2017 First Pass Oscar Predictions

It’s that time of year again where I dust off my “film writer” hat and make guesses on what and who are going to win Oscars in the six major categories (Picture, Director, Actor and Actress, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor). I usually end up getting five out of six correct! So I’ve got that going to for me, which is nice.

As always, these represents my “first blush” guesses — I’ll likely check in closer to the show date to see if anything’s changed. Note also that these predictions are as much about what’s won before (and why) and Hollywood politics as it is about the objective quality of the work under consideration, because, hey, when Al Pacino won a Best Actor Oscar for Scent of a Woman (or heck, when Leonardo diCaprio won for The Revenant), it wasn’t because they actually had the best male film performances of the year. Right? Okay, then. Let’s get to it.

(Also, if you want to see the full list of nominees, here you go.)

 

BEST PICTURE:

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight

The Academy allows for up to ten films to be nominated for best picture and this year we have nine, but usually if the film’s director isn’t nominated, a film doesn’t have much of a shot. There are exceptions — see Argo — but they’re just that: Exceptions. This year none of the Picture nominees without a directing nod has someone egregiously missing from that slate, so, I think it’s fair to say that Fences, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures and Lion are just along for the ride this year. This is not to say they’re not worthy, just not likely to win (that said, Lion is probably there mostly as a testament to Harvey Weinstein browbeating Academy voters into a nod).

Of the remaining five: I loved Arrival but the Academy has a bias against science fiction films; it’s only recently started nominating them for Best Picture on a semi-regular basis, so expecting it to pick one is optimistic, especially when there are other things on the slate that better conform to its overall preferences (also, Amy Adams didn’t get an Actress nod — what the hell? — which doesn’t help its overall argument). Likewise, Hacksaw Ridge seems unlikely to me; its selection reads more like the Academy welcoming director Mel Gibson back in from the cold than anything else (more on that later). Of three remaining, the next off the Oscar train for me would be Manchester by the Sea, which I suspect will be honored in other categories.

So I suspect it will come down to either Moonlight or La La Land. On one hand Moonlight would be the very woke choice for the Academy, and who knows? Maybe the Academy wants to feel what it’s like to be woke. But on the other hand La La Land is about Los Angeles and the industry and has pretty people dancing around and it’s 2017 and the world is shit and maybe we just want a goddamn musical and to smile okay? So I suspect it’s probably gonna be La La Land, what with its 13 other nominations and all.

Should Win: Arrival THERE I SAID IT (Note: I am biased as I know the guy whose story it’s based on)
Will Win: La La Land

 

BEST DIRECTOR:

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

So, essentially, here’s the deal Mel Gibson got from Hollywood: Don’t be a public drunken racist and anti-Semite for ten years or so, and we’ll let you back into the club. Hey, that’s a pretty great deal! I don’t know Mel Gibson and can’t speak to whether in his heart he’s stopped being an awful, damaged person (He’s stopped drinking, as I understand it, which I think is entirely laudable), but he’s lived up to his end of the bargain, and so here he is, back again. It doesn’t mean he’ll win. But again, that’s not what I think this nomination is for. You can decide for yourself whether this is a heartwarming story of redemption or just cynicism on the part of the Academy.

Aside from Gibson, this is actually a pretty competitive field! The Academy has traditionally liked to pair Best Director and Best Picture but in recent years especially has been more prone to split those votes — three times in the last four years, in fact. So I think it’s possible any of the remaining four have a chance. Of the four, I judge Villeneuve as the least likely (I think, alas, that Arrival is destined to be a runner-up in a lot of things), but I don’t want to write him off completely.

As for the remaining three, Chazelle, Jenkins and Lonergan, here’s a tell as to who might win Director: If any of them wins an Oscar in the Screenwriting categories — Jenkins is up for Adapted, and Chazelle and Lonergan are up in Original — they’re more likely not to win Director. Screenplay Oscars are often “consolation” Oscars for directors — see Orson Welles, Quentin Tarantino and Jane Campion about this — so a win in this category in my opinion boosts the chances of the other guys.

My guess is that Lonergan and Jenkins have very good chances to win in their respective screenwriting categories, and are they going to complain if they do? No, they just won a damn Oscar! They’ll be fine. Which means I suspect Chazelle will walk with this one.

