I don’t like to make predictions, mostly because I don’t like to be proven wrong and on the global platform that The British Blacklist resides I’m even more wary of being caught out! Call me egotistical.  But in keeping up with The Jones’s I felt it only right I offer some opinion on tonight’s potentially history making Oscars.

Over the years I task myself with making sure I watch all the Oscar nominated films at least in the major categories so that I can be well informed as I throw my drink at the TV or round of applause the winners.

This year is no different, I’ve taken all the films in the Best Picture category with notes about some of their other nominations, with some help from TBB senior feature writer Ms. Descant Deb:

LA LA LAND – Best Picture | Best Director | Best Adapted Screenplay | Best Actor |  Best Actress |  Best Supporting Actor | Best Original Screenplay| Best Cinematography | Best Costume Design | Best Original Music Score | Best Film Editing | Best Production Design | Best Sound Mixing

  • Ryan Gosling (Best Actor)  –  did a good job, worthy
  • Emma Stone (Best Actress)  – liked her, worthy
  • Damien Chazelle (Original Screenplay) – lovely story
  • Damien Chazelle (Best Director) – lovely directing, but for the films I would prefer to win, so not for me thanks.
    • Descant Deb says: hmmm, has a very Brigadoon (1954)/ Goodbye Mr Chips (1969) feel about it.
  • Linus Sandgren (Best Cinematography) – beautiful, but I have a fave, so no.
  • Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt (Best Picture) – erm. controversy abounds with this one. It’s a mainstream fave, I get why mainstream folks love it, I get why Hollywood folks love it, it’s their film, if it had been made in Hollywood’s golden era it would have been a masterpiece, as such it’s a bit too ‘modern’ and indulgent – trying to be funny and ironic when it could just be left alone to be, the dancing was stiff which kinda made it look amateurish, but not enough for me not to get it or like it. If it wins, I wouldn’t be surprised, if my favourites win in the other categories fairly, then I may not be too mad if La La Land takes the big one… maybe…
    • Descant Deb says:  yes, La La Land will probably win, which would be in keeping with Hollywood loving narcissistic films about itself – warts and all. Think winners All About Eve (1950), The Artist (2011), Argo (2012), plus the nominated; A Star Is Born (1937), Sunset Boulevard (1951), and The Player (1992) for director and adapted screenplay.

ARRIVAL – Best Picture | Best Director | Best Writing Adapted Screenplay | Best Cinematographer | Best Film Editing | Best Sound Editing | Best Production Design | Best Sound Mixing

  • Denis Villenevue (Best Director) – nice directing, worthy
  • Eric Heisserer (Best Writing Adapted Screenplay) – cool enough story, worthy.
  • Bradford Young (Best Cinematography) – lovely, worthy and he’s African American. If he won, history would be made, so there’s that.
  • Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder and David Linde (Best Picture) – it’s a nice film, well acted, erm… just don’t think it’s the one for the big win considering the other epics, and the Academy won’t think so either, so not this time.

LION – Best Picture | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress | Best Writing Adapted Screenplay | Best Cinematography  | Best Original Music Score

  • Dev Patel (Supporting Actor) – great, very worthy. DD here – but Mahershala Ali is better!
  • Nicole Kidman (Supporting Actress) – her performance is way overrated especially the bit too obvious Oscar attention seeking monologue in one particular climatic scene. I’ve seen her do better in other films, so no thank you. No.
  • Luke Davies (Best Writing Adapted Screenplay) – great, worthy.
    • Descant Deb says:  – Hmmmm, it’s OK. The flashback segments in Hindi/Bengali are much better than the present in Australia.
  • Best Cinematography (Greig Fraser) – wonderful, worthy
  • Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder (Best Picture) – great film, emotional, well acted, wasn’t a fan of Rooney Mara’s inclusion although there was an American girlfriend. Usually, I like Mara but in Lion she was irritating and she’s part of a gratuitous club scene, mega sigh. I think she was miscast, it’s a long-shot amongst some of the other heavyweights but definitely worthy.

HELL OR HIGH WATER – Best Picture | Best Supporting Actor | Best Original Screenplay | Best Film Editing.

Descant Deb says: 

  • Jeff Bridges (Best Supporting Actor) – Bridges just gets better with age, although he does seem to have cornered the grizzled old cowboy market these days. His character gains substance as the film progresses. Worthy.
  • Taylor Sheridan (Best Original Screenplay) – Worthy. Would not mind this winning. If you really can’t understand why Trump won, watch this film. It has layers within layers, telling the complex story of the white and (very subtly) Native American plight in Texas. Yep, the only deficit is the exclusion of the African American story. But, it has that universal feel, so the film doesn’t suffer for it.
  • Jake Roberts (Best Film Editing) – Gorgeous work.
  • Julie Yorn, Carla Hacken (Best Picture) – I wouldn’t mind this winning, actually.

#Madame TBB says: I agree with everything.


HIDDEN FIGURES  – Best Picture | Best Supporting Actress | Best Writing Adapted Screenplay

  • Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress) – good job, (kinda think this shudda been Janelle Monae though), but I wouldn’t be angry.
    • Descant Deb says: – Janelle was good, but a little derivative, I’m afraid. Octavia is my pick for this all day. She has a power which is just so magnetic.
  • Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi (Best Writing Adapted Screenplay) strong adaptation, points deducted for deviating from history and adding the gratuitous white saviour scene when Kevin Costner’s character beats up the colored’s only toilet sign – when will creators stop this patronising of white audiences and the ignorant adapting of non-white histories on a whim? That said because of the other politics of what having a story like this means, I wouldn’t be mad.
    • Descant Deb says: – no, I’m not sure it’s worthy. Some parts felt derivative and the private life segments didn’t feel entirely authentic.
  • Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi (Best Picture) – great feel good movie, thank you for bringing this much needed piece of black history to the masses, hmmm wouldn’t be mad.
    • Descant Deb says:  – Brilliant soundtrack. Seriously.
  • *** honorary mention*** Taraji P. Henson (Best Actress) MISSED OPPORTUNITY. Even if she didn’t win, she should have been nominated!!!!!
    • Descant Deb says:  – OK, so maybe a nomination for Taraji, but not an Oscar-winning performance.

