Final Predictions for the 90th Academy Awards!

The last time I posted was… well, last year when I shared my final Oscar picks for the 89th ceremony. But for now, I’m back! I hope to return to writing about film (on a blog with its own domain) and recording content on YouTube on a regular basis. To that end, expect a post early next week with my recap of this Oscar season. Additionally, I’ll announce a contest for the blog in the very near future 😀

For now, though, here are my finalized Oscar predictions for the film year of 2017. I’m only going with the main eight categories, since this post is coming extremely last-minute, eleventh-hour, etc.

Best Picture
Best Picture is a mess. And that’s the way I like it. Four films – three masterpieces and one… not-masterpiece – feel like our main contenders here. Guess which one’s probably gonna win.

First, The Shape of Water, whose Guillermo del Toro should take Best Director in a cakewalk if this season’s turn of events is any indication. While I’m thrilled that it’s even in the conversation to win Best Picture, I also can’t see the motion-picture academy giving this period fantasy about an interspecies romance its top prize for the same reason I believe they passed on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008 and Avatar the following year. The former was a romance about a man who aged backwardly, and the latter was about blue people. (Yes, Avatar is very much a metaphor, but on the surface, we’re still talking about overgrown Smurfs.) While the genre elements were certainly not the only factors that kept those films from taking the crown, do we really think a mute Sally Hawkins getting her rocks off with a fish-man/sea god will take Best Picture?

Speaking of genre pics, if you’d told me a year ago that Get Out would be in the running for Best Picture and Best Director nominations, I would have said that I’d beaten you to that claim. But I doubt I’d have agreed if you’d told me that Jordan Peele’s thrilling satire might actually win either award, let alone both. But that’s thankfully where we are; it captured the zeitgeist (if you had a dime for every time you’d read that word this Oscar season) and stuck around. Some people, though, don’t know how art works think it’s ~just a genre film~, and genre bias is very sadly a real thing among movie snobs and Oscar voters alike.

Moving out of genre territory, Lady Bird from Greta Gerwig feels like the safest choice. At least on paper. A movie about real people dealing with very real-life hardships is a far cry from the genre trappings of Get Out and The Shape of Water, indeed. Perhaps more importantly, few folks outright loathe the warm mother-daughter dramedy the way some despise the other “real people” movie in contention, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Ultimately, though, that divisive satire from Martin McDonagh probably is the safe choice here, despite what we see on Film Twitter. Three Billboards deals with Important Issues (rather poorly, actually, but again, Film Twitter =/= Oscar voters), it’s performed very well on the awards trail, and it boasts widespread support across AMPAS, whose acting branch (the most important group by most accounts) really went big for it.

Paul Thomas Anderson and Christopher Nolan both have contributed so much to the world of film, but this simply isn’t “their year.” While each film has its ardent supporters, Phantom Thread came into the mix rather late, and Dunkirk seemingly fell by the wayside.

Lastly, Luca Guadagnino’s tender summer romance Call Me by Your Name, Joe Wright’s dull shell of an actual film Darkest Hour, and Steven Spielberg’s simultaneously thrilling, dull, and baffling journalism drama The Post look like the weakest here, as far as the potential to win is concerned.

Will Win: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Should Win: Get Out
Should Be Here: Beats per Minute (BPM)

Best Director
As mentioned above, del Toro should have no trouble winning this. He took the Directors Guild of America honor and won director prizes from both the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Unlike other due contenders Anderson and Nolan, his film is very much in the conversation to win Best Picture, and it’s easy to imagine voters passing over Gerwig and Peele because they’re just starting out as directors.

Will Win: Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water
Should Win: (Tough call, but…) Jordan Peele for Get Out
Should Be Here: Darren Aronofsky for mother!

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Frances McDormand’s steamrolled through the season for her Three Billboards turn, and it’s difficult to imagine Oscar resisting, even though she’s the only previous winner here aside from awards-season perennial Meryl Streep. Sally Hawkins’ captivating silent performance in The Shape of Water has something of a shot here, as does Saoirse Ronan’s pitch-perfect embodiment of teenage emotional cacophony in Lady Bird. Margot Robbie’s also here.

Will Win: Frances McDormand for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Should Win: Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water
Should Be Here: Jennifer Lawrence for mother!

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Timothée Chalamet won over the critics for his surrender to adolescent longing and the naïveté of teenage romanticism in Call Me by Your Name. Daniel Kaluuya plays up horror tropes to convey some very important truths about America in Get Out. Daniel Day-Lewis forgoes Accent Work and body contorting in Phantom Thread and still manages to rival his career-best work with his screen presence alone. Gary Oldman wears prosthetics, babbles, and pops the monocles of Parliament members in Darkest Hour. Naturally, Oldman’s got this in the bag. (I’ve yet to see Roman J. Israel, Esq., so I can speak to neither it nor Denzel Washington’s performance therein.)

