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2017 Academy Award Nominations

The Oscar nominees are here! We have seen a plethora of Oscar buzz and early award consideration from such films as La La Land, Moonlight, and Manchester by the Sea. Overall, Moonlight has earned the most wins from other, smaller awards, but La La Land has earned the most recognition from the bigger award shows. Well, the Academy has spoken, and those particular films did get a lot of nominations, and deservingly so. Especially La La Land. No surprises there at all. After the dominating effort at the Golden Globes this year (winning all seven of its nominations), it was only a question of how many nominations La La Land would receive. The breakout musical has officially been presented with 14 nominations, which is tied for the all-time record for most of all time by a motion picture. Titanic and All About Eve are the other two films with the same amount nominations. Both films did end up winning Best Picture in their given year, so it is La La Land‘s award to lose. No pressure.

Another big headline is how diverse the nominations are this year compared to the nominations of last year. A total of six African American actors received nominations this year, compared to the nada of last year. The great thing is it doesn’t feel like a panic or a force for the Academy to nominate more non-white actors. All six actors were phenomenal and more than deserved Oscar praise for their marvelous performances. From films like Lion to Moonlight, this year’s nominees are incredibly diverse which is a great thing to see, and a sign that Hollywood is going in the right direction. So enough of my rambling, here are the nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards!

Best picture:
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”

Thoughts: I was not surprised at all by these particular nominees. All are well-deserved of being nominated. Hidden Figures was probably the biggest surprise, and Silence was the biggest snub. It will come down to either Moonlight or La La Land, with Manchester by the Sea being the x-factor. However, I can’t ignore the 14 nominations!

Prediction: La La Land

Lead actor:
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land,”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Thoughts: This one is really a no-brainer for me. Affleck pulls off a career performance, and could go down as one of the best in recent memory. With that being said, it’s cool to see Mortensen get nominated for a much smaller film, and one that came out in the middle of 2016.

Prediction: Casey Affleck

Lead actress:
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Thoughts: One of the biggest surprises this year in the nominations was seeing Amy Adams’ name get left off in this category. She should have been nominated for Arrival, and could have been nominated for Nocturnal Animals as well. Isabelle Huppert surprised everyone by winning at the Golden Globes, but I just don’t think she can do it again at the Academy Awards. But hopefully I’m wrong! Anyways, I think it will come down to either Portman or Stone. I’m gonna go with my heart and say…

Prediction: Emma Stone

Supporting actor:
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Thoughts: The first thing that popped out for me looking at the nominees for this category was seeing Michael Shannon nominated instead of Aaron-Taylor Johnson for Nocturnal Animals. With that being said, I was not too upset because Shannon is such a talented actor and deserves to get a nomination for his career. I originally chose Ali to win at the Golden Globes for Moonlight, so I’ll stick with my gut reaction and hopefully he can pull off a much earned win. Also it’s awesome seeing Lucas Hedges get a nomination! I was shocked, but happy to see his name nominated in this category.

Prediction: Mahershala Ali

Supporting actress:
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Thoughts: There are so many great actresses nominated in this category. A few already Oscar winners, and some great actresses who haven’t touched gold yet. However, Viola Davis’ win at the Golden Globes convinced me enough that she’ll win again at the Oscars. By the way, Davis became the first African American actress to ever be nominated for three Academy Awards. Great to hear and could’t be more deserving.

Prediction: Viola Davis

Best director:
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan
“Arrival,” Denis Villeneuve

Thoughts: The happiest I was looking at the nominees this year was seeing Denis Villeneuve’s name for Best Director this year. I’ve said it many times on this blog, but he is such a fantastic director and one of my favorites working today. This is also his first nomination even though he has previously directed stellar films like Prisoners, Enemy, and Sicario. However, I think it has to go to either Jenkins or Chazelle. Mel Gibson is also an x-factor in this category and could sneak in and win it.

