89th Academy Award Predictions

It is that time of year again, GUG fans! The Academy Awards are right around the corner and by now you most likely have a strong or detailed opinion on who is going to take home the gold…literally. It’s my pleasure to welcome you to the second annual Geeks Under Grace Academy Awards prediction post! As fans and critics of the film industry, we have put together our opinions and reasons as to why actors, directors, and studios deserve such awards. Keep in mind that not all categories are on this list due to difficult accessibility, such as best short film and best foreign film. Let us begin!

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Best Picture

Paramount Pictures (Arrival)
Paramount Pictures (Fences)
Lionsgate (Hacksaw Ridge)
Lionsgate (Hell or High Water)
20th Century Fox (Hidden Figures)
Lionsgate (La La Land)
The Weinstein Company (Lion)
Roadside Attractions (Manchester by the Sea)
A24 (Moonlight)
The Prediction:
For me personally, I enjoyed a variety of these films. I laughed, cried, and stayed up all night thinking about most of them. In my opinion, the two films that stand a chance of taking home the gold are La La Land and Moonlight. La La Land has swept the cinema off their feet through its breathtaking story and catchy musical numbers. I’m not surprised at all that it has made the list just by watching the Golden Globes last month. That being said, Moonlight has done phenomenally well through its own memorable story that expands over three decades as it covers multiple categories from ethnicity to sexual identity and more. It’s really hard to decide between the two and based on past awards, I will put my money on La La Land. That being said, if Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea are to win, I won’t be surprised nor upset.
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Best Director

Denise Villenueve (Arrival)
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
The Predictions:
To be honest, this category is very difficult to narrow down to one winner. I absolutely enjoyed Director Villenueve’s pacing, direction, and details with adapting the short sci-fi story, Arrival. On the flipside, Damien Chazelle delivered a phenomenal and beautiful love letter to classic hollywood in La La Land, from the story to the musical numbers. He has already earned best director in multiple categories from the Golden Globes (comedy or musical), BAFTA Awards, AACTA International Awards, and so on. Still, there is Kenneth Lonergan and Barry Jenkins to consider who also carried emotionally gripping stories. While all these films I thoroughly enjoyed, I’m going to have to give it to Damien Chazelle. It is more than just his film paying tribute to Hollywood classics, but also shows that musical films are still living strong and true and exhibits the struggles between the wants and needs in the entertainment business let alone relationships vs. careers.
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Best Actor in a Leading Role

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) 
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
The Prediction:
It comes as no surprise that Casey Affleck has been nominated and won multiple times in various award competitions such as the AACTA, BAFTA, Golden Globes, and so on. It was a beautiful performance on multiple levels of emotion that covered, family, change, fatherhood, and endurance. Right beside him for me is Denzel Washington’s performance in Fences. Similar to Casey Affleck, Denzel has received multiple awards for his performance from the Screen Actors Guild, AFI, AAFCA, and so on. Also similar to Affleck, his role is performed to its highest potential as it covered the areas of family, marriage, selfishness, identity, and fatherhood. In the end, one has to be chosen and my prediction goes to Casey Affleck.
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Best Actress in a Leading Role

Isabelle Hupert (Elle)
Rugh Negga (Loving)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
The Prediction:
To me the two that stand a chance to win are Natalie Portman and Emma Stone. Natalie Portman does it once again in portraying not only to her fullest potential, but as an iconic figure in the 20th Century during a great tragedy in the United States. Though she has been nominated for multiple awards, her record speaks for herself as she won best actress for Black Swan in 2010. Taking home a large amount of awards is Emma Stone herself as she portrayed the struggling artist Mia in La La Land. She has won best actress in the Golden Globes in a musical or comedy, BAFTA Awards, Screen Actors Guild, AACTA International Awards, and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. If she didn’t win in other awards, she was definitely nominated for her performance. In the end, I predict it will go to Emma Stone.

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Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)
The Predictions:
I believe it will between Mahershala Ali and Lucas Hedges. Both offered their best, however, in the end, I believe it will go to Mahershala Ali. He gave an absolute amazing performance in a highly recognizable indie film.

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Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis (Fences)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
The Prediction:
I enjoyed Viola Davis’s performance very much compared to everyone else’s. This is not to say that they aren’t all great, absolutely not. Considering, however, that she has done this role before on Broadway with Denzel Washington himself, she knows not only how to master the character but also how to bring something new to the character considering that film is very different in many ways compared to live performances.

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Best Animated Feature Film

Focus Features (Kubo and the Two Strings)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Moana)
GKIDS (My Life as a Zucchini)
Sony Classics (The Red Turtle)
Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures (Zootopia)
The Predictions:
Disney’s only real competition this year is itself and the claymation feature film Kubo and the Two Strings. It would be great to see Focus Features take home the gold due to their storytelling and use of stop-motion animation. I believe that it stands a chance against Disney and will win just by a little. If somehow, Disney comes under and takes the win, then it most likely will be Moana due to the fact that it is an original story and takes place on the Pacific Islands.

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Best Writing – Original Screenplay

Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water)
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou (The Lobster)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Mike Mills (20th Century Women)
The Predictions:
The films that stand significant chances are La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, and possibly the Lobster. La La Land and Manchester by the Sea have been neck in neck in the number of nominations they have received with Manchester taking home the gold (BAFTA Awards, AACTA International Awards, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, etc.). If anything it will be between those two and my money is on Manchester by the Sea. While I greatly enjoyed and admired Damien Chazelle’s writing and musical integration, I believe that Manchester will take it due to the emotions and story behind it that really homes for various audiences let alone through its acting and direction. If La La Land comes under, I won’t be surprised however.

