controversy of last year, there might be a slight point to prove and awarding it to Moonlight would be a popular (and worthy choice). I’m really just rambling now and distracting myself from making a decision, but here goes…