Should Win: Jenkins
Will Win: Chazelle

 

BEST ACTRESS:

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

Dear Academy: You don’t have to nominate Meryl Streep for every goddamned thing. Honestly, the fact she’s here for Florence while Amy Adams or Taraji P. Henson aren’t (for Arrival and Hidden Figures, respectively) is positively embarrassing. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. I mean, I get it. I love Streep too. But just give her a damn Lifetime Achievement award already.

I think it’s great Ruth Negga has a nomination and I hope she enjoys it, and I hope she’ll be here again some other time; I don’t see much of a chance for her here. Likewise, Portman has won recently enough that there’s no great need to give her another one now. I suspect it’s going to come down to Huppert and Stone and a lot will depend honestly on how La La Land is doing otherwise. It’s got 14 nominations, so if it starts clearing the decks early, Stone has a very good chance; otherwise Huppert, who won a Golden Globe against some of the rest of the field, might find herself with a nice career capstone.

Should Win: Huppert
Will Win: Stone

 

BEST ACTOR:

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

Denzel Washington is in my opinion America’s greatest living actor and if you disagree, well, I mean, you’re wrong, aren’t you? And I would never count him out of anything, because again, America’s greatest living actor. But I don’t think it’s his year (or Fences‘ year, although come on, getting a whole stack of nominations is no small thing). Likewise Mortensen, who is the sort of actor I think Academy members find easier to admire (and occasionally nominate) than to actually give an Oscar to. I mean, surprise me, Oscar voters! Give it to Mortensen! I’ll be happy to be wrong! I’ll gladly be wrong! (I’m probably not wrong.) As for Garfield — he’s moved away from Spider-Man at a nice clip, hasn’t he? Good for him.

I suspect this category will come down to Affleck and Gosling, but in my opinion it’s probably actually down to Affleck and whether enough Academy voters are squicked about his allegedly assaulting and harassing behavior to women co-workers on previous films (Spoiler: I don’t think it will matter). It also depends on whether (again) La La Land is running the board; if it is, then heck, why not throw this in, too? But at the end of the day I suspect it will be Affleck, who is allegedly awful and also gave a very fine dramatic performance.

Should Win: Washington
Will Win: Affleck

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

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

For my money the best acting category in the awards this year, as long as you don’t count Nicole Kidman, whose presence here is an enduring testament to the power of Harvey Weinstein to get his films jammed into award consideration. I mean, Kidman’s fine! But among many other things, she’s already got an Oscar, and that in the lead category, so, meh.

Octavia Spencer also has an Oscar (in this category) and fairly recently too, so despite her very fine work in Hidden Figures, I suspect this will not be her year. Likewise I suspect Naomie Harris, a first time Academy nominee, is going to have to get in line behind Davis and Williams, who have been nominated before. And between Williams and Davis, I think it’s pretty much a coin flip, although I favor Viola Davis, because she won the Golden Globe and because damn it, it’s time.

Should Win: Davis
Will Win: Davis

 

BEST 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 have a pretty strong feeling this is the category I totally whiff this year, because, honestly, look at this thing. First off, Dev Patel is kind of the star of Lion, isn’t he? Doesn’t this seem like a bit of a cheat to anyone else? (I’m going pause a moment to note that it seems like I’m being unduly harsh to Lion, which may be possibly unfair to the film, which is perfectly competent tear-jerking Oscar bait. Sorry, Lion fans!) I think it’s possible Patel gets a nod here, but if he does, I think it’s because of a cynical move on the part of his film company.

After that: Well, you got me. The only one I’m comfortable suggesting is not in contention is Hedges, but then again, if he does win, you can expect a reasonably good night for Manchester. I don’t think Jeff Bridges really cares if he wins another Oscar, but he might anyway, just because he’s Jeff Bridges. I like both Shannon and Ali and I couldn’t tell you which will win, but maybe Ali, if for no other reason than Moonlight is multiply-nominated and Animals isn’t. Also, Ali’s was 2016’s Hardest Working Man in Show Business, between Moonlight and Hidden Figures and Luke Cage, so maybe that will pay off.

