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movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson

my picks for tonight’s 89th Academy Awards (the Oscars for 2016’s films)

academyawards.jpgUPDATE:
Winners are now indicated. I correctly guessed 11 out of the 24 categories, which is slightly better than last year, when I guessed 10 out of 24.

PREVIOUS 02.26.17:
I’ve now seen as many of the nominated films as I will be able to before tonight’s ceremony, and here finally are my educated guesses about who will take home each award — projected winners are Xed at the lefthand side. Keep in mind: those Xes don’t represent whom I think should win Oscars but whom I think will win, based on what little I can grasp about how the Academy thinks. I’ve also noted which nominees I think should win. Kindly note that this is not necessarily my take on who did the best performance/writing/FX/whatever of the year, but whom I think is best among the nominees.

I have not noted a “should win” for the feature documentary category, because I’ve only see one of the nominees (13th). I have screeners of the others, but I just haven’t had time to get to them yet. I do still plan to see the other nominees and review at least some of them (as well as get to reviews of at least some of the nominees I’d previously seen in other categories, so stay tuned.

The only other nominees I have not seen are, in the Best Foreign Language category, Land of Mine (which I have had no access to) and, in the Best Original Song category, Jim: The James Foley Story.

PREVIOUS 01.25.17:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — of which I am, alas, not a member — has announced the nominees for its 2017 awards. Links here go to my reviews, with reviews to come for most if not all those I haven’t yet reviewed.

The Oscars ceremony takes place on Sunday, February 26th. Shortly before then — or sooner, if I’ve seen as many films as I’ll have access to — I’ll post my predictions of the winners.

Check out my still ongoing, not yet completed ranking of 2016’s films.

(See the Academy’s site at Oscars.org and ABC’s site at Oscars.com for your further Oscar needs.)


And the nominees are:

Best Picture
[   ] Arrival should win
[   ] Fences
[   ] Hacksaw Ridge
[   ] Hell or High Water
[ X ] Hidden Figures
[   ] La La Land
[   ] Lion
[   ] Manchester by the Sea
[   ] Moonlight WINNER

Best Actress
[   ] Isabelle Huppert, Elle
[   ] Ruth Negga, Loving
[ X ] Natalie Portman, Jackie should win
[   ] Emma Stone, La La Land WINNER
[   ] Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actress
[ X ] Viola Davis, Fences should win WINNER
[   ] Naomie Harris, Moonlight
[   ] Nicole Kidman, Lion
[   ] Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
[   ] Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actor
[ X ] Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea should win WINNER
[   ] Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
[   ] Ryan Gosling, La La Land
[   ] Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
[   ] Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Supporting Actor
[   ] Mahershala Ali, Moonlight should win WINNER
[ X ] Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
[   ] Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
[   ] Dev Patel, Lion
[   ] Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Director
[   ] Denis Villeneuve, Arrival should win
[   ] Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
[ X ] Damien Chazelle, La La Land WINNER
[   ] Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
[   ] Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay
[   ] Arrival, Eric Heisserer should win
[   ] Fences, August Wilson
[   ] Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
[   ] Lion, Luke Davies
[ X ] Moonlight, screenplay by Barry Jenkins; story by Tarell Alvin McCraney WINNER

Best Original Screenplay
[   ] Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan
[   ] La La Land, Damien Chazelle
[   ] The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou should win
[ X ] Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan WINNER
[   ] 20th Century Women, Mike Mills

Best Animated Feature
[   ] Kubo and the Two Strings
[   ] Moana should win
[ X ] My Life as a Zucchini
[   ] The Red Turtle
[   ] Zootopia WINNER

Best Film Editing
[ X ] Arrival, Joe Walker should win
[   ] Hacksaw Ridge, John Gilbert WINNER
[   ] Hell or High Water, Jake Roberts
[   ] La La Land, Tom Cross
[   ] Moonlight, Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Best Documentary Feature
[   ] Fire at Sea
[ X ] I Am Not Your Negro
[   ] Life, Animated
[   ] O.J.: Made in America WINNER
[   ] 13th

Best Foreign Language Film
[   ] Land of Mine
[   ] A Man Called Ove
[   ] The Salesman should win WINNER
[   ] Tanna
[ X ] Toni Erdmann

Best Original Score
[   ] Jackie, Mica Levi
[ X ] La La Land, Justin Hurwitz WINNER
[   ] Lion, Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
[   ] Moonlight, Nicholas Britell should win
[   ] Passengers, Thomas Newman

Best Original Song
[   ] “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz; lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
[   ] “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls, music and lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, and Karl Johan Schuster
[   ] “City of Stars,” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz; lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul WINNER
[   ] “The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story, music and lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
[ X ] “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana, music and lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda should win

Best Cinematography
[   ] Arrival, Bradford Young
[   ] La La Land, Linus Sandgren WINNER
[   ] Lion, Greig Fraser
[ X ] Moonlight, James Laxton should win
[   ] Silence, Rodrigo Prieto

