The months from December – February stand as my favourite time of the year and not because I get to experience 35 degree days for consecutive weeks. “The Academy Awards don’t mean anything” you say, well to me they do SO LET ME HAVE MY FUN. Each year I keenly follow all the films getting buzz around award season and thoroughly enjoy going to the movies to watch the films. Having seen all of the performances and movies nominated for this year academy awards, I have compiled a list of who I believe will walk away with a golden statue at the end of the night.
Best Actor, Denzel Washington
This is a tough one. It’s been a bit all over the place during the award season as to who has won awards for their lead actor portrayal. Casey Affleck walked away with the Critics Choice Award and Golden Globe award for his role as Lee in Manchester by the Sea and Denzel Washington picked up the SAG award for his role as Troy in Fences. What makes me think that Washington has the edge in this category is purely based off the fact that Washington picked up the SAG award, which tends to be the best indicator on who will walk away with the Academy Award. Both Affleck and Washington give phenomenal performances in their respective roles, however the recent controversy surrounding Casey Affleck’s off-camera performances, and having been on the film scene for a significantly shorter amount of time than Denzel Washington makes me think that Washington will be the victor on the night.
Best Actress, Isabelle Huppert
I was lucky enough to watch Isabelle Huppert in her film Elle whilst I was volunteering at last years Melbourne International Film Festival. I felt incredibly privileged that I was able to watch such a brilliant film and performance before it was released to the general public. Elle is a film about a successful business women (Huppert) who is raped in her own home, who then proceeds to track down the unknown masked man who attacked her. A French actress, Huppert, has been starring in films since 1972, and has been nominated for 16 Cesar awards, the French equivalent to the Oscars, winning once for her role La Ceremonie in 1996. The film is brilliant and Huppert’s performance is what makes the film what it is. Although Huppert didn’t pick up a nomination at the SAG awards she did beat out Natalie Portman for a Golden Globe, who up until then was largely considered to pick up the Oscar for her performance as the widowed first lady, Jackie Kennedy. Huppert has been well respected for her years and years for her work in French films, and I think her fellow academy voters will finally want to recognise her for her years of hard work. Although Emma stone is predicted to win for her role as Mia in La La Land, the difference for me is that anyone could have played Mia in La La Land, however no one could have played Michele like Isabelle Huppert. Her performance was unique and tear jerking and hopefully worthy of an Academy Award.
Best Supporting Actress, Viola Davis
This is the only award of the entire night that I am 100% certain of. In fact, if Viola Davis does not win Best Supporting Actress at this years Academy Awards I will eat my own shoe. Davis has had a clean sweep of all the big awards this year (BAFTA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, SAG) and rightfully so, her portrayal of Denzel Washington’s wife, Rose, in Fences was simply stunning. I’ve been a massive fan of Viola Davis for quite a while, she is one of the few actresses working today who is absolutely unashamed to commit herself 100% to any role she is given, and Fences is no exception. I felt every pain, every frown, every misery that Davis portrayed in Fences, she was that convincingly good in the role that you feel as if Rose is an old friend who you’re always rooting for. My favourite part of the Academy Awards will be watching Viola Davis accept her long overdue Oscar.
Best Supporting Actor, Dev Patel
This is another difficult one. To me, it’s a toss up between Dev Patel and Mahershala Ali. Both are absolutely amazing in their roles. Ali plays drug dealer who leaves a lasting impact on Chiron as a child, the protagonist of Moonlight, whereas Patel plays an adult of version of Saroo, a man who uses google to find his estranged Indian family. Both actors play an integral part of their respective films which rely on unbelievably complex emotional performances from both actors. However, for me Dev Patel wins. I would not be surprised hearing Mahershala Ali’s name called out, however he is in Moonlight for such a short amount of time, that I feel academy voters will have been left with more of a lasting impact by Dev Patel’s performance. A well deserved win for either actor, but Dev Patel edges ahead in this one for me.
Best Picture, Moonlight
I really want Hell or High Water to win best picture. I know Hell or High Water won’t win best picture, which is a shame because of all of the nominees, it was the clear stand out for best picture, well for me at least. It was an incredibly simple film, which relied mainly on the phenomenal acting by Ben Foster, Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges to flesh out the story of 2 brothers who steal from banks in order to stop the bank stealing their mothers house. It was a simple story which was shot beautifully. However, I don’t think Hell or High Water will walk away victorious, which is once again a real shame. I think Moonlight will take the prize on the night. Moonlight is an absolutely brilliant film and the complexity of the narrative is what makes me think it will beat out La La Land for best picture. Moonlight as a film really allows for the characters to develop, and for its audience to become invested in the character’s lives, and feel the struggles of growing up as an outsider in society. It is a film which really makes a viewer think about the struggles that other people are forced to experience and highlights so many issues within today’s society. La La Land is a fun film to watch, but it does not even touch the emotional complexity that is displayed in Moonlight.
