LA LA LAND will win Best Picture, almost everything else is up in the air [Final Oscar Predictions]

I saw "La La Land" in September, it was the frontrunner then it still is the frontrunner today, especially with "Silence" now having screened and not being everyone's cup of tea, we clearly have a favorite and there really isn't really a clearcut opposition willing to contend.

I wrote back in September:

"Winning the People’s Choice Award at TIFF, and coming out this Friday, Damien Chazelle’s film was a no-brainer. Everyone felt sure it was going to win even before the festival started. Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Chazelle’s film has moments of pure joy that make you feel punch-drunk in love at the movies again. The morning press screening burst into extended applause after the film’s final shot and that sealed the deal for the film’s eventual fate as a major Best Picture contender. Stone, a beauty of an actress, also turned heads for her performance as Mia, a struggling actress hoping to find her big break. Mia falls for Sebastian, a playful and charismatic Ryan Gosling, as they embark on a colorful and touching adventure filled with some of the best original songs ever conceived for the big screen. It’s quite possibly the best movie musical since Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz."

I'm pretty good at this Oscar guessing-game. The last two years I've only gotten a single prediction wrong out of the following 13 categories.

Best Picture

1) "La La Land"
2) "Fences"
3) "Manchester By The Sea"
4) "Moonlight"
5) "Lion"
6) "Hacksaw Ridge" 
7) "Hidden Figures"
8) "Arrival"
9) "Hell or High Water"

Bottom line: No competition. It's La La Land's time.  This is the easiest Best Picture race to predict since The Return of the King in 2003.

Best Actor

1) Denzel Washington, "Fences"
2) Casey Affleck, "Manchester By the Sea"
3) Andrew Garfield, "Hacksaw Ridge"
4) Ryan Gosling "La La Land"
5) Viggo Mortensen, "Captain Fantastic"

Bottom Line: This is Denzel v. Casey. Simple as that. A tight race, which I will give the edge to Denzel because of two factors a) #oscarssowhite b) It's the more showy performance.

Best Actress

1) Emma Stone, "La La Land"
2) Isabelle Huppert, "Elle" 
3) Meryl Streep "Florence Foster Jenkins"
4) Ruth Negga, "Loving"
5) Natalie Portman, "Jackie"

Bottom line: A late push from Isabelle Huppert, who gives one of the greatest female performances of all-time, will make Emma Stone sweat to the finish. Just like the actor category it's a toss-up, but look for Stone to come out victorious.

Best Supporting Actor 

1) Mahershala Ali, "Moonlight" 
2) Michael Shannon, "Nocturnal Animals" 
3) Jeff Bridges, "Hell or High Water"
4) Lucas Hedges, "Manchester By the Sea"
5) Dev Patel, "Lion"

Bottom line: People keep saying Ali is a sure-thing. His role is not showy and he's in only the first third of the film. Does that matter probably not. but one can believe that Michael Shannon's "Nocturnal Animals" performance, which is well loved within the industry and is the film's highlight, could pull off an upset, but if you're a betting man it's kind of hard to go against the frontrunner.

Best Supporting Actress

1) Viola Davis, "Fences" 
2) Michelle Williams, "Manchester By the Sea"
3) Naomie Harris, "Moonlight"
4) Nicole Kidman, "Lion"
5) Octavia Spencer, "Hidden Figures"

Bottom line: Viola Davis will win a much earned and well-deserved Oscar. She's also the black actress with the most Oscar nominations in history. Time to represent and honor.

Best Director

1) Damien Chazelle, "La La Land"
2) Kenneth Lonergan, "Manchester By the Sea'
3) Denzel Washington, "Fences"
4) Mel Gibson "Hacksaw Ridge"
5) Barry Jenkins, "Moonlight"

Bottom line: Jenkins is a hot commodity at the moment, but Chazelle is the Hollywood it-boy and the talk of the town. Bank on the 31 year-old to become the youngest director to ever win the prize. 

Best Adapted Screenplay

"Hidde Figures"

Bottom line: Moonlight is going to be hard to beat here.

Best Original Screenplay

"La La Land"
"Hell or High Water"
"The Lobster"
"Manchester By The Sea"
"20th Century Women"

Bottom line: the people predicting La La Land to win are not far-off, but how can a musical win the screenplay award? Preposterous is the right word. It's already a victory that it even got nominated. Kenneth Lonergan's masterful "Manchester by the Sea" was the best film of 2016, it deserves to win something and will win this category.

Best Foreign Language Film

"The Salesman"
"Toni Erdmann"
"Land of Mine"
"A Man Called Ove"

Bottom line: Asghar Farhadi being refused to enter the U.S. after Drumpf's travel ban was the best thing to possibly happen to that film's campaign. "The Salesman" will win, a standing ovation will happen and a political speech will occur. Bet the house on it. 

Best Animated Film

"Kubo and the Two Strings"
"The Red Turtle"
"The Red Turtle"
"My Life as a Zucchini"

Bottom line: Zootopia will age very well over time. Its parallels to Trump's immigration and travel policies are stunning. It was the best animated feature last year and will win the Oscar come Sunday.

Best Documentary Feature

"OJ: Made in America"
"The 13th"
"I Am Not Your Negro"
"Fire At Sea"
"Life Animated"

Bottom line: A toss-up between the three African American themed docs. If OJ: Made in America, a 7.5 hour feature, was seen by enough voters then it will win. It's a landmark statement on everything that is currently happening in the country as paralleled by the "trial of the century". A masterwork.

Best Editing

"La La Land"
"Hacksaw Ridge" 
"Hell or High Water"

Bottom line: You can't deny just how brilliantly constructed La La Land is. It will and should win just because of the final montage alone. 

Best Cinematography

"La La Land"

Bottom line: Bank another win for La La. Of its 14 nominations it stands to win almost, sorry Ryan Gosling aficionados, all of the categories. "Ben-Hur," "Titanic" and "The Return of the King" stand tied for the record with 11 wins each.