It’s that time of year again. If you’re living in Los Angeles and you are in the market for a carpet, and your favourite colour happens to be red, you may find you’ll have to explore your options. No, it’s not the annual great red carpet shortage, it’s the Oscars! Allow me to start my blog by showing off my Excel skills with an artistically crafted league table of films with the most nominations:
|La La Land||14|
|Manchester by the Sea||6|
That took me half an hour and it didn’t even involve formulae!
In summary, there were hardly any shocks or surprises from this year’s Academy Awards announcement. I think we can all agree that the nominations are more diverse than last year’s ceremony, which was overshadowed by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
For me, there are some glaring omissions. Amy Adams failing to get a single acting nomination despite putting in flawless performances in Arrival and Nocturnal Animals, which I’m surprised by but can accept considering the acting talent she would have been up against. I think the makers of Sing Street should feel aggrieved for not receiving a nod for Best Original Song, with neither Drive It Like You Stole It or The Riddle Of The Model being recognised. These songs are still stuck in my head from last September and have even survived an onslaught of the La La Land soundtrack to remain lodged! I am aghast (probably more so then I really should be) that Aaron Taylor-Johnson was snubbed for Best Supporting Actor for Nocturnal Animals. His performance chilled my blood and sent shivers down my spine that still reverberate even now, and how the Oscar board haven’t recognised his stellar performance is unfathomable. They definitely saw the film as Michael Shannon was nominated for the same film in the same category! He’s good, but is he at the same level as Taylor-Johnson? No Under The Shadow for Best Foreign Language Film? Hmmm…
Rant over, I promise. Without further ado, here are my predictions on who I think will win and who I would like to win in the four main categories: Best Actor; Best Actress; Best Director and Best Picture. I would like to stress that I have not seen all the nominated films yet so these are just based on the ones I have seen and a gut feeling, so, please, no splurging of large amounts of money at bookmakers based on the following (unless you win, in which case, 50% please):
Who will win: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Who I’d like to win: Sunny Pawar (Lion, but not nominated)
Casey Affleck has won every award going for his performance in Manchester by the Sea (I’m sure there is a comic book movie franchise waiting to be offered to him as I type), and I’m sure his portrayal deserves the recognition it is receiving, but why have the Oscar board failed to recognise Sunny Pawar in Lion? He’s just five years old and he effortlessly captivates the audience and breathes life into the first half of that film, which goes downhill fast when he is replaced by his older counterpart (through no fault of Dev Patel.) His performance is so natural that you forgot you are watching a dramatization of a book and convince yourself that this is a documentary feature. A nomination in this category, or even in the Best Supporting category, would have been great to see.
Who will win: Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Who I’d like to win: The same, but it would have been a tough choice if Viola Davis was nominated in this category.
Natalie Portman’s transition to Jackie Kennedy is flawless. For such a high profile actress to shake off her fame and embody a figure in history so convincingly is remarkably rare indeed. Tom Cruise is a good actor but he cannot shake off his Tom-Cruisey-ness no matter how hard he tries. Whilst Portman would be a deserved winner, Viola Davis would have given her a good run for her money. From what I have seen she gives such an impassioned performance in Fences and her nomination is deserved, but is she really a supporting actress? I understand that there is an argument that she is supporting Denzel Washington’s lead and I can accept that as a reason; I just think as she is the leading actress she should be nominated for Best Actress.
Who will win: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Who I’d like to win: Yeah, same again.
It can’t be anyone else, can it? La La Land is a triumphant audio and visual delight that has been crafted by a prodigious talent. The story is a success and it is told in the most ambitious and spectacular way and that is a result of Chazelle’s fine direction. Barring Hacksaw Ridge, the other directors nominated have brought us critically-acclaimed but low-key films, and whilst the equally low-key Spotlight won Best Film in 2016, Alejandro González Iñárritu was recognised for his visceral and immersive work on The Revenant with the Best Director award, so judging from the Oscar’s recent history I think they will choose Chazelle for the outstanding execution of his ambitious film.
Who will win: Moonlight
Who I’d like to win: Arrival
You’d think I’d go for La La Land with it being the bookmakers’ favourite, but what Spotlight’s win over The Revenant has taught me is that the Oscars like a good story simply told. La La Land has all the pops and whistles and does recall a bygone era of Hollywood film-making, much like The Artist did and that won Best Picture, Actor and Director in 2012, so you never know. Moonlight, like Spotlight, has been critically acclaimed and its reputation as an outstanding film is only getting stronger, so that’s where I’d put my money. The reception it has received and the odds of it winning Best Picture make it difficult to rule out. I love sci-fi films and Arrival is one of the best ones I have seen. It is intelligent and well-paced with sparingly used CGI and a complementary score. It isn’t just an example of how science fiction should be handled on the big screen, but an example to all film-makers of how movies should be made. Sci-fi rarely gets a look in at the Oscars so I doubt this will pick up the statuette, but I’m so pleased it was recognised to be worthy of a nomination.
All will be revealed on 26th February. I have never been able to predict who will win what accurately, but the one thing I can foresee is that it will be a boring watch! It always is though so I can’t put that down to foresight…