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– by Drew Carlton

The Oscars, or the Academy Awards, are one of my favorite award ceremonies of the year for a few reasons. Primarily, it gives all the filmmakers, actors, actresses, and people behind the camera their chance to shine and to be recognized for all of their hard work, they then get to take home that trophy and have “bragging rights” for the rest of their careers. Additionally, the Oscars can create massive controversy like when Citizen Kane, Goodfellows, or Vertigo were snubbed, or lets just look at 1994 when Forrest Gump beat both The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction. Even more recently, the 2010 awards where The King’s Speech won over Inception, Black Swan, The Social Network, and The Fighter. Have you ever tried watching The King’s Speech, and if you have, have you been able to stay awake through the entire movie?

Either way the Oscars are still a fun topic of discussion and earlier today all the nominees for the 89th Academy Awards were released. Below are the top tier awards, with my picks in BOLD and you may notice a pattern below, which I will happily discuss after the list.

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell Or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Moonlight

Best Actor In A Leading Role

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actress In A Leading Role

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

* I can’t pick this because I did not see one of these films, but on a side note I do not think Ali had enough screen time for the win, as he was absent the last 2/3rd’s of the movie.

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Cinematography

  • Arrival, Bradford Young
  • La La Land, Linus Sandgren
  • Lion, Greig Fraser
  • Moonlight, James Laxton
  • Silence, Rodrigo Prieto

Directing

  • Arrival, Denis Villeneuve
  • Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson
  • La La Land, Damien Chazelle
  • Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
  • Moonlight, Barry Jenkins

Original Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water, Written by Taylor Sheridan
  • La La Land, Written by Damien Chazelle
  • The Lobster, Written by Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
  • Manchester by the Sea, Written by Kenneth Lonergan
  • 20th Century Women, Written by Mike Mills

Score

  • Jackie, Mica Levi
  • La La Land, Justin Hurwitz
  • Lion, Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
  • Moonlight, Nicholas Britell
  • Passengers, Thomas Newman

I consider these the top tier awards, and a full list of awards can be found by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.


La La Land

I had zero expectations when I went to see this movie, mainly because I heard it was a pure musical and that is not really my kind of thing. I learned a couple things; One, it is not a musical in the traditional sense where every five minutes they go into song and dance, and I would say that 75%-85% of the movie is dialogue. Two, not only is this easily the best movie of the year, but this is possibly one of the best movies I have ever see. This cinematic masterpiece is on par with the story from Casablanca (La La Land even references the classic film, which they shouldn’t have), the cinematography is mind blowing, the sets take you back to the mid 1900’s with an updated look, Emma Stone is phenomenal, the music with John Legend in charge is captivating, and really every part of this movie, with the minor exception of Gosling’s stoic face, is perfect. You may not have liked the song and dance, but the movie itself is a masterpiece. In addition, Hollywood Oscar voters like a few things; Movies about Hollywood and Musicals. Expect this movie to win big.

Arrival

As opposed to La La Land, I had massive expectations going into this film. I had no thoughts whatsoever when seeing the previews that it would beconsidered for an Oscar, but here we are. Unfortunately, the movie was TERRIBLE. Now I must admit, *spoilers* I may be having time-travel backlash with all the TV shows and movies of this ilk lately, but all around this was a poorly done, boring movie that reminded me of a lesser version of Contact. I will never watch this movie again, even if it comes on cable.

Hidden Figures

AWESOME FILM. If it weren’t for La La Land, I would likely pick this movie for almost everything. It needs to be said that last year we had some issues with no black movies getting nominated for any award (#blackout) and this year there are at least three REALLY good ethnic films to compete for an Academy Award. I chose my picks disregarding any racial issues, and selected what I thought was the best of the best. Octavia Spencer was as fabulous in this as in any of her other recent roles, and Janelle Monáe did a slamdunk job in both this movie and Moonlight. Expect quite a bit more from Monáe in the future.

Manchester By The Sea

This was a decent film, and if Denzel had not destroyed it in Fences I think Casey Affleck would easily win this for Best Actor. Gosling was good in La La Land, but I think that due to the lack of his facial expression range, he will never win an Oscar. Manchester, was well written and it did not give you the typical happy ending that one could assume a film would give.

There you have it. Let’s hear your opinions on the awards! Who got left out? Who should win? If you are going to slam me on La La Land, make sure you see it first!

The full nominee list can be found here.

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Source: Oscars.org