Okay here’s the order that I’d vote:
Manchester By the Sea – I’ve been pretty set on this as my pick for a while. Initially, I thought it might be too small scale of a film, but as time has gone on, I just can’t get over it. Srsly, damn good screenplay, phenomenal acting, and a near perfect movie.
Hell or High Water – This one’s not gonna happen, but that doesn’t stop me from ranking it high on my own list. The story is so relevant for today, and I was so fully immersed in the setting. Plus another incredible cast.
Hidden Figures – We all love a feel good movie, and even better is a feel good movie with an important story. I want every little girl to see this and understand that they can do anything they want to do. I want to see more stories like this.
La La Land – I wanted to champion this movie. Yeah, it’s kind of an unfair advantage to have such a big production of a film, but the spectacle of it is so well done. The problem for me is that if you take that element out, you’re left with a fairly mediocre movie. It’s looking like it’ll take the win, but I it’s not what I would choose.
Moonlight – I get that this is an important movie, and for that reason, I moved it up the list. I want a movie like this to win. I just wish I enjoyed the movie more than everyone else seems to have.
Lion – This movie was so beautiful, and it gave me so much to think about. Honestly, I was so moved by the story, and I’m glad that it’s getting recognition.
Arrival – So much more than an a scifi. It’s almost too subtle so it doesn’t stand out as much as it should. Still, they got something right in nominating the movie
Fences – Someone asked me how you can tell if someone is a good actor. This movie is the most perfect example
Hacksaw Ridge – Hey I enjoyed this movie, but it’s the last one I’d pick to win. It’s this year’s American Sniper. There’s an audience that it really appeals to, but there’s so many better movies that year.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Every year there’s a category like this one. Where I’m so torn between two choices that no matter which of them wins, I’m gonna be equally ecstatic and upset. This year, it’s Casey Affleck vs Denzel Washington. Their performances are so opposite, it’s tough to compare. Affleck says so much by saying so little, and Denzel spits out more dialog than the other nominees combined. Affleck’s never won, vs Denzel’s 2, but Denzel would be the first African American to win 3 and to direct himself to a win. I had mostly been leaning towards Affleck, but I saw the Fences trailer again the other day, and it made me want it for Denzel.
It’s hardly worth even talking about the other guys, but I would love to see Ryan Gosling take one of these home sometime. I’m thrilled to see Andrew Garfield earn his first nomination, and I love the attention Viggo Mortensen brings to Captain Fantastic.
The most obvious person missing for me is Joel Edgerton for Loving, but I guess the beautifully understated performance was too understated to get him his first Oscar nomination. Michael Keaton could have made a run for it with The Founder, and I thought Sully might finally break Tom Hanks’ way too long nomination dry spell (srsly, how did he not get on the list for Captain Phillips?). It also would have been cool to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt get his first for Snowden, but I guess people didn’t enjoy that as much as I did.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Kind of a strange one this year. No real front runner, and no one that gets me that excited. If I were a voting member of the Academy, I’d go with Isabelle Huppert. For me, that’s just based on the performance itself. Continuing off performance, I think I’d next go with Ruth Negga who in truth is likely in last (or next to last) place. If anyone is a front runner it’s Emma Stone, and I’m inclined to agree with the prediction. The Academy does like to crown young and on fire actresses, and she gets points for the added difficulty of singing and dancing, even if she didn’t wow me as much as the others. Natalie Portman lost some steam as the film didn’t pick up as much recognition as expected. Personally, I move her down the list because she’s already won before. Which brings us to Meryl Streep. We all know I adore her, but she ain’t winning this year. Just breaking her own nomination record.
Missing? Annette Benning! I would have been all about her winning if she had squeezzed in. Similarly, Amy Adams. I wasn’t as wowed by her in Arrival as others, but I am in favor of her finally taking home the gold. She’s the new Leo. Would have been cool for Emily Blunt to get her first for Girl on the Train, but I guess it wasn’t her year yet. Jessica Chastain had potential with Miss Sloane, but the film itself underwhelmed, even if her performance was stellar. Oh and I really would have loved to see Taraji P Hensen for Hidden Figures. She was the heart and soul of that movie.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
It’s looking like a lock for Mahershala Ali and I’m okay with that. No one really stands out that much for me. I guess Dev Patel. He was fantastic and it’s nice to see him score his first. Or Jeff Bridges. He has won before, but I’d love to see HOHW take something home. I am really happy that Lucas Hedges made the cut, but I feel that’s his victory right there. No one saw Michael Shannon coming. He is a fave, and it was a happy surprise, but not one that’s gonna translate to gold.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Viola Davis hands down. I’d argue that she should have gone lead, and prolly would have won there too, but here it’s not even a contest. If she did clear up the category, I’d love to see Michelle Williams finally win after four nominations. Her role in Manchester was small, but powerful. Naomie Harris really impressed me in Moonlight too. It’s a toss up between Nicole Kidman and Octavia Spencer, but let’s be real, those two aren’t gonna be standing up on stage.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but missing I’d say Greta Gerwig for 20th Century Women. The reason I can’t believe it is because she usually annoys me, but she was wonderful here. But it would have really sucked if she made the cut when Annette Benning didn’t make lead. Oh and Janelle Monnae should be here for Hidden Figures.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
All signs point to Zootopia, but I love the classic Disney vibe of Moana. The other three I never saw. Also, how awesome would it have been if Sausage Party made the cut.
