How Many Oscars Will La La Land Win?

February 22, 2017


Usually there is some kind of discussion about what film will win Best Picture on the night of the Oscars. It actually makes it a lot more fun when you don’t know or at least when there are two films in the running. Last year, it was anyone’s guess between The Revenant, Spotlight, and The Big Short. The year before that it was down to Boyhood vs. Birdman. The year before that was Gravity vs. 12 Years a Slave. And before that was Argo vs. Lincoln. I guess it has been 5 years since we had a guaranteed Best Picture winner (when The Artist won). Coincidence that both The Artist and La La Land have to do with the movie business?

That being said, no one is wondering what film will win Best Picture this year, but an interesting turn of events happened the day the Oscar nominations were announced. La La Land tied the all-time Oscar record for the most nominations (14)! Only two other films have done that before: All About Eve and Titanic. Now we have something to talk about! The discussion shifted from “Who will win Best Picture?” to “How many awards will La La Land win?”

This is significant because since the Oscars changed to having more than 5 Best Picture nominations, there hasn’t been this type of momentum for any one film. Here are the Best Picture winners since the change and how many total awards they won:

2016: Spotlight (won 2 awards)
2015: Birdman (won 4 awards)
2014: 12 Years a Slave (won 3 awards)
2013: Argo (won 3 awards)
2012: The Artist (won 5 awards)
2011: The King’s Speech (won 4 awards)
2010: The Hurt Locker (won 6 awards)

As you can see, no Best Picture winner has won more than 6 total awards since the change, and the average awards won by a BP winner in the past 4 years is just 3 awards! Why is that? The short and sweet answer is that there has been a split between what film is considered Best Picture and what film is the Best Technical Film. This year it’s different and it’s a reason why even though La La Land is locked to win Best Picture, it’s still worth watching.

The big number to keep in mind here is the number: 11. There have only been 3 films to win 11 Academy Awards in one night: Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Can La La Land win 11? Can La La Land win even more, becoming the biggest Oscar winner of all-time?!

According to my count, the answer is no. But it will come close. For starters, although La La Land has 14 nominations, it can only win 13 awards because it is nominated twice in the Best Original Song category. Will this split voters and lead the way for a Lin-Manuel Miranda EGOT? Maybe?

Here are the awards that I feel La La Land are LOCKED to win:

Best Picture
Best Lead Actress
Best Director
Film Editing
Original Score
Original Song
Sound Mixing

So La La Land is definite to win at least 8 awards. It will likely win more, but I really feel that these 8 categories are in the bag for La La Land. That being said, here are the categories in question:

Best Lead Actor
Best Original Screenplay
Costume Design
Sound Editing
Production Design

Let’s break them down one-by-one:

Best Lead Actor is a race between Denzel Washington and Casey Affleck. It is probably La La Land’s weakest chance to win out of every nomination. Bet against La La Land here.

Best Original Screenplay – La La Land very well could win this award. Its main contender is Manchester by the Sea and many consider Manchester the favorite here, but both La La and Manchester lost to Moonlight at the WGA. The funny thing is that while all three of those films mentioned were in the same category at the WGA, Moonlight was moved to Adapted Screenplay for the Oscars, leaving this match-up between Manchester vs. La La Land. Intriguing! To make matters even more deadlocked is that both Manchester and La La Land tied for Best Original Screenplay at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards! Will voters check the box next to La La Land like the rest of the categories? Or will voters side with Manchester trying to give them one award for the night?

Best Costume Design usually goes to a period piece. Sure, the costumes in La La Land are elegant, colorful, and flashy, but it’s not your traditional winner in this category. Past winners include: The Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina, The Young Victoria, and The Duchess. But to be fair, The Artist did beat out Jane Eyre during the 84th Academy Awards. Will La La Land have the same fate? Jackie is La La Land’s biggest opponent in this category.

Best Sound Editing almost always goes to a war film or an action film. Past winners include: Mad Max Fury Road, American Sniper, Gravity, Zero Dark Thirty, Inception, The Hurt Locker, and The Dark Knight. This will put Hacksaw Ridge at a huge advantage over La La Land here. Do not confuse this with Best Sound Mixing, because that category usually goes to the musicals. Past winners include: Whiplash, Les Miserables, Dreamgirls, Ray, and Chicago. None of these films won Sound Editing. To bring this point even higher, West Side Story won 10 Oscars from 11 nominations. The only award it didn’t win was for Sound Editing.

