89th Academy Awards: Predictions

With only a couple of days left until Hollywood’s Night of Nights, and with awards season just about over, now is as good a time as any to reveal my predictions for this year’s Oscar ceremony.

Some might wonder why I’ve waited until the Friday before the ceremony to predict who the winners will be, and it’s fair to question why – most people revealed their guessed mere minutes after the nominees were announced last month. The answer lies in the way voting works at the Academy. See, one of the common misconceptions of the Oscars is that voting is open to all members, when most members can only vote in certain categories. For example, a screenwriter may only be allowed to vote in the screenplay categories.

This is why the ceremonies of the Producers Guild, the Directors Guild and so on are so closely scrutinised: they are the best indicators of who will win come Oscar time. Unlike the Golden Globes, which are voted on by an association of journalists, the other ceremonies are voted on by people in the industry. Those same people make up the majority of the Academy’s members, and it’s highly unlikely that their vote would be swayed by the prestigious nature of an Academy Award – why else would Eminem win an Oscar? (Yes, this actually happened. Look it up.)

It’s this same logic that I have applied to my predictions, and why I’ve held off making them until now. Sure, there’s no fun in doing it this way, but I see no use in making blind predictions long before the ceremony takes place. Anyway, let’s begin with…

Best Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea

The screenwriting awards are considered to be a “consolation prize” by many, tending to be given to lesser-known, but still worthy, films out of remorse. And things don’t get much more remorseful than Manchester by the Sea, whose tone is the antidote to La La Land. It seems many share the assertion expressed in my review that La La Land’s plot is isn’t particularly ground-breaking, so the Academy will want to reward Manchester for its more thoughtful story.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight

Strangely, Moonlight was nominated for (and won) the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, yet at the Oscars it is placed in the Adapted Screenplay category. Not that the Academy’s screenwriters will care – if they voted for it at the WGAs, they’ll do the same here, regardless of what category it’s in.

Best Documentary Feature: O.J.: Made in America

My earlier prediction that this category would be the most hotly contested has since turned out to be dead wrong. Both the Producers Guild and the Directors Guild bestowed their respective honours on the O.J. documentary, meaning it’s a near certainty the Academy will award it too.

Best Animated Feature: Zootopia

There are three reasons why this movie will take home this Oscar. First, it took out top prize at the Annie Awards, the animation-equivalent of the Oscars; second, Disney is the most dominant studio in this category, having lost the award only five times previously; and third, with all the anti-Trump sentiment about, letting Zootopia win would be sending a strong message to the Oval Office. Of course, it won’t be the ONLY message they’ll send, but let’s not get into that right now.

(For the record, I’d prefer to see the gong go to Moana.)

Best Animated Short Film: Piper

As with Zootopia, this won an Annie Award at the recent ceremony, and given that this category is voted on by those in the animation industry, it’s probable it’ll take out an Oscar as well.

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

This one is an easy prediction, given that Ali won at the Screen Actors Guild Awards – remember, only fellow actors can vote in the acting categories.

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences)

Another safe bet, as Davis has won a Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA (the UK’s equivalent of an Oscar) for her performance in Fences. On a side note, should Davis win, she will become the first African-American ever to have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. She previously won an Emmy for her lead performance in How to Get Away With Murder, and a Tony for the stage production of Fences.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington (Fences)

This is going to be a close one. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) is the odds-on favourite at the time of writing, having won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for his performance. But there are factors which may see the Oscar end up in Denzel’s hands, including his SAG win, the fact he directed himself and, as I mentioned last month, the addition of more Academy members from minorities, hence why I believe he’ll be the victor.

Best Actress: Emma Stone (La La Land)

A universally-loved actor in a critically-acclaimed film – if Stone doesn’t win this Oscar, there’ll be rioting in the streets. Or even in the Dolby Theatre. Plus, she has already been awarded the SAG Award for her efforts in La La Land.

Best Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Here’s a bit of Oscar trivia for you: in the past 15 Academy Award ceremonies, the film which wins Best Director has gone on to win Best Picture ten times. So if La La Land is favourite to take out the Grand Prize, Chazelle would be the pick for the Director’s nod. Bear in mind also, that La La Land was given top honours at the Directors Guild Awards.

Best Picture: La La Land

It took home the Producers Guild Award, the Directors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award… for Best Musical or Comedy. It may have missed out on a Screen Actors Guild Award, but as I’ve mentioned previously, La La Land is tailor-made for Oscar success. And it has 13 nominations in the other categories, so clearly the Academy agrees.

And to end, here are my predictions for the other awards of the evening, many of which are complete stabs-in-the-dark.

Best Foreign Film: The Salesman

Best Documentary – Short Subject: Watani: My Homeland

Best Live Action Short Film: Sing (aka Mindenki)

Best Original Score: La La Land (of course)

Best Original Song: “City of Stars” from La La Land

Best Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Production Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Cinematography: Moonlight

Best Makeup: Star Trek Beyond

Best Costume Design: Jackie

Best Film Editing: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book

 

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