Oscars Ballot 2017

Like every year, I like to speculate about the Academy Awards winners. And like every year, I have only watched a fraction of the nominated movies. So if you want to see me make a fool of myself and guess the wrong winners for preposterous reasons, just click to see under the cut.

So, let’s go over the rules. Comedy, musical, fantasy and science-fiction never win anything big. There’s a reason they have their own category in the Golden Globes. Awards are given not necessarily for the present work, but a lot of the time because they were “long due” in a long chain of weirdly awarded Oscars that spans to the night of times. Oscars can be career killers, like what happened to Halle Berry, Cuba Gooding Jr. or Mira Sorvino. In general, I disagree with the Academy’s choices and don’t share their taste; I find that they tend to choose pretentious and clichéd movies over truly interesting and groundbreaking ones.

The movies from the list I’ve watched are La la landArrival and Zootopia.

So, from the bottom up:

Writing (Original screenplay):

I just read a plot summary for The lobster and it looks nothing like a movie that could get an award for its screenplay. 20th century women has this lone nomination and I don’t think it’s going to get a big award. Hell or high water and Manchester by sea are both very good options, but since I have to bet on something, I’m going to say La la land in hopes this is the biggest award it gets.

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Writing (adapted screenplay):

I loved Arrival and its screenplay was what you would call outstanding, but remember sci-fi is a minor genre for nerds with pimples who live in their parents’ basements. Fences and Lion haven’t gotten much attention so this one is between Moonlight and Hidden figures. The Golden Globes don’t make a distinction between adapted and original so I don’t have a lifeline. I’m going to lean on snobbish and choose Moonlight.

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Visual effects:

This is the time for flashy fantasy movies to shine. Rogue One isn’t getting any because I learnt my lesson last year and they’ll wait for Episode IX to give it every Oscar they have like they did with The return of the King. I don’t get why they put Kubo and the two strings here, shouldn’t it stay in the animation ghetto? I don’t see them giving an Oscar to Doctor Strange, like no superhero movie ever has gotten one. So it’s gotta be The jungle book.

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Sound mixing:

Like last year, I have no idea what this means but since a musical has got fourteen nominations this year and you perceive this with your ears, La la land?

Sound editing:

So I did a quick Google search and now I know what these mean but I don’t think I can judge if sound was good and I’m deaf as a post anyway so, Arrival? It did have weird sound effects and it’s only going to get small technical awards, the way of the industry of saying: “Your movie was good but we won’t say so”.

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Live action short film:

There’s a Spanish short film nominated but we can’t have nice things, so I’m going with Silent Nights.

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Animated short film:

Last year I was trolled and the one by Pixar didn’t win so I have to think now. Blind Vaysha is the one with the best score and reviews, followed by Pearl. Have to choose between melodrama and cuteness. Let’s go with Blind Vaysha.

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Production design:

Hail, Caesar! had nice production design but they might as well give it nothing rather than a single award, and the same goes for Passengers. La la land is getting the music ones. Arrival got a lot of nominations and it should be getting some awards at all, but I feel since Fantastic beasts and where to find them is all flashy and beautiful it’s going to get this one. It’s also nominated for Costume Design but that one is going to a period piece.

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Music (original song):

This one is between “City of stars” and “Audition (The fools who dream)”, both from La la land. “City of stars” got the Golden Globe, but something tells me it’s going to be “Audition” this time.

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Music (original score):

I think this one’s a no-brainer: La la land.

Makeup and hairstyling:

There’s only three candidates for this one. A man named Ove is a foreign, not quite notorious movie, so I think the nomination is just a nod. This makes me choose between Star Trek Beyond and Suicide Squad. I’m going with the second one because it’s on the flashier side.

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Foreign language film:

This is where the Academy gets all solemn and awards socially aware, sensitive or disturbing movies. All of the nominees look like they fit in that category, but I’m going to choose Land of mine.

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Film editing:

We have to divide the technical awards between La la land and Arrival, so this one’s for Arrival.

