Will La La Land make history by eclipsing the record of 11 Academy Awards? Damien Chazelle’s magical homage to the Hollywood musical definitely has a decent shot. After all, it’s a lock to win in five categories: Best Picture, Director, Score, Original Song, and Sound Mixing. And it’s the heavy favorite in another five: Lead Actress, Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design and Film Editing.
That leaves Sound Editing, Original Screenplay and Lead Actor. La La‘s best shot at tying the record will be by beating the World War II epic, Hacksaw Ridge, in Sound Editing.
If successful there, it has two paths to 12. Unfortunately, Ryan Gosling is unlikely to win for Lead Actor because he’s up against some very stiff competition in Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington. That leaves Original Screenplay where Manchester By The Sea has the advantage by virtue of its being a super-realistic drama as opposed to an escapist musical fantasy.
Nevertheless, I’m optimistic that the Academy voters will pull the lever for the very-deserving La La Land a record-breaking dozen times.
The Envelope Please
Who Will Win, Who Deserves To Win, Who Was Snubbed
Will Win: La La Land
Deserves to Win: La La Land
Will Win: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Deserves to Win: Damien Chazelle
Overlooked: Denzel Washington (Fences) and Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures)
Comment: Wunderkind Damien Chazelle, at 32, becomes the youngest Best Director winner in history.
Will Win: Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Deserves to Win: Casey Affleck
Overlooked: Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Comment: Denzel Washington might upset Affleck, if the Academy decides to overcompensate for its complete snubbing of minority actors the last two years. And Ryan Gosling has a puncher’s chance of prevailing if La La Land‘s sweep turns out to be a record-breaking tsunami.
Will Win: Emma Stone (La La Land)
Deserves to Win: Emma Stone
Overlooked: Amy Adams (Arrival) and Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
Comment: Stone is a shoo-in for three reasons. First, Viola Davis opted to compete in the Supporting Actress category. Second, it was an off-year for perennial-nominee Meryl Streep whose performance in Florence Foster Jenkins was undeserving. Third, Amy Adams wasn’t even nominated. Fourth, Emma’s the only Lead Actress nominee whose movie was also nominated for Best Picture.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Deserves to Win: Mahershala Ali
Overlooked: Andre Holland (Moonlight) and John (La La Land)
Comment: 2016 was a breakout year for Mahershala Ali who was only on screen in Moonlight for about 20 minutes. But he always cuts such a mesmerizing presence that he could have just as easily been nominated for Hidden Figures, Kicks or Free State of Jones.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Viola Davis (Fences)
Deserves to Win: Viola Davis
Overlooked: Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women) and Janelle Monae (Moonlight)
Comment: Viola Davis finally gets the Oscar she deserved for The Help. This go-round, she strategically avoided a head-to-head showdown with Meryl Streep by downsizing her starring role into a support performance.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: La La Land
Deserves to Win: La La Land
Comment: La La Land manages to squeak by Manchester By The Sea, a critical win on an historic night.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Moonlight
Deserves to Win: Moonlight
Question: Why was Moonlight nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, but nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category by both the British Academy and the Writers Guild of America?
Predictions for the Balance of the Categories
Animated Feature: Zootopia
Foreign Language Film: Toni Erdmann
Documentary Feature: 13th
Cinematography: La La Land
Costume Design: La La Land
Production Design: La La Land
Film Editing: La La Land
Makeup and Hairstyling: Star Trek Beyond
Original Score: La La Land
Best Song: La La Land (“City of Stars”)
Sound Editing: La La Land
Sound Mixing: La La Land
Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
Animated Short: Piper
Documentary Short: Extremis
Live-Action Short: Ennemis Interieurs
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening February 24, 2017
Collide (PG-13 for violence, profanity, sexuality and drug use) Action thriller about a couple of American tourists (Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones) backpacking across Europe who end up on the run from drug smugglers in Germany. With Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley and Nadia Hilker.
Get Out (R for violence, profanity, bloody images and sexual references) Psychological thriller about a black college student (Daniel Kaluuya) who goes home with his white girlfriend (Allison Williams) to meet her parents (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) only to uncover the suburban town’s sordid history marked by a string of African-American male disappearances. Supporting cast includes Lakeith Stanfield, Caleb Landry Jones and Erika Alexander.
Rock Dog (PG for action and mild epithets) Animated adventure about a Tibetan Mastiff (Luke Wilson) torn between guarding a flock of sheep and pursuing his dream of Rock & Roll stardom. Voice cast includes K.K. Simmons, Kenan Thompson, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott, Eddie Izzard and Lewis Black.
Bitter Harvest (R for violence and disturbing images) Fact-based drama, set in the Ukraine in the early ’30s, revolving around the efforts of a young artist (Max Irons) to save his childhood sweetheart (Samantha Barks) from the state-sanctioned famine orchestrated by Stalin (Gary Oliver) that would claim millions of lives. With Terence Stamp, Barry Pepper and Lucy Brown.
Drifter (Unrated) Horror flick about a couple of outlaws (Aria Emory and Drew Harwood) who unwittingly take refuge in a ghost town inhabited only by a hungry clan of psychotic cannibals. Support cast includes Monique Rosario, James McCabe and Anthony Ficco.
Dying Laughing (Unrated) Behind-the-scenes documentary offering a revealing look at the complicated lives and creative process of stand-up comedians. Featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart, Sarah Silverman,
Fabricated City (Unrated) Action thriller about an unemployed gamer (Chang-wook Ji), framed for murder, who tries to clear his name with the help of a computer hacker (Eun-kyung Shim). With Jae-hong Ahn, Sang-ho Kim and Jeong-se Oh. (In Korean with subtitles)
Lost Cat Corona (Unrated) Ensemble comedy about an uptight nerd (Ralph Macchio) forced to interact with some shady characters while searching the neighborhood for his wife’s (Gina Gershon) missing cat. Cast includes Sean Young, Paul Sorvino and Tom Wopat.
My Life As A Zucchini (PG-13 for mature themes and suggestive material) Coming-of-age tale, nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Feature category, about a nine-year-old’s (Gaspard Schlatter) attempt to adjust to life in an orphanage after the mysterious disappearance of his mother (Natacha Koutchoumov). Voice cast includes Sixtine Murat, Paulin Jaccoud and Raul Ribera. (In French with subtitles)
Punching Henry (Unknown) Quirky character study about a struggling standup comedian (Henry Phillips) who comes to regret being lured to L.A. by a TV producer (J.K. Simmons) to star in a reality show revolving around the life of a loser. Featuring Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro and Mike Judge.
Tulip Fever (Unrated) Romance drama, set in 17th century Amsterdam, about a portrait artist (DaneDeHaan) who embarks on a passionate affair with a married woman (Alicia Vikander) he’s been hired to paint. With Christoph Waltz, Zach Galifiniakis and Dame Judi Dench.
Year By The Sea (Unrated) Adaptation of Joan Anderson’s memoir of the same name about a jaded housewife who opted to move to a Cape Cod cottage rather than accompany her husband of 30 years to his new job in Kansas. Supporting cast includes S. Epatha Merkerson, Yannick Bisson and Celia Imrie.