Oscar Predictions – 2016

February 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment

With the Oscars looming next weekend, it’s time I get my predictions out there. As I mentioned in my last post (“The Year in Review”), I think 2016 was a pretty good year for film. It was especially a good year for African American films, many of which got some much deserved visibility this year. As is often the case, I think some of the categories below are basically pre-decided. But I think there is an interesting tension at the Oscars this year. On the one hand, there is a narrative that the Academy wants to prove it has learned from #oscarssowhite, which could give an edge to various American American films and their actors. On the other hand, a Hollywood deeply traumatized by the last election may want to lean toward lighter, escapist fare, giving “LA LA Land” the chance to sweep the Oscars. We will not know, of course, until next Sunday night. But here are my best predictions for what I think will happen:

Best Picture

Should be:  Moonlight.  This was not just the best film this year, it is one of the best I have seen in a long time. I’m sure it will end up on my “Best of the Decade” list.

Will be:  LA LA Land.  I just have a gut feeling about this. “Manchester by the Sea” is another possibility but I think odds are “LA LA Land” first, then “Moonlight,” then “Manchester.” Unfortunately, I don’t anything else has a chance.

Best Director

Should be:  Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.  This one I am a little more on the fence about because I do think that Kenneth Lonergan did a fantastic job with “Manchester by the Sea.” I would be happy if either of them won.

Will be:  Damien Chazelle for LA LA Land.   Almost certainly.  I am actually more confident of this than I am of the Best Picture win.

Lead Actress

Should be:  Ruth Negga in Loving.  Her quiet performance was the bedrock of that moving and such a pleasant surprise from an actress I knew very little about.

Will be: Natalie Portman in Jackie. I think this is one of the safer predictions. She has all the buzz. So much so that studios chose to submit women who were clearly in lead actress roles (Viola Davis, Michelle Williams) in the Supporting Actress category so that they would not have to compete against Portman. That said, Isabelle Huppert won the Golden Globe, in a bit of an upset. However, the Academy is much more conservative and very rarely gives as Oscar in one of the top categories to a foreign film (the last one being Marion Cotillard for “La Vie en Rose” in 2007).

Lead Actor

Should be:  Denzel Washington for Fences or Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea. I would be very happy with either of these. Both did stellar work but I might lean to Affleck just because this would be his first.

Will be:  Casey Affleck.   Washington might steal it if the need to redeem #oscarssowhite is running high, but I think this one is Affleck’s.

Supporting Actress

Should be:  Viola Davis in Fences.  Without question. Michelle Williams was great (and always is) but Davis was a powerhouse in this film. This category isn’t even close for me.

Will be: Viola Davis in Fences.  Without question. The easiest prediction of the night.

Supporting Actor

Should be:  I honestly don’t have a strong feeling here. These were all fine performances (though I didn’t see Dev Patel in “Lion”). Maybe I would give it to Jeff Bridges for “Hell or High Water,” only because he had the most significant role and the most screen time of the nominees.

Will be:  Mahershala Ali in Moonlight. This is just a guess that he may get caught up in the African American momentum. Which would be fine, frankly. Though he spent little time on screen, he had an impactful role and did a beautiful job. It’s possible Lucas Hedges might get it for “Manchester by the Sea” but I would be a bit disappointed with that. He was fine but didn’t give us a brilliant performances. In fact, I thought the teen boy in “20th Century Women” (Lucas Jade Zumann) did a far better job.

Adapted Screenplay

Should be: Moonlight.  Without questions.

Will be:  Moonlight or Fences.  But I give the edge to Moonlight, especially if people end up voting for “LA LA Land” for Best Film.

Original Screenplay

Should be:  Manchester by the Sea or 20th Century Women. I would be happy if either of these won.

Will be:  LA LA Land. Pretty much without a doubt.

Best Animated Feature

Should be:  Kubo and the Two Strings.  This was a lovely and completely under-appreciated movie. For me, it isn’t even close.

Will be:  Zootopia.  Probably. “Moana” could steal it but I doubt it.

Best Foreign Language Film

Should be:  Sadly, I have only seen “Toni Erdmann,” so I really cannot say.

Will be:  Toni Erdmann.  It appears to have the momentum. It is the only movie I have tried to see in years that was sold out when I went to the theater. And that happened to me twice! This may be the only film that has ever been sold out twice for me. I am not sure what that tells you, but take it as you will.


Should be:  LA LA Land. The Cinematography in “Moonlight” was also fantastic but I actually think LA LA Land deserves this win.

Will be:  LA LA Land.  No question.

Best Documentary

Should be:  I Am Not Your Negro. Amazing, explosive and profound.

Will be:  OJ: Made in America.  It’s a shame but I suspect this one will win and nobody will ever see “I Am Not Your Negro.”

Original Song

Should be:  Cant Stop the Feeling from TrollsI just think that this Justin Timberlake song is really fun and catchy. Everything I see the video, I cannot help but feel good. If you don’t believe me, check it out here. I love this song!

Will be:  City of Stars from LA LA Land. It will definitely win. Guaranteed. And, yeah, it was good and that’s fine. But, I’m just saying I like Justin’s song better. So sue me.



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