Year in review: 2017 Academy Award Predictions
Nathaniel Nelson / Winonan
It’s that time of year again: awards season. We’re coming up on the end of it with the Screen Actors Guild Awards having just aired last week, but that still leaves the big one, The Academy Awards, airing on February 26. This year, the Oscars are surprisingly hard to call, with a plethora of amazing works all around. While there were a few snubs here and there, Amy Adams for her performance in “Arrival” and “Deadpool” for a Best Picture nod, the field is packed with competition. As difficult as it is, here are my predictions for this year’s Academy Award winners.
Best Picture – “La La Land”
We’ll start with the big one, and one of the biggest competitions of the night. “La La Land” is heading into the show with an impressive amount of wins this season, not to mention a record breaking 14 nominations, so it’s the closest thing to a front-runner we have this year. That said, “Moonlight” is coming off of a much-hailed win at the Golden Globes last month, so an upset is more than plausible. That said, I’m going to give the edge to “La La Land,” though “Moonlight” deserves to take this prize home (and I would love for the Academy to prove me wrong by voting in favor of “Moonlight”).
Best Actor – Denzel Washington (“Fences”)
To be honest, my prediction here flipped last week after the SAG Awards. Casey Affleck had been on a roll until that point, cleaning house in almost every show for his breakout performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” Yet, at the SAG Awards, which is almost always an indicator of the Oscar results, Denzel Washington made the upset of the year by breaking Affleck’s winning streak with his self-directed performance in “Fences.” Both Washington and Viola Davis won Tony awards for their performances in the play of the same name, so seeing them both return to the roles is a surefire way to make it frontrunner status.
Best Actress – Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”)
This is another heavily contested award this year, with a full lineup of talented actresses. The big two to watch out for are Emma Stone for her lovely performance as Mia in “La La Land” and Isabelle Huppert’s emotional tour-de-force in “Elle.” Stone and Huppert have been sharing the award spotlight, though Huppert has the edge of being in a darker film. Drama actors almost always have the upper hand in these categories, so I’m calling it: Huppert will bring home the Oscar.
Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”)
Mahershala Ali has had an incredible year, with hailed performances in “House of Cards,” “Luke Cage” and “Hidden Figures.” His showing as Juan in “Moonlight” tops everything else in the category, and easily cements his place as the frontrunner. The likelihood of an upset here is minimal.
Supporting Actress – Viola Davis (“Fences”)
I hope Davis is working on her acceptance speech, because this one is an absolute lock. If there’s an upset here, I will eat my shoe and film it.
Directing – Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)
Just like in the race for Best Picture, the two big competitors here are Damien Chazelle for his bright and colorful work on “La La Land” and Barry Jenkins for his stunning direction on “Moonlight.” Again, I’m going to give the advantage to Chazelle, following the record-level nominations for his film, but it could go either way. One thing is for sure, though: whoever wins this will gain the edge for top honors, and Jenkins might just have it in him. It’s too close to call, but Chazelle has the upper hand.
Animated Feature: “Kubo and the Two Strings”
Costume Design: “La La Land”
Documentary (Feature): “13th”
Documentary (Short): “The White Helmets”
Film Editing: “La La Land”
Foreign Language Film: “The Salesman”
Makeup and Hairstyling: “Suicide Squad”
Music (Original Score): “La La Land”
Music (Original Song): “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
Production Design: “La La Land”
Short Film (Animated): “Piper”
Short Film (Live Action): “Silent Nights”
Sound Editing: “Hacksaw Ridge”
Sound Mixing: “Hacksaw Ridge”
Visual Effects: “Kubo and the Two Strings”
Writing (Adapted): “Moonlight”
Writing (Original): “The Lobster”
By Nathaniel Nelson