BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: I have seen nothing in this category, but: a lot of people are predicting that The Salesman will win, because director Asghar Farhadi is directly subject to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, and because Hollywood is liberal and doesn’t like that sort of thing. I don’t think it’s going to win, for a few reasons. First off, A Separation was an amazing movie, but The Salesman is, judging by critical reaction, not as good as it was, and a lot of Oscar voters do care about the actual – or at least perceived – quality of the movie in question. Second, A Man Called Ove is really very popular with the Academy voters by all accounts, because it is about a grumpy old white man, which is what most of the Academy is (and that also hurts The Salesman, frankly). Third, Oscar voting started about a week before the travel ban was officially announced, and Oscar campaign season well before that, so at least some of the voters had already voted and maybe lost their chance to make a political statement with their vote. So I think A Man Called Ove wins.
BEST ANIMATED FILM: It’s going to be either Zootopia or Moana, because the only other one most people saw is Kubo and the Two Strings, and Laika animated films never win awards regardless of their quality. Zootopia is the better overall film, with a better, smarter and more politically relevant story, and it also made much more money. Moana is the visually prettier of the two films and it has songs in it. Therefore, Moana will win, because old white Academy voters.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM: It’s almost certainly going to be one of the three about race in America – 13th, I Am Not Your Negro or O.J. Made In America. O.J. is eight hours long. It is accordingly not going to win. 13th has Ava DuVernay; I Am Not Your Negro has Samuel L. Jackson as a narrator. I bet on Sam Jackson’s starpower over DuVernay’s taking this.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: The La La landslide starts here, because there are a lot of valid complaints you can make about La La Land, but “it isn’t shot beautifully” is not one of them. You can make a great case for Moonlight‘s striking visual palette (and it would get my vote if it had one), but it is quiet and moody where La La Land is showy and in-your-face about its visual skill, and, again, this is the Academy we’re talking about here. There is an outside chance that they give it to Arrival instead, because that was also visually striking in a showy, in-your-face way and the Oscars sometimes use the major technical categories to spread the love around, but my money is on La La Land.
BEST EDITING: See Best Cinematography above, but this time I think Arrival has an even better chance of winning, because that movie works because of the way it was edited. My gut says La La Land again (sigh) but I am predicting with my heart: Arrival deserves to take this. (Well, actually Moonlight does but “Moonlight is the movie that should actually win everything and will win nothing” is our theme for tonight.)
ORIGINAL SCORE: La La Land, dur. It is a musical for grownups! Hooray!
ORIGINAL SONG: This category basically boils down to “will the two La La Land nominees divide the vote enough for Lin-Manuel Miranda to EGOT” and I think the answer is yes. “City of Stars” is probably the song people identify most with La La Land (and it’s a good song, too), but “Audition” is the Oscar Song Which Was Filmed Like Anne Hathaway Singing Very Emotionally In Les Miserables and that will also get a lot of votes. On top of that, although “How Far I’ll Go” isn’t even the fourth-best song from Moana (“You’re Welcome,” “Where You Are,” “Shiny,” and “We Know The Way” are all better), it’s still a decent enough song from a Disney movie and it’ll get a lot of votes by itself. So it gets my prediction.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: La La Land will probably take this and it’s my guess, but I think there’s a solid case to be made for either Manchester By The Sea (Kenneth Lonergan finally getting his due for not winning his Oscar for You Can Count On Me) or 20th Century Women (one of the big Oscar snubs and a lot of people really loved it, and this is their chance to get it to win something). Still, I am cynical and expect the La La landslide.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: On the one hand Moonlight should win this (and was probably slotted into Best Adapted instead of Best Original so it would win something) but on the other hand Arrival should also win this. I want Moonlight to win SOME goddamn Oscars, so I will predict it, but an Arrival win wouldn’t surprise me.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali has won pretty much every acting award you can win for his work in Moonlight, and there is no best supporting actor nominee for La La Land to come take it from him, and nobody else in the category is on Ali’s level. (I mean, fuck, Jeff Bridges got nominated for, what, his seventeenth turn as a cowboy type? How many awards does Jeff Bridges need for playing a cowboy type?) He should win this.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Viola Davis should win for Fences, not least because this is her third nomination already and how many times does she need before she wins her friggin’ Oscar? But, alas: #OscarsSoWhite is a thing. And Michelle Williams has a broad base of support for her role in Manchester By The Sea (which by all accounts is excellent). And the Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars if they didn’t recognize white talent over slightly superior nonwhite talent egregiously at least once in the evening (not counting all those times La La Land is going to beat Moonlight). So I’m gonna guess Williams.
BEST ACTOR: Everybody’s saying Ryan Gosling is the weak link of La La Land but you know what? I think there’s two options for Oscar night: either La La Land destroys everything or the hype engine falls apart. And I don’t think it falls apart, not even in Best Actor, where Denzel Washington is widely considered to be a lock and Casey Affleck the runner-up (and Affleck would be the frontrunner if it weren’t for all his, you know, sexual harassment). I will hatewatch this awards show to death, I swear to god. Gosling wins.
BEST ACTRESS: fuck off it’s Emma Stone we all know it’s Emma Stone give me a fucking break
BEST DIRECTOR: AAAAARGH Damien Chazelle, you precious butterfly
BEST PICTURE: Christ do you even need me to tell you at this point of course it’s fucking La La Land, it’s probably going to sweep next year’s Oscars too at this rate