Oscar Thoughts

21 February 2017
This year’s Oscar period has all been about La La Land scooping a record number of nominations and being heads and shoulders the favourite to pick up a whole bunch of statuettes on Sunday. But digging a little deeper and the breadth of quality among this year’s nominations is encouraging. It was nice to see Hell Or High Water pick up a few nominations, as that film was released without much fanfare last year and made a lot of QUAD staff’s end of year lists including mine. 

There was certainly no cause for protests around the whiteness of the Oscars like we’ve had in recent years with three deserving films gathering up nominations. Fences is a gripping movie featuring strong performances, while Hidden Figures is the crowd pleasing Hollywood story but in Moonlight you have a stellar piece of cinema and a potential all-time classic that should stand the test of time, also featuring a stereotype-bursting performance by Mahershala Ali. 

Five great female performances per year are up for grabs at the Oscars but maybe that should be just limited to four, as the Academy seems intent on reserving a spot each year for Meryl Streep. A snub for Amy Adam’s at this year’s nominations is made all the more baffling with the inclusion of Meryl as Florence Foster Jenkins. Florence Foster Jenkins is a fun film but it is hardly a tour de force performance that merits a slot on the shortlist. Whereas Adams had a cracking 2016 with two really strong performances in Nocturnal Animals and Arrival. Both films offered a subtle, deeply layered performance that rewards attentive viewers. Fingers crossed for her in 2018.

The Best Directing category is a difficult one to call as it seems to be down to what style of film you prefer. In Arrival, you have smart and measured sci-fi drama, while Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s return to the fold, scratches the war film itch. Kenneth Lonergan’s brilliant direction of actors is on show in Manchester By The Sea. But probably in the minds of most voters the choice was between the feel good (although not as much as you’d think) La La Land (by Whiplash Director Damien Chazelle), or the amazing job done traversing decades by Barry Jenkins in Moonlight. 

Here are my predictions of what I think will win in the main categories:
Best Film – La La Land
Best Director – Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Best Actor – Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Best Actress – Emma Stone (La La Land)
Best Supporting Actor – Dev Patel (Lion)
Best Supporting Actress – Viola Davis (Fences)
Best Foreign Language Film – Toni Erdmann

Although if were up to me, Hunt For The Wilderpeople would be making a clear sweep!

Hacksaw Ridge (15) can be seen in QUAD until Thursday 23 February 
Fences (12A) can be seen in QUAD can be seen in QUAD until Thursday 2 March 
Manchester By The Sea (15) can be seen in QUAD from Friday 24 February to Thursday 2 March
Lion (12A) can be seen in QUAD from Friday 24 February to Thursday 2 March 
Moonlight (15) can be seen in QUAD from Friday 24 February to Thursday 9 March 
Hidden Figures (PG) can be seen in QUAD from Friday 3 to Thursday 9 March