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2017 Oscar Predictions/Results

Okay, folks, it’s that time again!

The black text is written on February 13th, when I’ll be presenting my predictions and preferences for the Academy Awards with minimal commentary. The red text will be written on February 26th, during my annual Oscars liveblog. I try to get three out of four right, but I’ve been pretty good at getting two out of three in previous years. Follow along at home!

Looks like the Red Carpet is finally just about over. Let’s do this!

Opening up with Justin Timberlake, huh? Well, his song was nominated this year, so that makes sense. And he’s still a hell of a performer. Still kind of underwhelming, though.

You know what? Upon reflection, I think I’d prefer a song-and-dance number over yet another montage or some sketch. It’s a change of pace, if nothing else. But then Jimmy Kimmel — the ACTUAL host — comes out looking like a putz. Even Kimmel comes out saying as much out of the gate.

I don’t know what Kimmel is doing here, but I’ve seen worse. At least he’s gracious enough to acknowledge how out of his depth he is. Especially in terms of politics. Incidentally, kudos on Matt Damon for having the good humor to make himself the butt of so many awful jokes.

“Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz. That’s progress.” Wow, Kimmel is all over the place here. Though to be fair, so is the news.

Kimmel took a while to warm up, but his characteristic lack of fear is finally kicking in. “Too often, the Academy only recognizes movies that people have seen.” And god damn, he really let Meryl Streep have it with both barrels. “She has phoned it in for more than 50 films.”

Oh, we get a montage after all. A montage of Oscar acceptance speeches, no less. *yawn*

“You’ve Got a Friend In Me” to introduce Alicia Vikander for Best Supporting Actor? I don’t see the connection, but whatever.

Best Supporting Actor

Should Win: Dev Patel, Lion

Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Did Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

There were no losers in this category. Every single one of these performances was amazing. That said, Mahershala Ali is a fine talent who’s more than paid his dues, and I’d be thrilled to see if this gets him more high-profile work.

That was a lovely acceptance speech. And just like that, we’re already over time.

Some clever jabs from Jimmy Kimmel. Clearly, nobody’s worried about running over time. That was a terrible joke about makeup, and Kate McKinnon made it funny.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo, Star Trek Beyond

Did Win: Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson, Suicide Squad

Whoa. The more controversial film won. That was a shocker. No denying it was a worthy victory, though. Damn shame this category is drying up in light of the nascent mo-cap.

Best Costume Design

Should Win: Mary Zophres, La La Land

Will Win: Madeline Fontaine, Jackie

Did Win: Colleen Atwood, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I had been warned to never bet against Colleen Atwood. Silly foolish me. But hey, even Colleen looks shocked, so I guess I wasn’t the only one who underestimated her. Also, this is another category in which there really weren’t any losers.

Of all the clips to show from Titanic, the Rolex commercial had to pick a one with Bill Paxton front and center. Damn unfortunate timing. #RIP.

Hidden Figures is a testament to what women can accomplish when they have to pee.” I can’t imagine how Kimmel’s presentations would look to someone who hasn’t actually seen the nominated films.

They brought out the actual Katherine Johnson? Holy shit, that was sweet of them! She couldn’t really do much at her age, but it’s sweet that they dolled her up and gave her the chance to say “thank you” in response to a long-overdue standing ovation.

Best Documentary Feature

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: O.J.: Made in America

Did Win: O.J.: Made in America

This was a highly tough one to call. 13th and I Am Not Your Negro both had a lot of heat behind them, but there seems to be a strange kind of “O.J. Simpson” nostalgia going on, and betting on that paid off. Plus, if it raises the visibility of racial profiling in the justice system that was also the subject of 13th, so much the better.

Good God, Dwayne Johnson has a great sense of humor. Also, if there’s anything to unite the planet, it’s not Dwayne Johnson performing — It’s Lin-Manuel motherfucking Miranda performing. Though Auli’i Cravalho is fantastic as well. She’s so much better here than she was in the actual film!

Seriously, Cravalho is just standing there singing — no acting, no dancing, nothing but the dancers behind her — and she’s crushing it. This had better be the start of a long and prosperous career for her.

Hi, Madame President! Thanks for all your work in making the Oscars more diverse. Way to make good on that promise a year ago.

