Th 89th Academy Awards Predictions….A.K.A The Predickening

By Scott Kurland

Every year I look forward to writing this post. P

redicting the Oscars is one of my favorite pastimes. Sure, I’m right like 90-95% of the time. However, this year, I’m a bit apprehensive. Ever since the #OscarsSoWhite scandal last year, the academy has been focusing less on content and more on race. I already wrote an entire post a few weeks ago where you can read more on the subject Now, at last , it’s time for me to put my Stephen King-esque predicting talents to good use and see if I can get the Oscars right. Let’s do this shall we?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

The Nominees: Mahershalia Ali for “Moonlight,” Michael Shannon for “Nocturnal Animals,” Dev Patel for “Lion,” Jeff Bridges for “Hell or High Water,” and Lucas Hedges for “Manchester by the Sea.”

WHO WILL WIN:

If you’re a betting man or woman, the safe bet is Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight.” He’s won the SAG and all the critics choice awards. However, Michael Shannon has been making a strong campaign for “Nocturnal Animals” and his co-star Aaron Taylor-Johnson won the Golden Globe. Also, Dev Patel won the BAFTA last week and Lion is getting a lot of word-of-mouth buzz. So it’s Ali’s for the taking, but he has some serious contenders lurking in the wings to steal.

WHO SHOULD WIN:

Dev Patel or Lucas Hedges should win. If you've seen “Lion” or “Manchester By The Sea,” you know both actors gave incredible performances. Patel, in my book, should be the clear winner. He was robbed of a nomination for “Slumdog Millionaire," and now it’s time to give this man his due. However, this won’t happen unless the voters are split between Ali and Shannon. To put it simply, Patel is my Mark Rylance from last year.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

I know why they nominated Bridges and Shannon, but these two don’t need the nomination. Bridges’ “Hell or High Water” costar Ben Foster gave a better performance and deserved that nomination. However, I think they thought he was too good and would steal it from Ali. Meanwhile, Shannon has too many nominations. They should have nominated Woody Harrelson for “The Edge Of Seventeen.” Heads up, you’re going to hear that from me a lot in this article. In my opinion, “The Edge of Seventeen” was robbed in four categories. So buckle up cause it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

The Nominees: Viola Davis for “Fences,” Naomie Harris for “Moonlight,” Nicole Kidman for “Lion,” Octavia Spencer for “Hidden Figures,” and Michelle Williams for “Manchester by the Sea.”

WHO WILL WIN:

Viola Davis. The Oscars snubbed her for “The Help,” giving the award to Meryl Streep over her. They’re now making up for it by nominating her for Best Supporting Actress instead of Best Actress. This is Forest Whitaker and “The Last King of Scotland" win all over again. I love Davis, but this performance is too much of an easy win.

WHO SHOULD WIN:

Michelle Williams for “Manchester By The Sea.” If we’re going to give Mahershalia Ali an Oscar for a strong 15 minutes of screen time performance  in “Moonlight,” we should do the same for Williams. She pours her soul into this role and her love of Casey Affleck’s damaged Lee Chandler is up there on the screen. If she snuck in and won the oscar, I would be very happy.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

I loved “Lion” but Kidman didn’t need the nomination. They should have nominated Rooney Mara for “Lion.” Janelle Monae for “Hidden Figures” or Lupita Nyong’o for “Queen of Katwe” would have also been stronger choices.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Nominees: “Manchester By The Sea,” “LA LA Land,” “Hell or High Water,” “20th Century Women,” and “The Lobster.”

WHO WILL WIN:

It’s become apparent that “LA LA Land" will sweep the Oscars. With that said, I think “Manchester by the Sea” will win Best Original Screenplay. If they give Chazelle  Best Director, they’ll give Lonergan best Original Screenplay. Don’t be shocked though if “LA LA Land” wins. It’s on a hot streak like you won’t believe.

WHO SHOULD WIN:

“Manchester by the Sea. ” Lonergan wrote a masterful character study of a man who stopped caring. You see his evolution from start to finish and what Lonergan achieved in those one-hundred-and sixty-something-pages is genius.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

This is the one category where I’m happy for all the nominees. I wouldn’t change a thing. With that said….add  “The Edge of Seventeen” as a sixth nominee. It is literally the least they could have done for that film.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Nominees: “Moonlight,” “Arrival,” “Lion,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Fences.”

WHO WILL WIN:

This is where Barry Jenkins will get his Oscar for “Moonlight.” It’ll essentially be the same thing they’d likely do for Kenneth Lonergan with “Manchester by the Sea.” Jenkins adapted Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” very well. However, I wish he added more to the first two acts to make the third act count more. Still, this is “Moonlight’s” category to lose.

