Does anyone stand a chance against the dominance of La La Land?

The Oscars or more formally known as the Academy Awards just recently announced the nominees for their awards show. The ceremony is set for February 26th 2017. The difference between the Oscars and the Golden Globes which also just recently had their ceremony is The Oscars are voted for by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and are given only for films while the Globes is more foreign and includes TV as well. Leading the way in nominations this year is La La Land with a record tying 14 nominations as they match Titanic for most nominations by a movie. 

 I’ve always been one to participate in a March Madness basketball pool where you would pick who moves on in each basketball bracket of the NCAA tournament and this despite never really watching much of the regular NCAA basketball season. So in the spirit of having fun, I thought I would try my hand at picking the winners of the major Oscar categories. I’ll admit I may not fully be familiar with all of the nominees but I’m familiar enough I feel to make educated guesses. In some cases I may flat out just pick the only nominee I’m familiar with in a respective category. I’m just warning you now. But this is just for fun anyway. I’m going to work my way up to the major awards starting with the more supportive categories first.  Let’s see how close I get when the ceremony airs about a month from now.
Original Screenplay:
Hell or Highwater, La La Land, The Lobster, Manchester by the Sea, 20th Century Women,
Runner up:Manchester by the Sea because I heard it was really good.
Winner: I’ve only seen La La Land but it was really good. I mean really good.
Adapted Screenplay:
Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, Moonlight
Runner up: I thought Arrival was a unique take on the alien invasion psychological thriller genre.
Winner: Moonlight because apparently it was a favorite at the Golden Globes and it doesn’t have to compete with La La Land.
Visual Effects:
Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, Rogue One
Runner up: The Jungle Book provided some excellent CGI and instilled life into its talking animal characters.
Winner: It has to be Kubo and the Two Strings. This entire movie was made with stop motion animation and that’s just not something you see a lot of these days. Absolutely beautiful to watch, this movie is a work of moving art.
Production Design:
Arrival, Fantasic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hail, Ceasar!, La La Land, Passengers
Runner up: La Land can’t win them all can they?  The fact that most of Los Angeles was a backdrop for this movie keeps them from winning this one because that would be too easy.
Winner: While you can question if Passengers is enjoyable or not, no question the production design and asthetics of the movie are top notch. The visual design of the exterior and interior of the spaceship they were on was breathtaking.
Original Song:
“Audition” –La La Land, “Can’t Stop Feeling”-Trolls, “City of Stars”- La La Land, “The Empty Chair” – Jim, “How Far I’ll Go”- Moana
Runner up: “How Far I’ll Go”-Moana. This song may not be the most marketed from Moana but it was definitely the most inspiring.
Winner: Leave it up to La La Land to have not one but two nominations in one category! However “City of Stars” is the emotional flagship of this musical masterpiece movie.
Original Score:
Jackie, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, Passengers
Runner up: The score of Jackie is compelling and provides the perfect backdrop to the anguish of Jackie Kennedy.
Winner: La La Land was known for its music. This is a no brainer.
Film Editing:
Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Moonlight
Runner up: Hacksaw Ridge. The way Mel Gibson and his team edited this movie makes you feel as if you really on the frontlines of the war. Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the man can make movies.
Winner: Again, it has to be La La Land. The editing of the complicated dance numbers to make it look like one take was stuff of genius.
Directing:
Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight
Runner up: The fact that Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford is not on here is a travesty. That said, I believe Hacksaw Ridge by Mel Gibson edges out Arrival due to sheer complexity.
Winner: La La Land by Damien Chazelle. The interweaving of dance and music into the story combined with the amazing visuals and colors elevated this tale of chasing your dreams into masterpiece status.
Cinematography:
Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, Silence
Runner up: The use of 35 mm film for Silence gives it that vintage look that adds to the tension of the movie.
Winner: La La Land….as mentioned before, the visual beauty of this film is too much.
Animated Feature Film:
Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, Zootopia
Runner up: Kubo and the Two Strings has to get this one. The stop motion animation in this one is a treat but the story keeps it from being the winner.
Winner: Zootopia is just a brilliant return to form by Disney. A multilayer story combined with spectacular, vibrant animation…it almost feels like you can literally pet the animal characters in this one.
Actress in Supporting Role:
Viola Davis-Fences, Naomie Harris-Moonlight, Nicole Kidman-Lion, Octavia Spencer-Hidden Figures, Michelle Williams-Manchester by the Sea
Runner up: Admittedly not too familiar with any of these movies, the Globes gave the runner up to Naomi Harris for Moonlight.
Winner: Again, going to take the Globes cue on this one and say Viola Davis of Fences gets this one. She must have done an amazing job.
Actor in Supporting Role:
Mahershala Ali-Moonlight, Jeff Bridges-Hell or High Water, Lucas Hedges- Manchester by the Sea, Dev Patel- Lion, Michael Shannon- Nocturnal Animals
Runner up: Again only familiar with Nocturnal Animals, I’ll go with the Globes and say Mr. Mahershala Ali of Moonlight for this spot.
Winner: One of my favorite performances of the year, Michael Shannon was simply epic in Nocturnal Animals. Jake Gyllenhal and Amy Adams are great but he carries the movie.
Actress in Leading Role:
Isabelle Huppert-Elle, Ruth Negga-Loving, Natalie Portman-Jackie, Emma Stone-La La Land, Meryl Streep-Florence Foster Jenkins
Runner up: Natalie Portman was literally  Jackie Kennedy personified. Is she her daughter? 
Winner: Emma Stone of La La Land was absolutely captivating in her role. Professional singer or dancer she may not be, but brilliant actress she is and she shows us in this one.
Actor in Leading Role:
Casey Affleck-Manchester by the Sea, Andrew Garfield-Hacksaw Ridge, Ryan Gosling-La La Land, Viggo Mortensen-Captain Fantastic, Denzel Washington-Fences
Runner Up: Ryan Gosling was good in La La Land but the film was carried by Emma Stone. For this reason, Ryan gets runner up. A La La Land nominee not winning a category?? Shocker.
Winner: As much good things as I hear about Casey Affleck’s performance in Manchester, I’m just not familiar with it. I’ll probably be wrong but Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge was just amazing as army medic Desmond Doss. He may have turned his career around from the disaster that was Spiderman 2.
Best Picture:
Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, La La Land
Runner Up: Arrival was just too original and unique compared to the others. It had breathtaking visuals and Amy Adams gave one of the best performances of her amazing career.
Winner: The crème de la creme… La La Land. It was really good. You think anyone else really had a chance?
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