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Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

Eric Heisserer (Arrival)
August Wilson (Fences)
Theodore Melfi & Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures)
Luke Davies (Lion)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
The Predictions:
Again, the films in this category are great ones and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked at all. After watching them and going through their awards, my prediction is that it will be between Moonlight and Fences. Both are remarkable pieces of work in their adaptions. To be honest, I am unsure as to what will win but if I had to put my money somewhere, it would be Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight.

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Best Original Song

Music by Justin Hurwitz (Music) & Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justine Paul (“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land)
Music by Justine Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster (“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from Trolls)
Music by Justine Hurwitz & Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“City Of Stars” from La La Land)
Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting (“The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story)
Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana)
The Prediction: 
In the end, it is going to be between Lin-Manuel Miranda for Moana and Justin Hurwitz and Justin Pasek for La La Land. This will be really interesting because La La Land has two songs nominated, yet Disney is highly known for their originally in songs. Since I have to put my money somewhere, it will have to be La La Land and it most likely will go for “Audition (The Fools Who Dream).”

Best Music Score

Fox Search Pictures (Jackie)
Lionsgate (La La Land)
The Weinstein Company (Lion)
A42 (Moonlight)
Columbia Pictures (Passengers)
The Prediction:
Hands down, La La Land is going to take home the gold. Can’t really see it any other way and I will be surprised if it doesn’t.

Best Film Editing

Paramount Pictures (Arrival)
Lionsgate (Hacksaw Ridge)
Lionsgate (Hell or High Water)
Lionsgate (La La Land)
A42 (Moonlight)
The Prediction:
Though there are some great films here, editing is absolutely important to make the film stick for audiences. Arrival in my opinion will take it home as it compiled two different worlds and lifeforms talking with each other. The editing for the spacecraft and the aliens themselves were certainly noticeable let alone scary to look at. Just goes to show how powerful editing can be.

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Best Cinematography

Bradford Young (Arrival)
Linus Sangren (La La Land)
Greg Fraser (Lion)
James Laxton (Moonlight)
Rodrigo Prieto (Silence)
The Prediction: 
Once again, the film cinematography this year was outstanding, making it difficult to choose between the final film in the end. There is the possibility Rodrigo Prieto could take it come for Silence as it portrayed the beauty of Japan mixed with the tragedy of the persecuted Jesuits. That being said, Bradford Young could possibly take it home for Arrival, which consisted with phenomenal shots in and out of the alien’s ship. With how practical and dedicated Linus Sangren was when it came to the studio shots and montage moments during the second half of the film, La La Land could also take it as well. In the end for me, I believe La La Land will take it home.

Best Production Design

Patrice Vermmette, André Valade, & Paul Hotte (Arrival)
Stuart Crag, Anna Pinnock, James Cambridge (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Jess Gonchor (Hail, Caesar!)
David Wasco Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (La La Land)
Guy Hendrix Dyas (Passengers)
The Prediction:
This is a very interesting one since most had very amazing designs. In the end, I think it will be between La La Land and Fantastic Beasts. Though not as great as the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts had some very interesting set designs that I believe could allow it to overcome La La Land’s Oscar sweep.

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Best Visual Effects

Summit Entertainment (Deepwater Horizon)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Doctor Strange)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (The Jungle Book)
Focus Features (Kubo and the Two Strings)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
The Prediction:
Hands down for me is Walt Disney Studios’ Doctor Strange. This was the most visually stunning of any of the MCU films for great reasons too. The multiverse is a very complex theory let alone what is capable if it existed. Why should it not be complex on creating it either? Director Scott Derrickson certainly did a fantastic job in getting the visuals to grab audiences’ attention just by in the trailers. Even if Doctor Strange is not to win, Disney still has two other films lined up that could take the win. That being said, Focus Features could possibly take it with their visuals on Kubo and the Two Strings as they balance CGI with stop motion animation. The dedication the team put to create this whole new world was visually stunning and cannot be overlooked at all.

Best Costume Design

Johanna Johnston (Allied)
Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Consolata Boyle (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Madaline Fontaine (Jackie)
Mary Zophres (La La Land)
The Prediction:
The only ones that I can really see taking home the gold is Consalata Boyle for Meryl Streep’s various dresses and Colleen Atwood’s new costumes in the extension of the Harry Potter universe. If anything, I think Consalata Boyle will take it since it goes beyond the dresses with everyone else.

Best Makeup ad Hairstyling

Eva von Bahr and Love Larson (A Man Called Ove)
Joel Harlow (Star Trek Beyond)
Alessandro Bertolazzi (Suicide Squad)
The Prediction:
Hands down it will go to Joel Harlow. The fact that one can create new alien races and become very creative in bringing a classic series to life on the big screen says a lot and wouldn’t surprise me if it won.

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What are your predictions for the 89th Academy Awards? Do you agree or disagree with our list? Be sure to leave a comment below on what/who should take home the award! Thanks for joining us!

Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

1 Comment

  1. Zero Tolerance on February 27, 2017 at 6:50 am

    You were 100% accurate for all the MAJOR categories. Well done!

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