WHO SHOULD WIN:

Eric Heisserer’s “Arrival” script should win. It’s a flawless screenplay to a rather creative short story called “Story of Your Life.” In my most humble opinion, as someone whose very familiar with the original short story, of all the films on this list, this script was adapted the best. I also think “Lion” is deserving as well. That film is perfect with an act structure you could set your watch to.  I see why everyone loves “Moonlight,” but “Arrival" is the better adapted screenplay because they took a short story and turned it into a workable feature length screenplay with a tangible message.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

I’m going to be saying this a lot, but “Fences” is not a good film. It’s slightly insulting, the story is dated and its not relatable. Oh, and this isn’t even an adapted screenplay. Washington took the play, had a few lines of dialog added by Tony Kushner, and that’s it. “Fences” should not be nominated. I feel like “A Monster Calls,” “Queen of Katwe,” and “Hacksaw Ridge” were more worthy films. It’s just flat out upsetting that a film about race status is so racist and stereotypes its characters. August Wilson was a great playwright. However, being a good playwright does not necessarily make for a good screenwriter.

BEST EDITING

The Nominees: “LA LA Land,” “Arrival,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Moonlight,” and “Hell or High Water.”

WHO WILL WIN:

“LA LA Land.” Another example of how they are sweeping the Oscars. The film itself is proof of how hard it is to edit a musical together, get the timing right, and execute a strong film. Still, things aren’t so cut and dry. “Arrival” has equally impressive editing that helps simplify one of the most complicated stories I’ve seen on screen. In short, it’ll come down to what the Academy loves more; old Hollywood musicals or classic intelligent science fiction. I’d personally go with old Hollywood. “Birdman” proved that two years ago.

WHAT SHOULD WIN:

Personally, “Arrival,” but that’s because I’m a sucker for stream-of-consciousness style editing. “Arrival” feels like you’re watch the thoughts appear inside someone's mind. And trust me when I say that that is something truly difficult to pull off. Would I be upset if   “LA LA Land” won? Of course not. I love that film and that was an extremely difficult film to edit. So, deep down inside, of these nominees it should win.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

“Hell or High Water” should not be in this category. It’s basic, independent, nonlinear film editing. Anyone in film school could pull it off. I feel like “Manchester by the Sea” was robbed, and if it had been nominated, it would steal the award. That film’s editing takes what both “LA LA Land” and “Arrival” did and raises the bar. “Manchester by the Sea” shows you through creative editing why Lee Chandler is the way he is. It’s almost like the editing is the character.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The Nominess: “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Moana,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” “The Red Turtle,” and “Zootopia.”

WHAT WILL WIN: 

I’m torn here, because my top two choices “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “Zootopia” made my top ten of 2016, and both films have equally won the same amount of animated awards. Laika needs this win badly as they've been nominated every time they make a film and have yet to win. Disney on the other hand, made a great film about race relations in America...with animals. I’m going to have to lean towards “Zootopia,” because it won the Producer’s Guild and Annie award. However, “Kubo” is re-trending in the right markets. I’m going with “Zootopia.”

WHAT SHOULD WIN:

“Kubo and the Two Strings.” This film is Laika’s masterpiece. It’s so beautiful to look at and every frame could be a painting. As I said before, Laika needs this win. “Kubo” was their lowest grossing film, and if we want more films from them, they need to start winning awards. 

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

I’m happy with all the nominees in this category and wouldn’t change a thing.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

The Nominees: “13th,” “O.J.: Made In America,” “Fire At Sea,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” and “Life Animated.”

WHAT WILL WIN:

“13th.” Ava DuVernay was robbed of a directing nomination for “Selma” and the Academy will repay her here. Also, this is a very important film about America’s biggest problem…Race. DuVernay made a very powerful and accessible film that is not only in theaters, but you can also watch it right now on Netflix. This category is in the bag, but with that said, keep in mind right now that everyone is obsessed with O.J. Simpson. Which frankly, I don’t understand. Ultimately, it’ll come down to the 13th Amendment and the Juice.

WHAT SHOULD WIN:

“13th.” It’s the most important documentary out there and the fact that “I am Not Your Negro” and “Life Animated” were nominated makes them very lucky.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

I like “Life Animated,” but not enough to warrant a nomination. This category is about scandals. There’s no greater doc about scandal than “Weiner” and the tale of Anthony Weiner should be in this category.

BEST ACTRESS

The Nominees: Emma Stone for “LA LA Land”, Meryl Streep for “Florence Foster Jenkins,” Natalie Portman for “Jackie,” Ruth Negga for “Loving,” and Isabelle Huppert for “Elle.”

WHO WILL WIN: 

Emma Stone. She’s won the SAG, the Globe, the Bafta... it’s hers. However, Issabelle Huppert won the dramatic Golden Globe award and the Academy loves Natalie Portman. I’m confident that Stone will win because that film needs an Oscar win for acting and Gosling has heavy competition. This category is weighed in Stone’s favor.

