Oscars Week: My Ballot for Oscars 2017

Here’s my final ballot for this Sunday’s Academy Awards. I predict La La Land will clean up with 9 wins, meaning this will be the most boring Oscars since Gravity swept the tech awards.

Still, only one acting category is a sure thing (here’s looking at you, Ms. Davis!), so I’m ready for a good surprise or two.


Best Picture
Will win: La La Land
Should win: Moonlight. It’s beautiful.

Best Director
Will win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Should win: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight. Chazelle will win for technique and charm; the flashiest director has taken this award home for years now.


Best Actor
Will win: Denzel Washington is the favorite for Oscar #3 for Fences. But I can’t shake Casey Affleck’s support all season long for Manchester by the Sea. I’ll circle Affleck on my ballot and probably regret it.
Should win: If we’re only looking at the performances… Casey Affleck.

Best Actress
Will win: Emma Stone, La La Land
Should win: Natalie Portman, Jackie. Who knew Portman had this in her?
(Spoiler alert: If there’s a dark house surprise, it will be Isabelle Huppert for Elle.)

Best Supporting Actor
Will win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Should win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
(Spoiler alert: Dev Patel (Lion) has the Weinstein imprimatur, and this category’s seen surprises at the Globes and BAFTAs.)

Best Supporting Actress
Will win: Viola Davis, Fences
Should win: Can Viola Davis and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) tie?

Best Original Screenplay
Will win: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea, barely edging out La La Land.
Should win: Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women was a breath of fresh air this season. It won’t win, but I’m glad Mills was recognized for a charming and beautifully personal script.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will win: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight
Should win: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight

Best Original Score
Will win: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
Should win: I loved Nicholas Britell’s poignant work on Moonlight. Close second to Mica Levi’s despairing, dissonant strings for Jackie.

Best Original Song
Will win: “City of Stars,” La La Land, Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul.
Should win: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” was better.

Best Animated Feature Film
Will win: Zootopia. After years of losing this category, Disney rebounded with Frozen and Big Hero 6, and they’re double-nommed this year for Zootopia and Moana. Have we entered a new Disney Renaissance?

Best Foreign Language Film
Will win: Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman. Public outcry over the U.S. travel ban and Farhadi’s inability to leave Iran to attend probably translated into votes.

Best Documentary – Feature
Will win: O.J.: Made in America
(Spoiler alert: 13th may put up a fight.)


Best Costume Design
Will win: Jackie, Madeline Fontaine. Those dresses.

Best Sound Editing
Will win: Hacksaw Ridge. This is for creating sound effects; war movies often do well here.
(Spoiler alert: Then again, La La Land just may sweep the technical awards.)

Best Sound Mixing
Will win: La La Land. This is for piecing all the sounds of a movie together. Hard to deny a musical in this category.

Best Production Design
Will win: La La Land. Definitely one of the best looking movies I saw this year.

Best Cinematography
Will win: La La Land. Chazelle steals references left and right from classic Hollywood movies, and the camerawork wows on the musical numbers: the single-shot opening number on the freeway, for instance.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Will win: Star Trek Beyond.

Best Film Editing
Will win: La La Land.
(Spoiler alert: I could see a Hacksaw Ridge dark-horse win.)

Best Visual Effects
Will win: The Jungle Book. It worked so well, Disney’s redoing all their animated movies like this: this year’s Beauty and the Beast, with The Lion King announced and The Little Mermaid in development.

Best Live Action Short Film
Will win: Ennemis Intérieurs, about the interrogation of a French-Algerian man who wants to become a French citizen in wartime. These categories are always the hardest to predict, but I suspect voters will lean towards something topical.

Best Animated Short Film
Will win: Piper, because Pixar will not be ignored.

Best Documentary – Short Subject
Will win: The White Helmets, about Syrian volunteer rescue workers. There are two gripping docs about Syria this year; the other is Watani: My Homeland, and I bet they’re neck and neck.

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