Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.

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Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.

In our yearly tradition, we lay out our picks for The Academy Awards.

Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.Join us on Sunday the 26th as we cover the Oscars live and see who gets bragging rights for the most correct picks.  This year we will be counting the majors:  Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Actor.  We’ll also hedge our bets by picking best Animated Feature to act as tie breaker should we end up in a draw.  This is the first year where we have three competitors; can our newest member cause the upset and claim victory in his rookie year?

Our Favorites:  2017 Oscar Picks.

Best Supporting Actress.

Nominees: Viola Davis (Fences,) Naomie Harris (Moonlight,) Nicole Kidman (Lion,) Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures,) Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea.)

Erik’s Pick: Viola Davis.

After her loss to Meryl Streep 6 years ago, she has become the SAG’s sweetheart, and she gave an absolute stellar performance in Fences and won a Tony to boot.

Neil’s Pick:  Viola Davis.

I hate that politics put Viola into this category instead of Best Actress where she belongs.  If not for that, I think Octavia Spencer would have taken this category easily.  As it stands, though, Viola Davis’ performance in Fences was nothing but phenomenal.

Nate’s Pick:  Viola Davis.

Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.
Lord, forgive me for all of these awards I am about to receive!

Here I am absolutely compelled it give it to Viola Davis. She overpowers any and all cynicism by stealing every scene in every movie she’s in. If DC doesn’t make a special edition of Suicide Squad that’s just her scenes on loop, they are bigger idiots than we know them to be.

Best Supporting Actor.

Nominees:  Mahershala Ali (Moonlight,) Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water,) Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea,) Dev Patel (Lion,) Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals.)

Neil’s Pick:  Mahershala Ali.

Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.
Such a great role.

This is really a foot race between Dev Patel and Mahershala Ali.  I found Lion to be very moving, and Dev Patel gave a wonderful performance.  That being said, Mahershala Ali was so good in Moonlight, that my only gripe is that he was not in the film more.  With the year he’s having, I find it hard to pick against him.

Nate’s Pick:  Mahershala Ali.

This is usually the time where Hollywood pulls the “See, we’re inclusive! We gave a minority an award!” card. Coin of Fate gives Mahershala Ali the edge over Dev Patel. Sorry, The Dude, Tommy Lee Jones did your character better.

Erik’s Pick:  Mahershala Ali.

Best supporting actor is as deep as it has been years, but Mahershala Ali did more with less. Ali managed to stand out in a character film that was chock full of memorable characters.

Best Actress.

Nominees:  Isabelle Huppert (Elle,)  Ruth Negga (Loving,) Emma Stone (La La Land,) Natalie Portman (Jackie,) Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins.)

Nate’s Pick:  Emma Stone.

I’d be an idiot for not banking on Meryl Streep in any awards show, but I think it’s gonna be a tight race with Emma Stone. Coin of Fate says: Emma Stone.

Erik’s Pick:  Emma Stone.

Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.
Can’t we just re-watch Birdman instead?

Seriously is there any question? Isabelle Huppert has an convincing argument in her unconventional portrayal as a rape victim in Elle, but there is no way Emma Stone loses this.

Neil’s Pick:  Isabelle Huppert.

I’m doing it.  I’m picking against Emma Stone.  There’s just no way she belongs in this category.  Literally every other nominee is better in the their films and had a more substantial performance.  Stone squeaking out her flimsy songs and bumping into her dance partners did not impress me in the least.

Elle is a tough movie and a hard role, and I think Isabelle Huppert really embraced that challenge.  The film has very little fanfare and is harder to find than a snowball in July, but I still think it deserves to win here.

Best Actor.

Nominees:  Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea,) Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge,) Ryan Gosling (La La Land,) Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic,) Denzel Washington (Fences.)

Erik’s Pick:  Denzel Washington.

This is a tough choice here, Casey Affleck churned out the best performance of his career and it was a gut wrenching. However sexual harrasment allegations may make the Academy leary.  I mean who would vote for someone that would just grab a pussy, right?

Then there’s Denzel Who gave a superb performance in Fences and is way more likable.

Neil’s Pick:  Andrew Garfield.

Well, my easy pick was going to be Viggo.  He’s an actor’s actor and if they singled him out as the only noteworthy part of Captain Fantastic, it must have been pretty good, right?  He was decent, but the role was not there for him, and the movie really was flawed all to hell.

Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.
Lord, let me get just one more…award…just one more.

I’ll disagree with Nate and say that Andrew Garfield’s turn as Desmond Doss in Hacksaw was actually pretty nuanced.  Sure, he played a hayseed with a touch too much aplomb, but he really shone when it came to the second half of the film, surviving the abuse of his squad mates, only to end up saving most of their lives.  It just clicked for me.

Nate’s Pick:  Casey Affleck.

