Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Oscar Predictions

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89th Academy Awards — Predictions

This is my fifth year doing Oscar predictions since I started this site, and every subsequent year seems to get harder and harder. Partially because of the nominees but also because I’ve been procrastinating more and more as the years go by. Earlier today I posted two final reviews of Best Picture nominees and am writing this preface to my predictions on a train back from Salem. There’s also several major nominees I didn’t get around to watching including Fences (Best Picture and Denzel Washington for Best Actor) and Lion (Picture and Adapted Screenplay).

But I also write this during a bit of a resurgence for me. After barely watching or reviewing films last year, I tried my best to get back in the habit and have been partially successful (I’m satisfied with the frequency I’ve achieved after it being near zero). Hopefully I can continue this practice the rest of the year so I can share my thoughts with the (admittedly few) who care enough to read my thoughts. And for those who don’t, I did start logging my films on Letterboxd so you can follow my goings on there, if that’s more amenable to you.

I usually take this time to give a recap of how I’ve done in previous years, but I’m running up against my publishing deadline, so I’m simply just going to include links for now to my 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 predictions where you can see for yourself. I’m hoping this year can be more like 2014 where I got 92% correct. This year seems a bit more straightforward with some contentious races, but the others not so much (read: expect a La La Land near clean sweep, ugh). Last disclosure, whereas most years I spend weeks researching what the critics and prognosticators think about who will win the trophies, this year that time is only a few hours (because again, I really procrastinated this year). But see below for my personal pick for Most Deserving and who I think is Most Likely. 


BEST PICTURE

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

Most Deserving: Arrival

Most Likely: La La Land

Why: I’ll take this as my space to say just how much I dislike La La Land. The film was enjoyable enough, getting three stars out of five from me and it is certainly deserving of a few nominations at the least. At 14 nominations in 13 categories (it has two for Best Original Song) it is expected to get close to, or even nail a full clean sweep. Much like when Silver Linings Playbook took the Oscars by force in 2013, I was vehemently against it winning any because I thought it’s praise was vastly overblown. So in a sense, my adverse reaction to La La Land winning any awards tonight is not entirely rational, yet nonetheless is how I feel.

Arrival on the other hand was one of my favorite films of the year, if not my absolute favorite. Because of this, Arrival got the most picks for me in my Most Deserving category, aka my personal favorite. While I will gladly take any and all wins by Arrival, I’m going with general consensus for most awards that La La Land will get lots and lots.


BEST DIRECTOR

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

Most Deserving: Barry Jenkins

Most Likely: Damien Chazelle


BEST ACTOR 

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

Most Deserving: Andrew Garfield

Most Likely: Denzel Washington

Why: I’m really upset I didn’t get a chance to see Fences before the Oscars this year, mainly because it should be a lock for both of it’s acting nominations. Not having seen it, my most deserving choice has to be Andrew Garfield instead. Casey Affleck is the obvious other contender in this race and it should be a tossup between him and Denzel. While I was a fan of Affleck’s performance and of Manchester by the Sea as a whole, I don’t think it was a performance that locked in a win, so I’m deferring to a few others’ opinion on Washington’s performance.


BEST ACTRESS

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

Most Deserving: Emma Stone

Most Likely: Emma Stone


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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

Most Deserving: Jeff Bridges

Most Likely: Mahershala Ali

Why: Moonlight was an excellent film overall, including many wonderful performances. Mahershala Ali is one of the obvious standouts in the film, but he only appears for what seems like a small part of the film, and I don’t think his performance is good enough for the time he appears to get the award. He does seem to be the frontrunner, so he’s my pick for Most Likely. Jeff Bridges is my personal choice mainly because I want to give Hell or High Water some love and the only other nominee I saw was Lucas Hedges who was merely alright.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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

Most Deserving: Octavia Spencer

Most Likely: Viola Davis

Why: Again, I’m sad I didn’t get to see Fences and many seem to agree Davis is a lock for this award. Michelle Williams is the consensus for the runner-up, which I disagree with, again for similar reasons to Mahershala Ali in Moonlight — she only appears in a small portion of the film. Therefore, my personal choice is Octavia Spencer.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Film Writer(s)
20th Century Women Mike Mills
Hell or High Water Taylor Sheridan
La La Land Damien Chazelle
The Lobster Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou
Manchester by the Sea Kenneth Lonergan

Most Deserving: The Lobster

Most Likely: Manchester by the Sea


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Film Writer(s)
Arrival Eric Heisserer
Fences August Wilson
Hidden Figures Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Lion Luke Davies
Moonlight Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney

Most Deserving: Arrival

Most Likely: Moonlight


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Film
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Most Deserving: Moana

Most Likely: Zootopia


BEST FOREIGN FILM

Film Country
Land of Mine Denmark
A Man Called Ove Sweden
The Salesman Iran
Tanna Australia
Toni Erdmann Germany

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: The Salesman


BEST DOCUMENTARY

Film
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

Most Deserving: O.J.: Made in America

Most Likely: O.J.: Made in America

Why: I just finished watching the O.J. documentary (it’s quite a doozy and packs a wallop of a runtime) and it’s the only one I’ve seen this year. It was a great accompaniment to FX’s dramatized version The People vs. O.J. Simpson (also great). In short: I’ve got a review on both coming, and count on it taking home some gold.


BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

Film
“Extremis”
“4.1 Miles”
“Joe’s Violin”
“Watani: My Homeland”
“The White Helmets”

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: “The White Helmets”


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Film
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

Most Deserving: Jackie

Most Likely: La La Land


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Song Film Artist
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” La La Land Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” Trolls Music and Lyrics by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, and Karl Johan Schuster
“City of Stars” La La Land Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
“The Empty Chair” Jim: The James Foley Story Music and Lyrics by J. Ralph and Sting
“How Far I’ll Go” Moana Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Most Deserving: “How Far I’ll Go”

Most Likely: “City of Stars”


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

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

Most Deserving: La La Land

Most Likely: La La Land


BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Film
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Most Deserving: Star Trek Beyond

Most Likely: Star Trek Beyond


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Film
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

Most Deserving: Arrival

Most Likely: La La Land


BEST FILM EDITING

Film
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

Most Deserving: Arrival

Most Likely: La La Land

Why: Just see above in my Best Picture explanation. Hacksaw Ridge would probably take last place here for me with La La Land coming in at fourth place. Any of the remaining three in my opinion are more deserving of the win in this category and will be genuinely excited if that happens — ideally with an Arrival win. But alas, La La Land will probably take this on it’s way to a near or full clean sweep.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Film
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Most Deserving: Arrival

Most Likely: La La Land


BEST SOUND EDITING

Film
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Most Deserving: Arrival

Most Likely: Hacksaw Ridge


BEST SOUND MIXING

Film
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Most Deserving: Arrival

Most Likely: Hacksaw Ridge


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Film
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Most Deserving: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Most Likely: The Jungle Book


BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

Film
“Blind Vaysha”
“Borrowed Time”
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
“Pearl”
“Piper”

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: “Piper”


BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

Film
“Ennemis intérieurs”
“La Femme et le TGV”
“Silent Nights”
“Sing”
“Timecode”

Most Deserving: N/A

Most Likely: “La Femme et le TGV”