Will Win: Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour
Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out
Should Be Here: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart for Beats per Minute (BPM)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Allison Janney’s an industry darling, and I’m thrilled that she’ll be an Oscar winner within less than 48 hours. Too bad it’s for the ~satirical~ I, Tonya. And too bad that she’s winning when Laurie Metcalf provides such beautiful character work as a strong but nearly broken mother in Lady Bird and when Lesley Manville goes deliciously cold as the protective sister in Phantom Thread. Octavia Spencer’s always a welcome presence on the screen, and she fills out the nearly empty shell of a character she has in The Shape of Water. I’ve yet to check out Mudbound, so I’m neither here nor there on Mary J. Blige.

Will Win: Allison Janney for I, Tonya
Should Win: Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird
Should Be Here: Allison Williams for Get Out

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Like co-star McDormand, Sam Rockwell dominated the awards season, and there’s little reason to believe the conclusion will provide a third-act twist. Woody Harrelson’s even better in the film, but Rockwell’s hogged all the attention here. Richard Jenkins’ turn as a gay man in the Cold War United States plays wonderfully into del Toro’s The Shape of Water. With just a few days of work, Christopher Plummer gives a chilling portrayal of a callous man in All the Money in the World. Meanwhile, I might be the only Oscar obsessive who’s yet to catch The Florida Project.

Will Win: Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Should Win: Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water
Should Be Here: Lakeith Stanfield for Get Out

Best Original Screenplay
Long story short, any of the nominees can win. Well, maybe not The Big Sick from Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. While this cinematic account of their real-life romance is touching, the film has no Oscar representation beyond this category. After that, The Shape of Water is probably out. It’s very much perceived as a director’s film… and not too much of a writer’s film; indeed, the nomination here surprised quite a few of us. The process of elimination beyond that is trickier, with Get Out, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards remaining. I know we perceive this to be a tighter Oscar race than usual, but if we’re to predict Three Billboards for Best Picture, why would we expect something else to win here? Ultimately, I expect the winner here to take the top prize as well.

Will Win: Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Should Win: Jordan Peele for Get Out
Should Be Here: Robin Campillo and Philippe Mangeot for Beats per Minute (BPM)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sure, the no-brainer choice of Call Me by Your Name probably will end up with this prize: It’s the only Best Picture nominee represented here, and James Ivory will finally win on his fourth nomination. However, quite a few people have been rallying around Mudbound, written by Virgil Williams and director Dee Rees; the latter made history in becoming the first black woman ever nominated for this particular award. The remaining nominated films are recognized in no other category, but since I’m here… I would have made an argument for a potential The Disaster Artist upset if James Franco had been nominated for his Tommy Wiseau impression; Logan kicks ass and became the first superhero film to grab a writing nomination; and let’s be real, Molly’s Game, while entertaining, got in thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s name.

Will Win: James Ivory for Call Me by Your Name
Should Win: James Ivory for Call Me by Your Name
Should Be Here: James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

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Zootopia Dominates 44th Annie Awards

zootopia_pic

Disney’s Zootopia won big at the Annie Awards. The film, which uses a world entirely inhabited by anthropomorphic animals as a metaphor for systemic racism and, more specifically, the crack-c*caine epidemic of the 1980s, took six honors, including best animated feature.

It’s getting more difficult to predict anything other than Zootopia to take the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, though a strong campaign for Focus Features’ Kubo and the Two Strings could help it upset on Oscar night.

Check out the full list of winners at Deadline Hollywood.

Final Nominations Predictions for the 2016 Oscars

Dropping these now because an Oscar-predictions contest I’m participating in closes tomorrow night, and I’ll be getting off work just before the deadline – shout-out to Shane at Film Actually for holding the contest. And I may see John Lee Hancock’s The Founder tomorrow evening – essential watching for those of us predicting the Oscars 😉

Anyway, here we go. I wonder if enough voting members of the motion-picture academy saw this great little movie called La La Land before sending in their ballots. I hope it gets a nomination somewhere

My three “No Guts, No Glory” picks are…
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2016 Golden Globe Predictions

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  1. Viola Davis for Fences
  2. Nicole Kidman for Lion
  3. Naomie Harris for Moonlight
  4. Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea
  5. Greta Gerwig for 20th Century Women

Next in Line???

  1. Molly Shannon for Other People
  2. Janelle Monáe for Hidden Figures
  3. Helen Mirren for Eye in the Sky
  4. Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  1. Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
  2. Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water
  3. Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals
  4. Dev Patel for Lion
  5. Ralph Fiennes for A Bigger Splash

Next in Line???

  1. Kevin Costner for Hidden Figures
  2. Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea
  3. Simon Helberg for Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  1. Natalie Portman for Jackie
  2. Amy Adams for Arrival
  3. Isabelle Huppert for Elle
  4. Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures
  5. Ruth Negga for Loving

Next in Line???

  1. Amy Adams for Nocturnal Animals
  2. Emily Blunt for The Girl on the Train
  3. Jessica Chastain for Miss Sloane

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  1. Denzel Washington for Fences
  2. Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea
  3. Tom Hanks for Sully
  4. Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge
  5. Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic

Next in Line???

  1. Andrew Garfield for Silence
  2. Michael Keaton for The Founder
  3. Joel Edgerton for Loving

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  1. Moonlight
  2. Manchester by the Sea
  3. Lion
  4. Fences
  5. Hidden Figures

Next in Line???

