Oscar predictions, 2017

Hello! As you may have noticed, this blog is in a bit of a transition. This spring has been an exciting one. Between a new client and a few personal huddles, life has been a little chaotic and it has kept me away from writing as much as I would like. In an attempt not to burn out on this project, I’m moving to one post a week (Tuesdays), plus the usual every-other-week Sunday. Thanks for sticking with me through this.

 

Awards weekend is this weekend and Los Angeles is abuzz with parties and street-closure traffic (aka avoid Hollywood at all costs). Since I’ve been in screening mode for a couple of clients, I haven’t seen all the award contenders. This is normal and I may or may not get to them over the summer. I still have a few predictions though.

Some will not be surprising if you’ve been reading this blog the last few months, others though are based on the industry-inside thoughts. Most years I am frustrated by the Oscars. Remember, it is big business and often you can see right through the politics and money of ad campaigns to the winners. Then there are those films or performances you think are deserving of the honors, which makes a win money well-spent. Hopefully we’ll see a few surprises and members who are in touch with today’s culture (no guarantee though).

Below are a few of my thoughts and predictions on the Oscars. You can find the full list of nominees here.

Best Picture
My vote: Moonlight
What will probably win: La La Land
Hollywood loves honoring itself. La La Land is also the escapism story that Hollywood always promotes. So don’t be surprised if La La Land wins. Moonlight will win if enough of the new Academy voters (who were added in an attempt for diversity and cultural relevancy after last year’s #OscarsSoWhite) really do make a difference and/or if Hollywood decides to make a statement to the current political climate. I also think Moonlight is a better film. So you know, there’s that.

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Moonlight (2016)

Best Director
My vote: Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Who will win: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Both men came from a festival upbringing. If you’ve made three films about white dudes playing jazz, of course you’re going to get better at directing them. I think Jenkins made the more interesting film this year and it would be wonderful to see him win. Lonergan is also in the mix though.

Actor, Leading Role
Who will win: Denzel Washington (Fences)
Most industry press talk about how this is up between Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington. The only film I’ve seen in this category is La La Land. I’m going with Denzel, because I think the Academy will think this is a safe choice.

Actress, Leading Role
Who will win: Emma Stone (La La Land)
Lionsgate and Stone’s publicity team have been working this for months. She’s the front-runner. If there’s an upset here, that would be fun.

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La La Land (2016)

Actor, Supporting
My vote/Who will win: Mahershala Ali  (Moonlight)
Again, I haven’t seen all the films in this category, but his performance was amazing. And he’s picking up many of the awards that lead to the big night. Another front-runner.

Actress, Supporting
Who will win: Viola Davis (Fences)
Another category where I haven’t seen all the films, but Davis seems to have the publicity train in her favor. Spencer has previously won, but could do a repeat. Williams is competition too.

Best Animated Feature
Who will win: Zootopia
Going with a blockbuster for this pick. Have you seen the DMV scene?

Best Documentary Feature
My vote/who will win: OJ: Made in America
Still my favorite doc of last year, but if you haven’t seen I Am Not Your Negro yet, get thee to a theater!

Best Cinematography
My vote: Bradford Young (Arrival)
Who will win: Linus Sandgren (La La Land)

Best Editing
Who will win: Tom Cross (La La Land)
This is how the Titantic-like sweep happens, but I’d love for an upset in one or two of these categories.

There are many more categories of course (original/adapted screenplay, score, makeup, costume!), but these are my highlights. If you’re interested in reading more predictions, both Indiewire and the Hollywood Reporter have their own lists to help with your party ballot.

What are your picks for the Oscars this year? Will you be throwing an Oscar party? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!

Sunday Mornings

It feels like winter in Southern California. That is, this is the most wintery-winter I’ve ever experienced in LA. Plenty of rain and cool nights. It made me realize I’ve only ever lived in California during this several-years-long drought. I’m enjoying the rainy weather, mostly because I’m staying inside binging on hours of film submissions (and hot ginger tea).

Tomorrow I’m making my annual pilgrimage to the mountains of Utah, where there is real winter with snow and below freezing temperatures. Not my strong suit, but I’ll survive. With the aid of hot beverages and several cozy layers.

And now a few long reads and highlights from the world-wide web:

  • I’m team Moonlight. The background behind the story and the film is almost as beautiful as the film itself.
  • For those of you who can’t get enough of LA LA Land, you’ll enjoy this location map. Mia’s commute would suuuuck.
  • I’ve had “That Is Not What I Meant At All Face” on more than one occasion. And a few of the others, like “I Need a Cheeseburger and Possibly Two Face”.
  • Still missing Davie Bowie. A fun read: Stage Oddity: The Story of David Bowie’s Secret Final Project.
  • I’ve never been to Coachella, but I find the mix of money, politics and music fascinating. Waking Up to Coachella’s Conservative Tinge
  • And discuss: How Netflix is Deepening Our Cultural Echo Chambers
  • E and I went down memory lane recently and played The Oregon Trail while listening to ’90s music. Talk about a wild stay-at-home date night!
  • Mark your calendars: May 21. Guess this means we’ll be getting Showtime…
  • Most people have a general understanding of how a film is edited, but have you ever thought about an editor’s role on an animated film?
  • After attending advertising classes in SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute, I was fortunate to start my film programming career with the launch of the AFI Dallas International Film Festival (now known as Dallas International Film Festival). The festival came together in due part to the work of legendary Dallasite and the festival’s co-founder, Liener Temerlin. Thinking of those early days with his frequent office visits and a particular opening night when he walked to the back of the theater to discuss with the staff how to get a long-winded Mickey Rooney off the stage. Thanks for your leadership and civic service, Mr. Temerlin. Rest in peace.

I hope your Sunday is filled with something warm and bright. Be kind. Treat yourself. May be a rough week ahead.