Paul Mendoza

The big night is Sunday! The most holy of all high holy nights for film lovers! I love it! Even though this year all signs point to a La La Land sweep, I’ll be there watching with my wine and hors d’oeurves, eating it all up and hoping, praying for that big surprise win or that perfect acceptance speech. There’s always a few special moments. And most importantly, will Ryan Gosling bring Eva Mendes? Will we see that awkward Red Carpet moment when Emma Stone runs into Andrew Garfield? Will Mel Gibson get booed? Will we see that adorable little boy from Lion?

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield in “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen in “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington in “Fences”

There has been a vocal outcry about Casey Affleck’s nomination due to his previous sexual harassment case and up until the SAG Awards it seemed to have not mattered. But when Denzel Washington won the SAG it showed that other actors were paying attention. Still, he is the favorite to win and I think he still will. But look out for Denzel……..

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges in “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges in “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel in “Lion”
Michael Shannon in “Nocturnal Animals”

Mahershala Ali is the favorite and all signs point to an Oscar win but damn if The Dude isn’t a beloved treasure in the industry and he just might pull an upset. But, well, that’s just my opinion, man.

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Isabelle Huppert in “Elle”
Ruth Negga in “Loving”
Natalie Portman in “Jackie”
Emma Stone in “La La Land”
Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Emma Stone looks to be the shoe in here. She is well liked and Oscar loves a fresh faced young starlet! But wouldn’t it just be sticking it in Trump’s face to give to Meryl Streep? Who wouldn’t want to hear that speech?

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Viola Davis in “Fences”
Naomie Harris in “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman in “Lion”
Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams in “Manchester by the Sea”

Viola Davis is going to win. She’s really a lead in Fences but I guess it was decided she’d have a better shot at being nominated and winning in the Supporting Category. But I really loved Michelle Williams in Manchester By The Sea.

Adapted screenplay
“Hidden Figures”

Moonlight will win. It was a brave, honest, beautiful script. Arrival is close behind and that would be the upset pick here.

Original screenplay
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“The Lobster”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“20th Century Women”

Man, this is a tough category. MOST original? The Lobster. Hands down the most original piece of filmmaking this year. Manchester By The Sea will win but the dark horse here is Hell or High Water, a classic piece of Americana that touches on some real problems in America today while being a great modern western noir.

Achievement in directing
“Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve
“Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson
“La La Land” – Damien Chazelle
“Manchester by the Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan
“Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins

Damien Chazell has got this.

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Achievement in film editing
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”

The winner of Best Editing usually goes hand in hand with Best Picture. Usually. It’s a good indication. But only 8 of the previous 16 winners went on to win Best Picture. The ones that lost, it could be argued should have won Best Picture (The Social Network, The Aviator, Whiplash). I’m going with LA LA Land.

Best motion picture of the year
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”

I have to say, I really thought all of these films were very good. Hidden Figures is the ‘feel good’ film. Manchester is the ‘depressing’ indie. Moonlight ‘the poignant message’ film. Lion is the ‘emotional tear jerker’. Arrival the ‘high concept’ sci-fi film. Hell or High Water the ‘crime drama’. Hacksaw Ridge the ‘war film with a message’. Fences, the highly respected ‘play adaptation’. But the winner is going to be LA LA Land, the brightly colored romantic, musical fantasy that takes place in Los Angeles. The land of Hollywood. Hollywood loves movies about itself. It was about forgetting your troubles and putting yourself in the hands of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. As we struggle with the turmoil and angst of living in the ‘Trump era’, a little escapism was just what the doctor ordered.

Now enjoy Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue and the many political statements that will be made throughout the evening. But most of all, enjoy the spectacle that is the Academy Awards. I’m making Mac ‘n cheese. What are you having?