  1. Silence
  2. Nocturnal Animals
  3. Hacksaw Ridge

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical

  1. Emma Stone for La La Land
  2. Annette Bening for 20th Century Women
  3. Kate Beckinsale for Love and Friendship
  4. Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins
  5. Sally Field for Hello, My Name is Doris

Next in Line???

  1. Hailee Steinfeld for The Edge of Seventeen
  2. Susan Sarandon for The Meddler
  3. Renee Zellweger for Bridget Jones’ Baby

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical

  1. Ryan Gosling for La La Land
  2. Warren Beatty for Rules Don’t Apply
  3. Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins
  4. Colin Farrell for The Lobster
  5. George Clooney for Hail, Caesar!
  1. Jonah Hill for War Dogs
  2. Don Cheadle for Miles Ahead
  3. Ryan Gosling for The Nice Guys
  4. Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool
  5. Russell Crowe for The Nice Guys

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical

  1. La La Land
  2. 20th Century Women
  3. Love and Friendship
  4. Florence Foster Jenkins
  5. Rules Don’t Apply

Next in Line???

  1. The Lobster
  2. The Edge of Seventeen
  3. Sing Street
  4. The Nice Guys
  5. Deadpool

Best Motion Picture – Animated

  1. Zootopia
  2. Moana
  3. Kubo and the Two Strings
  4. Sing
  5. My Life as a Zucchini

Next in Line???

  1. The Secret Life of Pets
  2. Sausage Party

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

  1. Elle
  2. Toni Erdmann
  3. Julieta
  4. The Handmaiden
  5. Aquarius

Next in Line???

  1. Neruda
  2. Afterimage

Best Director

  1. Damien Chazelle for La La Land
  2. Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
  3. Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge
  4. Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals
  5. Denzel Washington for Fences

Next in Line???

  1. Martin Scorsese for Silence
  2. Clint Eastwood for Sully

Best Screenplay

  1. Manchester by the Sea
  2. Moonlight
  3. Fences
  4. Nocturnal Animals
  5. Arrival

Next in Line???

  1. La La Land
  2. Silence

Best Original Score

  1. Justin Hurwitz for La La Land
  2. Jóhann Jóhannsson for Arrival
  3. John Williams for The BFG
  4. Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda for Moana
  5. Alexandre Desplat for Florence Foster Jenkins

Next in Line???

  1. Nicolas Britell for Moonlight
  2. Mica Levy for Jackie
  3. Volker Bertlemann and Dustin O’Halloran for Lion

Best Original Song

  1. “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” for La La Land
  2. “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
  3. “Runnin'” from Hidden Figures
  4. “The Rules Don’t Apply” from Rules Don’t Apply
  5. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from Trolls

Next in Line???

  1. “City of Stars” from La La Land
  2. “Go Now” from Sing Street
  3. “Faith” from Sing

2016 Oscar Picks: Nov. 27, 2016

For anyone who’s been looking forward to what I have to say about this awards season, I apologize for being out of the loop, save for an occasional tweet or slew of tweets. I hope to get more into blogging in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s a glimpse at my picks for the top eight Oscar categories. Am I completely out of it, or am I right on the money? Let me know!

Best Picture

  1. La La Land
  2. Moonlight
  3. Manchester by the Sea
  4. Silence
  5. Fences
  6. Arrival
  7. Jackie
  8. Sully

If There Are More than 8…

  1. Lion
  2. Patriots Day

Best Director

  1. Damien Chazelle for La La Land
  2. Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
  3. Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea
  4. Martin Scorsese for Silence
  5. Denis Villeneuve for Arrival

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  1. Emma Stone for La La Land
  2. Natalie Portman for Jackie
  3. Amy Adams for Arrival
  4. Annette Bening for 20th Century Women
  5. Isabelle Huppert for Elle

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  1. Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea
  2. Denzel Washington for Fences
  3. Tom Hanks for Sully
  4. Ryan Gosling for La La Land
  5. Andrew Garfield for Silence

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  1. Viola Davis for Fences
  2. Naomie Harris for Moonlight
  3. Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea
  4. Nicole Kidman for Lion
  5. Molly Shannon for Other People

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  1. Liam Neeson for Silence
  2. Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
  3. Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea
  4. Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water
  5. Dev Patel for Lion

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Moonlight
  2. Manchester by the Sea
  3. Jackie
  4. La La Land
  5. The Lobster

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Silence
  2. Fences
  3. Arrival
  4. Love and Friendship
  5. Sully

Soundtrack Scene: Sia Says Hello to The Neon Demon

siaA photo of Sia (via Celebuzz)

In addition to her five Grammy nominations, alternative songstress-turned-pop chanteuse Sia has landed two Golden Globe nominations for songs she’s contributed to films. However, the motion-picture academy has yet to recognize her work. Will 2016 be the year that changes?

While the vocal powerhouse behind “Chandelier” and “Breathe Me” co-wrote “Try Everything” for Disney’s recent masterpiece Zootopia – no, it’s not too early to say that – something tells me that a song so poppy won’t impress AMPAS’ music branch – especially when the song failed to hit it big on pop radio.

But (more…)