Best Production Design
[   ] Arrival, Patrice Vermette (production design); Paul Hotte (set decoration)
[   ] Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Stuart Craig (pProduction design); Anna Pinnock (set decoration)
[   ] Hail, Caesar!, Jess Gonchor (production design); Nancy Haigh (set decoration)
[ X ] La La Land, David Wasco (production design); Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (set decoration) should win WINNER
[   ] Passengers, Guy Hendrix Dyas (production design); Gene Serdena (set decoration)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
[   ] A Man Called Ove, Eva von Bahr and Love Larson
[ X ] Star Trek Beyond, Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo should win
[   ] Suicide Squad, Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson WINNER

Best Costume Design
[   ] Allied, Joanna Johnston
[ X ] Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Colleen Atwood should win WINNER
[   ] Florence Foster Jenkins, Consolata Boyle
Jackie, Madeline Fontaine
[   ] La La Land, Mary Zophres

Best Visual Effects
[   ] Deepwater Horizon, Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington, and Burt Dalton
[   ] Doctor Strange, Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli, and Paul Corbould
[   ] The Jungle Book, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon should win WINNER
[   ] Kubo and the Two Strings, Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, and Brad Schiff
[ X ] Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel, and Neil Corbould

Best Sound Editing
[ X ] Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare should win WINNER
[   ] Deepwater Horizon, Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli
[   ] Hacksaw Ridge, Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright
[   ] La La Land, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
[   ] Sully, Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Best Sound Mixing
[ X ] Arrival, Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye should win
[   ] Hacksaw Ridge, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, and Peter Grace WINNER
[   ] La La Land, Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow
[   ] Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson
[   ] 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Mac Ruth

Best Documentary Short
[   ] “Extremis”
[   ] “4.1 Miles” should win
[   ] “Joe’s Violin”
[   ] “Watani: My Homeland”
[ X ] “The White Helmets” WINNER

Best Live Action Short
[   ] “Ennemis Intérieurs”
[   ] “La Femme et le TGV”
[   ] “Silent Nights”
[ X ] “Sing” should win WINNER
[   ] “Timecode”

Best Animated Short
[ X ] “Blind Vaysha”
[   ] “Borrowed Time”
[   ] “Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
[   ] “Pearl” should win
[   ] “Piper” WINNER


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  • bronxbee

    finally scrolled down far enought to find this!

  • RogerBW

    There’s some good stuff in there, but it feels like a surprisingly thin slate this year. Not sure why – when I look at the nominees they’re mostly perfectly good.

  • This has been a really good year for film. So many worthy potential nominees are missing from this list.

  • Bluejay

    I’d be very happy if Hidden Figures wins tonight, but I think Moonlight deserves it. I liked Arrival, but it didn’t move me as much as it seems to have moved you. :-)

  • Danielm80

    Before the ceremony, I kept expecting Jimmy Kimmel to play a wacky prank where he pretended to give an award to Sunny Pawar and then took it away. Somehow, he came up with something even more awkward and painful.

  • Bluejay

    Update: Well, I’m ecstatic that Moonlight won, and appalled at that flubbed announcement. It was cruel to the La La Land folks, and stepped on the moment for the winners.

    No matter. The REAL winner at the ceremony was Auli’i Cravalho, whose performance was flawless, wayward blue flags be damned. #neverthelessshepersisted

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qzKbOXw4D8

  • *Moonlight* is an absolutely deserving winner. I just had a feeling that the Academy might go with a more conventionally structured story like *Hidden Figures* (though the protagonists are far from convention, of course). I’m delighted but kinda stunned that *Moonlight* did actually win.

  • Oh, none of it was Kimmel’s fault!

  • Beowulf

    Oh, yeah? He was proud of mangling “Marhershala” all night, then when one of the women from the bus said her name was pronounced “You-ler-le, he asked her husband what his name was. “Patrick? See THAT’S a name,” he told her. “All right.”

  • Bluejay

    I’ve only been watching clips and missed that he did this. So Kimmel was microaggressing all night? What a jerk.

    Next year they should get Key and Peele’s Substitute Teacher to turn the tables.

  • Danielm80

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/26/movies/jimmy-kimmel-mahershala-ali-tour-bus-tourists.html

    I’ve gone out of my way not to watch Jimmy Kimmel, for years, because I find his sense of humor to be unusually mean-spirited. One of his running gags was to ask parents to give their kids really terrible holiday gifts. The children would look utterly distraught, and the parents would film their expressions for the amusement of the TV audience.

    Another time, he secretly encouraged everyone who visited his office to touch the face of a female security guard, as many times as possible.

    Last night, his material was a little gentler, but I was surprised how bad his comic timing was. He stepped on almost every joke.

  • dionwr

    My Life as a Zucchini?

    It was the nominee I hadn’t heard a thing about, and knew the least. So is it playing in the US, or did I miss it?

  • RicoSuave

    The mix up at the end was something out of one of those old ensemble comedies like Stanley Kramer’s “It’s a Mad Mad Mad World”, with various stars scrambling around the McGuffin envelope

  • RicoSuave

    He seems to be emulating David Letterman who years ago went into chortling fits over “Uma” and “Oprah”. The metal polish on the Oscars statues must affect some hosts or something .

  • Danielm80

    It’s playing at one independent movie theatre in New York. If you live in other parts of the country, you may have to…come to New York.

  • I’m not defending Kimmel’s performance. I’m just saying that he was not to blame for the Best Picture mixup.

  • It’s in very limited release in the US. It’s mostly been a festival film.

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