Documentary (short subject):

Due to current affairs, I think this one’s between 4.1 miles and Watani: My homeland. I’m going with 4.1 miles.

Documentary (feature):

13th has been the most notorious of all the nominees. It could be problematic compared to any of the other nominees, so I’m not really sure it’s going to get it. I’m going to spend the unexpected award quota here and choose Life, animated. Because it’s got Disney and an autistic kid.

Directing:

This is serious business, now. Damien Chazelle is too young and Denis Villeneuve is making the wrong genre. Kenneth Lonergan and Barry Jenkins are newcomers and Mel Gibson got two Oscars back in 1995 for Braveheart, and he’s not very popular in Hollywood these days. Let’s go with Kenneth Lonergan because he’s more experienced than Chazelle and Jenkins.

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Costume design:

Period pieces tend to get this one. Florence Foster Jenkins is a minor movie even though Meryl Streep is in it, and Fantastic beasts and where to find them already got its share. Allied wasn’t all that big so I think this one’s going to be a nod to Jackie.

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Cinematography:

Man, I don’t know a damn about cinematography. You have probably noticed by now. Arrival sure was spectacular, but I checked Moonlight’s trailer out and it looks really good. Lion got fewer nominations than Moonlight and I don’t think it’s going to get much. La la land looks good too but I think it already filled the quota with the musical awards. Silence, by Scorsese, got this lone nomination but I don’t think that’s going further. So let’s go with Moonlight.

Animated feature film:

The contenders are Moana and Zootopia, even though Kubo and the two strings is also noteworthy. Zootopia got the Golden Globe, but I think the Oscar is for Moana.

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Actress in a supporting role:

Octavia Spencer was a very good candidate but she already got the same award in 2012 for The help; meanwhile, Viola Davis has been nominated three times and never won. Nicole Kidman has one already and besides it’s not her time. Michelle Williams has been nominated four times but she’s not in a point of her career as high as Davis. Naomie Harris has only been nominated once. So I think it’s going to be Viola Davies because she’s due. She’s apparently chewing the scenery in Fences, so, good.

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Actress in a leading role:

Golden Globes lifeline says Isabelle Huppert. Nevertheless, this is her first nomination and the characters that have made her great are not that Oscar-friendly. Ruth Negga is in a too small movie. Both Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep got this Oscar in the present decade. Emma Stone has been criticized for not being good enough for La la land, so I’m going with Isabelle Huppert though it would be a strange move.

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Actor in a supporting role:

Jeff Bridges won in 2010 for Crazy heart; this is Lucas Hedges’ first nomination but I don’t really know if he’s also chewing the scenery in Manchester by the sea. Michael Shannon got his first nomination for a ten-minute-role in Revolutionary Road which was impressive and that might award him extra points now. Dev Patel was in Slumdog millionaire and has been working quite a lot these years; same goes for Mahershala Ali. So both Patel and Ali are due, but Hedges could be a surprise just like Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence. I’m going to bet on Lucas Hedges.

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Actor in a leading role:

Ryan Gosling is out: La la land is not that challenging for an actor. Denzel Washington has two Oscars already; Captain Fantastic looks too indie for this kind of award and Viggo Mortensen hasn’t been in anything big lately, and the same goes for Andrew Garfield. I’ve got a hunch that it’s going to be Casey Affleck and that’s it.

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Best picture:

Out of the movies with the most nominations, Arrival is out because it’s science-fiction; Hacksaw Bridge and Lion are not going to be successful at the awards, so we’re left with La la land, Manchester by the sea and Moonlight. La la land is the wrong genre, but the fact that it has been so successful may overpower that. On the other hand, it won every Golden Globe it could because it wasn’t competing against any dramas as they have separate categories. Race is a very important issue in the US right now, but the Academy tends to be conservative and mostly white, so Moonlight has that against it, though it won a Golden Globe over Manchester by the sea. As for Manchester by the sea, I’m told that it comes really close to melodrama, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you want to win an Oscar (I’m still sore about Precious).

I came here to play, what the heck. Manchester by the sea.

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