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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Nominations Day

The nominations are here! As always, lots to discuss. Some quick thoughts, followed by a breakdown of the major categories:

  • First some bragging. I got 40/44 (91%), a personal record for me! 
  • With an impressive 14 nominations, La La Land ties the record for most nominations with All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997). 
  • After last year's embarrassing #oscarssowhite, the Academy made a big turnaround. 7 of the 20 acting nominees are people of color (Denzel, Ruth Negga, Mahershala Ali, Dev Patel, Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, and Octavia Spencer) and 4 of the 9 movies focus on people of color (Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, and Moonlight).   I love the diversity of the diverse movies as well, with both mainstream and indie and historic and modern being represented.
  • Meryl Streep continues to set records no one can touch with her 20th nomination. Her eloquent anti-Trump speech at the Golden Globes can't have hurt.
  • The biggest snub today was probably Amy Adams (Arrival), missing out on a nomination even as her movie did extremely well. Sad for her, and I loved her performance, but I think her time will come.
  • My biggest thrill was probably a tie between Ruth Negga (Loving) and The Lobster (Original Screenplay). 
  • 3 of my very favorite films of the year (Moonlight, La La Land, Arrival) ended up with the most nominations. That's great.  I'm not looking forward to the inevitable vitriol that will be thrown around the internet. I'll be rooting for Moonlight, but won't be denigrating La La Land or Arrival. I think they are all three really incredible.
  • As someone who sees all the Best Picture nominees, I'm really dreading watching Hacksaw Ridge.... I'm having flashbacks to American Sniper, a movie I truly can't stand.

Here are the main categories and my initial take:

Best picture:
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”
I went 8/9 here, correctly guessing 8 and putting Hacksaw Ridge in an unnominated ninth place. With it's record-tying 14 nominations, it's not smart to bet against La La Land, although I think Moonlight will put up a fight.
Lead actor:
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land,”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”
I nailed this category 5/5, as many did.  It seems like an easy win for Affleck, with an outside shot for Denzel to pick up his third Oscar.
Lead actress:
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
I went 4/5 in this highly competitive category, predicting Amy Adams (Arrival) instead of Ruth Negga.  I'm both sad for Amy and thrilled for Ruth. While I think Emma Stone will probably take this, I also wouldn't completely count out Isabelle Huppert or Natalie Portman.

Supporting actor:
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

I went 4/5 here as well, picking Hugh Grant (Florence Forster Jenkins) instead of Shannon. Mahershala Ali should and probably will win, with a small chance for Jeff Bridges.
Supporting actress:
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

I went 5/5 on this category, and it's a strong list.  Nobody can beat Viola though.
Best director:
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan
“Arrival,” Denis Villeneuve

I went 4/5 here, picking David McKenzie (Hell or High Water) over Mel Gibson. This seems like a really tight race between Jenkins and Chazelle.

Adapted screenplay:
“Arrival,” Eric Heisserer
“Fences,” August Wilson
“Hidden Figures,” Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
“Lion,” Luke Davies
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney
I went 5/5 here. I don't think anything can beat Moonlight in this category.


Original screenplay:
“20th Century Women,” Mike Mills
“Hell or High Water,” Taylor Sheridan
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan
I went 5/5 here as well. I think this is one category La La Land might lose, with Manchester by the Sea pulling through. I LOVE the nomination for the brilliant The Lobster.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Final Nomination Predictions

After a long hiatus, the blog if back for it's seasonal busy season. It's Oscar nomination eve, and here are my predictions.

I only predict the big 8 categories.  You'll almost certainly see La La Land with the most nominations tomorrow, probably followed by Arrival and Moonlight.


1. La La Land
2. Moonlight
3. Manchester by the Sea

Very Likely
4. Arrival
5. Lion
6. Hell or High Water

7. Hidden Figures
8. Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals

The Academy has the choice to nominate between 5-10.  I'm guessing they'll go with 8-although I do feel like Fences is losing a little buzz.  If it does shake out this way, it will be a nice corrective to last year's "Oscar's so White."  My biggest hope for Oscar morning is that Hacksaw Ridge doesn't make it, so I don't have to see it (since I'm a Best Picture completist).


1. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
2. Denzel Washington, Fences

Very Likely
3. Ryan Gosling, La La Land
4. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
5. Viggo Mortenson, Captain Fantastic

Joel Edgerton, Loving
Tom Hanks, Sully
Sunny Pawar, Lion
Michael Keaton, The Founder
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals
Adam Driver, Paterson

More than any other category, these 5 feel really locked in, with Washington and Affleck as the two clearest leaders. Anything else will be a bit of a surprise.


1. Emma Stone, La La Land

Very Likely
2. Natalie Portman, Jackie

3. Amy Adams, Arrival
4. Isabelle Huppert, Elle
5. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Ruth Negga, Loving
Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures
Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train
Viola Davis, Fences (if they move her to lead)

This category is so chock full of contenders, I'm really only confident in Emma Stone.  We have an acclaimed performance in a movie that's losing steam (Portman), a sci-fi performance (Adams), a foreign performance in a divisive movie (Huppert), a couple of well-loved veterans (Streep and Bening), a great new discovery (Negga), and a popular actress in a big hit (Henson). There's even a (very small) chance voters will move Viola Davis into the lead category.

Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
2. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Very Likely
3. Dev Patel, Lion

4. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
5. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals
Ben Foster, Hell or High Water
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures
Liam Neeson, Silence
Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight

Aaron Taylor-Johnson shocked just about everyone when he won the Golden Globe, so I'm betting it will be the rare Globe win that doesn't even get a nomination.

Supporting Actress

1. Viola Davis, Fences
2. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
3. Naomie Harris, Moonlight

4. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
5. Nicole Kidman, Lion
Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures
Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women

I was really deliberating on that fifth spot. I think it's pretty likely we'll see a double nomination for Hidden Figures, but in the end I went with conventional wisdom and Nicole Kidman.


1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land
2. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Very Likely
3. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
4. Dennis Villeneuve, Arrival

5. David McKenzie, Hell or High Water
Martin Scorsese, Silence
Garth Davis, Lion
Paul Verhoeven, Elle
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Denzel Washington, Fences
Pablo Lorrain, Jackie
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Jeff Nichols, Loving'

Director is a category that is open ripe with surprises. While Garth Davis made the DGA list, I think David McKenzie might sneak in for his well-liked Western.

Original Screenplay

1. Manchester by the Sea
2. Hell or High Water

Very Likely
3. La La Land

4. The Lobster
5. 20th Century Women
Captain Fantastic
Toni Erdman
I, Daniel Blake
Hail, Caesar!

I'm really pulling for The Lobster here!

Adapted Screenplay

1. Moonlight
2. Arrival

Very Likely
3. Hidden Figues

4. Lion
5. Fences
Nocturnal Animals
Love and Friendship