Hollywood's biggest night of the year is less than 36 hours away (join our FREE Oscar Contest). And although many of the major Oscar races feel cemented in (dare I say, Emma) "Stone", there are always a few categories destined to shake-up the evening. Guest-writer, Greg Rouleau and I offer up our predictions on how the Academy Awards will unravel, here's what we envision:
Best Animated Film: Zootopia - Dave & Greg
Best Documentary: O.J.: Made in America - Dave & Greg
Best Foreign Film: Toni Erdmann - Dave & A Man Called Ove - Greg
Best Score: La La Land - Dave & Greg
Best Adapted Screenplay
Moonlight - Dave & Greg
Despite all of its enormous fanfare, Barry Jenkins' adored indie drama Moonlight has been completely overshadowed by La La Land. Consequently, the film is most likely going to miss out in some of the bigger races, but Adapted Screenplay should be one of two Oscars earned by this deserving film.
Best Original Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea - Dave & Greg
The neck-and-neck race between Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea and La La Land in the Original Screenplay category should be one of the more interesting ones of the evening. They've split prizes throughout the lead-up to the Oscars so it could legitimately go either way. Yet, Greg and I envision plenty of love for La La Land in countless other races, so this may be the Academy's way of recognizing Lonergan's film as well.
Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis (Fences) - Dave & Greg
This category is pretty much in the bag for Fences co-lead, Viola Davis. None of her competitors can match her sizable role, although I would argue that Michelle Williams delivers comparable quality in a performance that's very limited in terms of screen time. And for that reason it's impossible to go against Davis, who's "owed" one for her unforgivable loss to Meryl Streep a handful of years ago.
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) - Dave & Greg
Although Greg and I are also in agreement in the Supporting Actor race, the category has a history of going against the grain. And to keep things in perspective, Ali hasn't been a "sure-thing" throughout the awards season in many other big precursors. Therefore, don't be surprised if voters go for someone like Dev Patel (Lion) or even a dark horse like Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals). I personally feel that the Academy recognizes limited opportunities to reward Moonlight, so they will make sure it happens here.
Emma Stone (La La Land) - Dave & Greg
As the heart and soul in the year's biggest movie, it would be a shock if Emma Stone's name wasn't called. Admittedly, though, this has been an exceptional year for female talent in Hollywood, so her competition is impressive. However, La La Land is due for a big evening and Stone should benefit from the outpouring of love.
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) - Dave & Greg
The heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart wants nothing more that for Casey Affleck to walk away victorious in the Best Actor race. The stars were aligning perfectly for the veteran actor who's seeking his first Oscar statue, but then SAG threw a wrench in destiny's plans by awarding their honor to rival Denzel Washington (Fences). This category could go either way, but here's to hoping that Affleck claims the win.
Damien Chazelle (La La Land) - Dave & Greg
Damien Chazelle's original musical is a spectacle for the eyes, ears and soul, making it a viable Best Picture winner (spoiler alert). And it appears that the Academy will get back on track by honoring both the film itself and its director. Splitting those two categories was once frowned upon, but recent history changed all that with Argo/Ang Lee (Life of Pi), then 12 Years a Slave/Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and even last year's Spotlight/Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant) shared honors.
La La Land - Dave & Greg
This year's Best Picture race is as cemented as its been in recent memory. La La Land burst onto the scene as a presumed Oscar frontrunner and never looked back, staving off competition throughout the entire end of the year. It's a worthy Best Picture title with its magical blend of classic Hollywood and a new age vibe. Even if you aren't necessarily a fan of musicals, La La Land offers so much more with a fantastic story, exceptional choreography and picturesque cinematography. It's the complete package!