Monday, February 20, 2017

Oscar forecast: Only three categories in doubt

I see only three categories -- actor, foreign language film and documentary short -- where there's any real suspense over who or what the Oscar winner will be when the envelopes are opened Sunday evening.

Throughout most of this Oscar season, I thought Casey Affleck's performance in Manchester By the Sea was easily the best I saw all year and that he would waltz away with the best actor trophy. I still think his performance was the year's best, but I no longer think he will be the Oscar winner. I hope he wins. I really would like to see him win. But I just don't think it's going to happen. I'm also afraid the year's best animated film, Kubo and the Two Strings, will leave the auditorium Sunday night empty-handed.

The foreign language category is a horse race between two films, The Salesman and Toni Erdmann. Any one of three pictures -- Extremis, Joe's Violin or The White Helmets -- could waltz away with documentary short Oscar. (I will also admit Timecode has a legitimate outside shot to win the Oscar for Live Action Short.

It's also worth noting again that Oscar voters rarely choose what is actually the year's best picture to win it's best picture Oscar. It's happened only three times so this century -- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Hurt Locker, and 12 Years a Slave -- and it won't happen again this year. The reason for this is Oscar voters aren't looking to find "the best picture of the year." Their vote is dependent solely on how they feel after watching a movie, compared to what their emotions are after watching the others nominated.

So, without further delay, here's how I see this year's Oscar show unfolding:
Live Action Short: Ennemis Interieurs
Documentary Short: Joe's Violin
Animated Short: Piper
Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Documentary Feature: O.J.: Made in America
Animated Feature: Zootopia
Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
Sound Mixing: La La Land
Sound Editing: Hacksaw Ridge
Song: "City of Stars," La La Land
Score: La La Land
Production Design: La La Land
Makeup and Hair Styling: Star Trek Beyond
Film Editing: La La Land
Costume Design: La La Land
Cinematography: La La Land
Original Screenplay: Manchester By the Sea
Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Actor: Denzel Washington, Fences
Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Picture: La La Land

For those not keeping count, that's a total of 10 Oscars for La La Land. The only other films I see winning more than one are Fences and Moonlight (the year's best film), and they will only be receiving two each.

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