Today is the big day, as the 89th Annual Academy Awards are tonight, and there is plenty to be excited about with these nominees. There is the potential, while unlikely, for a record to be broken, and maybe even a few upsets along the way that could make for a very interesting night. For us, her are our choices for who we think will win and who we think should win for ten of the major categories that will be shown during the Oscars tonight.
Best Original Screenplay
Who Will Win: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester By The Sea”
While this will undoubtedly be a close race between, “Manchester By The Sea,” and “La La Land,” we think Lonergan’s emotional pull will take the cake here. Its reliance on dialogue and how well it hit home will carry it to the top, and while this may be one of the very few awards this lovely film earns, “Manchester” should be able to at least take Oscar gold here.
Who Should Win: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester By The Sea”
Out of this stacked category, “Manchester By The Sea” had the best original writing in a movie this year. This film, which could’ve been daunting at a 137-minute runtime filled with barely any action or eventful moments, needed to have strong dialogue. It did, and then some. The writing felt so grounded and real that it never felt like a movie, it just felt like real life. “La La Land” has a great screenplay, but “Manchester By The Sea” lives and dies on its dialogue, and that is why it should win the Oscar for this category.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Who Will Win: Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Barry Jenkins made a brilliant move in adapting Tarvell Alvin McCraney’s “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by completely separating the story into three different parts. Jenkins has won many awards leading up to the big one tonight because of this bold decision that 100 percent paid off, and we believe the Academy will do the same.
Who Should Win: Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
While we loved how important language was to Arrival’s storyline, and “Fences” is almost entirely ran on its screenplay, Jenkins and his nuanced dialogue done with a certain flare is what deserves to win this award. Adapting that play and turning into three individual sections is a stroke of pure genius and something that Jenkins deserves nothing but praise for, and we believe that Jenkins will get the award that he deserves here.
Best Original Score
Who Will Win: Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”
The winner for Best Score at nearly every award show before it should certainly be the favorite, and Hurwitz is the one who will definitely be taking home the Oscar here. Hurwitz creates a beautiful score between the wonderful songs, which he also created, and makes for a musical that is front to back a treat for the ears. “La La Land” is a musical that stole everyone’s hearts, and this is a category for music, so consider this one a near lock.
Who Should Win: Nicholas Britell, “Moonlight”
When we think of “Moonlight,” we can easily identify the fantastic orchestra that creates an ominous and somber feeling right off the bat. The score that hit so hard in the trailer, and takes even more precedence in the actual movie has been stuck in our heads since we first learned of the film’s fantastic reception at Telluride in early September. While “La La Land,” will likely win, it is hard to even remember the score. The soundtrack is fantastic and extremely memorable, but that’s not the score, and we think “Moonlight” should be given the nod for Best Original Score.
Who Will Win: Linus Sandgren, “La La Land”
Linus Sandgren and “La La Land” have won numerous awards in this category, and deservingly so. This film was filled with numerous jaw-dropping shots and wonderfully shot singing and dancing sequences the best example being the “A Lovely Night,” routine that portrayed Gosling and Stone singing and dancing on the cliffside with a beautiful Los Angeles sunset in the background. This is a loaded category with multiple deserving contenders, but “La La Land” seems to be the favorite.
Who Should Win: Rodrigo Prieto, “Silence”
It is clear that “Silence” did not get much love from the Academy, but cinematography is the perfect category for its only nomination to fall in. Rodrigo Prieto coupled with Martin Scorsese proved to be an excellent combo, as their fantastic location choices, their wide, gorgeous shots were some of the best in a movie this year, not to mention, the story helped these shots carry tremendous power. It is disheartening that “Silence” only received one nomination, and it most likely will fall short in its only category, but it deserves the win.
Best Supporting Actress
Who Will Win: Viola Davis, “Fences”
A performance that really should be considered a lead one, Viola Davis has won nearly every award that’s been in her path. Davis more than holds her own in her powerful performance from “Fences”, and there is very little doubt that she will be taking home her first golden statue tonight.
Who Should Win: Viola Davis, “Fences”
This is a no-brainer. Davis is going to win this category, and Davis fully deserves to win this category.
Best Supporting Actor
Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
While only in the film for a short while, Mahershala Ali makes his presence known quickly and powerfully, as his performance in “Moonlight” is a terrific one. The unique role he is given, as well as the performance, has launched Ali to become the heavy favorite in this rather loaded category. A big win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards boosted Ali to the top, and we believe this is his award to lose.
