Oscars 2017: Previewing the 89th Academy Awards

(KUTV) This year marks the 89th Academy Awards and the only real question anyone seems to be asking is exactly how many Oscars "La La Land" is going to win out of its 14 nominations. Rather than sounding like a broken record throughout this article, let me point out that my favorite film of the year was "Moonlight" followed by "Loving," "A Monster Calls" and "Kubo and the Two Strings." Of those films only "Moonlight" is nominated for Best Picture. That doesn't mean I didn't like "La La Land" or the majority of the other films that are nominated for Best Picture. In fact, the only film that I really didn't like that was nominated is "Hacksaw Ridge." The other eight films were either within or just outside my top 20 favorite films of 2016. If "La La Land" dominates the evening I'm not going to be among those who will complain. It's a good, occasionally great, film featuring some of the most talented people in the industry.

Best Picture

Fred Berger, Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt

Moonlight” (A24)
Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

Iain Canning, Angie Fielder, Emile Sherman

Hidden Figures” (20TH CENTURY FOX)
Peter Chernin, Donna Gigliotti, Theodore Melfi, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams

Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh

Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Karen Lunder, Aaron Ryder

Hacksaw Ridge” (LIONSGATE)
Terry Benedict, Paul Currie, Bruce Davey, William D. Johnson, Bill Mechanic, Brian Oliver, David Permut, Tyler Thompson

Hell or High Water” (CBS FILMS)
Sidney Kimmel, Peter Berg, Carla Hacken, Julie Yorn

Todd Black, Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington

Prediction: "La La Land"

My Choice: "Moonlight," but I can sleep peacefully as long as "Hacksaw Ridge" doesn't win.

Best Director

Damien Chazelle – “La La Land
Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight
Denis Villeneuve – “Arrival
Kenneth Lonergan – “Manchester by the Sea“
Mel Gibson – “Hacksaw Ridge

Prediction: Damien Chazelle "La La Land"

My Choice: Barry Jenkins
, "Moonlight." However, I think Chazelle and Denis Villeneuve put in some outstanding work as well.

Lead Actor

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

Prediction: Casey Affleck was the early favorite, but the tide seems to be turning in Denzel Washington's direction. It will be Washington's third Oscar.

My Choice:
Since Joel Edgerton wasn't nominated, I'll throw my vote to Viggo Mortensen. Really, despite the fact that I don't typically care for Casey Affleck, all of the nominees were quite good.

Lead Actress

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

Prediction: Early on it felt like Natalie Portman was going to run away with the Oscar. Current favorite is Emma Stone.

My Choice:
Ruth Negga followed by Stone.

Supporting Actor

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

Prediction: Mahershala Ali, but this is a category that could almost go in any direction.

My Choice
: Ali, but Jeff Bridges or Dev Patel are also worthy.

Supporting Actress

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

Prediction: Viola Davis has all the momentum here.

My Choice:
I lean towards Naomie Harris, with Davis very close behind. Some fantastic choices here.

Original Screenplay

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

Prediction: "La La Land"

My Choice
: It's a tight race, but I'd place "Hell or High Water" just ahead of "La La Land" and "20th Century Women."

Adapted Screenplay

Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney
Hidden Figures” – Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Arrival” – Eric Heisserer
“Lion” – Luke Davies
Fences” – August Wilson

Prediction: "Moonlight," but I might be going with my heart on this one. "Fences" could win.

My Choice:
I enjoyed all of the nominated films, but I have to go with "Moonlight."

Animated Feature

Zootopia” – (Walt Disney Pictures)
Kubo and the Two Strings” – (Laika)
Moana” – (Walt Disney Pictures)
“The Red Turtle” – (Sony Pictures Classics)
“My Life as a Zucchini” – (GKIDS)

Prediction: "Zootopia" is the current favorite.

My Choice
: "Kubo and the Two Strings" in a race that wasn't particularly close. I do like "Zootopia" a lot, but "Kubo" was better.


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

Prediction: "La La Land"

My Choice:
"Moonlight" with "Arrival" and "La La Land" close behind.

Foreign Film

“The Salesman” – IRAN* – Asghar Farhadi
“Toni Erdmann” – GERMANY* – Maren Ade
“A Man Called Ove” – SWEDEN* – Hannes Holm
“Land of Mine” – DENMARK* – Martin Zandvliet
“Tanna” – AUSTRALIA* – Bentley Dean, Martin Butler

Prediction: "The Salesman"

My Choice:
"Toni Erdmann," but in this politically charged environment "The Salesman" makes a lot of sense as well.


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

Prediction: "13th"

My Choice:
It was a really strong year for documentaries and there is a lot to like in all of these titles. "Cameraperson" would have been my choice, but from these I'd go with "O.J.: Made in America."

Here's a look at the probable winners in the remaining categories:

Art Direction
Prediction: "La La Land"

Costume Design
Prediction: "La La Land"

Film Editing
"La La Land"

"Star Trek Beyond"

Sound Mixing
"La La Land"

Sound Editing
"Hacksaw Ridge"

Visual Effects
"The Jungle Book"

Original Score
"La La Land"

Original Song
"City of Stars" from "La La Land"

Animated Short

Documentary Short
"Joe's Violin"

Live Action Short
"Ennemis Interieurs"

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