Best Production Design – While La La Land is favorite to win this award, there is a lot of love for Arrival to come through here. Arrival was suppsoed to be this Oscars’ technical darling like in the way Mad Max was last year and Gravity was a few years ago. But La La Land has been stomping on everyone’s dreams like the happy-go-lucky kid at the beach knocking over your sand castle. Will the voters rally behind Arrival to give it one award? Or is the La La Land train too powerful to stop?

My Final Tally:

La La Land will win: 10 awards

Best Picture
Best Lead Actress
Costume Design
Film Editing
Production Design
Original Score
Original Song
Sound Mixing

La La Land will lose:

Best Lead Actor
Best Original Screenplay
Sound Editing

Still, not too shabby if you asked me. If this happens, La La Land will tie West Side Story for 10 Oscar awards. Coincidence that they’re both movie-musicals?

Final Oscar Predictions

February 21, 2017


The 89th Academy Awards will take place this Sunday, February 26, 2017. Here are my final predictions:

Best Picture



Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land


Manchester by the Sea


Leading the year with 14 nominations (also tying the record for most nominations of all-time), La La Land is the Best Picture to beat. It’s beloved by practically everyone and has been winning every precursor leading up to the Oscars. Is there any chance it will lose? Not likely, though there is still some love out there for Moonlight, and lots of technical love for Arrival (both Moonlight and Arrival have the second-most Oscar nominations with 8). There is also a lot of momentum in the Hidden Figures camp. Needless to say, if La La Land loses, it will certainly be up there with the biggest upsets in Best Picture history. I’m not counting on an upset here.

Prediction: La La Land

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

This might be the most interesting race of the Oscars. Casey Affleck was the clear frontrunner throughout most of awards season, but then SAG gives their award to Denzel Washington. And while it would be nice if the Oscars only looked at the acting performances in this category, the truth is that the extracurricular things count just as much. This is where Denzel has the clear edge. If the Oscars really want to put #OscarsSoWhite behind them, this would be a very strong message to have Denzel beat out Casey Affleck. On the other end, Affleck is still feeling the negativity from his alleged sexual harassment from 2010’s filming of I’m Still Here. Meanwhile, we can’t forget about Ryan Gosling completely because there is a sense that a lot of voters might just check off every box next to La La Land. If that’s the case, then Gosling could find himself up on stage as the winner. This might be the toughest pick of the night.

Prediction: Denzel Washington

Actress in a Leading Role

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Emma Stone, La La Land

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

This is one of the more competitive Best Actress races in a while. It looks as though Emma Stone is the clear frontrunner, but she is certainly receiving a good amount of heat leading up to Sunday. Mainly from Isabelle Huppert, who won the Golden Globes Drama Actress award, which really catapulted her into the conversation. Sure, the Academy loves to reward the young, popular actress such as Brie Larson (last year) and Jennifer Lawrence, but the Academy also loves to reward the deserving, veteran actress such as Julianne Moore and Kate Winslet. The main problem is that there is an overpowering amount of love for La La Land and I’m not sure how many people have actually seen Elle (only 1 nomination).

Prediction: Emma Stone

Actor in Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel, Lion

Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

There isn’t much to comment on here than Mahershala Ali is the favorite, with Dev Patel in a distant second place.

Prediction: Mahershala Ali

Actress in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

This is a slam dunk category for those filling out their Oscar pools. Do not bet against Viola Davis. My only comment here is that Davis could have really been nominated (and possibly have won) in the Best Lead Actress category. How is this allowed? There has to be some kind of criteria that separates Lead and Supporting.

Prediction: Viola Davis

Best Director


Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea


Prediction: La La Land

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)



Hidden Figures



With the Moonlight win at the SAG awards, it’s the clear frontrunner here. Sure, that was for the Original Screenplay category (I still don’t know how that worked out), but that should give it more of a reason it will win here (because it beat out Manchester and La La Land). If there is any upset potential, it should be from Hidden Figures that has been gaining plenty of momentum throughout the awards season.

Prediction: Moonlight

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea

20th Century Women

This is one of the categories where La La Land is actually an underdog to win. Manchester by the Sea is the favorite here for two reasons. First, (imo) it’s the better screenplay and Kenneth Lonergan deserves this award. But second, musicals never win this category. The prime example here is West Side Story, who won 10 of its 11 nominations. The only category they lost was the Screenplay category. Can La La Land break this mold and win over Manchester by the Sea?