I can’t say I really paid attention to this category this year. My instinct says Arrival. I really haven’t a clue how I’d otherwise rank them.
La La Land
Jackie. No question. Those are some iconic pieces. Then, you can’t oppose the one costumer whose name you actually know, Colleen Atwood for Fantastic Beasts. I also really like Allied, by which I mostly mean I really like Marion Cotillard’s green dress (even if it’s not as beautiful as Keira Knightley’s green dress in Atonement). Then I guess La La Land over Florence Foster Jenkins
Damien Chazelle is just over a month older than me, and he’s about to win an Oscar for directing La La Land. That certainly puts life into perspective. Directing a musical is no easy task, and he certainly deserves all the accolades for that. Moonlight is looking like the potential spoiler, but I’m not too optimistic. If something’s gonna spoil, I’d rather Manchester By the Sea, but Arrival has some beautiful work too. And no one is gonna give Mel Gibson an Oscar right now, no matter how well done Hacksaw Ridge was. If you ask me, his spot should have gone to Denzel for directing Fences.
Big surprise, haven’t seen any of these. I did see one doc this year though, Tickled, when I thought was pretty awesome. Woulda been nice to see that make the cut.
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
Oh look something shiny.
After learning so much about this category when Whiplash won, I totally haven’t paid any attention to it since. I’m gonna guess La La Land did well here since timing cuts to music is a thing. Arrival could also be a good choice in how the timelines are stitched together. Really, I think it’ll go to one of those two, so I’m not even gonna pretend to intelligently comment on the others.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
I haven’t seen any of these, but seriously, how did Elle not make the list?
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
I hate the idea of Suicide Squad winning an Oscar, but you gotta admit the make up is pretty awesome and instantly iconic. Some good stuff in Star Trek Beyond too, and I don’t know anythin about A Man called Ove
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
I don’t even remember any of the scores from these movies (I often done, unless it’s John Williams). But clearly La La Land has the advantage. My instict says Jackie since it probably fits in nicely with the glamorous movie. Then maybe Moonlight? Then Lion and Passengers just kinda arbitrarily chosen.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
As much as I really want Lin-Manuel Miranda to win his EGOT, I have faith he’ll get there someday. I’d have to vote for one of my absolute favorite songs of the year Can’t Stop This Feeling. Besides, as far as LMM’s contributions, I liked “We Know the Way” better than the nominated How Far I’ll Go. But there’s a good chance this’ll go to one of the La La Land songs, in which case I prefer City of Stars over Audition. I just feel it has more potential to be iconic. And then I haven’t even heard that last entry, the one from Sting in a movie I’ve never even heard of. I will say, I was really hoping that “The Great Beyond” from Sausage Party would make the cut. I mean, it’s freaking Alan Menkin (?!)
I can’t vote against the Wizarding World, so let’s say Fantastic Beasts. However, I also really loved the old timey Hollywood world created by Hail Caesar, and that’s the one nod this movie (which made my top ten) received. Passengers is great in this category because the entire environment was built for the movie, and it was really cool to look at. La La Land was pretty and colorful. Arrival was a bit too stark and bland for me to appreciate it here.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
If I’ve seen any of these, it would have been before another movie, and I don’t remember their names.
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
I know nothing, Jon Snow.
I first felt I had a handle on this category when I successfully predicted Hurt Locker over Avatar. Sound Editing is about creating the sound effects, and I could still hear the pebbles clinking right before the first big explosion. So sticking with what I learned, go war movie first, I pick Hacksaw Ridge. Maybe Arrival next since this might be a chance for people to show that movie some love. I feel like Deepwater Horizon had more to work with than Sully. And I don’t really see there being too much going on with La La Land and I figure that’ll get enough recognition elsewhere in the night that it doesn’t need this one.
The one thing I know about this category, is always bet on the musical. So hi there La La Land. Next, go for the war movie. Hacksaw Ridge has more awards love this year than 13 Hours. Then you go scifi. Rogue One over Arrival
I don’t know that I really have a strong feeling on this one. In the Oscar Pools that I’ve filled out, I’ve gone for The Jungle Book because it’s a slightly different choice. It’s not the same usual things blowing up or superhuman feats and such. Instead it’s seamlessly integrated animal CGI. Next choice would be Doctor strange. Similarly to how Warcraft did earlier this year, I like how they displayed runes and symbols with their magic. And I just really liked that movie. Then comes Rogue One because Star Wars. Deepwater Horizon had some realistic looking stuff with the whole third act. And I havent seen Kubo.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
This is a pretty solid set. I’d want to go with Hidden Figures because I love the movie and it was a story worth telling, but I think as far as screenplays I was most impressed with Fences. I haven’t seen the stage play, but just the fact that they were able to successfully translate the work to the screen is worth recognizing. Next Lion just gives me all the feels, as it was so beautifully written. I’m not as sold on Arrival or Moonlight as others are, but I guess I’d go with Arrival because I did like how the story was structured.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
I find it so cool that my top three favorite movies are competing in this category. Except, I’m torn now. From watching it, I declared that I wanted Manchester By the Sea to win this category, and I think I still stand by that. But I loved The Lobster so much, and I love its creativity. However, I think I would credit the direction slightly more than the screenplay. And then Hell or High Water is really strong too. I’d next pick 20th Century Women because it was a beautiful film and had really strong characters. That leaves La La Land, which I’ve said many times, if you take away the spectacle, you get a mediocre movie. As such, I don’t think the screenplay really deserves to be rewarded, especially not when up against those other 4 deserving films.