“Oscar” Gold & Black

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.

Best Picture

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

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.

Best Director

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

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

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