Final Oscar Predictions: Who Will, Could and Should Win

The big night is just hours away, and I have to say I’m happy this long awards season is finally over. What started out as a promising year for awards season turned into a dull steamroll for La La Land, which confuses me given its competition. Then again, we are talking about the Oscars after all, so maybe it’s not all that shocking. 

So yeah, La La Land will probably win everything it’s fun to think about Moonlight or Arrival upsetting in a few of the major categories. So while I’ve tried to be “realistic” and predicted Damien Chazelle’s movie musical to win just about everything from Picture, Actress to Editing and Production Design, I’m holding out for some surprises. 

But aren’t we all? 

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“Hidden Figures” Wins Best Ensemble At SAG Awards

Hidden Figures won big at the Screen Actor’s Guild awards after the cast was awarded the Best Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture, besting the favorite to win Moonlight. It just crossed the $100 million mark at the box office this weekend too. I thought that if Moonlight lost this it would cement La La Land’s win, but coupled with this win, it shouldn’t be counted out of the Best Picture race especially since La La Land was not nominated here. The Oscars love their crowdpleasers, and much of La La Land‘s campaign has been built on it being one. And sure, it has a PGA win, but Hidden Figures is every bit of the crowdpleaser that La La Land is, better even and the race is far from over. Watch out.

The other big “shocker” of the night came when Denzel Washington beat Casey Affleck in Best Actor. Many were predicting Affleck to continue his sweep here but I had a hunch Washington would win here; he had never won an award here before, which is absolutely insane to think about. 

The rest of the categories went pretty much as expected: Emma Stone began her march towards an Oscar by repeating her win at Golden Globes. Any hopes of a late surge for Natalie Portman seem entirely unrealistic now. Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis won in their respective categories. 

See the full list of winners below. 

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Screen Actor’s Guild Predictions: Can “Moonlight” Emerge As “La La Land’s” Biggest Competition?

We have now entered Phase 2 of awards season: Oscar nominations have been announced, and now it’s about threading a narrative to create/build and/or maintain enough momentum to win an Oscar.

Last year, we saw the tide turn quickly against The Revenant, which came into Oscar night with a whopping 12 nominations and losing Best Picture to Spotlight and other technical awards to Mad Max: Fury Road. The same thing happened to American Hustle a few years ago; it scored 13 nominations and a ton of late breaking heat from the Golden Globes and Screen Actor’s Guild and won nothing on Oscar night. This year is obviously much different than those years, with La La Land being much more of an Oscar-friendly and consensus title than the other ones I mentioned. 

Curiously enough, La La Land only managed nominations for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and did not appear in the line up for Best Ensemble which is worth noting. It’s true that La La Land is a lot of just Stone and Gosling, but that hasn’t stopped SAG from nominating films with smaller ensembles before (remember Beasts of No Nation last year? It only had three actors cited). The Producer’s Guild also announces their winner this weekend, which La La Land will almost certainly win. But SAG represents the actors, which outnumber the producers that vote within the Academy which is why I think Moonlight can emerge as a big threat this weekend (but more on that later). 

Let’s go through the categories. 

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“Hidden Figures” Beat “Star Wars” at the Box Office, Poised to Shake Up the Oscars

After last night’s La La Land dominance at the Golden Globes, it would be easy to say that all is said and done and that its march towards the Oscars is complete. All seven awards, including Picture (Comedy or Musical), Director, Actor and Actress (Comedy or Musical) and Screenplay went to Damien Chazelle’s musical which has been tearing it up at the Box Office. La La Land also boasts top honors from the Broadcast Film Critics and the Toronto International Film Festival, two prizes that certainly don’t hurt when trying to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. 

La La Land‘s biggest competition was thought to be Moonlight (which won the Drama Globe for Best Picture) and Manchester By The Sea (which won Actor in a Drama). Both films landed Screen Actor’s Guild Ensemble nominations where La La Land did not, indicating weakness from La La Land amongst the biggest voting block in the Academy: the actors. Even films like Beasts of No Nation which only had three credited actors (and only one of them being well known) was able to land a nomination last year. But one film that is absolutely tearing up the box office right now, and won nominations from the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild that I believe many are underestimating in the long game is Hidden Figures

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Who Will, And Should, Win at the Golden Globes

Just how many awards is Damien Chazelle’s La La Land going to win tomorrow night at the Golden Globes? It’s a film that seems tailor made for this particularly group, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and benefits from the split by genre in Motion Picture awards. It will no doubt win Best Film and Actress, but can it go all the way in categories like Screenplay, Score, Song, Actor and Director too?

The other big question heading into tomorrow night is who will emerge victorious in the Drama categories: Manchester By The Sea or Moonlight? All three of these films are the big names heading into the Oscar nominations, so who can make the biggest mark prior to nomination day?

Let’s take a look at all of the major categories.

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National Board of Review Names “Manchester By The Sea” Best Film, Barry Jenkins Best Director

After winning big at last night’s Gotham Awards, Moonlight picked up two more wins with the National Board of Review for director Barry Jenkins and Naomie Harris’ supporting performance.

The big winner here was Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea, which won big in the Best Film, Actor, Original Screenplay and Breakthrough Performance (Male) categories. Other winners include Jeff Bridges from Hell or High Water in Supporting Actor (which remains an extremely wide-open race) and Amy Adams for her outstanding performance in Arrival. With the Actress race so extremely competitive, any sort of precursor award helps those contenders who are on the bubble for those fourth and fifth slots (Adams, Ruth Negga, Isabelle Huppert, Taraji P. Henson and Meryl Streep).

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Hidden Figures, which opens in limited release Christmas Day, grabbed the Best Ensemble Award, Kubo and the Two Strings won in Animated Feature and the largely unseen Silence won an Adapted Screenplay award.

The NBR is known for their sometimes out of left field choices; they’re famous for choosing to vote for what they like rather than consensus favorites. And while many of the films/performances they choose to honor do go on to at the very least be nominated for the Oscars, they don’t have the accuracy in being “predictive” that other non-industry groups like the Broadcast Film Critics do. So take these wins with a grain of salt as we start reading the tea leaves and hearing from more groups this weekend.

Read the full list of winners below.

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