By: Glynis Neely
Best Picture: Arrival
While I thoroughly enjoyed some of the other films nominated this year, and I really didn’t get to see all the ones I wanted to (namely Moonlight, Hidden Figures), this haunting sci-fi drama starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner has lingered with me for weeks since I saw it in theaters. I have seen my share of sci-fi, but there is something incredibly unique and special about Arrival. It is about aliens, but it does not function like is predecessors. It is a quiet and at times disorienting picture and it would be a real treat for a sci-fi to win best picture because they really don’t get enough love at these shows. And yet despite my gushing, I still think La La Land is gonna take this one home.
Directing: Dennis Villeneuve, Arrival
Again, I’m going to keep praising this movie, but I think this award is going to go to Damien Chazelle for La La Land. In an upset, they might give it to Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.
Best Actor: Denzel Washington, Fences
I haven’t seen it, but he is who I’m betting my money on.
Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land
Despite the presence of the almighty Streep, I still think this one’s going to Emma Stone. I was surprised at the nomination for Isabelle Huppert for Elle, considering horror/thrillers don’t often get their due, especially in this category. I think she has a long shot of winning, but it’s a nice surprise.
Best Supporting Actor: Mashershala Ali, Moonlight
I am hoping this one goes to Mashershala Ali as I have enjoyed him in everything, including his excellent turn on Luke Cage as Cottonmouth. While I haven’t seen this movie yet, I hope this is the one where he gets recognized.
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
First of all, shout out to Octavia Spencer for being the first black woman to be nominated for the same category twice. In my humble opinion this one could go to her or Viola Davis, they are both always excellent, but I think this one is going to go to Davis. She should’ve been in the Best Actress category considering the time she spends on screen, but I think she then definitely earned this award.
Adapted Screenplay: Arrival
This again is going to be my go-to, but I think Moonlight could really clinch this category, especially if it doesn’t win best picture.
Original Screenplay: Hell or High Water
I’m going to go with this one because I enjoyed it so thoroughly and can’t wait for it to be out on DVD so I can watch it again. It was simple, but funny and the dialogue was among the best I’ve heard in a while. And while I haven’t seen it yet, I think the premise for The Lobster is one of the most original ideas I’ve heard in years, so there’s a good possibility there too.
Animated Feature Film: Zootopia
In a year as divisive as this one, where hate crimes are spiking, I think the world needs a little more Zootopia. The film’s simplistic allegory for racism is accessible to both adults and children. And there’s something to love about a kid’s movie that makes a Breaking Bad reference. While I don’t think it will win, I have heard incredible things about The Red Turtle, so there may be an upset in this category.
This film is as rich a story as it is a visually arresting and at times extremely mystifying piece of work. From the visualization of the alien language to the spaceships themselves, the cinematography is essential to this movie.
Production Design: Hail, Caesar!
While there are a couple of period pieces to choose from this year, I think the Cohen brothers’ take on Hollywood in the 1950’s is spot on.
Without a doubt, this is my winner – whether it actually wins or not. Ava DuVernay’s documentary about the black experience in America as it relates to the criminal justice system, specifically the loophole in the 13th Amendment. I saw it the other night and it is moving and incredibly eye opening. However, I have also heard great things about OJ: Made in America, so there is a chance that will win.
Film Editing: Arrival
This movie really relies on the editing, as well as the sound editing and mixing, and I really hope it wins for these three technical awards – at the very least.
Music (Original Score): Jackie
Mica Levi’s score to Jackie has been getting rave reviews. Based on his previous work, specifically the score to Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, I’m betting on him.
Best Original Song: “City of Stars” La La Land
More than likely, this one will go to La La Land, but I would love for this to go to Lin Manuel-Miranda’ song “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.
Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
For this one I’m predicting The Salesman, likely due to the drama surrounding Iranian director Asghar Farhadi who is boycotting the ceremony due to the travel ban.