Who Should Win: Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”
Our choice for who should win was a heated debate between Sheriffs. It was hard to decide between Jeff Bridges or Michael Shannon, but ultimately we gave the edge to Shannon seeing that his character arc was a little more prominent, and his performance a bit more intense. His interrogations and constant arguments with Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character showed a man on the brink of death who had nothing to lose. Michael Shannon put it all on the line for this performance, and it paid off. There is a very slim chance he will win, as it seems he just eked out a nomination, but we wish he could receive the recognition for a fantastic performance in “Nocturnal Animals.”
Who Will Win: Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Emma Stone has been the favorite in this category for a while now, distancing herself from the other women in this category with various wins in the shows leading up to the Oscars. Stone also has a very worthy performance, beautifully mixing the dramatic elements with excellent singing and dancing, and having tremendous chemistry with Gosling in the process.
Who Should Win: Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
While Stone is great, and she is certainly the runner-up in this category, for us, we felt that Natalie Portman’s criminally overlooked turn as the ex-first lady is more deserving. Portman completely transforms into this role, and, more impressively, she carries this movie on her back from start to finish without a co-lead to take some of the strain. Portman is powerful, heartbreaking, and gripping all at once, and we truly believe that she deserves this award.
Who Will Win: Casey Affleck, “Manchester By The Sea”
This, which was once a runaway category, has turned into an absolute dead heat down the stretch, with Denzel Washington coming out of nowhere and making this a near 50-50 race with “Manchester By the Sea” actor, Casey Affleck. Still, while Washington is great, we feel the Academy will still go with Affleck’s truly brutal turn as Lee, as it is done more on its own, and is absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Sure, Washington may be the safer bet, as his performance in “Fences” is more in your face and more strictly on dialogue, but Affleck is more of the newcomer and has wins at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs in this category, so while this is basically a coin flip, we are taking our chances with Affleck.
Who Should Win: Casey Affleck, “Manchester By The Sea”
The Academy may have this as a coin flip, but we sure don’t. No disrespect to Washington, who was tremendous in his role, but Casey Affleck simply blew us away with his heartbreaking role in “Manchester By The Sea”, and was a performance we think about to this day. The subtleties and nuances tell the whole tale, and that is something Washington simply didn’t have, so fingers crossed that the Academy gets this one right.
Who Will Win: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Chazelle blew audiences away with “Whiplash” in 2014, which was his first major feature film. Due to his outstanding success without any fall, he was under a very large microscope with “La La Land,” coming out, and boy, did he knock it out of the park, with every aspect of his direction was spot on. The camerawork, the lighting, the choreography, the writing, everything was flawless. At just 32 years old, Chazelle managed to create a musical that has pleased every audience, including those who think they don’t like musicals. This is an incredible achievement, one that has been recognized nearly universally to this point, and Chazelle should and will be rewarded for it.
Who Should Win: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Damien Chazelle has been the runaway choice for a while now. We believe and agree that this one is a lock for the young, but already well-proven director.
Who Will Win: “La La Land”
“La La Land” has been the frontrunner for a while now after countless wins in numerous award ceremonies, including a new record for winning 7 Golden Globes in one night. For a while, it looked as if this phenomenal musical was going to run away with the major prize, but as of late, Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” has gained some ground, picking up some key wins down the stretch. Still, Damien Chazelle’s magical film seems to be the clearest choice, and we expect “La La Land” to win the biggest of its 14 nominations.
Who Should Win: “Moonlight”
This was a tough, tough call to make, and since “La La Land” is the favorite, both here and in numerous categories elsewhere, we are going to say that “Moonlight” deserves the night’s top prize. Before you hate us, “La La Land” is a truly outstanding film that deserves its hefty amount of nominations, but we think there’s something special that “Moonlight” has: originality. Musicals, while not done this well, have been done before and have won Best Picture before, but there has never been, and possibly may never be anything quite like “Moonlight”. This film, with masterful direction and a brilliant script by Barry Jenkins, tremendous acting performances across the board, wonderful cinematography, and a memorable score, is truly a one of a kind film with a one of a kind story, and it would be a beautiful thing to see the Academy go in a different direction and pick “Moonlight” for the top award of the night.
Who do you think should win Best Picture? Comment below with your thoughts.