Prediction: Manchester by the Sea

Best Cinematography


La La Land




Prediction: La La Land

Best Costume Design


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins


La La Land

While it’s not a lock, La La Land has found its way to the frontrunner spot in this category, but there is some love for Jackie to win. Jackie is your more traditional period piece that usually goes on to win Best Costume, but it’s hard to go against La La Land here.

Prediction: La La Land

Best Film Editing


Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

La La Land


Prediction: La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond

Suicide Squad

Prediction: Star Trek Beyond

Best Production Design


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land


There are a lot of people saying how Arrival should win this award. While I do agree with them, I don’t think that it’s going to stand a chance against the La La Land train on Sunday.

Prediction: La La Land

Best Score


La La Land




Prediction: La La Land

Best Song

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land

“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from Trolls

“City Of Stars” from La La Land

“The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story

“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

Can Lin-Manuel Miranda win the EGOT? Don’t count on it.

Prediction: City of Stars from La La Land

Best Sound Editing


Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land


Prediction: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Sound Mixing


Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Prediction: La La Land

Best Visual Effects

Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Prediction: The Jungle Book

Animated Feature Film

Kubo and the Two Strings


My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle


Prediction: Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film

Land of Mine

A Man Called Ove

The Salesman


Toni Erdmann

Prediction: The Salesman

Podcast: Best Lead Actress

February 19, 2017


My buddy, Mike, and I recorded a podcast episode discussing the race for Best Lead Actress. Is Emma Stone really a lock to win for her performance in La La Land? How much of a threat is Isabelle Huppert? Listen up!

Listen to the episode here.

2017 Oscar Nominations (and snubs)

January 24, 2017


Here are a few snippets of my opinions from the Tuesday announcement of Oscar nominations.

The Nominations:

To no one’s surprise, La La Land received a ton of nominations, but did anyone really expect the romantic musical to tie the record for most Oscar nominations ever? With 14 nominations, La La Land now finds itself with the company of All About Eve and Titanic with 14 Oscar noms. Both preceding films went on to win Best Picture.

I haven’t seen Nocturnal Animals, but I predicted that Aaron Taylor-Johnson would pick up a nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. The Academy went for another actor in the same film, Michael Shannon, giving him his second Oscar nomination.

One of the biggest surprises to me was how Mel Gibson received a nomination for Best Director for his film Hacksaw Ridge. I thought that Martin Scorsese and Garth Davis had the upper hand in front of Gibson, but I was wrong. Has The Academy forgiven him? It seems likely so.

Biggest Snubs:

Amy Adams for Best Actress – She has received recognition and nominations throughout the awards season, including the nominations from the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and the BAFTAs. She is a five-time Oscar nominated actress. Yes, this is the biggest surprise from Tuesday’s nominations.

Another snub in the Best Actress category goes to Annette Bening for her performance in 20th Century Women. With four Oscar nominations to her resume, I had her as the fifth slot to get in, but my prediction was wrong. Never underestimate the power of Meryl Streep.

While I wouldn’t really consider this a snub, the Deadpool possibility was a fun one to monitor throughout awards season. Starting with nominations from the Golden Globes and recognition from the DGA, WGA, and PGA, Deadpool looked like it was on its unlikely way to a Best Picture nomination. But the Cinderella story ended with a thud with Deadpool being completely shut out of The Academy Awards. Let’s be honest, it would’ve been really strange to see “Best Picture nomination” on every Deadpool DVD.

I’ll have some more detailed posts about the Oscar nominations this week. But for now, what do you think? My initial thought is that this is going to be a boring Oscars telecast. I would much rather prefer a number of races where we really don’t know who’s going to win. But this year isn’t about whether or not La La Land will win, it’s about how many will La La Land will win. Don’t get me wrong, I love La La Land, but this makes for a much more boring (than usual) Oscars ceremony. For now, here is the complete list of Oscar nominees (via Variety):

Best Picture:
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”

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

Lead Actress:
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

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

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

Best Director:
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan
“Arrival,” Denis Villeneuve

Animated Feature:
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner
“Moana,” John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer
“My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras and Max Karli
“The Red Turtle,” Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki
“Zootopia,” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Animated Short:
“Blind Vaysha,” Theodore Ushev
“Borrowed Time,” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Robert Valley and Cara Speller
“Pearl,” Patrick Osborne
“Piper,” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Adapted Screenplay:
“Arrival,” Eric Heisserer
“Fences,” August Wilson
“Hidden Figures,” Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
“Lion,” Luke Davies
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Original Screenplay:
“20th Century Women,” Mike Mills
“Hell or High Water,” Taylor Sheridan
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan

“Arrival,” Bradford Young
“La La Land,” Linus Sandgren
“Lion,” Greig Fraser
“Moonlight,” James Laxton
“Silence,” Rodrigo Prieto

Best Documentary Feature:
“13th,” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish
“Fire at Sea,” Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo
“I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck, Remi Grellety and Hebert Peck
“Life, Animated,” Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman
“O.J.: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

Best documentary short subject:
“4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki
“Extremis,” Dan Krauss
“Joe’s Violin,” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen
“Watani: My Homeland,” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis
“The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best live action short film:
“Ennemis Interieurs,” Selim Azzazi
“La Femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff
“Silent Nights,” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson
“Sing,” Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy
“Timecode,” Juanjo Gimenez

Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Man Called Ove,” Sweden
“Land of Mine,” Denmark
“Tanna,” Australia
“The Salesman,” Iran
“Toni Erdmann,” Germany

Film Editing:
“Arrival,” Joe Walker
“Hacksaw Ridge,” John Gilbert
“Hell or High Water,” Jake Roberts
“La La Land,” Tom Cross
“Moonlight,” Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Sound Editing:
“Arrival,” Sylvain Bellemare
“Deep Water Horizon,” Wylie Stateman and Renee Tondelli
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright
“La La Land,” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“Sully,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Sound Mixing:
“Arrival,” Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace
“La La Land,” Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Production Design:
“Arrival,” Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
“Hail, Caesar!,” Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
“La La Land,” David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
“Passengers,” Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena

Original score:
“Jackie,” Mica Levi
“La La Land,” Justin Hurwitz
“Lion,” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
“Moonlight,” Nicholas Britell
“Passengers,” Thomas Newman

Original song:
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Trolls” — Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
“City of Stars,” “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
“The Empty Chair,” “Jim: The James Foley Story” — Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
“How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana” — Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Makeup and hair:
“A Man Called Ove,” Eva von Bahr and Love Larson
“Star Trek Beyond,” Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
“Suicide Squad,” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson

Costume design:
“Allied,” Joanna Johnston
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Colleen Atwood
“Florence Foster Jenkins,” Consolata Boyle
“Jackie,” Madeline Fontaine
“La La Land,” Mary Zophres

Visual effects:
“Deepwater Horizon,” Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton
“Doctor Strange,” Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould
“The Jungle Book,” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould

2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions

January 22, 2017

It’s time! The Oscar nominations will be announced this Tuesday, January 24 so it’s time to make some predictions. Here we go!

Best Picture

Since we don’t know how many films will be nominated (5 to 10), I’m just going to rank the films that I feel have the best chance and see how accurate my guesses are.

  1. La La Land
  2. Moonlight
  3. Manchester by the Sea
  4. Fences
  5. Arrival
  6. Lion
  7. Hacksaw Ridge
  8. Hidden Figures
  9. Hell or High Water
  10. Silence

Best Director

Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Martin Scorsese (Silence)

Best Actor

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Andrew Garfield (Silence)

Best Actress

Emma Stone (La La Land)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Amy Adams (Arrival)
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Annette Bening (20th Century Women)

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

Best Supporting Actress

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

Oscars Nominations Predictions 2016

January 4, 2016

The polls have been open since December 30, and they will be closing later this week on Friday, January 8. The nominations won’t be announced until Thursday morning on January 14. In the time being, let’s make some predictions!

Best Picture

The Martian
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Big Short
The Revenant
Bridge of Spies
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Notes: Obviously I have no idea how many nominations there will be this year, but I think assuming there will be 8 or 9 is a safe bet. That being said, I did rank them in order with the movies I’m more certain about at the top. I really believe my top five are definitely receiving a Best Picture nomination, but from The Revenant and below, I’m not so sure. I do have Star Wars as my 8th ranked film, so yes, I do believe the positive reviews plus the enormous box office total will push it above the more traditional and small Oscar films like Brooklyn and Room.

Best Director

Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Adam McKay (The Big Short)
Todd Haynes (Carol)
Alternate: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)

Notes: Right now, Spotlight seems to be the front-runner all around, but I still believe that Ridley Scott has a very good chance at winning this award. With three nominations and zero wins, this might be the 78-year-old’s last chance at winning this award. Meanwhile, George Miller has a lot of momentum throughout awards season. This will be his first Best Director nomination. Can Inarritu repeat Best Director two years in a row? Don’t count on it because I don’t have him being nominated, but he definitely could spoil the likes of Haynes or McKay come Thursday.

