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2017 Oscar Nominations & Peacemaker's Predictions

The Movie Hole

2017 Oscar Nominations & Peacemaker's Predictions

JJ Mortimer

Another year, another annual Hollywood handjob given to a bunch of entitled, elitist, primadonnas who wrongfully use the celebration of the achievements in film making as a platform for religious and/or political rhetoric.  Regardless, I watch the award show as it was supposed to be and as it was rightfully hinted above - as a celebration of performance art and technical achievement for the entertainment of the masses.  The people in Hollywood may piss me off from time to time, but I still love the movies as well as the little gold man that (usually) recognizes when shit is done well.

Here are the nominees in many of the 2017 Oscar categories, as well as my predictions for who should and/or who WILL win the trophy.  I excluded categories such as "Documentary Short Subject" or "Animated Short Film" because those are termed as "tie-breakers" in my family voting on Oscar night, so I don't want ALL of my choices known to them when they try to defeat me (by copying me).

BEST PICTURE

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

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WILL WIN:  LA LA LAND.  Hollywood loves to award a well-produced musical, especially one released so close to the end of the year.  Hot young talent in front of the camera doesn't hurt, as the two stars are drool factors for many of the opposite sex.

SHOULD WIN:  HELL OR HIGH WATER.  If you want to know why I think this film should win, read my review here.

BEST DIRECTOR

Arrival - Denis Villeneuve

Hacksaw Ridge - Mel Gibson

La La Land - Damien Chazelle

Manchester by the Sea - Kenneth Lonergan

Moonlight - Barry Jenkins

____________________________________

WILL WIN:  Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND.  On a personal note, I thought the man was wrongfully forgotten for his masterful directing in 2014's arguable best film, Whiplash.  Directing a musical is no easy task, but if there's any drawback to his possibility of a win, history has shown a split between films winning director and picture (Chicago being a more contemporary example of a musical winning the picture award, but not director).

SHOULD WIN:  Denis Villeneuve, ARRIVAL.  Villeneuve is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary visual storytellers working today.  Much of his work may appear quite minimal to passive moviegoers, but to the keen eye (and film buffs alike), this man can visually tell a story like no other.  His breakthrough film, 2013's Prisoners, is one of the most underrated films to be released in the past five years.  Here's hoping they recognize his very personal and dramatic work on Arrival.

BEST ACTOR

Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling - La La Land

Viggo Mortensen - Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington - Fences

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WILL WIN:  Denzel Washington.  You can never count out the man for putting out a generally-great performance, especially from a film that centers more on character than on story.  His recent win at the SAG awards should also help concrete his chances here.

SHOULD WIN:  TIE - Denzel Washington, Andrew Garfield.  Again, Hollywood has a thing for young talent, and after a slew of disappointing films, Garfield really shined through and stole Hacksaw Ridge with a powerful, endearing, and more importantly INSPIRING performance.  But he's going to have quite the task beating a man who can become only the third actor to hold three acting Oscars (behind Jack Nicholson & Daniel Day-Lewis).

BEST ACTRESS

Isabelle Huppert - Elle

Ruth Negga - Loving

Natalie Portman - Jackie

Emma Stone - La La Land

Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins

_____________________________________

WILL WIN:  Emma Stone. 

SHOULD WIN:  Emma Stone.

Like Reese Witherspoon before her in Walk the Line, the Oscars often award one of the two major stars that are nominated in a film nominated for a slew of awards.  Where Gosling will get his ass kicked by Denzel, Emma Stone took away the SAG award this year and has a lot of momentum going her way.  She's quality, and has the "girl next door" charm to her.  Lisp aside, she's Oscar gold.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mahershala Ali - Moonlight

Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges - Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel - Lion

Michael Shannon - Nocturnal Animals

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WILL WIN:  Mahershala Ali.  Again, winner of the SAG award and the clear front-runner from critics and supporters of the film alike.  For voters looking for a good dramatic performance, he's the choice.

SHOULD WIN:  Jeff Bridges.  The moment I saw Hell or High Water, I knew he would be recognized for his no-bullshit performance.  Voters looking for a more entertaining dramatic performance may look his way with their choice.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Viola Davis - Fences

Naomie Harris - Moonlight

Nicole Kidman - Lion

Octavia Spencer - Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams - Manchester by the Sea

_____________________________

WILL WIN:  Octavia Spencer.  The one award this film will receive, and with recent wins in other award shows, she's definitely a front-runner in this race.