Manchester by the Sea has all that forced gravitas that Hollywood loves (second best to having its knob polished,) which I think will give Affleck the edge over Garfield, who was trying so hard to make his own Forrest Gump that he went full retard and gave us his very own Simple Jack. Just the trailers for Hacksaw Ridge left me cringing.

Best Director.

Nominees:  Denis Villeneuve (Arrival,)  Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge,) Damien Chazelle (La La Land,)  Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea,) Barry Jenkins (Moonlight.)

Neil’s Pick:  Damien Chazelle.

Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.As much as I loved Moonlight, it had some artistic flaws and some narrative holes that I think take Barry Jenkins off the table.  Denis Villeneuve is worth an Oscar…just not for Arrival.  It was lovingly crafted, but he’s done better work, and this would just be a make-up award for them criminally overlooking Sicario.

For all of my gripes with La La Land, the directing is its saving grace.  Each shot is composed wonderfully, and the narrative itself flows with a strange grace.  I like all of the risks Chazelle took in structuring his film.  If only he’d also risked using leads who could sing and dance…

Nate’s Pick:  Barry Jenkins.

I think this is the make up call Hollywood is going to give Moonlight. A lot of tight competition from Villeneuve and Lonergan though.

Erik’s Pick:  Damien Chazelle.

Damien already won the Critics Choice and Golden Globes awards, you’d be a fool to bet against the second coming of Orson Welles. Chazelle delivered with La La Land on every front, this is his award to lose.

Best Film.

Nominees:  Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight.

Nate’s Pick:  La La Land.

If I was going to give the nod to my favorite picture, it would be Hidden Figures. But I’m voting cynical my first time around, so I’m gonna go with the picture that lets Hollywood do what it loves best (which is sniff its own farts): La La Land.

Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.
Hard to argue with all that.

Erik’s Pick:  Moonlight.

Let’s be real; La La is the darling of the year and there really aren’t any potential disrupting forces A’la Mad Max.  La La land should chorus kick all the other nominees off the stage.  So why I am selecting Moonlight you ask?

Well Kicking Neil’s ass in selecting Oscar winners is a factor for sure, and that means taking some chances..  Selecting Moonlight is a calculated risk but is not without some precedent. Back in 2006 there were a couple of kissing cowboy’s that were the darlings of the Academy Awards but was usurped by a little film called Crash, that dealt with topics of racism and bigotry.

So I’m going on a limb here with the current political landscape, and the #Oscarssowhite movement last year that the trolls that vote for this shit are looking to make a statement this year, and Moonlight fits the bill.

Neil’s Pick:  Hidden Figures.

Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.
It’s mathematics.

Guess what?  I’m going to pick Nate’s favorite film, and for a good reason:  math!  As we saw last year, a film that comes on strong and has the ear of the public just before show time can pull off a massive upset.  Spotlight didn’t have the critical success of The Revenant…but it did smash that movie in Google searches just before the voting.  I see it happening again this year, because La La Land is just too much of an insider film to be acceptable with audiences, and Hidden Figures is a hot topic.  And the Academy dearly needs to convince audiences that they’re relevant this year, or I see viewership going into the toilet.

I think that Hidden Figures checks many of the social issue boxes that Moonlight does, and it was a more polished product.  It also is more friendly to a mainstream audience. And lastly, the box office figures have this movie still getting butts into seats, at a pretty phenomenal pace.  I think it will have enough of a wave at its back going into the voting to carry the day.

Best Animated Feature.

Nominees:  Kubo and the Two Strings, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, Zootopia, Moana.

Erik’s Pick:  Kubo and the Two Strings.

This film was just amazing. The story was on point, the stop animation was perhaps the best we have ever seen, and the soundtrack was moving. Zootopia is a threat but in no ways does it compete on any level.Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.

Neil’s Pick:  Kubo and the Two Strings.

As much as I want The Rock to have an Oscar, I just didn’t love Disney’s two contenders.  Kubo was really a hidden gem, discarded because of piss poor marketing.  It has the technical chops, a good story (although a weak ending) and some really great characters.  Sorry, The Red Turtle, you just didn’t capture my heart as much as I’d hoped.

Nate’s Pick:  Zootopia.

This year seems to be Disney fighting… Disney. I don’t know if a song and dance Disney Film about an empowered ethnic Princess can beat out socially conscious talking animals, so here comes the coin again: Zootopia.Our Favorites: 2017 Oscar Picks.

Play Them Off!

Those are our official picks for the major awards.  Tomorrow, join us live as we blog The Academy Awards…and as a first for Deluxe Video Online, we simultaneously live cast the show!  If you’re just looking for the current tally, our blog will keep you up to date on every category, not just the majors.  If you enjoy all of the pomp and circumstance, but wish there were more jokes, join us live as we give you humorous observations about all of the categories and nominees, and audibly roll our eyes at the acceptance speeches.  See you Sunday!

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