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Will Smith (Concussion)
Alternative 1: Johnny Depp (Black Mass)
Alternative 2: Matt Damon (The Martian)

Notes: Could this finally be Leo DiCaprio’s year he wins an Oscar? I’m saying yes and many experts also agree that this will be his year. First off, he’s well over-due for the golden statue and number two, this isn’t a crazy competitive year. Sure, Fassbender, Cranston, and Redmayne are practically locks to receiving a nomination, but who will sneak into that fifth slot? I’m guessing Will Smith, but it can very well be Depp or Damon.

Best Actress

Brie Larson (Room)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)

Best Supporting Actor

Michael Keaton (Spotlight)
Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Paul Dano (Love and Mercy)
Alternative: Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation)

Notes: Keaton lost to Redmayne last year in the Best Actor race. Not that he doesn’t deserve it for his performance alone, but it’ll definitely help get him some sympathy votes this year for the Best Supporting Actor race.

Best Supporting Actress

Rooney Mara (Carol)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)

Best Original Screenplay

The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
Bridge of Spies
Straight Outta Compton

Best Adapted Screenplay

Steve Jobs
The Big Short
The Martian

Oscar Predictions (87th Academy Awards)

February 19, 2015


Here we go folks! It’s that time of the year again when everyone makes their predictions and then posts it online. I’m no exception, and though I always tried to stay clear from the “Will Win, Should Win” format, I’m finally caving in and will structure my post in that format. So let’s get started!

Best Picture

– American Sniper
– Birdman
– Boyhood
– The Grand Budapest Hotel
– The Imitation Game
– Selma
– The Theory of Everything
– Whiplash

Will Win: Birdman

Like I wrote in my previous Oscar post, Birdman definitely has the support from Hollywood. It won the important SAG, DGA, and PGA awards, making it a practical lock to win Best Picture. So why are so many people confused and voting for Boyhood? Well, there is simply A LOT of love for the movie (rightfully so, it was my favorite film of the year), but I think people are letting their personal feelings cloud the logical choice. Yes, Boyhood won the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, but neither of them are voted by the same people who vote for the Oscars. And look at some of the most recent Best Picture winners: The Artist and Argo. What do those films plus Birdman have in common? The film industry plays a part in the plot. Look for Hollywood to pat themselves on the back, once again, and vote for Birdman.

Should Win: Boyhood

I absolutely loved this movie, though I’m not exactly sure why. Sure, it can be considered a gimmick with how it took 12 years to make this film and we actually witness a young boy grow up. But in a film-making perspective, think about how difficult that must’ve been. The ability that Linklater showed to be patient, adapt to every situation, write and re-write the screenplay to match the times, keep all of the actors consistent, etc. Boyhood is the result of a mastermind after a lot of hard work for over a decade. I sure hope it wins.

Best Director

– Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
– Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman
– Richard Linklater – Boyhood
– Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
– Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

Will Win/Should Win: Richard Linklater

To continue what I was saying above, this film is a masterpiece. It’s a film that was universally loved, critically acclaimed, and most importantly it’s a film that everyone can relate to. The brilliance of the film is how there’s something that everyone can take from it, no matter who you are or how you were brought up. Everyone likes this movie for a different reason, and that feat alone is outstanding. Finally, it’s easily the most memorable film of the year. It’s the one film that film buffs will be talking about for years to come. The man behind Boyhood will be awarded for that.

Best Actor

– Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
– Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
– Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
– Michael Keaton – Birdman
– Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Will Win/Should Win: Eddie Redmayne

This is a battle between Redmayne and Keaton, and it’s an extremely close one, but I’m picking Redmayne for a few reasons. First, he won the SAG award, which practically makes him a guarantee winner at the Oscars. In addition to that, Redmayne had the flashy performance, the one that actually wowed audiences by playing Stephen Hawking. Keaton, on the other hand, gave a spectacular performance but you can argue he was over-powered by Ed Norton and Emma Stone, two characters who were much more aggressive and extreme in Birdman. Keaton was the man who kept Birdman together and if he wins it will be well-deserved. But Redmayne hit a grand slam with his portrayal of Hawking.

