On Sunday, February 26, the spectacularly cavernous enclave that is the Dolby Theatre plays host to yet another parade of pretty people in expensive garb and jewelry, boasting all sorts of hair-do’s (and don’ts), sharing a laugh over that one time they embarrassed themselves in front of their director — generally doing things to humanize themselves, to ease the tension that invariably arises on this day when famous people, who are about to become more famous, try not to act so famous.
I am left with but a few familiar questions as to how it all goes down this year.
What will the controversy be this time around? What wardrobe malfunction shall befall which hapless celeb?
How awkward will the evening get when Jimmy Kimmel runs out of funny?
Do we really have to wait until February 26 to watch La La Land collect all the gold, or will I need to go back and give this entire post a new title? How predictable will the Oscars be this year?
Will there be enough of the world left this time next year for another one to be held?
Without placing too much emphasis on the term ‘deserving,’ of the names that have been deemed worthy of inclusion, here are those that I feel have the greatest odds of actually taking home a statuette that night in ten categories I consider the most interesting of the night.
The cast and crew of La La Land will skip merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily up on stage because life is but a dream. Never mind the fact it is directed by Best Director lock Damien Chazelle, chances are if you make a musical in today’s day and age and it doesn’t suck, you will probably get an Oscar.
My preference (of those selected): Moonlight
My preference (of those not selected): Swiss Army Man
This is one of many for jazz lover Damien Chazelle (La La Land). 2017 is his year. I can’t say it’s entirely undeserved. He has crafted a passionate, joyous ode to a cinematic trend that has seemed for awhile to be done and dusted, and makes the entire enterprise look effortless — which probably only he can confirm was anything but.
My preference (of those selected): Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
My preference (of those not selected): Jeff Nichols, Loving
Actor in a Leading Role
It has to be Casey Affleck for his bruising portrait of a man in a deep, unshakable funk in Manchester By the Sea. I’m raising hell if Ryan Gosling gets the call. (And I love Ryan Gosling.)
My preference (of those selected): Casey Affleck, Manchester By the Sea
My preference (of those not selected): Tom Hanks, Sully
Actress in a Leading Role
We might have the biggest controversy on our hands with this category. The unconscionable exclusion of Amy Adams for her work in the impossibly human drama Arrival (about aliens) has managed to annoy everyone. But if there’s anyone here who could help us possibly get over that farce, it’s Ruth Negga as Mildred Loving. What a wonderful performance. I couldn’t get enough of it.
My preference (of those selected): Ruth Negga, Loving
My preference (of those not selected): Amy Adams, Arrival
Actor in a Supporting Role
First of all, what is Dev(elopment)* Patel doing in this category? If he’s not a leading role in Lion, who is? Are you telling me his child counterpart is the lead? That there are no leads in this film? What’s going on here . . . But in all reality, it’s irrelevant because he’s not winning this anyway. That honor is going to Mahershala Ali for his sturdy but immensely flawed supporting character Juan in Moonlight. Ali seems to be on the rise, and quickly, ever since I saw him on House of Cards. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you free yourself from the shackles of an Underwood-run White House.
My preference (of those selected): Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
My preference (of those not selected): Daniel Radcliffe, Swiss Army Man
Actress in a Supporting Role
This is too hard to call with any degree of accuracy. But my gut instinct — first of all, it’s going to come down to a head-to-head between Viola Davis (Fences) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) — my gut instinct tells me the odds are in Harris’, no, wait — Davis’ . . . no, Harris’ favor. Ah, screw it. Can we split the award this year? I cannot choose. But because I must, Naomie Harris as one nasty mama in Moonlight. Damn, was she fierce.
My preference (of those selected): Naomie Harris, Moonlight
My preference (of those not selected): Lupita Nyong’o, Queen of Katwe
Zootopia seems to be the frontrunner in this category, and that plays right in to my theme here. How very expected, especially during the times in which we are currently living.
My preference (of those selected): Moana
My preference (of those not selected): The Little Prince
One of my favorite “non-major” categories is that which recognizes outstanding achievement in cinematography. I’m a person who responds strongly to the visual appeal of things. (I’m also a visual learner.) There are a lot of great selections this year, so this one is another that’s going to be tough to predict but my gut is telling me Linus Sandgren’s ability to capture La La Land in ways we have rarely seen before is going to score big.
My preference (of those selected): Rodrigo Prieto, Silence
My preference (of those not selected): Emmanuel Lubezki, Knight of Cups
Here’s a category I actually do not pay much mind to, but the results are always interesting at the ceremony. The obvious choice to me is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Ornate and fun, Colleen Atwood’s wardrobe for this Harry Potter spin-off film is sure to receive confirmation that at least her efforts were worthwhile.
My preference (of those selected): Consolata Boyle, Florence Foster Jenkins
My preference (of those not selected): Timothy Everest and Sammy Sheldon Differ, Assassin’s Creed
Production design and set design are major elements to consider as well, and yet I rarely address them in my reviews (probably an oversight). It’s another of those categories that seems to only become relevant when design elements seem to be the only thing going for a particular movie (like the slightly disappointing Coen brothers’ tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Hail, Caesar!) Their farcical celebration of a bygone era is my dubious pick for the Oscar this year.
My preference (of those selected): Jess Gonchor (production design) and Nancy Haigh (set decoration), Hail, Caesar!
My preference (of those not selected): Craig Lathrop (production design) and Mary Kirkland (set decoration), The Witch
* This is an inside joke I share with an longtime follower of my blog, the result of what I would consider one of the best typos of all time.
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Photo credits: http://www.imdb.com