Should Win: Ali
Will Win: Ali

 

Other stuff: I’m rooting for Arrival to win Best Adapted Screenplay (congrats, Eric Heisserer!) but it’s a really tough field this year, not in the least because Moonlight’s script is in there and that may be Berry Jenkins’ compensatory Oscar (see above). I’m likewise thrilled the deeply weird script for The Lobster got an Oscar nod in Original Screenplay, but it has the same problem as Arrival has: tough field, packed with directors. Still, two SF/F screenplays in the same year — not bad, says this science fiction author. On the animated movie front, I’ll be interested to see whether Moana or Zootopia gets it; I suspect Moana (if Kubo and the Two Strings gets it, I will be shocked but delighted). Likewise, although this year is a bad year to against La La Land in Original Song, I think the temptation to give Lin-Manuel Miranda his EGOT (actually a PEGOT, because he’s got a Pulitzer, too) will be really strong and anyway it’s not like La La Land won’t win Original Score. Finally, I suspect Ava DuVernay is going to get her Oscar in the Documentary category for 13th.

Your thoughts on this year’s nominations (and my predictions)? Leave them in the comments.

 

41 thoughts on “2017 First Pass Oscar Predictions

  1. “Denzel Washington is in my opinion America’s greatest living actor and if you disagree, well, I mean, you’re wrong, aren’t you?”

    Huh. I think I’d go with Gary Oldman, the chameleon.

    I still havent seen Arrival yet, dammit. Trying hard to avoid spoilers.

  2. The more I hear about La La Land, the less it appeals to me. Naturally, it will win a passel of awards.

  3. Can we please stop auto-nominating Meryl Streep (nothing against her!!!) and instead start auto-nominating Amy Adams?

  4. It’s my own little amusing fantasy, and probably in no way true, but…

    I spot only nine noms for Best Picture and imagine that Deadpool’s subversive little Oscar campaign actually managed to round up enough support to get it the tenth most BP votes. And then I imagine some Academy person looking at the voting results and deciding to draw a line under the ninth nominated film and calling it a day…

  5. Streep was fine in Florence Foster Jenkins, but Hugh Grant was astounding (and I say that as someone who’s never particularly been a Hugh Grant fan). His failing to get a nomination is my “what the?!?” moment of the Oscar year, with the fact that Steep got nominated instead just rubbing salt in the wound.

  6. Thank you so much for acknowledging Casey Affleck’s awful behavior since it’s basically being swept under the rug everywhere else.

    I’m really sad that Arrival and Amy Adams didn’t get their due.

  7. I know she has little chance of winning, but Ruth Negga gave such a great performance and it was nice to see here there. Honestly, I’m a little surprised Loving didn’t get more awards attention this year. It really is a great film. I echo many people’s opinion about the Meryl Streep nom. Great actress, but she’s done better this this. I’m less disappointed about Amy Adams but a shame Taraji P. Henson was passed over. Hidden Figures was a great movie and she was the center of it. Still, overall, this is a pretty good set of nominations.

  8. I loved La La Land and was surprised it didn’t go for the full on perfect happy ending. Sadly didn’t get to see Arrival (the joys of small town living) – I only got to see Triple L because it was my birthday last week.

    Anyway, sorry to waffle, but I think that LLL is a great feel good movie and I hope it does well (also, the friend I saw it with is a piano player and say for only three months of lessons, Ryan Gosling mostly did OK)

  9. I’m not convinced the Academy will go big for La La Land. On the other hand, it’s about LA and the industry and they like that. But it’s also a musical, a genre they haven’t been all that fond of since 1970 or thereabouts. Meanwhile we have Hidden Figures, which is just the kind of uplifting social message film that the Academy loves and a 60s period piece besides; don’t count it out.

    I agree, alas, that Arrival is Dead On so far as Oscar is concerned, though it should be a favorite for the Hugo. I don’t see any of the other theatrical releases this year beating it (not even Rogue One), though this could be the year that a streaming series breaks through to take the Long Form rocket (the strongest candidate is season one of Stranger Things). My personal rule of thumb for those is that I treat shows that drop all or nearly all at once – Amazon, Netflix – as a single long work and consider them for Long Form, but shows that have weekly episodes are not and I think about individual episodes for Short Form.

    Kubo and the Two Strings just might pull off the animated Oscar, mostly because there are two Disney films on the ballot; if Zootopia and Moana split the Disney vote there could be room for something else to sneak in. I’m sad (though not surprised) that they couldn’t find a space for Your Name or Miss Hokusai; it’s about time that the Academy acknowledge that there is Japanese animation that doesn’t come from Studio Ghibli. Sing is also a wonderful film, but it had the misfortune of being released in a year when there was a wealth of riches in the category.

    Looking forward to animation in 2017, the film I’m hoping will get a US release and a nomination is Big Fish & Begonia, a first time film from a new studio in China. A trailer and a music video (both in Chinese) are available on YouTube, and they’re beautiful. Somebody also posted the entire film but I’m not going to watch that; I WANT it to get a US release.

