- La La Land
- Manchester By The Sea
- 20th Century Women
It’s almost too early, and there are still a few movies that have to be screened, but so far, La La Land has built so much momentum on the film festival circuit that it seems it’s the front runner for the big prize. Silence, Manchester, and Jackie aren’t too far behind it though.
- Damien Chazelle, La La Land
- Martin Scorsese, Silence
- Pablo Larrian, Jackie
- Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea
- Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Usually, Best Director is taken by whoever wins Best Picture, but Martin Scorsese is so respected in the industry and Damian Chazelle is so new to the scene, I could see where there is a Best Director and Best Picture split this year. I’m not predicting it to happen, La La Land appears like a showy enough directorial achievement, and Scorsese already has one Oscar, but it’s possible that the Academy might feel that it’s time for him to have another one.
- Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea
- Denzel Washington, Fences
- Ryan Gosling, La La Land
- Andrew Garfield, Silence
- Joel Edgerton, Loving
Best Actor is thin this year but I feel confident in my chosen winner. Casey Affleck has been getting through-the-roof raves for his performance in what it is likely to be a top-tier Best Picture nominee, and although there has been talk of Denzel Washington possibly winning a third Oscar for his performance in Fences; I doubt it. Viola Davis’ recent demotion to supporting indicates to me that they saw weakness in the film, and Viola’s borderline role couldn’t withstand the likes of Natalie Portman, Emma Stone or Annette Bening.
- Natalie Portman, Jackie
- Emma Stone, La La Land
- Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
- Ruth Negga, Loving
- Amy Adams, Arrival
It’s going to be a bloodbath between the top three of this category. I could see any of them taking it, but currently, Natalie Portman has through-the-roof raves, probably the best of her career, in a role about an American icon where Natalie Portman is the sole focus of the movie. That combination, coupled with the fact that it’s likely to be a top-tier Best Picture nominee is most likely going to propel her for the win. Though, already having an Oscar for Black Swan is going to cost her. Emma Stone, however, is the “it girl” in what’s likely to be a Best Picture winner. She sings, dances, and acts but I’m not sure a somewhat lightweight musical performance can be enough in a field this strong. Annette Bening is always strong, and though her performance in 20th Century Women has been raved, I have a feeling it’s too subtle and the film has too much support from the ensemble for Annette to win an Oscar for her performance. The last two slots, I had trouble choosing possible nominees because of the strength of this category. Loving has enough buzz to sweep Ruth Negga into the category like Felicity Jones in the Theory of Everything and Amy Adams has two roles this year with Arrival and Nocturnal Animals, Arrival being the most buzzed about of the two. It’s reasonable, however, that those two slots are filled with two different women.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Liam Neeson, Silence
- Lucas Hedges, Manchester By The Sea
- Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
- Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
- Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Liam Neeson has had buzz since it was announced that he had received this role, and with both Actor categories looking horribly thin this year, I think he takes the category pretty easily, as long as Silence is screened in time.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Viola Davis, Fences
- Michelle Williams, Manchester By The Sea
- Naomie Harris, Moonlight
- Nicole Kidman, Lion
- Greta Gerwing, 20th Century Women
Fences would have to be an unbearable failure for Viola Davis to lose this category. The momentum she has built leading up to the Oscars this year has been incredible. As soon as Fences was announced, she was the immediate front-runner in Best Actress, but recently, after seeing a cut of Fences, Viola submitted herself in the supporting actress category. It’s possible that this is a strategic maneuver for an easy win in a mediocre film. The Academy, despite her narrative and respect, may not vote for her and vote for Michelle Williams or Naomie Harris (who are both in Best Picture frontrunners) instead.