Prediction: Damien Chazelle

Animated feature:
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner
“Moana,” John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer
“My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras and Max Karli
“The Red Turtle,” Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki
“Zootopia,” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Thoughts: I’m not surprised at all with these nominees. In a perfect world, Kubo would win, but I gotta go with one of the two Disney films. So, Moana or Zootopia?

Prediction: Moana

Animated short:
“Blind Vaysha,” Theodore Ushev
“Borrowed Time,” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Robert Valley and Cara Speller
“Pearl,” Patrick Osborne
“Piper,” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Prediction: Piper

Adapted screenplay:
“Arrival,” Eric Heisserer
“Fences,” August Wilson
“Hidden Figures,” Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
“Lion,” Luke Davies
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Thoughts: I was actually surprised to see Moonlight be nominated in this category. I originally thought it was an original script. With that being said, I think it comes down to either Eric Heisserer for Arrival or Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.

Prediction: Moonlight

Original screenplay:
“20th Century Women,” Mike Mills
“Hell or High Water,” Taylor Sheridan
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippo
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan

Thoughts: This is one of my favorite categories in the entire Academy Awards. I love films that have original screenplays with stories, dialogue, and characters that were created specifically for the screen. I would have loved to see Shane Black get a nomination for The Nice Guys, or The Coen Brothers get a nomination for Hail, Caesar, but overall I am happy with these specific nominees. It’s awesome to see The Lobster get nominated and I’ll be rooting for it to win. It has the most unique/original story by far! Kenneth Lonergan’s screenplay is the one that blew me away the most. The dialogue was pitch-perfect in that film. And then there is Damien Chapelle’s screenplay which won at the Golden Globes… Ughhh so hard to choose!

Prediction: Manchester by the Sea

“Arrival,” Bradford Young
“La La Land,” Linus Sandgren
“Lion,” Greig Fraser
“Moonlight,” James Laxton
“Silence,” Rodrigo Prieto

Thoughts: This one might be the toughest to decide from. Even though Silence got snubbed with a lot of nominations, the Academy must have been very impressed with it’s cinematography. And even though I haven’t seen the film yet, from the trailers, I can tell that it is extremely well shot. I was also really blown away with La La Land, Arrival, Lion, and Moonlight’s cinematography…. I also would like to mention the cinematography for The Neon Demon which is probably the best I’ve seen all year and was snubbed in this category…In a perfect world I would say James Laxton wins it for Moonlight, but I gotta think what the Academy would be most impressed with, so I’m going with…

Prediction: La La Land

Best documentary feature:
“13th,” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish
“Fire at Sea,” Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo
“I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck, Remi Grellety and Hebert Peck
“Life, Animated,” Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman
“O.J.: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

Prediction: O.J.: Made in America

Best documentary short subject:
“4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki
“Extremis,” Dan Krauss
“Joe’s Violin,” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen
“Watani: My Homeland,” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis
“The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Prediction: 4.1 Miles

Best live action short film:
“Ennemis Interieurs,” Selim Azzazi
“La Femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff
“Silent Nights,” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson
“Sing,” Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy
“Timecode,” Juanjo Gimenez

Prediction: Sing

Best foreign language film:
“A Man Called Ove,” Sweden
“Land of Mine,” Denmark
“Tanna,” Australia
“The Salesman,” Iran
“Toni Erdmann,” Germany

Prediction: Toni Erdmann

Film editing:
“Arrival,” Joe Walker
“Hacksaw Ridge,” John Gilbert
“Hell or High Water,” Jake Roberts
“La La Land,” Tom Cross
“Moonlight,” Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Thoughts: I love looking at these particular nominees selected for best editing. All five of these films are fantastic, and some of the best movies I’ve seen from the entire year. All five are nominated for Best Picture, but only one has 14 nominations…

Prediction: La La Land

Sound editing:
“Arrival,” Sylvain Bellemare
“Deep Water Horizon,” Wylie Stateman and Renee 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

Thoughts: Just in case you are confused on what’s the difference between sound editing and mixing, allow me to explain. Basically, sound editing refers to the creation of all the sound elements, besides music, included in the movie. Sound Mixing refers to the combination of all those elements to achieve the proper balance between music, dialogue, sound effects and any other elements. So, editing is the production of the sound from scratch. With that being said, I really don’t have an expert opinion on who will win, so I’ll just say…

