It’s been a great year for movies, and it all culminates on Sunday night with the award show to end all award shows - the Academy Awards. Herewith are my annual predictions as to what should win, and more importantly, what will win:
The Academy saw it fit to nominate 9 films in this category (why not round it to 10? Perhaps Jackie or The Lobster?). Almost all the films nominated in this category deserve to be here, with the exception of Arrival - it just wasn’t that good!
Should win: Moonlight - a beautifully told film about a young black man growing up gay in Miami. It could slip through and win on the heals of it’s rave reveiws and the ‘Oscars so White’ campaign of last year, but ‘La La Land’ is still the odds-on favorite to win.
Will win: La La Land. Hollywood loves films about itself (remember the all-star movie ‘Crash’ which shockingly won ten years ago over Brokeback Mountain?) La La Land has picked up the BAFTA and the Golden Globe awards - and it’s on track to win this category - even though it is not an excellent film.
Other nominees: Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Lion and Manchester by the Sea
There is no contest in this category. Casey Affleck will deservedly win for his performance as a man struck by tragedy and who who has to raise the teenage son of his dead brother in Manchester by the Sea. None of the other acting nominees stand a chance as Affleck has won every award for this performance. He’s a much better actor than his brother, Ben.
Should and will win: Affleck
Other nominees: Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge, Ryan Gosling for La La Land, Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic and Denzel Washington for Fences.
This category is hard to call. It’s a three-way race, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whose name will appear on the envelope. Emma Stone has won the BAFTA and Golden Globe (Comedy or Musical) for La La Land, however, Isabelle Huppert also won a Golden Globe (Drama) and is the sentimental favorite for her performance in Elle where she plays a woman who tracks down the man who raped her. A few months ago this award would’ve gone to Natalie Portman for her stunning performance in Jackie, however, the film was not great and it failed to get Best Picture, director or writing nominations. I’m not too sure why Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenikins was included, her performance was OK but Viola Davis for Fences really does belong in this category and not Supporting Actress.
Should win: Huppert - she is one of the France’s most iconic actress of all time and she’s been ignored by the Academy until now. She’s been nominated for the César Award (French Oscars) 16 times.
Will win: Stone. She will piggy-back on La La Land’s momentum on the night and win in this category.
Other nominee: Ruth Negga for Loving.
Best Supporting Actor:
This is a category where any one of the actors nominated deserves to win. Dev Patel just won the BAFTA for Lion, while Mahershala Ali is gaining momentum for his portrayal of a drug dealer who befriends a young black child in Moonlight, and Jeff Bridges’ rancher in Hell or High Water has won several film critics awards. Michael Shannon was the second best thing in Nocturnal Animals - however, it was Aaron Taylor Johnson who had the meatiest role - he should’ve also been nominated in this category (he won the Golden Globe) but wasn’t.
Should win: Mahershalla Ali’s performance was exquisite.
Will win: Ali.
Other nominee is Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea
Best Supporting Actress:
This is the easiest category to call. Viola Davis has it all sewn up for her role in Fences where she plays Denzel Washington’s suffering wife. It’s a role thats leading and not supporting, but she’s in this category and will win. The other women don’t even stand a chance.
Should and will win: Davis
Other nominees: Naomie Harris for Moonlight, Nicole Kidman for Lion, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures, and Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea.
Damien Chazelle will win for La La Land as it’s the film to beat, an award he’s getting for his celebration of Los Angeles/Hollywood in his film. He’s won almost every other directing award this year, including the all-important Directors Guild of America Award which guarantees him a win in this category.
Should win: Barry Jenkins for Moonlight. It’s a film that’s different in so many ways - it’s about struggle, race, discrimination, acceptance, homophobia - themes that are so relevant in today’s crazy political environment, and Jenkins captures it beautifully.
Will win: Chazelle
Other nominees: Denis Villeneuve for Arrival, Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge and Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay):
Moonlight will and should win this award for the reasons mentioned above. Jenkins, with the story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, is the standout in this category. Other nominees: include Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures and Lion.
Writing (Original Screenplay):
Chazelle will take the statuette in this category for a film that is as original as they come.
Should win: Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea because it’s a pull at your heartstrings kind of film that’s packs a strong punch.
Will win: Chazelle
Other nominees include Hell or High Water, The Lobster and 20th Century Women.
Best Animated Feature Film:
Zootopia should and will win this award. It’s Disney and they’ve got a good track record in this category. Other nominees include Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle.
The 89th Annual Academy Awards will be shown live on television here in the UK on Sunday night/Monday morning on Sky Cinena (channel 304) at 1:30 a.m. For those of you who are unable to stay up all night to watch the show, an Oscar highlights show will air on Monday night at 10:00 p.m. on Sky Living (221).