SHOULD WIN:  Octavia Spencer or Viola Davis.  Personally, I like when either a supporting actor or actress of the lead actor/actress who wins the Oscar ALSO wins the Oscar.  In my opinion, if I were ever to want to win an Oscar it would be for a supporting role.  Where I like most of the great films of the year getting recognition in one way or another, I'd like to see a supporting star (Viola Davis, sobbing boogers aside) win along side the film's main lead.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Hell or High Water

     Written by Taylor Sheridan

La La Land

     Written by Damien Chazelle

The Lobster

     Written by Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou

Manchester by the Sea

     Written by Kenneth Lonergan

20th Century Women

     Written by Mike Mills

_____________________________________

WILL WIN:  Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA.  This will be the one category voters choose to award this film.  Many non-critics found it boring, but found the performances to be solid and the story to be good.  Dry, droll, somewhat depressing films often get awarded here, and often a film that wins an award for its script often ONLY wins in this category.

SHOULD WIN:  Taylor Sheridan, HELL OR HIGH WATER.  Again, a script that not only is witty and riddled with humor, but is clever and gives enough dynamic to its characters in a relatively short running time that could fill an entire season of an HBO drama.  Also, the film is highly rewatchable, a huge plus in a film that will be remembered in years to come.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Arrival

     Screenplay by Eric Heisserer

Fences

     Screenplay by August Wilson

Hidden Figures

     Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

Lion

     Screenplay by Luke Davies

Moonlight

     Screenplay by Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

____________________________________

WILL WIN:  Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT.  This film has all the things Hollywood loves to recognize, and has already won a bunch of awards.  For many, this was a smaller, more personal film than some of the others, and that plays well to the hearts of many voters.

SHOULD WIN:  Eric Heisserer, ARRIVAL.  The only reason I know this film won't win here is because I remember hearing a lot of people claiming that they "didn't get it."  Despite this, Arrival has a lot going for it in terms of themes revolving around science fiction and personal loss.  Many people who passively watched the film may remember it as a "boring alien movie" and will forget how introspective and creative its storytelling really is.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

_____________________________

WILL WIN:  KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

SHOULD WIN:  KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

Kubo wasn't drawn completely inside a computer.  Craftsmanship, and the first "animated" film to be nominated in the Visual Effects category since 1993s A Nightmare Before Christmas gives this film a sense of importance for the industry beyond any of the other nominees.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Arrival - Bradford Young

La La Land - Linus Sandgren

Lion - Greig Fraser

Moonlight - James Laxton

Silence - Rodrigo Prieto

_______________________________

WILL WIN:  Linus Sandgren, LA LA LAND. 

SHOULD WIN:  Linus Sandgren, LA LA LAND

If Simon Duggan had been nominated for his work in Hacksaw Ridge, I would put my vote on him.  But, since he is not, I think any cinematographer ballsy enough to take on the task of lensing a musical deserves accolade.  Swooping camera mixed with beautiful colors, sets and choreography always wins over the voters who know what to look for in a film that uses the camera to its fullest extent.

BEST FILM EDITING

Arrival - Joe Walker

Hacksaw Ridge - John Gilbert

Hell or High Water - Jake Roberts

La La Land - Tom Cross

Moonlight - Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

__________________________________

WILL WIN:  LA LA LAND

SHOULD WIN:  ARRIVAL

Musical numbers are complex and difficult to edit (which is why La La Land will most likely take the Sound Mixing category as well for the complex organization), and a film that takes this award often takes home Best Picture.  Arrival, on the other hand, used its editing to help portray not just emotion, but a shift in its narrative dynamic that alone gives the film its shock and awe factor.  Arrival SHOULD win because it actually used its editing to help tell its story - masterfully, I would like to add.

BEST ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN

Arrival

     Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Paul Hotte

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

     Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Hail, Caesar!

     Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

La La Land

     Production Design: David Wasco; Set Decoration: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

Passengers

     Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena

_________________________________

WILL WIN:  LA LA LAND

SHOULD WIN:  LA LA LAND

Duh.  It's gots colors!