    Pixar will have two films next year but only one (Coco) will be in contention. (The other is Cars 3, which is pretty much a pure money grab. The box office hardly matters; the Cars franchise is a merchandising machine, behind only Frozen and Star Wars.) The 2017 Disney animated film is Animal Crackers, which sounds promising. None of the other announced releases from the big Hollywood players look like standouts; mostly it’s a bunch of sequels, plus Captain Underpants, which will skew too young to appeal to the Academy.

    But there could be room for other non-Hollywood entries: Ethel & Ernest (UK), Louise by the Shore (France), The Girl Without Hands (France), and In This Corner of the World (Japan) are all waiting in the wings as 2016 releases elsewhere but 2017 releases in the US, and there will surely be new films. (Sword Art Online is a February release in Japan and a March release in the US, but I don’t see it as the sort of thing the Oscars will go for.) If the long delayed Bollywood animated film Koochie Koochie Hota Hai finally sees the light of day this year, it might even sneak into a spot.

  10. I’l admit that it’ll probably be a consolation prize, but I’m really looking forward to voting for Arrival for the Hugos this year. I loved every frame of it. While I’d love to see it win Best Picture, it just doesn’t seem likely.

  11. I haven’t seen the movie version of Fences yet, but I know the play pretty well and can’t help but wonder why Viola Davis is in the Best Supporting category. Seems like a lead to me.

  12. Troy T:

    She’s in it for the same reason Dev Patel is in Supporting Actor: It’s the category the filmmakers thought she’d have the best chance in and pitched her for.

  13. I think Hidden Figures has a good chance of being in the running and upsetting things. Firstly and foremost, it deserves it. The movie is gripping in a way I haven’t seen for a while, and I want to be clear it deserves the win fully and on its own merits. The other reason it might be in with a good chance is that the Academy skews fairly liberal and if ever there was a movie whose message directly contradicts President Trump’s ideology on pretty much all fronts then it is Hidden Figures, so if the Academy wants to stick it to Trump then it is the perfect movie and opportunity to do it.

  14. I started watching Arrival (had an awards review DVD) and fell asleep about 1/2 hour into it. Woke up and ejected it. Boring! Glad I didn’t pay to see it.

  15. I campaign that we start referring to Lin-Manuel Miranda as a MacPEGOT, since he’s also a MacArthur genius and I don’t think anyone has pulled off that particular trick. (Although I’m less sanguine than you about his chances for it, but I have my fingers crossed.)

  16. What, no Deadpool? This does not bode well for 2017.

    DUST! I might as well eat dust for the rest of the year.

  17. I liked La La Land. It was indeed a feel good movie, with some imaginative dance scenes and a great score. I thought Emma Stone was excellent in it.
    @Shirley – The Academy liked Chicago (2002) quite a bit.

  18. I rarely see Oscar bait movies, generally preferring the genre of Pretty People In Excellent Physical Shape Hitting Things And Blowing Things Up And Probably Shooting Stuff Too. Bonus when they’re as good as Mad Max: Fury Road.

    That said, I somehow saw Florence Foster Jenkins in the theater. And yeah: Streep was great, but it wasn’t the most challenging role. Other actresses could have played the part and done as well. (This is in contrast to, say, her turn in The Devil Wears Prada, where I don’t think another actress could have done that as well.) That is my standard for acting awards: Can I imagine someone else playing the role as well as this? If the answer is Yes, then no award is deserved.

    (This is why I don’t mind Pacino’s Oscar. I mean, yes, it was definitely for his previous work, not SoaW, but at the same time, I don’t think anyone else would have done as good a job of scenery chewing in Scent as he did. So okay, fair enough.)

  19. Seeing La La Land in a theater was one of the best movie experiences I’ve had in decades. Hope it sweeps the board like it did at the Golden Globes. It added a bit of beauty and sweetness to the world, and that’s what I needed this year.

  20. Great post! La La Land is going to walk away with plenty of Oscars. Just like you, I loved Arrival and wish it had a chance to win. I’m still bitter that Amy Adams got snubbed. I think Zootopia takes it over Moana and Kubo for Animated Feature. Will two Original Song nominations for La La Land split the vote for a Miranda victory? Possibly.

