La La Land is nominated for 14 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. (Courtesy of Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment)
Best Animated Film: My wish for Best Animated Film is the stop motion animated “Kubo and the Two Strings,” though I highly doubt it will win. My prediction is that “Zootopia” will win in this category. Since the Best Animated Film award almost always goes to whichever animated film was the most popular that year as opposed to which one is actually the best, “Zootopia” has the best chances of winning.
Best Supporting Actress: My wish and prediction for Best Supporting Actress is Viola Davis in “Fences.” While the other four contenders all did good jobs, Davis is the only one who was given enough time to be noteworthy and also be able to fully develop and become her character. The other four simply were not given enough time or did not rise to the level that Davis did.
Best Supporting Actor: My wish for Best Supporting Actor is Michael Shannon as Detective Bobby Andes in “Nocturnal Animals.” My prediction is that Dev Patel will win for his performance in “Lion” by reason of educated removal. Jeff Bridges from “Hell or High Water” and Lucas Hedges from “Manchester by the Sea” feel like the actors who got just enough votes to be nominated, but are not serious candidates. Shannon’s performance was in a movie that is not nominated for Best Picture, and past Academy Awards ceremonies suggest that candidates like that do not normally win either of the Best Actor categories. This leaves Patel and Mahershala Ali for his role in “Moonlight” as the two probable winners, but I lean towards Patel because he has beaten Ali in several awards shows this year.
Best Actress: My wish and prediction for Best Actress is Emma Stone for her performance in “La La Land.” The only two contenders who actually seem like they would be plausible winners are Emma Stone and Natalie Portman for her performance as Jacqueline Kennedy in “Jackie.” Emma Stone has won several awards for best actress in other awards shows this past year, and I do not think Portman did a very good job in the role, so I doubt she will end up winning.
Best Actor: For Best Actor, my wish is for Denzel Washington in “Fences.” My prediction is that Casey Affleck will win for his performance in “Manchester by the Sea,” based on Casey Affleck being the single best actor contender who is continually brought up about his performance, and he has won a number of best actor awards based on that role.
Best Director: My wish and prediction for Best Director is Damien Chazelle for “La La Land.” Last year, I said there were only two real competitors for the Best Director award, and this year it is the same. I would say “La La Land” and “Hacksaw Ridge” are the only two nominated movies that have a directing style that really stand out, and my guess is that “La La Land” will win.
Best Picture: My wish for Best Picture is “La La Land” while my prediction is that either it or “Manchester by the Sea” will win, with my expectations leaning slightly more towards “La La Land.” While both of them have gotten a lot of critical acclamation and “Manchester by the Sea” would be the kind of movie that would normally be expected to win, “La La Land” has been winning almost every other awards ceremony.
The 89th Academy Awards will be held Sunday, Feb. 26 at 8:30 p.m.