Well, folks, tonight’s the night. The Big One. The One that we’ve been building up to since this site first started. The Oscars. I’ve been following this race from the very beginning, and I’m now ready to make my final predictions. Will I hit 21 for the first time ever? Higher? Lower? We’ll find out in a few hours, but until then, allow me to offer up my Final Predictions for the 89th Academy Awards.
For the first time since I began predicting the Oscars in 2009, it seems my earliest prediction will end up being proven correct. La La Land is poised for a near sweep, looking at anywhere from seven to twelve awards easily. I expect it will take Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Song, and Best Production Design easily. It should face a fight for Best Sound Mixing and Best Cinematography, but still come out victorious, for a total of nine. It could also win Best Costume Design and Best Screenplay, but I expect those will be reserved for Jackie and Manchester by the Sea, which I predict will take home one apiece.
The other multiple winners will be the major competitor Moonlight, winning Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, and the acting tour de force Fences, winning Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. When it comes to Fences, expect Viola Davis to be the only sure thing on Oscar night, while Denzel faces stiff competition from Casey Affleck, and could end up splitting to give Viggo Mortensen the win. All I know is that’s the race to watch.
In terms of other locks, I would say that The Salesman has Best Foreign Language Film pretty locked up (although Toni Erdmann could still sneak in to win), and O.J.: Made In America is the safest bet you can make all night. Everything else is in a two-way race with one potential spoiler throwing things off. The Jungle Book is the frontrunner with Doctor Strange the challenger and Kubo playing spoiler for Best Visual Effects, Zootopia is the frontrunner to Kubo’s challenger in Animated Film, Hacksaw Ridge is the frontrunner to Arrival’s challenger for Best Sound Editing (don’t be surprised if Arrival makes a play for Best Adapted Screenplay either), and Star Trek Beyond looks to hold off Suicide Squad to win Best Makeup.
And finally, let’s take a quick look at the shorts. I’ve seen all fifteen of these babies, and honestly, it’s still a fairly open race. The Academy always ends up in a battle amongst itself in these categories to choose between the more politically/artistically challenging short or the breezy happy short, splitting the difference right down the middle. This is great when it comes to narrowing down the fields, but it doesn’t help you make the final decision. So let’s break these down to their roots. In Best Live Action short, we can immediately eliminate Silent Nights, because it’s terrible. That leaves us with four. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of these four win, but due to their less-challenging nature, I’m going to cut Sing and Timecode. This leaves us with two options: the politically relevant and expertly crafted Ennemis Intérieurs (the story of an interview where an Albanian immigrant is forced by his Citizenship Advisor to “name names” of other Muslims) or the happily entertaining La Femme et le TGV (a stubborn old woman creates a correspondence with the train conductor who passes her window every day, and learns to be more open). My gut is telling me La Femme, but I just can’t go against the expert craftsmanship of Ennemis. So I’m going political on this one. Meanwhile, Animated Short is a three-way race, as the Pixar film Piper, the former Pixar film Borrowed Time, and the indie film Pearl all battle to win the hearts of cynics like me. Piper’s the most artistically remarkable (it looks real!), and Pearl wears its heart on its sleeve throughout, but I’m going to lean towards Borrowed Time, if only because it tells a remarkable story in such a short period of time. And finally, we have Documentary Short. Here, it’s a battle between uplifting and political once again, leaving us with two options. The first is that the politics win out, helping The White Helmets, a film about rescue workers in Syria, the victory. This would not be a bad thing, as it is the best of the batch and a great honor considering the filmmakers have been barred entry to the U.S., in spite of any court rulings to the contrary. However, there’s a second film about Syria in the running, and it is also great-Watani: My Homeland. My fear is that both of these films could split the vote and give it to Joe’s Violin, another popular short amongst my audience. I’m not against Joe’s Violin winning-it’s more positive in nature, and incredibly sweet. It’s just that The White Helmets is the best of the batch, and it would be wrong for the win to go to any other film.
You can see my full list of predictions below. The Academy Awards will be held tonight at 8:30. I’ll be live announcing it, so make sure you’re watching. See you then!
Best Picture: La La Land
Best Director: Damien Chazelle-La La Land
Best Actor: Denzel Washington-Fences
Best Actress: Emma Stone-La La Land
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali-Moonlight
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis-Fences
Best Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
Best Animated Feature: Zootopia
Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Best Documentary Feature: O.J.: Made In America
Best Documentary Short: The White Helmets
Best Live Action Short: Ennemis Intérieurs
Best Animated Short: Borrowed Time
Best Original Score: La La Land
Best Original Song: “City of Stars”-La La Land
Best Sound Editing: Hacksaw Ridge
Best Sound Mixing: La La Land
Best Production Design: La La Land
Best Cinematography: La La Land
Best Costume Design: Jackie
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Star Trek Beyond
Best Film Editing: La La Land
Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book