  21. I’m curious how the academy’s attempt to diversify their membership will play out in the voting.

  22. Dear Academy: You don’t have to nominate Meryl Streep for every goddamned thing. Honestly, the fact she’s here for Florence while Amy Adams or Taraji P. Henson aren’t (for Arrival and Hidden Figures, respectively) is positively embarrassing.

    Thank you, Mr. Scalzi! It’s also pretty damn insulting to Streep when, to be blunt, she can sleepwalk her way through a film that wasn’t bad but still far from the best work of anyone involved and still get an Oscar nomination thrown her way.

    Denzel Washington is in my opinion America’s greatest living actor and if you disagree, well, I mean, you’re wrong, aren’t you? And I would never count him out of anything, because again, America’s greatest living actor. But I don’t think it’s his year (or Fences‘ year, although come on, getting a whole stack of nominations is no small thing).

    TL;DR reason why I’ll be very surprised if Washington wins: I haven’t seen the movie, but I have seen Fences on stage and Troy Maxson is a very angry black man and if you’re looking for uplifting catharsis at the end don’t hold your breath unless you’re suicidal. Perhaps I’m way too cynical for my own good, but nominating Denzel Washingon playing unfiltered black rage and giving him an Oscar for it are two very different things. My money is still on one of the morose white dudes.

    @Shirley Marquez

    I’m not convinced the Academy will go big for La La Land. On the other hand, it’s about LA and the industry and they like that. But it’s also a musical, a genre they haven’t been all that fond of since 1970 or thereabouts.

    Sorry for being that guy, but I remember people saying that in 2002 when Chcago won six Oscars off twelve nominations, including Best Picture. To be entirely cynical, it also didn’t hurt that it was a spectacular commercial success coming off a long-running Broadway hit. And while many in Hollywood may view Harvey Weinstein as the anti-Christ, when he’s on-form he can run an award-season campaign like nobody else.

    In the end, I liked LaLaLand with heavy reservations, but since when was that the prime consideration in Oscar season? The film is a slick, agreeable trifle (not that there’s anything wrong with that), that is just bitter-sweet enough to avoid putting anyone in a diabetic coma but not so much to actually discomfort anyone.

    In terms of Oscar campaigning, It has a great backstory. The scrappy low-budget left-field passion project from a director who doesn’t come with baggage, and two leads who can work a room with ruthless efficiency.

  23. I will not watch another award show. I’m tired of the sycophantic circle of what is “OK” and deserves to win. You make a fine example of Mel Gibson. He screwed up, now has kept clean and made a brilliant film with an award winning performance by Andrew Garfield. I’ve watched the documentary that was done on Desmond Daws so I knew the story going in and was very interested to see how they were going to treat it. It was the best film I saw all year.

    La La Land is an old fashion musical. Whoopdedoo.

    Anyways, my inflated .02. Cheers!

  24. Scalzi: Gary Oldman, born in London, England

    Holy crap.

    God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    guess I’ll have to go with Jack Nicholson.

    Holy crap.

  25. @cranapia “Sorry for being that guy, but I remember people saying that in 2002 when Chcago won six Oscars off twelve nominations, including Best Picture.”

    2002 was a weak year. Chicago won largely because there wasn’t much else out there to compete with it. The other four films on the Best Picture ballot were Gangs of New York (decently thought of at the time but not one of Scorcese’s masterpieces, and who even thinks about it now?), The Hours (mediocre award bait), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (no chance, they were waiting for part 3), and The Pianist (no chance, too many Americans are still anti-Polanski).

    2016 had a number of Oscar-worthy movies. So I think the Academy will go another way and not shower awards on La La Land. It will get some but it won’t sweep as it did at the Globes, and that’s why I’m thinking we could see Hidden Figures for Best Picture and La La Land for Best Director. Another possible reason for going another way would be to quiet the Oscars So White controversy; that would lead to an award for Hidden Figures or Moonlight.

  26. I always hope the quirky dark-haired guy/gal will get the nod. (Marisa Tomei for “My Cousin Vinny” — YAY!) This may be shallow of me.

  27. For Brittany above, maybe GOTPEM? is the catchphrase we’re looking for. Of course for anyone but LMM, the answer is “No.”

