Oscars 2017: Predictions and Opinions

Film’s biggest night is finally here; it’s the Oscars. We’ve had awards ceremonies galore leaving certain locks and open races in the various categories here tonight. Will La La Land sweep the board? Who will be named Best Actor? What upsets or shocks might there be?

With Jimmy Kimmel as the host, the night should be entertaining (good for those of us watching from abroad in the middle of the night), It’s sure to also be a politically charged event, as the stars take to the biggest platform to voice their views, adding to the buzz from the anticipation for certain awards.

Now onto who I think will and should (in my opinion) win…

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Best Picture

Will win: La La Land

Should win (in my opinion): La La Land

Possible upset: Moonlight

There is pretty much no threat here at this point, it would be one of the greatest shocks in Oscar history if La La Land doesn’t walk away with the big award tonight. Despite late traction with audiences, Hidden Figures doesn’t stand much of a chance, especially with only two other nominations, and although it did claim the SAG ensemble award, arguably this was due to La La Land being more of a two-hander than ensemble film. The only thing that could possibly topple La La Land now is the recent backlash, perhaps due to fatigue with it…but hopefully this won’t have much of an effect.

Directing

Will win: Damien Chazelle ~ La La Land

Should win: Damien Chazelle ~ La La Land

Possible upset: Barry Jenkins ~ Moonlight (unlikely)

Chazelle seems completely unstoppable in this category, sweeping every award along the way, and deservedly so for his sure to be classic film. It looks as though this will be one of the few Oscars of recent years where Picture and Director line up.

Actress in a Leading Role

Will win: Emma Stone ~ La La Land

Should win: Emma Stone ~ La La Land

Possible upset: Isabelle Huppert ~ Elle…or…Natalie Portman ~ Jackie

Yet another category seemingly on lock, any threats to Stone have seriously diminished as she has picked up pretty much every award available.

Actor in a Leading Role

Will win: Denzel Washington ~ Fences…or…Casey Affleck ~ Manchester by the Sea

Should win: Casey Affleck ~ Manchester by the Sea

Possible upset: Ryan Gosling ~ La La Land (unlikely)

Affleck’s phenomenally evocative performance deserves this award and it looked like it was his for a while as he has won many of the precursor awards…up until the SAG awards, where Washington claimed the prize. With Washington gaining late traction, and some bad details about Affleck’s personal life coming to light, it is looking very much like a two horse race, but may lean in Washington’s favour for his more showy, and still absolutely brilliant, performance (as opposed to Affleck’s internalised and subtle work).

Actress in a Supporting Role

Will win: Viola Davis ~ Fences

Should win: Viola Davis ~ Fences

Possible upset: No one has pulled away from the pack

She’s won every award so far, and there’s a general consensus it’s her time. It’s looking like she will add an Oscar to the Tony she has already won for this role

Actor in a Supporting Role

Will win: Mahershala Ali ~ Moonlight

Should win: Mahershala Ali ~ Moonlight

Possible upset: Dev Patel ~ Lion

Ali isn’t in Moonlight that much (I might have simply expected him to be in more due to the hype), but what he does is tender and heartbreaking. He’s won pretty much all of the precursors except the BAFTA (which went to Patel), but the BAFTAs don’t always line up with the Oscars.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Will win: Barry Jenkins ~ Moonlight…or…Eric Heisserer ~ Arrival

Should win: Eric Heisserer ~ Arrival

Possible upset: Luke Davies ~ Lion

Arrival surely deserves this award due to the complexity of its story and the achievement of creating a powerful plot twist (involving time jumps) that doesn’t seem forced. However, it seems strongly challenged by Moonlight‘s triptych portrayal of a man’s life. Both won at the WGA awards (where they were in different categories) so both have the potential to win. However, Lion claimed the BAFTA, causing it poise a viable threat.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Will win: Kenneth Lonergan ~ Manchester by the Sea

Should win: Kenneth Lonergan ~ Manchester by the Sea

Possible upset: Damien Chazelle ~ La La Land

If the award was for the most original, it would certainly go to the wonderfully weird The Lobster, but it isn’t. In this very strong category, Lonergan’s stunning screenplay seems most likely to win. The La La Land love train could threaten this a little, but likely not enough.

Cinematography

Will win: Linus Sandgren ~ La La Land

Should win: Linus Sandgren ~ La La Land

Possible upset: Greig Fraser ~ Lion…or…James Laxton ~ Moonlight

Beautiful work from all here, but it seems like La La Land will claim this award.

With everything that is happening in America at the moment, Zootopia would seem most likely to claim animated feature, although past wins pits Kubo and the Two Strings as definite competition.

Original score will obviously go to Justin Hurwitz’s brilliant work for La La Land. It is also bound to claim Original Song. It will probably go to City of Stars, but I feel like Audition is the more deserving winner due to it acting as an emotional anchor for the film’s themes, and the film’s overall crescendo.

Whilst La La Land is also in contention for costume, Jackie seems poised to claim that prize. Chazelle’s musical also threatens in the production design category, but Fantastic Beasts might take that for its imaginative world-building.

La La Land stands strong in the other technical categories, but will probably be edged out by Hacksaw Ridge or Arrival in the sound categories, and will face competition from Hacksaw Ridge (and possibly Moonlight) in editing.

There are some locks and some surprises sure to come. La La Land will almost certainly walk away with the most statuettes, but it probably won’t be all dominating, leaving some room for anticipation as we watch and wait for the conclusion of the 2017 awards race. There’s plenty of room for history to be made – will La La Land break records? Will Washington become the first black actor to claim 3 acting Oscars? Will Chazelle become the youngest Best Director winner ever? We’ll have to wait and see…

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