Prediction: La La Land

Sound mixing:
“Arrival,” Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace
“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,” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Thoughts: I wouldn’t be surprised if Hacksaw Ridge won for one of these two sound-reflated categories, but again, I’m no expert, so I’ll just say…

Prediction: La La Land

Production design:
“Arrival,” Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
“Hail, Caesar!,” Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
“La La Land,” David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
“Passengers,” Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena

Thoughts: For some reason, the Academy decided to nominate the overrated Passengers twice this year. The production design actually wasn’t too bad, but best original score is just baffling…Anyways, I really enjoyed the production design for the criminally underrated film Hail, Caesar. Also, Arrival‘s was very unique and stunning. However, I just think La La Land is gonna win tons of awards this year, and production design strikes me as an obvious win for La La Land. 

Prediction: La La Land

Original score:
“Jackie,” Mica Levi
“La La Land,” Justin Hurwitz
“Lion,” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
“Moonlight,” Nicholas Britell
“Passengers,” Thomas Newman

Thoughts: Well, I can immediacy rule out Thomas Newman and his score for Passengers. Sorry Mr. Newman. This leaves these other four fantastic musical scores. Even though I think both Jackie and especially Moonlight offer fantastic original scores, there is one that just shines brighter among the others…

Prediction: La La Land

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
“The Empty Chair,” “Jim: The James Foley Story” — Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
“How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana” — Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Thoughts: This category was one of the ones that infuriated me the most. I was really upset to not see Sing Street get any nominations at all this year. If it were to get one than this would have been the category to do such a thing. There were so many great, original songs from that film, but the Academy went the easy-way out by nominating Justin Timberlake, Sting, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and La La Land twice. “Drive It Like You Stole It” should have been nominated. It’s better than two, maybe three of those songs! Ok, done ranting.

Prediction: City of Stars

Makeup and hair:
“A Man Called Ove,” Eva von Bahr and Love Larson
“Star Trek Beyond,” Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
“Suicide Squad,” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson

Thoughts: This was probably the strangest category as far as the nominees went. Suicide Squad???? ReallyProbably one of the worst films of the year is now considered an Oscar nominated film which is baffling to think about. I’ve never heard of A Man Called Ove until right now, but it’s nice to see a smaller film like that get nominated. And Star Trek Beyond is something that didn’t strike me as one that would get nominated for best makeup and hair, but now thinking about it, it makes more sense.

Prediction: Star Trek Beyond

Costume design:
“Allied,” Joanna Johnston
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Colleen Atwood
“Florence Foster Jenkins,” Consolata Boyle
“Jackie,” Madeline Fontaine
“La La Land,” Mary Zophres

Thoughts: This category usually honors the period films that had a setting that took place a long time ago. Four of the five films nominated do just that. So, my initial reaction is to choose one of those four films. However, that fifth film happens to be Best Picture front-runner La La Land. This is another tough one to predict, but I think it ultimately comes down to La La Land and Florence Foster Jenkins. 

Prediction: Florence Foster Jenkins

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
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould

Thoughts: I like these nominees for best visual effects. Not only do all these films offer incredible visual effects, but they are also very good films. It’s nice not to see some Transformers film nominated this year…This one is very hard to judge. Will the Academy go with the one that deserves to win, Kubo and the Two Strings? Or will most of the voters choose the film with a bigger brand and studio like Doctor Strange, Rogue One, or Jungle Book? Out of those three latter films, I would say The Jungle Book offered the most impressive visuals. So, between The Jungle Book and Kubo, I’m gonna choose…

Prediction: The Jungle Book

The record for most Oscar awards is 11, achieved by Ben-Hur, Titanic, and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. According to my predictions, La La Land  has won 10, but it very well could tie or even break the record set by those classic films. It also could disappoint some, because there have been a lot of great films this year. It should be fun to watch nevertheless. February 27th can’t come soon enough!

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