Growing up as a movie obsessed child into a cinematic devouring adult, Hollywood award season has always been my most anticipated time of year.
Some see it as a popularity contest but just to be nominated for an Oscar within this lucrative global industry is still a triumph or an excuse to chill the champagne.
Leading up to the grand final of motion picture arts and sciences, my heart beats faster, sleepless nights occur, and a sprawling ponder of what may happen at the big show keep me gasping until tears form during the opening of those large envelopes unveiling the winners of the prized gold statues. La La Land equals the record of 14 nominations alongside Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950).
Hosted for the first time by the admirable, multi-talented Jimmy Kimmel, the 89th Academy Awards is sure to provide laughter, emotions and inevitable social commentary. The red carpet rolls out on Monday February 27th (live on the Nine Network from 11am Australian time).
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences
Garfield a slight chance. All hail media shy Viggo Mortensen emerging out of the shadows to promote a small movie he believed in and was brilliant in that few saw. Affleck and Gosling in a close one up against a surging in popularity unnearaving Washington performance.
MY PICK* CASEY AFFLECK
Issabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Winning recent Golden Globes put Huppert and Stone seriously in the mix but despite naysayers, chameleon Streep deserves her milestone twentieth nod. For talented Negga, her time will come another year as the second Portman appears on screen, she owns Jackie.
MY PICK* NATALIE PORTMAN
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
Tough category with Shannon a dark horse in a movie that deserved higher accolades. Legend Bridges skulks around flawlessly but Ali draws on every emotional aspect without breaking a sweat. If it was an Award for staring at a computer, Patel wins.
MY PICK* MAHERSHALA ALI
Viola Davis – Fences
Naomi Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
Australia’s own Kidman at her best in two minds as a passionate mother in Lion, however with seven minutes of screen time, an amazing Williams makes every second count. She can only lose to powerhouse Davis upstaging all with pure intensity.
MY PICK *MICHELLE WILLIAMS
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
Officially welcomed back to Hollywood, Australia’s own Mel Gibson made an exciting, important faith-based war story without preaching -, hard to do. But young auteur Chazelle cannot lose with his effervescent ode to the silver screen.
MY PICK* DAMIEN CHAZELLE
Hell or High water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Hidden Figures and Hell or High Water – grandoise but no chance. An unprecedented two Australian nominees are up for the big one, Lion and Hacksaw Ridge, also no chance. Arrival remains one of the best films of any year but La La Land is the summit, don’t blink as the remarkable Moonlight is gaining deserved momentum.
MY PICK* MOONLIGHT
MY PICK OF OTHER CATEGORIES
Adapted Screenplay – MOONLIGHT
Original Screenplay – LA LA LAND
Foreign Language film – TANNA (of Australia) in indigenous language
Animated film – ZOOTOPIA
Original Score – LA LA LAND
Original Song – AUDITION; The Fools who Dream. LA LA LAND (*but it’s companion piece CITY OF STARS will win)
Sound Editing – SULLY
Sound Mixing – ROGUE ONE
Visual Effects – JUNGLE BOOK
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.