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The Cricket's 2017 Oscar predictions, part 4: The majors

Published February 24, 2017 9:27 am
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Here we go: The fourth and final part of The Cricket's predictions for the 89th annual Academy Awards. These are the major categories: Directing, screenwriting, acting and Best Picture.

The Cricket's predictions of the technical categories were posted on Tuesday, the craft categories on Wednesday, and the specialty and short films on Thursday.

The Academy Awards ceremony, takes place Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood — and televised live, starting at 6 p.m., on ABC, KTVX, Ch. 4. Follow along with The Cricket on Twitter, @moviecricket, on Sunday.


The nominees are • Casey Affleck, "Manchester by the Sea"; Andrew Garfield, "Hacksaw Ridge"; Ryan Gosling, "La La Land"; Viggo Mortensen, "Captain Fantastic"; Denzel Washington, "Fences."

Who will win • Affleck, playing a man shut down by grief, has been the favorite through most of the preliminaries before the Oscar ceremony. But he may have peaked early, and voters will instead give it to Washington, who directed himself into a career-defining performance.

Who should win • Of the five, I'd vote for Garfield, who found the humility and the quiet courage within the anti-violence war hero Desmond Doss.


The nominees are • Isabelle Huppert, "Elle"; Ruth Negga, "Loving"; Natalie Portman, "Jackie"; Emma Stone, "La La Land"; Meryl Streep, "Florence Foster Jenkins."

Who will win • Stone has been a lock pretty much since awards season started, picking up a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a SAG Award along the way.

Who should win • Though I loved Stone's and Portman's performances, the quiet resolve of Negga's portrayal of Mildred Loving is the work that resonates.

Supporting actor

The nominees are • Mahershala Ali, "Moonlight"; Jeff Bridges, "Hell or High Water"; Lucas Hedges, "Manchester by the Sea"; Dev Patel, "Lion"; Michael Shannon, "Nocturnal Animals."

Who will win • Ali has been the prohibitive favorite for the last couple months, and it's not likely anyone will overtake him.

Who should win • Ali, as the drug kingpin and surrogate father figure, was the broken but beating heart of "Moonlight."

Supporting actress

The nominees are • Viola Davis, "Fences"; Naomie Harris, "Moonlight"; Nicole Kidman, "Lion"; Octavia Spencer, "Hidden Figures"; Michelle Williams, "Manchester by the Sea."

Who will win • Davis. No contest.

Who should win • As happened with last year's winner, Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl," Davis has been misassigned to the supporting category for what was a lead role. Mostly it's unfair to the other four women, because Davis' performance was ferocious and heartfelt and deserves an Oscar in whatever category it's in.

Original screenplay

The nominees are • Taylor Sheridan, "Hell or High Water"; Damien Chazelle, "La La Land"; Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, "The Lobster"; Kenneth Lonergan, "Manchester by the Sea"; Mike Mills, "20th Century Women."

Who will win • One of the few categories where "La La Land" is likely to lose, as Lonergan's emotionally precise script for "Manchester by the Sea" is the favorite to win.

Who should win • If I could vote for half a script, I'd go for the wickedly clever first half of "The Lobster." But for a complete script, I'd go with "20th Century Women," Mills' heartfelt and hilariously detailed love letter to the women who influenced him as a teen.

Adapted screenplay

The nominees are • Eric Heisserer, "Arrival"; August Wilson, "Fences"; Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, "Hidden Figures"; Luke Davies, "Lion"; Barry Jenkins (screenplay) and Tarell Alvin McCraney (story), "Moonlight."

Who will win • "Moonlight" is the bright star in this category.

Who should win • I'm torn between Jenkins' heartbreaking character study of "Moonlight" and Heisserer quiet intelligence in "Arrival," but my vote would go to "Moonlight."


The nominees are • Denis Villeneuve, "Arrival"; Mel Gibson, "Hacksaw Ridge"; Damien Chazelle, "La La Land"; Kenneth Lonergan, "Manchester by the Sea"; Barry Jenkins, "Moonlight."

Who will win • The Directors Guild of America's award usually presages the Oscar in this category — which would give it to Chazelle.

Who should win • A tough call, but Jenkins brings such poetry to the streets in "Moonlight" that I'd give him my vote.

Best Picture

The nominees are • "Arrival," "Fences," "Hacksaw Ridge," "Hell or High Water," "Hidden Figures," "La La Land," "Lion," "Manchester by the Sea," "Moonlight."

Who will win • After winning the Golden Globe and many of the guilds' honors, and snagging the most Oscar nominations, is there anything that will stop "La La Land"? In a word, no.

Who should win • When I compiled my Top 10 list last December, only one movie surpassed "La La Land" — and that was the beautifully realized story of a young life, "Moonlight."




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