Sunday, February 26, 2017

Two Tickets For... Predicts the 89th Academy Awards Winners!

Andrew: Hello dear readers! As you may know, the 89th Academy Awards are airing tonight on ABC. You may not know it from our lack of reviews the past year, but we DO still see a ton of movies and we've seen most of the Oscar nominees this season.

So that said, Sarah and I carved out a bit of time this afternoon to go through all of the categories and their nominees, picking who we think will win and who we think should win. For each category we'll list the nominees and then our picks. For some awards we'll write up little blurbs explaining our thought process. Let's see how well we do tonight!

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Machester by the Sea

Will Win - Sarah: La La Land   Andrew: La La Land
Should Win -  Sarah: Hell or High Water    Andrew: Hell or High Water

Thoughts: It's really  looking like La La Land will wind up running away from the majority of the awards tonight, and it's a fantastic movie no doubt. But Hell or High Water was the film we saw in 2016 that we thought was the best, period. Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges all give career-best (or near career-best) performances, you can cut the tension with a knife throughout the film, and it's a very acute look at the hardships many Americans deal with on a daily basis - with a cinematic approach to how two brothers decide to face their personal hardships. If we had votes they would go towards David Mackenzie & Taylor Sheridan's crime Western. But La La Land is obviously winning.

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

Will & Should Win - S: Damien Chazelle   A: Damien Chazelle

Thoughts: The only one of these five films we didn't see was Hacksaw Ridge, and any other year I think there might be a real fight to be had here, but La La Land should be such a steamroller that it'll be a big surprise if Chazelle doesn't walk away the winner. To be fair, 3 out of the last 4 Oscars have seen a Best Picture/Best Director split, but we're confident Chazelle's sharp eye and strong hand over the musical he's worked so long on will be awarded.

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

Will & Should Win -  S: Casey Affleck   A: Casey Affleck

Thoughts: We're bummed to say the only two performances we managed to see this year are Affleck's and Gosling's. We wanted to see Denzel's before tonight's show because his Screen Actors' Guild win probably brought him neck-and-neck with Affleck, who had been running away with all the other awards circuit honors. Denzel is one of the greatest actors alive and it's very possible the Academy wants to reward him one last time, but Affleck's quieter and more internal performance was absolutely heartbreaking. In fact it was probably a better performance than his brother has ever given.

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

Will & Should Win -  S: Emma Stone   A: Emma Stone

Thoughts: Stone has been running away with this award for a while now, so if she doesn't win it'll be quite the upset. Huppert seems to be getting a lot of love for her nuanced performance in Elle but Stone gave a true star-making performance in La La Land and will be awarded appropriately.

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

Will Win - S: Mahershala Ali   A: Mahershala Ali
Should Win - S: Lucas Hedges   A: Lucas Hedges

Thoughts: Like Stone, Ali has been running away with this award for a while now and probably rightfully so. Ali has a true supporting role as Juan, the drug dealer that takes Chiron under his wing as a father figure, but even in his limited amount of scenes Juan leaves an enormous impact on Chiron so he's actually a presence felt throughout the whole movie. And yet, we both think Hedges absolutely nailed his performance as a teenager struggling with the death of his father and the potential changes to the life he's accustomed to it brings. You could argue Hedges is actually the second lead in Manchester by the Sea but going purely off the category he's nominated in, we're rooting for him tonight. (This also feels like the only acting category where a true upset could occur, like when Alan Arkin upset Eddie Murphy ten years ago. Keep an eye out for Jeff Bridges.)

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

Will & Should Win - S: Viola Davis   A: Viola Davis

Thoughts: A perfect example of a nominee who probably should be in a different category considering Davis is essentially the second lead in Fences, Davis is a shoe-in here.

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

Will Win - S: La La Land   A: La La Land
Should Win - S: The Lobster   A: Manchester by the Sea

Thoughts:  Again, La La Land is going to win a lot of awards tonight. But Sarah caught The Lobster on a premium movie channel the other day and was truly impressed with the originality of the story, plus she admits it's one of the only films this year she saw that I didn't. I'm of the mind that Lonergan's script is one of the best in recent memory. It balances a tough line between the emotional wringer of the plot with the humor that can be found in real-life, even within tragic circumstances.

Arrival, Eric Heisserer
Fences, August Wilson
Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Lion, Luke Davies
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins & Tarell Alvin McCraney

Will Win - S: Fences   A: Moonlight
Should Win - S: Hidden Figures   A: Arrival

Thoughts: It finally happened! We finally have a complete split in who we think will win a major award! Ok, so Sarah believes Wilson will be awarded for the adaptation of his own stage play, and considering the awards the film's two leads are racking up that's probably not a bad bet. I'm of the mind that Barry Jenkins will get the win here in his only win of the night. I can't see the Academy letting a critical darling and relative hit like Moonlight go home empty-handed. As for who we think should win, Hidden Figures is the feel-good movie of the season and Sarah thinks it should be awarded for conveying an important point aspect in American history in the polished way it does, and I basically think Arrival is a genius sci-fi film and deserves recognition as such.

Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle

Will & Should Win - S: Zootopia   A: Zootopia

La La Land

Will Win - S: La La Land   A: La La Land
Should Win - S: Arrival   A: La La Land

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land

Will Win - S: Fantastic Beasts   A: La La Land
Should Win - S: Fantastic Beasts   A: Fantastic Beasts  

Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America

Will & Should Win - S: O.J.: Made in America   A: O.J.: Made in America

4.1 Miles
Joe's Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Will & Should Win - S: Watani: My Homeland   A: Watani: My Homeland

Thoughts: Just to keep it real, we have no idea about any of these movies. Total stab in the dark here.

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land

Will Win - S: La La Land   A: Hacksaw Ridge
Should Win -  S: La La Land   A: La La Land

Thoughts: Another rare difference between us here. I'm the one being the contrarian as my gut is telling me to go with the film that has the intense war battle scenes, the likes of which haven't been seen since Saving Private Ryan. Naturally I fully expect to be wrong here.

Land of Mine, Denmark
A Man Called Ove, Sweden
The Salesman, Iran
Tanna, Australia
Toni Erdmann, Germany

Will & Should Win - S: The Salesman   A: The Salesman

Thoughts: I wouldn't be surprised to see Toni Erdmann take home the statuette tonight, but when The Salesman director Asghar Farhadi was banned from being able to enter the United States following Trump's travel ban, we both believe the additional attention given to The Salesman might give it that little oomph to be awarded the winner. For what it's worth, we haven't seen any of these films, but I do know that Farhadi is generally regarded as one of the finest directors in the world regardless. So a win here for him would be totally justified regardless.

A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Will & Should Win - S: Star Trek Beyond   A: Star Trek Beyond

La La Land

Will & Should Win - S: La La Land   A: La La Land

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)", La La Land
"Can't Stop the Feeling", Trolls
"City of Stars", La La Land
"The Empty Chair", Jim: The James Foley Story 
"How Far I'll Go", Moana

Will Win - S: "City of Stars"   A: "City of Stars"
Should Win - S: "How Far I'll Go"   A: "How Far I'll Go"

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land

Will & Should Win - S: La La Land   A: La La Land

Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Will & Should Win - S: Piper   A: Piper

Ennemis Interieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights

Will Win - S: Sing   A: Silent Nights
Should Win -  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Will & Should Win - S: The Jungle Book   A: The Jungle Book

Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Will & Should Win - S: La La Land   A: La La Land

Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Will Win - S: Hacksaw Ridge   A: Hacksaw Ridge
Should Win - S: Hacksaw Ridge   A: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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