2017 Academy Awards: Who Will and Should Win?

Another year, another Academy Awards. I decided not to take too much time this year covering the Oscar race, mainly due to the fact that 90% of the winners seemed to have been set in stone four months ago. Plus, there are plenty of other things in the world to be concerned about that an awards show where famous people congratulate one another fell fairly low on the list. It isn’t because this year’s crop of movies isn’t good. My favorite and second favorite films of the year are nominated for Best Picture, after all. I just have not been able to bring myself to fully care about the awards this year, more so than any year in the past. I guess I grew up. What does get me interested though is in how many predictions I get right. I took some chances last year that ended up bringing down my score quite a bit (The Big Short for Best Picture seems so silly in hindsight), but last year there was more of a chance for surprise. This year? I don’t think so.

So, let’s get into not only who I think will be taking home the Academy Award tonight but also, more importantly, who my vote would go towards.

Best Picture

What Will Win: La La Land
What Should Win: Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea has been my favorite film of 2016 since I saw it at last year’s Sundance. It’s an incredibly well put together, emotionally devastating family drama that only a great craftsman like Kenneth Lonergan can create. The split among the Internet is La La Land vs. Moonlight, but I will gladly pick the third option. Also, everyone who feels the need to fully back one movie and spew venom at the other needs to calm down.

Best Director

Who Will Win: Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Who Should Win: Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

La La Land is going to have a big night, and if anyone deserves that the most out of the people involved, it’s director Damien Chazelle. Would I prefer Barry Jenkins take this for Moonlight? Sure. I’d prefer Lonergan as well. But I’m not going to be upset when Chazelle takes home the award. I may have soured quite a bit on the movie since I saw it back in October, but I can’t take away the technical achievement that movie is.

Best Actress

Who Will Win: Emma Stone – La La Land
Who Should Win: Ruth Negga – Loving

I do have this sneaking suspicion that Isabelle Huppert could take home the award for Elle, but I am going to play it safe here and go with Emma Stone. This was an incredibly competitive year for this category, and if I had my way, the entire nominee list would be different, with one exception: Ruth Negga. She is so quietly brilliant in Loving that I am shocked Academy members even gave her the nomination. They like big acting, and she is doing the complete opposite. She’d be my pick, but she has no chance.

Best Actor

Who Will Win: Denzel Washington – Fences
Who Should Win: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Casey Affleck has been a frontrunner since last year’s Sundance and has picked up a giant number of awards for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. If we were going on strictly acting merit alone, picking someone other than Affleck here seems unthinkable. However, his sexual harassment allegations from his time making the terrible faux-documentary I’m Still Here seem to finally be taking their toll, as Denzel picked up the Screen Actors Guild award. I think the momentum has swung over to him, and ultimately, Affleck will go home empty-handed.

Best Supporting Actress

Who Will Win: Viola Davis – Fences
Who Should Win: Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Viola Davis is great in Fences. I don’t know if she is winner worthy, but like many actors before her, this is an award of “it’s her time.” Quite frankly, she could be terrible in Fences, and she’d get the award. Also, she is in the wrong category. This is a lead performance. That is one reason why my personal choice is Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea, but also, Williams is exquisite in her brief screen time and made me bawl my eyes out. That’s not an easy task.

Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Who Should Win: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Yeah. He’s great.

Best Animated Feature

What Will Win: Zootopia
What Should Win: Moana

Moana has been unjustly sidelined this year. Go read my review to see me talk about how much I love this movie.

Best Documentary Feature

What Will Win: O.J.: Made in America
What Should Win: O.J.: Made in America

It’s a TV show, but it’s incredible.

Best Foreign Language Film

What Will Win: The Salesman
What Should Win: Toni Erdmann

I’ve only seen three of the nominees here: Toni Erdmann, The Salesman, and A Man Called Ove. The first two are very worthy winners, but The Salesman will win as a political statement. Is Toni Erdmann better? Yes, but I approve of the political statement.

Best Original Screenplay

What Will Win: Manchester by the Sea
What Should Win: Manchester by the Sea

Can there be a tie with The Lobster? I’d appreciate that.

Best Adapted Screenplay

What Will Win: Moonlight
What Should Win: Moonlight

Best Cinematography

What Will Win: La La Land
What Should Win: Silence

In twenty years, people will be stunned at how little attention Silence received when it was released.

Best Production Design

What Will Win: La La Land
What Should Win: Hail, Caesar!

Best Costume Design

What Will Win: Jackie
What Should Win: Allied

La La Land could win here too. If so, and all my other win predictions for it are right, it will tie the most wins ever.

Best Editing

What Will Win: La La Land
What Should Win: Moonlight

Best Visual Effects

What Will Win: The Jungle Book
What Should Win: The Jungle Book

I hated the movie, but I at least thought they shot it in a place with trees and not solely in a studio.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

What Will Win: A Man Called Ove
What Should Win: Star Trek Beyond

I could be very wrong here. Seemed like the classiest pick.

Best Original Score

What Will Win: La La Land
What Should Win: La La Land

Best Original Song

What Will Win: “City of Stars” – La La Land
What Should Win: “How Far I’ll Go” – Moana

Lin-Manuel Miranda should be an EGOT, but of course he’s up against a juggernaut.

Best Sound Editing

What Will Win: La La Land
What Should Win: Arrival

Best Sound Mixing

What Will Win: La La Land
What Should Win: Arrival

Best Animated Short Film

What Will Win: Piper
What Should Win: ???

Piper is the only one I’ve seen.

Best Live-Action Short Film

What Will Win: Sing
What Should Win: ???

Okay, so I bought the shorts on iTunes to watch before making my predictions, but as you know if you did the same thing, there are no subtitles for them. If you were thinking about getting them, don’t. So, I could not tell you what I think should win.

Best Documentary Short Film

What Will Win: Joe’s Violin
What Should Win: ???

Well, there you have it. My predictions for the 89th annual Academy Awards. Let’s hope I’m right on every single one. I like being right.

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