Oscar predictions

‘Tis the awards season again! What a tumultuous year 2016 has been for cinema- it was filled with crushing disappointments and mind-numbing franchise blockbusters, most of which utterly failed to live up to their sky-high expectations (looking at you Suicide Squad). Things however veered towards a better course as 2016 came to a close.

La La Land took us back to a glorious age of cinema, filled with breathtaking musical numbers and gorgeous cinematography. Arrival managed to reinvigorate the sci-fi genre with its refreshingly spectacular storytelling. Its exclusion from the Golden Globes has been well compensated with 8 Oscar nominations.

Animated films did not cease to amaze either. Films like Zootopia proved to be immensely fun for the kids, with quite a fair share of social commentary to entice the grown-ups. Moana, and Kubo and the Two Strings definitely managed to tug at the heartstrings. Looking at the blockbusters, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was an amazing addition to the magnificent Star Wars cannon.

Now, since the nominations have just rolled out, let’s get started with our predictions for ‘who’s going to win what’ this year at the Annual 89th Academy Awards.

BEST PICTURE

Winner: La La Land

movie

If La La Land’s clean sweep of the Golden Globes is any indication, the Oscars will be no different story. With La La Land’s record number of nominations, it’s no secret who the Academy’s favourite is. La La Land successfully revamped the musical genre – a genre fondly remembered by the Oscar voters.

The Dark Horse: Moonlight

Moonlight, on the other hand deals with a more niche topic, and was watched by very few. Most Oscar voters -mostly old white men- would probably have been perturbed by its subject matter and its protagonist’s sexual orientation.

Regrettably, Arrival, while a brilliant film and every bit deserving of the award as the other nominees, probably will not be the film that ends the Academy’s long standing dislike of sci-fi.

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Damien Chazelle – La La Land

directors

Damien Chazelle, with La La Land, has proven himself to be a mastermind behind the camera. The gloriously long takes of the song and dance sequences, the tight and masterful editing, the swooping camera moves, and the wondrous feeling he manages to imbue in each frame of the film, necessitates that he be given the award.

The Dark Horse: Denis Vilenueve

However, Vileneuve is another strong contender for his adept handling of a genre that has required a shot in the arm for a long time. While the general trend has been that this award goes to the second best film, La La Land will probably bag this one too.

BEST ACTOR

Winner: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

actor

Casey Affleck is almost surely expected to win for his powerful performance in the highly underrated Manchester by the Sea. While Andrew Garfield delivered an admirable performance it still isn’t considered Oscar worthy. Ryan Gosling being a more seasoned actor and one who’s been nominated a few times before stands a better chance.

The Dark Horse: Denzel Washington

However, this is probably the Academy’s chance to rectify for the previous year’s lack of diversity by awarding the honour to Denzel Washington, for his magnificently unbridled performance in Fences.

BEST ACTRESS

Winner: Emma Stone – La La Land

actress

The Dark Horse: Meryl Streep

While one would expect that category in which Meryl Streep is competing is a no-brainer, this could be the year where the Academy chooses to break the norm and hand the award to the arguably more deserving Stone.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

supporting-actor

If Moonlight doesn’t win Best Picture, this would be its sole opportunity to take home a trophy.

The Dark Horse: Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges provides tough competition for his intense portrayal of a soon-to-be retired sheriff investigating a series of bank robberies.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Viola Davis – Fences

supporting-actress

The Dark Horse: Michelle Williams

Viola Davis and her heart-wrenching performance was simply too amazing for this award to go to anyone else. But if it does, it’ll probably fall into Michelle Williams’ hands. It won’t though.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Winner: La La Land

original-screenplay

The Dark Horse: Manchester by the Sea

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Winner: Arrival

adapted-screenplay-1

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Winner: Zootopia

animated

The Dark Horse: Kubo and the Two Strings

As much as Kubo and the Two Strings deserves the award, Zootopia is a wild (excuse the pun) favourite for the win. Not to take it away from Zootopia, but Kubo and the Two Strings was a better film in every aspect. With its beautiful stop-motion animation style and heart-warming story, it’s entitled to the award but simply won’t win, because not enough people saw it or even heard of it.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner: Bradford Young – Arrival

cinematography

Every single frame of Arrival was nothing short of stunning. Young’s precise shot framing and camera movements, perfectly melded with Vileneuve’s visual style and insistence on shooting on-location to deliver one of the most beautiful sci-fi films of all time. And the other-world feel that the film manages to imbue without leaving the planet for even a second is purely down to Young’s mastery of the camera.

The Dark Horse: Linus Sandgren – La La Land

Linus Sandgren’s work on La La Land is no less, although it is the inverse of what Young accomplished. While Arrival’s cinematography rarely drew attention to itself caring more about immersing the audience, Sandgren ensured that the audience knew at every moment that what they were witnessing was the work of a master cinematographer. With his unconventional lighting setups that changed within the same shot, and his dynamic camera that swooped and danced around the scene in tune with the music, the camera managed to become a character with a personality of its own in the film.

COSTUME DESIGN

Winner: Jackie

FILM EDITING

Winner: Tom Cross – La La Land

It is quite evident that this film is going to sweep the Oscars. And it should, because just like all the other aspects of the film, the editing is spot on. Maintaining a very similar style to his previous collaboration with Chazelle (Whiplash), the frenetic editing perfectly accompanies the visuals and the music. The fast, frequent cuts are seamless and tie the film together perfectly, with long takes of the dance sequences punctuating the film at regular intervals, ensuring that the pacing of the film is never bogged down.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

WINNER: Elle

foreign-movies

Elle is the only film that’s been winning in the awards circuit.While none of us have watched any of the films on the list, nor has most of the Academy. So, our guess is as good as theirs.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Winner: La La Land

original-score

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Winner: City Of Stars – La La Land

The Dark Horse: Audition – La La Land

SOUND EDITING

Winner: La La Land

sound-editing

SOUND MIXING

Winner: Arrival

sound-mixing

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Winner: La La Land

production-design

VISUAL EFFECTS

Winner: The Jungle Book
visual-effects– Anantha Venkataram

anantha

Design Credits: Revankumar Gnananvel

revan

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