Best Actress

– Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
– Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
– Julianne Moore – Still Alice
– Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
– Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Will Win: Julianne Moore

It’s clear that Moore is going to walk home with the Best Actress Oscar on Sunday night. Some are saying that this is more of a career achievement Oscar rather than one that she specifically deserves because of her performance in Still Alice. Nonetheless, there is no one who has a chance to steal the award from her.

Should Win: Felicity Jones

While Redmayne is receiving all the attention and awards success, I feel that Jones should be right there besides him at every ceremony. Sure, playing Stephen Hawking is going to catch everyone’s eye, but only those who have seen the film can understand how important Felicity Jones was to the success of The Theory of Everything. Without her performance as Jane, nothing works for Redmayne as Hawking. You can even argue that Jane is the true main character of the film, the real force behind almost every scene. She was able to give Jane the strength and understanding to represent a smart and independent woman, something not so common in Hollywood. Felicity Jones would get my vote, hands down.

Best Supporting Actor

– Robert Duvall – The Judge
– Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
– Edward Norton – Birdman
– Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
– J. K. Simmons – Whiplash

Will Win/Should Win: J.K. Simmons

If J.K. Simmons didn’t frighten the hell out of you in Whiplash, then there’s something wrong with you. Simmons gives a ground-breaking performance and completely owns every scene he’s in. It’s also important to note that this category usually goes to the more “showy” performances. Some very showy past winners include: Christian Bale in The Fighter, Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. I think Simmons would fit right in with this group, don’t you?

Best Supporting Actress

– Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
– Laura Dern – Wild
– Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
– Emma Stone – Birdman
– Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Will Win/Should Win: Patricia Arquette

What can I say about Arquette in Boyhood? She runs the whole show, to the point where I’m somewhat scratching my head to why she’s in the Supporting Actress category. If Boyhood is about Mason, then Arquette’s Olivia is with him every step of the way as he grows up. But you can even argue that Olivia is the main character of the film, the one person trying to keep everything together as their lives become tangled up with different people and different situations. On top of all that, she does one hell of a job. I can’t imagine many mothers not being able to relate to what she goes through during Boyhood. In my opinion, she’s the heart and soul in the most memorable film of 2014.

Best Original Screenplay

– Birdman – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo
– Boyhood – Richard Linklater
– Foxcatcher – E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
– The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
– Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy

Will Win/Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson has written and directed a number of very interesting films, and if there is something that makes them all in common it would be that they’re all unique. The Grand Budapest Hotel is no exception. The world that Anderson creates and draws you in right from the beginning of the film is a brilliant gift that he has. The process in which the story is told, which is a story within a story, is carefully penned and executed to perfection. And for all of the characters, it’s almost too easy for them to jump out and make an impact on the film because of how colorful they were all written. This is the best screenplay of the year and Anderson and Guinness will be rewarded.

Best Adapted Screenplay

– American Sniper – Jason Hall from American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice
– The Imitation Game – Graham Moore from Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
– Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson from Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
– The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten from Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking
– Whiplash – Damien Chazelle from his short film of the same name

Will Win: The Imitation Game

It’s a fascinating story about a truly memorable man. It’s a story that isn’t known by everyone, but one that resonates with everyone still to this day. The story of Alan Turing is one that everyone should learn about, and the fact that it was able to be made into a successful and thrilling film makes it that much more appealing. Certainly there were facts that were stretched and details that were left out, but as a strict screenplay point of view, it was a very well-written one.

Should Win: Whiplash

From just a short film, Damien Chazelle was not only able to create these characters, but he blew them out of this world that crashed against the ridiculous. Did you ever believe that a film about a jazz ensemble and the relationship between a student and teacher could be more suspenseful that the majority of thrillers you’ve seen? Somehow, it all comes together and works, and it’s because of the brilliant screenplay by Chazelle. Give him the Oscar.

And the major categories are done. Here are the rest of my predictions listed below:

Best Animated Feature Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida

Best Documentary Feature: Citizenfour

Best Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline

Best Live Action Short: The Phone Call

Best Animated Short: Feast

Best Original Score: The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song: “Glory” from Selma

Best Sound Editing: American Sniper

Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Cinematography: Birdman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Film Editing: Boyhood

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar

And those are my predictions! I must say that even though I’m predicting The Grand Budapest Hotel to win the most Oscars, there’s a decent chance that we can see a Birdman sweep. Yes, Hollywood might be that full of themselves. Let’s see how I do with my predictions come Sunday night.

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