No, art doesn’t belong to a single faith or creed. It belongs to Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and Comcast.

Mid-ceremony jokes from the host are typically the worst, but raining candy from the sky? That was inspired. “Maybe next year, we should give out the awards this way!” Beautifully done.

Sofia Boutella is presenting?! God damn, she’s come a long way in such little time. Thrilled to see it.

Best Sound Editing

Should Win: Sylvain Bellemare, Arrival

Will Win: Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright, Hacksaw Ridge

Did Win: Sylvain Bellemare, Arrival

Well, this is an unexpected pleasure. So glad this went to the alien feature instead of the more obvious war choice. Thrilled Bellemare did the best he could with that acceptance speech, as it’s likely the only one that film will get tonight.

Best Sound Mixing

Should Win: Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Mac Ruth, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Will Win: Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow, La La Land

Did Win: Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, and Peter Grace, Hacksaw Ridge

This guy wasn’t nearly as smart with his acceptance speech — again, for what may be the only award the film wins. Very sweet little anecdote about O’Connell’s mother, though.

Jimmy Kimmel and Seth McFarlane are both shock comics who’ve emceed at the Comedy Central Roast. The difference is that Kimmel has the skill to parlay his shock humor into something faster and more intelligent, and it’s serving him well here.

And seriously, Vince Vaughn wasn’t kidding. It’s great that the other three honorees got their due, but Jackie Chan finally getting his Oscar is the headline here.

The montages are all going to be like this, huh? One montage after another about acceptance speeches. Okay. All right. WHY?!

God damn, that was an incisive presentation speech from Mark Rylance.

Best Supporting Actress

Should Win: Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Will Win: Viola Davis, Fences

Did Win: Viola Davis, Fences

Hard-earned and well-won. There really wasn’t a bad actor in the bunch, though I have to wonder why Michelle Williams was nominated when she was barely in the film for ten minutes. It’s endearing to see how Davis is barely holding it together up there. She’s done so much already and I can’t wait to see what more she does.

Gotta say, I’m pleasantly surprised with how few acceptance speeches are overtly political. The night is still young, though.

Jimmy Kimmel: “[Angela Davis] just got an Emmy nomination for that speech.” I don’t know if he’s wrong.

No, turns out we get some other montages today: About stars and what inspired them. What a lovely idea, and a nice chance to humanize some of the people at the Dolby Theatre right now. And then Charlize Theron actually gets to present with Shirley McLaine and the two can pay tribute to each other. What a brilliant concept.

Best Foreign Language Film

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: The Salesman

Did Win: The Salesman

Wow, what a tough one to call. Turns out that betting on the previous winner was the right way to go. Also, the Academy gets to make an implicit statement against the Muslim travel ban (made explicit by the proxy acceptance speech, which is such a better practice than the earlier practice of “The Academy accepts this award on their behalf.”). Smoke ’em if you got ’em, folks. This is gonna be a long night.

God damn, it’s so great to see Sting performing something he didn’t write thirty years ago. Short but very sweet. Also, kudos on whomever had the balls to schedule that song immediately after Best Foreign Feature, betting on who’d win.

Damn straight this took a long time to plan — how the hell do you get a tour bus within two miles of the Dolby Theatre on goddamn Oscar night without the passengers’ knowing?!

Best Animated Short

Should Win: Pearl

Will Win: Piper

Did Win: Piper

Always bet on Pixar.

Saying that actors are migrant workers. Holy shit.

Best Animated Film

Should Win: Zootopia

Will Win: Zootopia

Did Win: Zootopia

Well-deserved. I know a lot of people were pulling for Kubo, and rightly so, but this one was simply a marvel.

We’re bringing out the 50 Shades stars? Seriously? Shame on the Academy for dignifying this franchise.

Best Production Design

Should Win: Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena, Passengers

Will Win: David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, La La Land

Did Win: David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, La La Land

Again, there were no losers here. But given how the sound design categories went, I’m seriously kind of surprised that this one defaulted to La La Land. Also, it’s very sweet that this one is shared with a husband/wife team.

Finally, somebody got played off! Somebody got the memo that this is going to run long!

You’ve been doing a great job so far, Kimmel. Don’t blow this punchline.

