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Ahead of tomorrow night’s Oscars Roger’s annual assessment & predictions

February 25th, 2017

As many PBers will attest his guide’s been on the money in the past

2017 Oscars. They say when things aren’t going well the Oscars cheer themselves up by turning to fantasy. Enter the musical La La Land with a record 14 nominations. Cheesy and cheerful it might take your mind off Trump for a couple of hours but sadly the memory of it will disappear long before he does.

Best Picture: Arrival, Fences, Hackshaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight.

Last year Spike Lee was so outraged by the lack of Black nominations that he called for a ‘Blackout’. This year they’ve more than made up for it though the quality doesn’t always match the quantity. The two strongest and least cliched are ’Moonlight’ and ‘Fences’.

‘Moonlight’ is set in a tough part of Miami with an all black cast. It’s the tale of a boy who grows up with a heroin addict mother and who realises he’s gay in a place where that isn’t an option. Denzil Washington’s directorial debut ‘Fences’ is a family drama which also has an all black cast and is similar in many ways to “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’. My two contrasting favourites though are the maudlin ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and the uplifting “La La Land’. I’m going to trip the light fantastic and go for ’La La Land’.

Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Viggo Mortensen, Denzel Washington

It’s a choice between Casey Affleck and Denzil Washington. I’m going for the inconsolable Casey Affleck in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ though bitter patriarch Denzil Washington in ‘Fences’ is a worthwhile outside bet.

Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep.

A difficult choice. Emma Stone is engaging in ‘La La Land’ but I loved Natalie Portman as ‘Jackie’. I also wouldn’t rule out the compelling Isabelle Huppert as the rape ‘victim’ in ‘Elle’. I’m going for Natalie Portman in the underrated ‘Jackie’.

Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Jeff Bridges, Lucas Hedges, Dev Patel, Michael Shannon.

An unusually disappointing field. I found the much fancied ‘Moonlight’ a difficult watch but Mahershala Ali’s understated performance gets into in your head. Dev Patel was also good in ‘Lion’ but I’m going for Mahershala Ali.

Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer, Michelle Williams.

I’m going for Viola Davis the wife mother and matriarch in the overlong but powerful ‘Fences’. Naomi Harris as the heroin addicted mother in ‘Moonlight’ is an outside possibility.

Best Director: Arrival, Hackshaw Ridge, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight.

If as expected ‘La La Land’ wins Best Film then 32 year old Damien Chazelle has to become the youngest ever winner of Best Director. For all it’s frippery it wasn’t without subtlety and with only one serious film behind him he did an outstanding job.

Best Animation: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, Zootopia.

My favourite was ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ followed by the similar ‘Moana’. The very hot favourite (it made the most money) ‘Zootopia’ was good but there has to be a limit to the number of times Disney can trot out the same old animals.

Cinematography: Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, Silence.

The most deserved of all La La Land’s nominations. Some very clever camera work. An honourable mention for ‘Lion’. Very much in the style of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and with an outside chance.

Costume Design: Allied, Fantastic Beasts, Florence Foster Jenkins, Jackie, La la Land.

I’m going for ‘Jackie’ though I suspect the ubiquitous ‘La La Land’ is favourite again.

Make-Up: A Man Called Ove, Star Trek, Suicide Squad.

Star Trek.

Sound Editing: Arrival, Deepwater Horizon, Hackshaw Ridge, La La Land, Sully.

I don’t know whether Mel Gibson has been rehabilitated yet? It was all a bit too ‘Erol Flynn’ to be the true story it claimed but watching our heroes catching and returning hand grenades whilst wiping out the Japanese Imperial army with machine guns in each hand has to be worth an award and the sound effects were memorable. So ‘Hackshaw Ridge.’

Sound Mixing: Arrival, Hackshaw Ridge, La La Land, Rogue One, 13 Hours.

Another deserved Oscar for ‘La la Land’ Film Editing: Arrival, Hackshaw Ridge, Hell or High Water. La La Land, Moonlight. Probably the seamless cuts of ‘La La Land’ but I wouldn’t rule out the wild and wonderful Hacksaw Ridge.

Original Score: Jackie, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, Passengers.

Almost certainly ‘La La Land’ but an interesting outsider is ‘Moonlight’. An uncomfortable film with a haunting soundtrack.

Production Design: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hail Caesar, La La Land, Passengers.

‘La La Land’ is very hot favourite but as an outside bet I’d consider ‘Arrival’

Visual Effects: Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, Rogue One.

The nominations are a mix of live action and animation. I can’t remember this happening before. Seems like comparing apples and lobsters but I’d go for the outstanding visuals in Jungle Book.

Adapted Screenplay: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, Moonlight.

Probably a choice between the watchable but flawed ‘Lion’ and the worthy but disturbing ‘Moonlight’.

Original Screenplay: Hell or High Water, La La Land, The Lobster, Manchester by the Sea, 20th Century Woman.

It’s back to the beginning. The ultra depressing ‘Manchester by the Sea’ or the super uplifting ‘La La Land’ . I hope it’s ‘Manchester by the Sea’.

Original Song: La la land …………… ’City of stars’… (video atop this thread)

Roger

Roger is a longstanding contributor to PB and his Oscar tips have been accurate and profitable for many years on PB