16) Best Director
- Damien Chazelle – La La Land
- Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
- Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
- Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By the Sea
- Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
Likely Winner: Damien Chazelle –La La Land
Deserving Winner: Damien Chazelle –La La Land
This is the most fascinating lot of nominees. Each one of them gave us films to remember. Be it the riveting war drama Hacksaw Ridge or the first contact film Arrival. We had a blast throughout the fall. But speaking of the possible winner, it’s definitely going to be Damien Chazelle. Marching ahead at the pace of Spielberg and Nolan, the two-movie old director Chazelle has earned the honor. A party that was spoiled in 2014 by Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman, La La Land is soon to give him a night to rejoice.
17) Best Supporting Actress
- Viola Davis – Fences
- Naomie Harris – Moonlight
- Nicole Kidman – Lion
- Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
- Michelle Williams – Manchester By the Sea
Likely Winner: Viola Davis – Fences
Deserving Winner: Naomie Harris – Moonlight
While only one actor will be receiving the award, the performances were uniformly top notch. It is although arguable as to who was the better one. Viola Davis will be the likely winner considering the acclaim she has been receiving. Her Golden Globe win makes her odds better than the rest. However, in my opinion, Naomie Harris gave the strongest performance. Her portrayal of a drug addict mother was very hard hitting and she played her part ably.
18) Best Supporting Actor
- Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
- Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
- Dev Patel – Lion
- Lucas Hedges – Manchester By the Sea
- Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
Likely Winner: Michael Shannon/Jeff Bridges – Nocturnal Animals/Hell or High Water
Deserving Winner: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Despite knowing the nominee that deserves it the most, it’s hard to predict the winner. Both Michael Shannon and Jeff Bridges are dark horses. While the former has been nominated once before, it’s the seventh Oscar nomination for Bridges, who has already won one. Both gave terrific performances in their respective roles. But it’s Mahershala Ali who everybody will be rooting for. Even in a brief role, he emanated immense enthusiasm and compassion that is hard to forget.
19) Best Actress
- Emma Stone – La La Land
- Natalie Portman – Jackie
- Ruth Negga – Loving
- Isabelle Huppert – Elle
- Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Likely Winner: Emma Stone – La La Land
Deserving Winner: Emma Stone – La La Land
If it wasn’t for the Academy’s ruthless decision to omit Amy Adams from this one, picking a winner would’ve been excruciatingly hard. (Adams was outstanding in Arrival as she single-handedly shouldered the film).
Despite a bunch of strong performances, none could match Emma Stone’s portrayal as Mia in La La Land. Stone, who has been nominated once before but failed to make the cut, is sure to grab her first Oscar. Be it singing, dancing, sporting lustrous costumes, or conveying emotions through her eyes, she was bewitching. And she totally knocked the ball out the park in the audition scene!
20) Best Actor
- Casey Affleck – Manchester By the Sea
- Ryan Gosling – La La Land
- Denzel Washington – Fences
- Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
- Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Likely Winner: Casey Affleck/Denzel Washington – Manchester By the Sea/Fences
Deserving Winner: Casey Affleck – Manchester By the Sea
Hands down, it’s Casey Affleck who deserves all the Best Actor trophies this season. It was a once-in-a-lifetime performance of his career. Even though Gosling is nominated, he surely wouldn’t be the pick of the Jury given Affleck had a more complex character. On the contrary, Denzel Washington could pull off a surprise win as well for his work in Fences. The actor already has two Oscar trophies. But since the jury loves him no less than Meryl Streep, he could win another one.
21) Best Picture
- La La Land
- Manchester By the Sea
- Hidden Figures
- Hell or High Water
- Hacksaw Ridge
Likely Winner: La La Land
Deserving Winner: Moonlight
The most prestigious award of the evening will likely go to La La Land. Though, it’d be more satisfying to see Moonlight being rewarded. There is no niggling with La La Land winning the award. But Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight was a more groundbreaking film. Valiant and socially relevant, it needed guts and sheer talent to deliver a film as affecting as this one. For the latter reason alone, Moonlight deserves the Oscar. Else there will be another day of Sun.
By Mayank Nailwal
Have something to share with our readers? Thoughts on a film you saw recently; an obscure piece of film trivia; or a film you just finished watching and can’t seem to get out of your head? Head over to our Submit section for details and shoot us a mail at [email protected].