Gotta say, it’s a little relieved to see people so underdressed here. Bringing in people to actually meet the stars is a great touch. Though yes, it is a little embarrassed that people won’t put down their cell phones even when they’re on live TV.

Kimmel is in his element here, and it looks like everyone’s having a fantastic time. This is just amazing.

Hi, Guillermo! Glad to see Jimmy brought you along for the ride.

I just recognized the commercial outro music as “Nowhere Fast” from Streets of Fire. A totally obscure movie, and it wasn’t even the most famous song from that picture. These selections are all over the place, and I love it.

Ooh, a montage about the international impact of film! What a brilliant idea. American films, foreign films, what ordinary people from all sorts of places think of all sorts of films. The montage is amazing, and it makes a fantastic case for the power of film. Inspired.

Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed, the costars of Rogue OneThis is a movie the Academy was right to dignify.

Best Visual Effects

Should Win: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Will Win: The Jungle Book

Did Win: The Jungle Book

I have no idea why this was the one to win, but it was the one that everyone seemed to favor, so whatever. “This never gets old, by the way.” Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer sincerity and humility in my acceptance speeches as opposed to whatever this guy was doing.

This awards ceremony got Michael J. goddamn Fox back in the goddamn DeLorean one more time. This is a good night. And Seth Rogen is up there wearing the shoes!

Then the both of them break into Hamilton jokes. I’m howling with laughter, but not nearly as hard as Lin-Manuel Miranda seems to be.

Best Film Editing

Should Win: Joe Walker, Arrival

Will Win: Tom Cross, La La Land

Did Win: John Gilbert, Hacksaw Ridge

Sorry, no. Arrival was all about the editing, especially that climax. Regarding the editing to Hacksaw Ridge, it — like everything else in this picture — was only really good in the second half.

Jimmy, was that Lion King stunt with Sunny Pawar really necessary? Though it gave everyone more candy for some arbitrary reason, so whatever.

Best Documentary Short

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: The White Helmets

Did Win: The White Helmets

If ever there was a time to bet against the Holocaust picture…

Given this political climate, the one focused on Syrian refugees was a good bet. Talking about the Quran and Muhammed in the acceptance speech was a subtle and nicely subversive touch.

Best Live-Action Short

Should WinSilent Nights

Will Win: Enemies Within

Did Win: Sing

Betting on the odd one out seemed like such a good idea at the time. That and Sing seemed like the weak link in the nominees, from what I could tell. Still, it was a sweet little movie, and a sweet little acceptance speech as well.

Donald Drumpf is probably on another Twitter timeout at the moment.

John Cho and Leslie Mann are funny people and they get a few good jabs in, but their chemistry and comic timing is plain flat. Still, I love the look at all the technological innovations honored by the Oscars through the past year.

Sweet as it is to see how Javier Bardem was so inspired by Meryl Streep, it’s not like she needed any more recognition. And she’s good enough to say as much.

Best Cinematography

Should Win: Rodrigo Pieto, Silence

Will Win: Linus Sandgren, La La Land

Did Win: Linus Sandgren, La La Land

God, these nominees were all gorgeous.

Then Jimmy jumps right in with a joke about the nonexistent Sweden attack. Nice.

They brought Mean Tweets! Joy! This never fails to amuse.

Sorry, I love La La Land, but the two weakest songs were nominated. Give me “Another Day of Sun” or “Someone in the Crowd” any day. Also, thank God it’s John Legend singing and not Ryan Gosling (or whomever Gosling was lip-synching to). Though both of these songs more or less sum up what the movie as a whole is about, so that’s worth recognizing at least.

In comes Samuel L. Jackson to the sounds of Pulp Fiction. Badass.

(Side note: Apropos of nothing, I really wish I had seen Jackie before I made my year-end lists — I could’ve made that one my choice for Best Biopic and saved myself a lot of trouble.)

Best Original Score

Should Win: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land

Will Win: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land

Did Win: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land

Gee, what a shock. Nothing against the other candidates, but I’m really glad this one wasn’t an upset.

Best Original Song

Should Win: “Another Day of Sun”, La La Land Because it should’ve been nominated, dammit!

Will Win: “City of Stars”, La La Land

Did Win: “City of Stars”, La La Land

Again, not a surprise. For better or worse (and for whatever reason) this is the single from the soundtrack. Funny enough, it looks like Hurwitz was saving everyone to thank for his second acceptance speech. Major kudos for the shout-out to arts in public schools.

