We are still in the early months of 2017 and that means the Oscars are just around the corner. With that being said, Screen Geek likes to take a small break from the latest superhero, sci-fi, horror, action, and other pop culture film news to take a look at the nominees.
2016 had a great run of films that really provoked discussion between film goers and critics, so much so that I decided to give some sound predictions on who should win and what films could take home that well deserved famous golden statue (insert golden-something joke).
So as not to bore you with every single category, this article is going to focus mainly on the top spots.
Animated Feature Film
Now, you might think that since Disney had another hit on their hands with ‘Moana’ it would be a no brainer for an Oscar. Well, no. The animated feature that was a true marvel to behold has to be ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’. This was one of those animated films that really pushed animation to its limit while still using an old art form some would believe is dead. Not only that, the story gripped you from beginning to end with the amazing voice acting that brought these characters to life. I’m in no way a fan of the stop motion animation, but this one was so damn good that I went to see it in theaters multiple times.
Actress in a Supporting Role
There were quite a few outstanding performances in the supporting actress category, with many of these women already having awards from many other ceremonies and organizations. But the one that stood out the most would have to be Viola Davis. Her role in the film ‘Fences’ was heartbreaking and captivating as her character was run through the ringer of emotions. Her acting brought the character to an easily relatable and easily digestible level. Davis doesn’t let her character be obviously beaten by her circumstances, but instead you see the breakdown slowly in a non-overly dramatic way.
Actor in a Supporting Role
This one was actually pretty difficult to decide. Dev Patel in ‘Lion’ and Mahershala Ali in ‘Moonlight’ both gave powerful performances that tapped into strong areas of acting that so many strive for. It’s actually pretty shocking that these actors were not in the leading role category because they stood out so much in the film without taking over from the story.
But, the one that I would have to give this award to would be Mahershala Ali role as the mentor Juan. His role of “father figure” was used in a very unconventional way but was very inspiring. Even though Mahershala Ali would only be in a third of the film, the role has stuck with me greatly even as I write this article.
Actress in a Leading Role
With so many critics pretty much giving the Oscar to Emily Stone and Natalie Portman, you would think that this would be a slam dunk for these actresses. Their roles were very good in their films, but it was in no way on the level of Isabelle Huppert in ‘Elle’. “What’s ‘Elle’?” you might be asking yourself.
‘Elle’ is the most recent film by veteran director Paul Verhoeven, but Isabelle Huppert’s acting is what sold it. Her amazing performance as a woman seeking revenge for the mistreatment that was given to her was perfectly calculated and smoothly well acted. Surprisingly, not a lot people know that this film was even released other than serious film buffs, but it’s an intense film that pushes the actress’s talent. The story has Isabelle Huppert go deeper on an emotional level and not just stick with something as superficial as dancing or doing an impersonation.
Actor in a Leading Role
Once again, this is another category in which critics and audience are stating the obvious winner. Although Casey Affleck’s performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ was alright, it really wasn’t anything special. His ability to emote as someone that’s gone through loss and hardship came off as mostly staring into nothingness, not blinking, and having one or more moments of rage that had been done by him in so many films before.
I would have to say the one that should receive an Oscar should be Denzel Washington. His role in ‘Fences’ was so powerful and had sucked me into the film from beginning to the end, even though his character was no longer in the film. When an actor or actress can leave a lasting mark on you, when they are no longer part of a story, it shows range, skill, and talent.
This category was a tough one to rifle through because so many directors had hit their marks this Oscar season. Each director conveyed an excellent vision through their lens and gave us some beautiful and stunning looking films that would fully immerse their audience. ‘La La Land’ is seen as another clear winner because of the dying (or at least not as successful) format of musicals. True, the opening freeway scene was something to behold but after that, Damian Chazelle’s vision kind of limps along with just long takes and the same gimmick over and over again.
Barry Jenkins directing for ‘Moonlight’ is who should really win at this year’s awards. The reason why is because Jenkins took a simple story about love and self discovery (like ‘La La Land’) and put more of personal and emotional feel to it. It becomes a movie about hope, and there are so many beautiful scenes that only elevate the life of the story. Jenkins used minimal “flash” and “wow” to grab the audience and, instead, let the actors and actresses do their work in a profound way that so many people making film will aspire to recreate.
As I mentioned in the ‘Directing’ section, people are expecting ‘La La Land’ to win. I would once again have to disagree and give it to ‘Moonlight’. The film itself is an over arching story of perfection.
The actors, actresses, cinematography, direction, soundtrack, and design is like looking into the window of what’s going on in this world that would seem obvious, but not regularly explored. Add to it the fact that the three actors portraying the same character in different stages in his life had no idea what the others were doing, yet still hit the nail on the head when it came to that character’s quirks and mannerisms, which was absolutely amazing.
If Barry Jenkins doesn’t get the Oscar for Best Directing, he should at least receive an award for Best Picture.
Who do you think will win at The Oscars this year? Be sure to sound off in the comment section below!