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Allied - Joanna Johnston

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Colleen Atwood

Florence Foster Jenkins - Consolata Boyle

Jackie - Madeline Fontaine

La La Land - Mary Zophres

____________________________

WILL WIN:  FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS

SHOULD WIN:  LA LA LAND

This is the first category I don't overtly see La La Land winning, only because the flashier period pieces often take home this award (as history has proved).  A film like Jackie or Florence Foster Jenkins could gain momentum here if only because of their ability to more capture the extravagance of their time periods.

BEST MAKEUP

A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond

Suicide Squad

___________________________

WILL WIN:  STAR TREK BEYOND

SHOULD WIN:  A MAN CALLED OVE

While I was not a huge fan of either of the big Hollywood films, A Man Called Ove is too obscure and "foreign" for many voters to choose it, even with their disdain for a film like Suicide Squad.  That leaves Star Trek Beyond, masterfully hiding Idris Elba underneath pounds of prosthetics, allowing him to perform beyond recognition.  The only reason I choose the Swedish film is because I want the award to go to excellence, and it's the highest-regarded film on this list.

BEST SOUND MIXING

Arrival

     Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye

Hacksaw Ridge

     Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace

La La Land

     Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

     David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

     Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

_______________________________

WILL WIN:  LA LA LAND

SHOULD WIN:  HACKSAW RIDGE

This is the technical category where musicals (or films about music in general) tend to rule over the bombast, loud action films.  On the other hand, if Hacksaw Ridge is to be recognized by the Academy and the specialized technicians voting in this category, this will be the area in which it will excel.  If the Academy is going to be boring as hell, they'll choose La La Land in just about every category it is nominated.  If they are spreading the love, they'll leave these categories to the films people will revisit to test their home sound systems.

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Sully

________________________________

WILL WIN:  HACKSAW RIDGE

SHOULD WIN:  HACKSAW RIDGE

Sound Mixing usually goes to the Best Picture winner in many years past, but Sound Editing is usually a more technical field (and to this day one of my favorite categories, mainly because the best work is more often consistently awarded here than in any other category) and is often left for the action films.  War films are gold when it comes to editing sound, and Pvt. Desmond Doss takes this award home on his shoulder, saving it from a La La Land sweep.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Deepwater Horizon

     Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton

Doctor Strange

     Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould

The Jungle Book

     Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon

Kubo and the Two Strings

     Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

     John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould

__________________________________

WILL WIN:  KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

SHOULD WIN:  KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

This used to be one of my favorite categories to look forward to in years past, mainly because I loved seeing the progression of technique, style, and wizardry used to bring fantasy to life.  In the past couple decades, though, CGI has felt too imposing, overt, and relatively lazy in terms of allowing filmmakers too much of a break from actually putting real handiwork into making their films.  Therefore, given the time, effort,  and care put into its production, I think Kubo (like Ex Machina last year) DESERVES this award.

BEST MUSICAL SCORE

Jackie - Mica Levi

La La Land - Justin Hurwitz

Lion - Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka

Moonlight - Nicholas Britell

Passengers - Thomas Newman

_____________________________

WILL WIN:  LION

SHOULD WIN:  LION

Piano-heavy, many people claimed the music to be a true highlight to the film's emotional impact.  Voters love pianos.  Lion has a lot of pianos, so it will win the Oscar, and a piano will play as Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka walk to the stage.  Aside from the films having good music, I'm sadly still missing the days of great "themes" that are memorable, and easy to hum days after the credits have rolled.  One of the last true scores with memorable cues that would stick to my mind like sweet, sweet honey was Howard Shore's work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

BEST SONG

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)"

     from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

"Can't Stop The Feeling"

     from Trolls; Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

"City of Stars"

     from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

"The Empty Chair"

     from Jim: The James Foley Story; Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

"How Far I'll Go"

     from Moana; Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

______________________________________

WILL WIN:  Something from LA LA LAND

SHOULD WIN:  Something

Honestly I don't give a shit.  The only reason I included this category to discuss is to mention how retarded it is that this is still a category to award, when nothing has been mentioned for the Stunt Performers in films.  For years there have been petitions not just to remove this category (I don't think it should be removed, but it should at least be reduced to three nominees), but to include the often death-defying work that stuntmen do on films sets (and often for shitty, shitty films).  So, screw this category.