Speaking of which, I like the blue ribbons to advocate the ACLU. It’s a welcome substitute for long-winded political speeches.

Oh, the 2016 in memoriam. God, this is going to suck.

Sara Bareilles performing an arrangement from Alex Lacamoire. What a lovely accompaniment. Not sure I would’ve picked Jennifer Aniston to do the introduction, but whatever.

Jimmy Kimmel talking about how he was inspired by We Bought a Zoo. On the one hand, it’s a neat little payoff to the running Jimmy Kimmel/Matt Damon feud that’s been running through the whole ceremony. On the other hand, way to diminish the otherwise awesome and poignant “inspiration” montage series.

Also, “and guest”. Then Damon keeps getting played off in the middle of his presentation. Guy has the patience of a saint. Can we give him a trophy for not strangling anyone?

Best Original Screenplay

Should Win: Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Will Win: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Did Win: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

And Lonergan gets his consolation prize. I love how Affleck handed the envelope off to exec producer Damon.

Hi, Amy Adams! Sorry you got shut out because Meryl Strepp got another nomination she totally didn’t deserve and you did. Lucky I’m sure she has another nomination in her future.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Should Win: Eric Heisserer, Arrival

Will Win: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight

Did Win: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight

This one really should’ve been nominated for Original Screenplay, but whatever. Also, seriously, writers have amazing acceptance speeches.

Baked goods descending from the sky to “Ride of the Valkyries.” Hysterical. Also, how much shit do they have in those rafters?!

Best Director

Should Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Will Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Did Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

The youngest Best Director winner in history, ladies and gents. I can’t believe he got up there after only two films, but then again, La La Land and Whiplash are both exceptional. Can’t wait to see what he does next — the sky’s the limit now. And if he brings J.K. Simmons along for the ride, so much the better.

Best Actor

Should Win: Denzel Washington, Fences

Will Win: Denzel Washington, Fences

Did Win: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Aw, damn! I mean, it’s not like Denzel has anything to prove, but this is still a shock and a disappointment. Still, for all of Affleck’s personal failings, he’s at least overwhelmingly humble in his acceptance speech.

Effective tomorrow, Casey Affleck is an Oscar-winning actor. Which means that he’s accountable to a higher standard. Let’s hold him to it, shall we?

Best Actress

Should Win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Will Win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Did Win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Ruth Negga (wonderful though she is) hasn’t had the chance to pay her dues and the other nominees didn’t have anything left to prove. Emma Stone hit the sweet spot. She’s more than earned this, and I’m thrilled for her.

Stone and Gosling have been in so many projects together, I’m amazed she didn’t bring those up as well. Otherwise, she gave a perfectly lovely speech.

Kinda weird how the commercials so far have been more political than the acceptance speeches. Then again, I suppose it helps that La La Land and Manchester by the Sea are such apolitical films. Also, it really does seem like the winners are too swept up to even think of wasting their precious time on politics.

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway get the honors of presenting Best Picture! There’s a pleasant surprise. And I’m not sure Beatty deserves it after Rules Don’t Apply, but whatever. Also, that “political” message from Beatty was pitifully crowbarred in.

Best Picture

Should WinLa La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Did Win: La La Land

There it is, folks. Love it or hate it, La La Land won. And… wait, what?!

Did Win: Moonlight

OH, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!! They just pulled a fucking Steve Harvey! At the motherfucking Oscars!

Not my choice, but whatever. I’m thrilled that those who supported Moonlight get the final award, and the makers of La La Land get their time onstage to make the acceptance speech they would’ve gotten to say, so I guess everyone wins.

Except a stage manager somewhere who’s totally fucking fired. I seriously doubt that it was Jimmy Kimmel’s fault, and everyone handled it as well as could be expected, but somebody is totally fucking fired.

TOTAL GUESSED: 16/24

Good luck on your Oscar betting pool! See you back here for the big night.

Hope you had a great time tonight, folks. Hopefully you enjoyed the films of 2016, and maybe you were motivated to check out some ones you might otherwise not have heard of. I personally thought that Kimmel exceeded expectations and the night was full of great surprises. Have a great night, and let’s keep it going for a great year to come. Good night!

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