  28. As a long time Studio Laika fan, my heart really really wants Kubo to take Best Animated, but I know it won’t. Hopefully they give it to Moana over Zootopia. I do find it interesting that Kubo also got a nom for Best Visual Effects, though. To my memory, I don’t know of any other animated feature that was nominated in both categories. Perhaps it can win there but that category is rather tough too. Ignoring that Channing Tatum movie I know nothing about, we have Kubo, The Jungle Book (I’ll be honest, I forgot it came out in 2016), Dr. Strange and Rogue One. Again, my heart hopes it’ll be Kubo and the Academy will finally acknowledge the immense amount of work Studio Laika puts into their films. But, I think Rogue One will get it mainly because of Tarkin. As someone who is in her late 20s and plays a lot of video games, I thought it was fairly obvious that Tarkin was cgi but everyone I’ve talked to in my parent’s generation did not realize that he was cgi until I mentioned it, and that age demographic falls a lot in line with the Academy.

  29. I have to admit I hoped that Sausage Party was going to get nominated, woot! What, filthy, hilarious cartoons aren’t allowed? That’s shameful!

    On a more grownup note, did not see Loving, but hub and I totally dig Ruth Negga for her work in Preacher. Looking forward to Season 2. We did see Hell or High Water, and I really thought it was a great film; still hoping to watch Arrival, Moonlight and Hidden Figures.

  30. Amy Adams deserved a nod for Arrival. I really hoped that Deadpool would get a nomination, purely for the comedy. I mean, it had no chance of winning, but it would have been fun. Arrival likewise has no chance, but I’m glad it got the nomination. Gibson and Affleck getting nominations doesn’t necessarily send the best message, but on the other side, three African American women on the ballots is not a bad thing.

    Some of these movies I had forgotten even existed or hadn’t heard of until literally just now.

  31. Oldman is spiritually an American. He’s the Reverse Terry Gilliam: he could not wait to get to America. And yes, I would count him as a British actor. But I would also call him the greatest living actor I have seen. (The few things I have seen Rufus Sewell in, he has been great, but again, Welsh.)

    Washington is more of a star than an actor, to my way of thinking. But so are a lot of the people who get called great “actors.” Michael Stuhlbarg is the most talented American actor I have seem in a while, but I am not sure he has done enough film work to be “greatest.” Maybe Jeff Bridges?

  32. I too would be absolutely delighted to see Kubo take Best Animated, but my money’s on Zootopia for that one. For one thing, it’s got a socially liberal message but doesn’t beat you over the head with it, and for another, it’s a really fun film. As for greatest living American actor, I’d go with Kurt Russell, but the kinds of films he does never win Oscars. I too would bank on La La Land cleaning up. I’ve never been much good at these predictions, it just seems an Oscar-y sort of film.

  33. “Denzel Washington is in my opinion America’s greatest living actor . . .”

    Well, okay. I’d argue that it’s between him, Paul Giamatti, and maybe Michael Keaton. But I still miss Philip Seymour Hoffman. One of the best actors of our time.

    From “Almost Famous” one of my my top 5 favorite movies:

    “Music, you know, true music – not just rock n roll – it chooses you. It live in your car, or alone listening to your headphones, you know, with the cast scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain. It’s a place apart from the vast, benign lap of America.”

  34. @John Cowan
    I saw Hoffman’s “A Most Wanted Man” at Sundance just before his death. That was a bit shocking, since I didn’t know much about his drug habit. He was certainly a fantastic actor.

    I went into “Arrival” blind and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not know the plot, had never seen a trailer, nothing. I can’t rightly judge it the best film this year given that I have not seen many of the nominees, but I would love to see a meaty sci fi movie win for once.

  35. Privateiron: “Oldman is spiritually an American.”

    Dont know where his spirit is. I dont read up much on actors lives, I just watch them work. (The one exception is I am a fan of Christopher Walken and will read/watch any interview/news story of his.) As for Oldman, I swear I hear a Southern accent slip though his lips now and then. I made up that he was from Texas or someplace. That he is from England, just cements my belief that he is the best actor/chameleon on the planet.

    Patrick: “delighted to see Kubo take Best Animated, but my money’s on Zootopia”

    Was I the only person who thought “Kubo” picked the wrong protatonist? It seemed the story should have followed the mother, she seemed to go through the three act play almost by the book, she seemed to be the one who actually developed the most as a character. It felt like they made the kid the center of the story because it was a kids movie, but he seemed to be mostly along for the ride, being there to witness the story happening around him.

    It felt like the writers got wrapped up in the idea focusing on “Kubo doesnt know something” and then teasing that out way too long, rather than focus on the character who was actually living the story.

    Kubo felt like a camera who was there to follow mom’s story.

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