Best Director, Barry Jenkins
A two horse race between Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle, it’s a close call. Both directors are incredibly young (Jenkins is 38 and Chazelle is 32) and both have only got a small number of films up their sleeve. What makes Barry Jenkins the winner for me is the fact that he had more of a story to tell than Chazelle. Although Damien Chazelle directed and wrote an amazing movie in La La Land, the movie relies heavily on the singing and dancing for the film to make it what it is. Moonlight is no frills and therefore Jenkins had far less places to hide when directing his film. Although Hollywood does love talking about itself, I think the academy will see that Jenkins had a much more complex plot to tell and no where to hide with his film.
Best Original Screenplay, La La Land – Damien Chazelle
It’s a toss up between La La Land and Manchester by the Sea. Kenneth Lonergan has been in the industry for a very long time compared to Chazelle and is very well respected within the industry. At the start of the awards season Manchester by the Sea was garnering a lot of buzz, but as La La Land and Moonlight came to light, the buzz started to die down. Although Lonergan picked up a BAFTA award for best original screenplay just as the academy votes on the award, I believe the buzz around La La Land is too strong for it not to walk away with at least one of the major 5 awards of the night (Screenplay, Director, Picture, Actor, Actress). Chazelle has created something that is so original when contrasted to anything else playing in cinemas right now. Both screenplays are brilliant and both are so different that it’s almost unfair to compare them, but I think Chazelle will walk away with his first academy award for La La Land.
Best Adapted Screenplay, Moonlight
Leading up to the award season there was much debate about whether Moonlight should be considered an adapted or an original screenplay. The original script was created for a stage play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, however the play never came together and the script was shelved. It was later discovered by Barry Jenkins years later, who upon reading the play discovered that himself and McCraney have very similar upbringings. The pair were then able to combine their stories into what became the screenplay for Moonlight. Adapted screenplay or original, the film is beautiful and complex and leave viewers thinking about the events they’ve seen on screen days after they’ve walked away from the movie. The only film I can see beating out Moonlight for best adapted Screenplay would be Lion, adapted by Luke Davies. However, I think Moonlight takes the win for this award.
Must sees from this Years award season
In case you were wanting to catch some of the films from the Academy Awards this year but weren’t wanting to watch all of them (because you’re wise with your money unlike me) then I have a compiled a short list of the films from this years Academy Award season that are must sees.
This movie had me crying tears of joy several times throughout the film. An incredibly uplifting story that will pick you up when you’re feeling a bit low. The acting by the 3 main leads is amazing, learning about the success that 3 African American woman were able to achieve at such a difficult time in history is truly uplifting and motivating.
This film also had me in ears, but for a slightly different reason to Hidden Figures. Lion deserves all the hype around it, and as a first time director, Gareth Davis has done an amazing job bringing a true life story to the big screen.
Hell or High Water
This film for me is the best film of the year. Truly I promise I didn’t cry at all of the films I’ve put on this list, but this film did have me in tears. This film really makes you think about what is right and what is wrong and why people take the drastic actions they do. It pains me that more people haven’t been talking about this film, because it truly is amazing. If you only see one film this year, make it Hell or High Water.
My jaw dropped at the end of Arrival. The ending blew my mind, and left me thinking about the film days after I had finished watching it. Beautiful cinematography and sound editing makes this film a must see, even if you’re not a fan of Sci-Fi you’ll like this film.
Deserves even more hype and recognition than it has received, Moonlight is a beautiful film which really does leave you thinking about different peoples upbringing and how their childhood has moulded who they are as a person. Although some people have said they found this movie “slow” at some points, you need to allow yourself to become lost in the acting and plot to truly appreciate the masterpiece that this film is.
La La Land
See it because it’s a bit of fun. See it to understand what the hype is all about. See it so you can stare at Ryan Gosling for 2 hours. For all the discussion around La La Land you would think that the film has committed some sort of crime. Damien Chazelle is a brilliant director and at just 32, he still has so much to offer as a director. The film is brilliant and a lot of fun to watch, so stop wondering what all the fuss is about and go watch La La Land with an open mind.