Once again, the Oscars are upon us, and it’s time that I stare into my admitted fuzzy crystal ball. I wouldn’t go to Vegas and bet on my predictions, but I’m not afraid to be wrong. After all, I have been practicing criminal defense work for over 40 years!
Picture: “La La Land”
“La La Land” is a special film. It recreates musicals while focusing on the tragedy of lost love, and I think it wins this award.
Director: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
While Barry Jenkins dances in the shadows with “Moonlight,” Mr. Chazelle has given us a memorable work of cinematic art.
Actress: Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Stone gives a powerful performance that centers on humor, romance, dance and song.
Actor: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Affleck’s performance will rip your heart out, revealing a man who is left condemning himself for a horrible accident that he caused years earlier.
Supporting actress: Viola Davis, “Fences”
Though there was a lot in “Fences” that I did not like, Davis’ performance as a dedicated, caring wife of an angry, hateful husband saves this film from disaster.
Supporting actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
I would be extraordinarily happy if either Lucas Hedges wins for “Manchester by the Sea” or Dev Patel for his moving portrayal in “Lion.” However, Mr. Ali will win this award, though he only appears in one-third of the film. Furthermore, I am one of many who are dying to see this Muslim actor’s acceptance speech.
Original screenplay: “La La Land”
“La La Land” was a work of genius and deserves this award.
Adapted screenplay: “Hidden Figures”
Though “Moonlight” is considered the overwhelming favorite for this award, I think “Hidden Figures” was a far better film. It not only had historical significance, but I personally observed the emotional reaction of numerous black women in the theater when this film was released.
Animated feature: “Zootopia”
Though it will be rivaled by “Moana,” “Zootopia” was a splendid thrill from beginning to end.
Documentary feature: “13th”
Quite frankly, I remain upset that neither “The Eagle Huntress” nor “Weiner” were recognized in this category. To make matters worse, “O.J.: Made in America” remains the favorite, though I still find it to be a splendid television series that unfairly gained recognition as a movie. “13th” is a powerful film about how our American prison system is being used as a substitute for Antibellum slavery, and this award to Ava DuVernay will make up for her being ignored as the director of last year’s “Selma.”
Foreign language film: “A Man Called Ove,” Sweden
I should pick “The Salesman,” directed by Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian who is refusing to attend the Oscars in protest of our president’s racially discriminatory immigration policy. However, “Ove” was an overwhelming delight. You watch a bitter, aging man finding meaning in life from unanticipated places, and I found it to be a gift for the moviegoer.
Sound editing and sound mixing: “Hacksaw Ridge”
Who would have ever thought that Mel Gibson would find his way back to the Oscar stage in two categories? Yet this film proved to be one of the real surprises of 2016, and I think it will prevail over “La La Land” in both categories.
Costume design: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
Yes, I know that “La La Land” could win this award, and “Jackie” does a remarkable job recreating the appearance of our first lady at the time her husband was assassinated. But this glorious film had many strengths, and costume design stood at the top.
Visual effects: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Beasts” was the better nominated film, and that was due in large part to the visual effects.
Production design: “La La Land”
Who will ever forget the spectacular opening scene in “La La Land” when hundreds of people danced on the top of their cars on an L.A. highway exit?
Cinematography: “La La Land,” Linus Sandgren
I expect “La La Land” to add this to its haul at this year’s awards. Again, the opening scene on the highway combined with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone floating through the stars as they danced is the work of a creative genius.
Film editing: “La La Land”
The editing lies at the heart of what made this marvelous film work on the screen, so I expect this award to appropriately land in their lap.
Makeup and hair styling: “Suicide Squad”
Though “Suicide Squad” was an average film at best, Margot Robbie was unforgettable as the twisted sister known as Harley Quinn. On top of that, I know that several mothers dressed as Quinn while taking their children trick or treating at Halloween. I think that “Squad” wins the Oscar for that reason alone!
Original song: “How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana”
Either of the two nominated songs from “La La Land,” “Audition” or “City of Stars,” could win. On top of that, it is likely that Justin Timberlake will be one of the singers for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls.” However, given the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote and will sing “How Far I’ll Go” at the Oscars, I think he will become legendary for winning an Oscar and a Tony in the same year.
Original score: “La La Land”
How could a movie that rediscovered the glorious joy found in a great musical not win an Oscar in this category?
Short film, live action, short animated film and short subject documentary:
Haven’t seen these films in time to meet my deadline. Check my website later if you are interested in my picks.
See you at the movies.•
• Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis at Pence Hensel LLC as of counsel. When he is not in the courtroom or the office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.