Predicting the 89th Academy Awards

The Academy Awards are tonight! The biggest night on the movie calendar, and we wouldn’t be a self-respecting movie-related website if we didn’t milk it to death. So without further ado,, here is our picks for tonight’s awards.

THE NOMINEES

BEST PICTURE

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Edward: It’s got the most nominations of any movie nominated for Best Picture since Titanic. It’s the highest earning front-runner since the last Lord of the Rings movie. It’s the one movie everyone else is trying to tear down. It’s hard to go against “La La Land.”

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Edward: I’ve been on the Casey Affleck bandwagon since I caught a test screening of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” I wrote at the time that “Many will start to think of Ben second when they think of an acting Affleck,” and I still stand by that statement. But I can’t help but feel that the Academy recognizes that Affleck is going to be around for a while still, and this may very well be their final chance to honor Washington, one of the single best actors of his generation. There aren’t that many good acting roles for actors over 60, and even fewer for actors over 60 of color. That’s a shitty thing to write, but it’s true. Look at Morgan Freeman. Great actor, almost always good in every movie he’s in, but there’s a lot of pablum in his C.V. since “Million Dollar Baby,” and future endeavors like “Gone in Style” aren’t going to get him future nominations. For Washington, though, for tonight, his Troy Maxson is so well-crafted that it wouldn’t be seen as grand theft if he kept Affleck from winning.

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ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Edward: Really wish Ruth Negga had any kind of chance for “Loving,” but she’ll get there eventually. Tonight, it’s going to be Emma Stone, in large part because Viola Davis put herself in the running for Supporting Actress.

 

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ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Edward: Mahershala Ali is just so damn good in everything he does, and he really is the heart and soul of “Moonlight,” despite his limited time on screen. An easy choice.

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ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Edward: “How has Viola Davis not won an Oscar yet?” I won’t be able to write that ever again. Thank the fuck Buddha!

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ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Edward: This is the first year in I don’t know how long that I have not seen at least one of the animated films nominated, so I have to depend on what I hear, and I am hearing “Zootopia” in the wind. More like a hurricane.

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CINEMATOGRAPHY

Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Edward: Five gorgeously shot movies. But literally from its opening frame, one movie evokes old Hollywood more than all others combined, and it’s the one I see winning this year. “La La Land.”

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COSTUME DESIGN

Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

Edward: I answer with this…

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DIRECTING

Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Edward: I wouldn’t be disappointed if Barry Jenkins won for Best Director instead of Damien Chazelle.

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DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

Edward: I think we’re kinda O.J.’ed out right now, and the issues with mass incarceration of men of color is a far bigger issue than one single infamous celebrity. Ana DuVernay’s documentary was brilliant, engaging, informative and pushes the conversation in the direction it needs to go. I go for “13th.”

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DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Edward: I’m going to repeat what I wrote yesterday about this category…

The Documentary Short Subjects category is always the hardest to watch, and to judge. Year in and year out, it’s always the strongest category in terms of quality, with each nominee truly representing the best stories from around the world. Each of 2017’s nominees would be an exceptional representative to the category, no matter which one wins. Each of these tells impassioned and important tales of bravery, of courage and of compassion.

My pick is “The White Helmets,” because of its “you are there” aesthetic. The filmmakers put their lives in danger to tell this story, and that I think will be the deciding factor.

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FILM EDITING

Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

Edward: I honestly think that “La La Land” is going to enjoy the kind of right that movies like “Titanic” and “Lord of the Rings” had, where it’s going to pick up most everything it was nominated for. Which is not to say the film is poorly edited and would be undeserving of an award. The film has exceptional timing, and it’ll be a worthy win.

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FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

Edward: With the current uproar over President Trump’s travel ban, some are seeing a victory for “The Salesman,” but Asghar Farhadi’s film wasn’t really in the discussion before the travel ban the way his “A Separation” dominated a few years back. “Toni Erdmann” has been in the news recently, thanks to talk of an American remake that is supposed to bring Jack Nicholson back to the screen after several years away, but that’s another movie that hasn’t quite happened yet. I’m going to stick with “A Man Called Ove,” because it was able to break in to a second nomination.

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MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Edward: The makeup for “Suicide Squad” was the only thing interesting about that dreadful mess.

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MUSIC: ORIGINAL SCORE

Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Edward: There’s one movie soundtrack that has captured imaginations across the world. And that’s the one that is going to win. “La La Land.”

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MUSIC: ORIGINAL SONG

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land
Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from Trolls
Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

“City Of Stars” from La La Land
Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

“The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story
Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Edward: Lin-Manuel and Justin are both going to have to wait a while longer to get closer to their EGOTs. This one is going to one of the songs from “La La Land.” I’m going with the catchier one, “City of Stars.”

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PRODUCTION DESIGN

Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

Edward: The “La La Land” carpet ride continues.

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SHORT FILM: ANIMATED

Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

Edward: There’s no doubt that “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” is the best designed and interesting-looking of the group, but it’s one of those stories that is like a story being told by a friend: it’s far too long, gets in to far too much detail and probably could have been told in five minutes, but you’re kinda obliged to listen to. The one I really hope wins is “Pearl,” the polar opposite of “Pear Cider,” it tells its story quickly and efficiently, with a lead character you care about.

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SHORT FILM: LIVE ACTION

Ennemis Intérieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

Edward: “La Femme et le TGV.” Find it. Watch it. Love it.

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SOUND EDITING

Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Edward: This is where I see an upset that keeps “La La Land” from winning a record-setting 12th Academy Award. I’m calling the war drama “Hacksaw Ridge” for the win here.

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SOUND MIXING

Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Edward: I keep waffling between “Arrival” and “La La Land.” I’m going with “La La Land.”

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VISUAL EFFECTS

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Edward: It’s hard for this die-hard Star Wars fans to pick something else, but I’ve got this gut feeling that voters will go for “The Jungle Book.”

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WRITING: ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

Edward: This will be the only time the Academy gets to honor the late, great playwright August Wilson, and I can’t see them missing this chance.

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WRITING: ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Edward: I loved “La La Land” and I don’t see anything beating it here.

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