MOONLIGHT – Best Picture | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress | Best Director | Best Writing Adapted Screenplay | Best Cinematography | Best Original Music Score | Best Film Editing

  • Mahershala Ali (Best Supporting Actor) – probably win, which is absolutely frickin’ fine with me. DD here – Hallelujah!
  • Naomie Harris (Best Supporting Actress) – fantastic job, just brilliant, doing it for the British Blacklisters, absolutely worthy. (If she gets this over Viola Davis, I will backflip with proud joy). Definitely worthy, and should have been a win in a non-Viola year
  • Barry Jenkins (Best Director) – he did a fantastic job, I’ll probably get very black if he wins it a la very loud Arsenio Hall type ‘whoo whoo whoo’s’.
    • Descant Deb says:  – Could this be a black movie with an art house feel that scored mainstream recognition? I think so! The soundtrack is dream-like and wistful – just beautiful, especially Caetano Velosa’s Cucurrucucu, originally heard in Alomodovar’s Talk To Her (2002).
  • Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney (Best Writing Adapted Screenplay) – so this is like the best writing pairing and bro-homie collabo since Biggie and Jigga, an absolutely worthy.
  • James Laxton (Best Cinematography) – beautiful, worthy.
  • Joi McMillon & Nat Sanders (Best Film Editing) – it’s seamless so yes, very worthy, also if McMillon wins it will be another black history moment as she’s the first African American female to get nominated in this category, so I’d slow grind and rub my tidday’s with joy if she gets this.
    • Descant Deb says:  – actually, the best use of the black screen I’ve seen for a while.
  • Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner (Best Picture) – so like, an important piece of cinema, groundbreaking, perfectly cast, expertly delivered, more than worthy.

HACKSAW RIDGE – Best Picture | Best Actor | Best Director | Best Film Editing | Best Sound Editing | Best Sound Mixing

  • Andrew Garfield (Best Actor) – erm weird expression, weird voice,  irritated me, so no thank you.
  • Mel Gibson (Best Director) – erm, so we’ve forgiven him now?, a bit gimmicky in places with over dramatic blow up scenes, a bit too ego massaging from the great American’s heroes at war perspective, meh. I wouldn’t clap.
  • Bill Mechanic and David Permut (Best Picture) – erm, no thank you.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – Best Picture | Best Actor | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress | Best Director | Best Original Screenplay

  • Casey Affleck (Best Actor) – another one we’re supposed to be forgiving? Did a good job, I have a fave so although worthy, no thank you.
  • Lucas Hedges (Best Supporting Actor) – good job, worthy
  • Michelle Williams (Best Supporting Actress) – very typical Michelle Williams, good job, but no.
  • Kenneth Lonergan (Best Director) – good job, worthy.
    • Descant Deb says:  – haunting soundtrack accompanying the harsh Massachusetts winter backdrop. Wonderful foreground use of Albinoni’s Adagio for strings and organ in G minor as the tragic past is played out…
  • Kenneth Lonergran (Best Original Screenplay) – good job, worthy.
  • Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh (Best Picture) – lovely and touching story, great performances, worthy.

FENCES – Best Picture | Best Actor | Best Supporting Actress | Best Writing Adapted Screenplay

  • Denzel Washington (Best Actor) – is it worth giving my opinion here? Of course worthy.
  • Viola Davis (Best Supporting Actress) – insert obvious yes here, (but read my comments in Moonlight)
  • August Wilson (Best Adapted Screenplay) – yeah right like I’m going to comment against August Wilson, absolutely worthy.
  • Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington and Todd Black (Best Picture) – brilliant, epic, worthy.
    • Descant Deb says: – all this talk of ‘filming the play’ annoys me. What about the great works of playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon? Barefoot In The Park (1967),  The odd Couple (1968), Sweet Charity (1969), The Goodbye Girl (1977), California Suite (1978) to name a few – all adapted from award winning plays, all nominated as films. So, let’s not hear any more of this nonsense, and allow creative choice to be just that. Sheesh!

The others…

BEST DOCUMENTARIES – this year is a special year in the documentary category. Three very major docs which touch on race, politics, the prison system which although from the American / African American perspective have executed their narratives so meticulously, efficiently and all the other complimentary big words you could think of… 

  • Fire At Sea – Unfortunately neither of us managed to watch this! But we’ve heard that its nomination is justified.
  • I Am Not Your Negro – worthy, brilliant, excellent
  • Life, Animated – Descant Deb says: Third Oscar nomination for African American director Roger Ross Williams – one previous win. Deeply moving story of how an East coast severely autistic Jewish boy’s functionality was recovered through his word-perfect recall of the Disney animated canon. Nice use of wistful animation to illustrate Owen’s view of the world. Worthy, but there are at least 3 stronger nominations in this brilliant category.
  • O.J.: Made in America – worthy, brilliant, excellent
  • 13th – worthy, brilliant, excellent

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

  • Ruth Negga (Loving) – did a quietly good job, team Irish Blacklisters, worthy.

The British Blacklist will be live reporting the Oscars from 10:30pm follow us on Twitter: @BritBlacklist & Facebook: The British Blacklist for updates.