With the 89th Academy Awards coming up on Sunday, Feb. 26, many film enthusiasts are publishing their predictions.
Although I am not an expert by any means, I follow film news closely, and so I decided to make my own list of predictions. For each category, I list the nominees, who I think will win, who I think deserves to win and my favorite nominee from that category. I’ve also written out short analyses for the “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” “Best Actor in a Leading Role,” “Best Actress in a Leading Role” and “Animated Feature Film.” I have omitted categories that I do not know enough about to make an educated guess.
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Will win: La La Land
Should win: Moonlight
Personal favorite: Hidden Figures
The “Best Picture” category comes down to La La Land vs. Moonlight. This race is a polarizing one, as many critics and film enthusiasts seem to favor one film much more over the other. La La Land won at the Critic’s Choice Awards, Producer’s Guild Awards and Director’s Guild awards, making a “Best Picture” Oscar win likely.
Although I believe La La Land is well-made, visually stunning and entertaining, I think Moonlight is far superior in its story, its authenticity and its understanding and empathy, so I do believe it is the best film overall in this category. However, Hidden Figures is the film in this category that I can see myself going back to watch again and again, but, it is very unlikely that it will win the Oscar. Ultimately, this is a race between La La Land and Moonlight and La La Land has a leg up.
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Will win: Damien Chazelle
Should win: Damien Chazelle
Personal favorite: Barry Jenkins
Damien Chazelle has swept the majority of the “Best Director” awards so far, including the Director’s Guild award, which correlates with the Academy Award “Best Director” 84 percent of the time. Although I prefer Moonlight to La La Land, Damien Chazelle deserves this title.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences
Will win: Denzel Washington
Should win: Denzel Washington
Personal favorite: Denzel Washington
This is a close race between Washington and Affleck. Although both are commendable performances, I believe the Oscar deserves to go to Washington. It’s looking like he’s in the lead right now because of his Critic’s Choice win, but that could change depending on the results of the BAFTA awards.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Will win: Emma Stone
Should win: Isabelle Huppert
Personal favorite: Isabelle Huppert
Emma Stone has been the favorite to win for a while, but Huppert’s Golden Globe win makes this one of the most contentious races. Natalie Portman and Isabelle Huppert both have a possibility of winning. Considering Huppert is often considered to be one of the world’s best actresses, there is a chance that she may win just based off of name value and the fact that she has not won an Oscar yet. Although all of the actresses in this category are excellent, Huppert is on a different level. Her performance in Elle is complex, striking, and insightful, much like her performance in the controversial but critically acclaimed The Piano Teacher (2001).
Although Stone is the favorite to win, Huppert’s performance is so outstanding that it will be a disappointment if she loses (which will unfortunately probably happen).
Animated Feature Film
Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Will win: Zootopia
Should win: Kubo and the Two Strings
Personal favorite: Kubo and the Two Strings
Because Zootopia won the Golden Globe for best animated feature, it is likely that it will also win the Oscar in this Category. However, I believe that Kubo and the Two Strings is the best out of the movies in this category by far. Its story, gorgeous animation, and beautiful score make it one of my favorite movies of 2016.
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Dev Patel, Lion
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
Will win: Mahershala Ali
Should win: Mahershala Ali
Personal favorite: Mahershala Ali
Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Will win: Viola Davis
Should win: Viola Davis
Personal favorite: Naomie Harris