WHO SHOULD WIN:

Stone.She gave the strongest performances of the five nominated. “LA LA Land” is an actor’s dream and she pulled off the role so well. I feel like Stone earned this award and the nomination and she lost two years ago for “Birdman.” This is where she’ll be redeemed.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

I love Meryl and Natalie, but they don’t need to be nominated. Amy Adams deserved it for “Arrival,” and Taraji P. Henson deserved it for “Hidden Figures.” Streep and Portman have too many nominations as it is. They don’t need this.

BEST ACTOR

The Nominees: Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea,” Andrew Garfield for “Hacksaw Ridge,” Ryan Gosling for “LA LA Land,” Viggo Mortensen for “Captain Fantastic,” and Denzel Washington for “Fences.”

WHO WILL WIN:

If this was a few weeks ago, I would have been so confident about Casey Affleck. He’s won all the critics awards, the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA. But, the most important one is the SAG, and he didn’t win that. Denzel won the SAG and it might be to make up for all the times he was nominated or because of #OscarsSoWhite. But right now, the award is between Affleck and Washington. If the Academy is split, Gosling might be able to sneak in and win. But this is between Denzel and Casey. I’m going to lean towards Affleck and hope that the Academy see the better performance, but they love Denzel.

WHO SHOULD WIN:

Casey Affleck. I don’t know about this scandal stuff with him. I do know Affleck gave the Best Performance of the last twenty years as Lee Chandler, and in my book, that is what should win. Affleck is the clear winner. Give this man his due. His brother already has two, so give him his. He's already earned it.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

I’ve made it clear how much I don’t like “Fences” and I feel like Denzel shouldn’t be nominated. He truly gives the craziest performance of his career. His character is unlikable and a monster. Also, Washington must have been so full after filming his scenes because he’s chewing that scenery like it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet. Viggo shouldn’t be nominated either as his performance is too subtle. I feel like Don Cheadle for “Miles Ahead” was an overlooked performance that deserved a nomination. I also think Chris Pine deserved his first for “Hell or High Water.” Even Adam Driver for “Paterson” would have been a better choice. This is the one category where you need to give younger actors the chance to be nominated.

BEST DIRECTOR

The Nominees: Damien Chazelle  for “LA LA Land,” Barry Jenkins for “Moonlight,” Kenneth Lonergan for “Manchester by the Sea,” Denis Villeneuve for “Arrival,” and Mel Gibson for “Hacksaw Ridge.”

WHO WILL WIN:

Damien Chazelle. I mean if “LA LA Land” sweeps, and it probably will, this award is Chazelle’s for the taking. He lost for “Whiplash” and he came back stronger. A huge argument can be made for Barry Jenkins and Kenneth Lonergan, but Chazelle put his soul into “LA LA Land” and it’s up there on the screen.

WHO SHOULD WIN:

Kenneth Lonergan. In my opinion, he directed a perfect film about a difficult subject matter. I also think Denis Villeneuve should win as well because “Arrival” was a hard film to make. It could have been garbage in the wrong hands and he made a sensational film. Also, let’s not forget he was snubbed for “Sicario” two years ago. 

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

Do I have to be this guy? MEL GIBSON. You’ve already won, get out of here. Garth Davis for “Lion” was snubbed so bad, and on his first film too.

BEST PICTURE

The Nominees: “LA LA Land,” “Moonlight,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Arrival,” “Hidden Figures,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Fences,” and “Hell Or High Water.”

WHO WILL WIN:

This is between “Moonlight” and “LA LA Land.” “LA LA Land” will win. It deserves it and also Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood. “The Artist” and “Birdman” are proof of that. Don’t be shocked if “Moonlight” wins though. This might be a year to say sorry for almost a decade of snubbing African American filmmakers. Although, I’m pretty confident this is “LA LA Land’s” to lose.

WHO SHOULD WIN:

In my most humble opinion, “Lion” or “Manchester by the Sea” deserve the award. I know Boston won last year with “Spotlight, ” but the subject matter of “Manchester by the Sea” focusing on grief, loss, and pain is a strong Academy favorite. As for “Lion,” it’s just the best film out there and I’d like it to be recognized.

WHO WAS ROBBED/ WHO SHOULDN’T BE THERE:

The Academy is allowed to nominate ten films, so why are nine nominated? More importantly, why is “Fences” nominated? This film is just the play verbatim. It looks like a play, feels like a play, and it’s upsetting like a play. They robbed “The Edge of Seventeen” “Deadpool,” and “Sing Street” of nominations. I’d prefer to see those films nominated any day of the week. I mean “Deadpool” and “Sing Street” were nominated for best Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globes. You have an extra spot. Nominate them!

The Oscars are this Sunday February 26th, at 8:30pm on ABC with Host Jimmy Kimmel.

scott kurland3 Comments