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Oscar Buzz: How the Race is Shaping Up

Abigail Finnerty ‘19

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The Oscars are the equivalent of the Super Bowl for movie fans, and they are only a few weeks away — February 26th.  After an exciting awards seasons with highs and lows, surprises and snubs, it is finally time to see who will take home the shiny gold trophy.  But first, a few predictions for the major categories:

Best Picture:

Nominations:

“Arrival”

“Fences”

“Hacksaw Ridge”

“Hell or High Water”

“Hidden Figures”

“La La Land”

“Lion”

“Manchester by the Sea”

“Moonlight”

Who I think will win: La La Land: The fact is that Hollywood loves Hollywood.  La La Land is a movie about struggling artists in LA who are trying to make their dreams come true.  The story should resonate with most of the AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determine the winners), which will increase the chances of a win for La La Land.

Who should win: Hidden Figures: As much as I love La La Land, I feel like Hidden Figures should win the Oscar. It recently won the SAG Award for Best Movie Ensemble, which is essentially the equivalent of Best Picture at the Academy Awards. (It is important to note however, that La La Land wasn’t nominated in this category). Hidden Figures also has had incredible box office success that surpasses all the other films nominated.

Best Actor:

Nominees:

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”

Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”

Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Who I think will win: Denzel Washington, “Fences”: If you asked me who would win Best Actor at the beginning of the awards season, I would’ve undoubtedly said Casey Affleck.  However, Affleck has been experiencing a tremendous amount of controversy, and he may have experienced enough backlash to lose out to the very talented Washington.

Who should win: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”: Given the gravitas of his performance, Affleck should win the Oscar.  He definitely still has a chance, but I don’t believe it will happen for him this year.  

Best Actress:

Nominees:

Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Who I think will win: Emma Stone, “La La Land”: Stone is far from a lock to win the Oscar, but I believe she will be victorious over frontrunners Huppert and Portman.  Emma Stone’s performance in La La Land has been universally praised by critics, and she has won a plethora of awards so far.

Who should win: Emma Stone, “La La Land”: Stone’s performance in La La Land is one for the ages.  She gives a charming and raw performance that undoubtedly deserves the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor:

Nominees:

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”

Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”

Dev Patel, “Lion”

Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Who I think will win: Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”: I know this is not the popular opinion, but I really do believe that Hedges will win.  The Academy historically has given preference to either young upcoming actors or longtime film veterans.  Hedges not only fits the description of the former, but he also delivers an award-winning performance in the film.

Who should win: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”: Many people think Ali will win based on how powerful his performance in Moonlight was.  He definitely still has a solid chance of winning, but I can see the Academy going in a different direction.  

Best Supporting Actress:

Nominees:

Viola Davis, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”

Nicole Kidman, “Lion”

Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”

Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Who I think will win: Viola Davis, “Fences”: Davis is the undoubtedly the lock to win Best Supporting Actress.  She has won almost every single award this awards season thus far, and after several Oscar nominations for previous roles, it’s time for Davis to finally take home the Oscar.

Who should win: Viola Davis “Fences”: All the aforementioned reasons and more are why Davis deserves to win.

Best Director:

Nominees:

Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”

Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Damien Chazelle “La La Land”

Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”

Who I think will win: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”: From the beginning of the awards season, Chazelle has been favored to win Best Director since La La Land premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the beginning of 2016.  If anyone could beat Chazelle, I would say it would be Jenkins for Moonlight.

Who should win: Damien Chazelle “La La Land”: If Chazelle won the Oscar, he would be the youngest director to ever win an Oscar at age thirty-two.  He is what some may describe a “directing whiz kid,” and his impressive directing style in La La Land makes him deserving of the win.

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