Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Michigan Movie Guy's 2017 Oscar Predictions

Well, the best films of 2016 will be honored tonight at the 89th Academy Awards. Here are my predictions for the awards tonight, along with who I think could win & should win.

Best Picture

All of the films nominated here are excellent. But the 3 big frontrunners for Best Picture are La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, & Moonlight.

Will win: La La Land. It's been the frontrunner since it premiered at Venice in September. I don't see it losing.
Could win: Moonlight. It's considered to be a dark horse. Although I don't foresee it winning, I wouldn't be entirely shocked if it did.
Should win: Manchester by the Sea. It's the best film of the Best Picture nominees. It's my 2nd-favorite film of 2016. Out of all these films, it deserves to win.

Best Director

All of the films here were directed with excellent precision. The frontrunners are Damien Chazelle for La La Land, & Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.

Will win: Damien Chazelle. After 2014's Whiplash, Chazelle directed La La Land with amazing precision. He's almost got it locked.
Could win: Barry Jenkins. Moonlight's one of the most acclaimed films of the year, & Barry Jenkins's direction is no small part of that. He's the dark horse here.
Should win: Kenneth Lonergan. His understated direction of Manchester by the Sea is excellent. It's his best film yet.

Best Actor

All of the nominees gave excellent performances. But it's down to 2: Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea; & Denzel Washington in Fences.

Will win: Casey Affleck. Although the odds have fallen against him recently, I still think he wins it.
Could win: Denzel Washington. After his Screen Actors Guild Award win, he has become the frontrunner. I wouldn't be shocked if he wins.
Should win: Casey Affleck. His performance in Manchester by the Sea is one of the best I've ever seen.

Best Actress

All 5 nominees gave great performances (although I don't think Meryl Streep should've been nominated). Emma Stone's the frontrunner here.

Will win: Emma Stone. She's been the frontrunner since she won the Best Actress Award at Venice in September.
Could win: Isabelle Huppert. She has skyrocketed in the nominations recently, & I wouldn't be surprised if she won.
Should win: Emma Stone. Her performance in La La Land is the best performance of the nominees.

Best Supporting Actor

This acting category is probably the toughest of the Oscars. Every nominee here gave excellent performances. The frontrunner here is Mahershala Ali.

Will win: Mahershala Ali. His performance in Moonlight is phenomenal.
Could win: Dev Patel. His win at the BAFTAs boosted his profile.
Should win: Lucas Hedges. His performance in Manchester by the Sea is absolutely stunning.

Best Supporting Actress

This one is all but locked up for Viola Davis.

Will win: Viola Davis. She gave a phenomenal performance in Fences.
Could win: Viola Davis. It's locked for her.
Should win: Michelle Williams. She's been nominated 4 times & she gave the most heartbreaking performance of the year in Manchester by the Sea.

Best Original Screenplay

It's a close race here.

Will win: Manchester by the Sea. Kenneth Lonergan's screenplay is amazing.
Could win: La La Land. This won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes.
Should win: 20th Century Women. This was the best film of the year, & the screenplay was one of the big reasons for it.

Best Adapted Screenplay

It's a less close race here than in Best Original Screenplay, but it's still not locked yet.

Will win: Moonlight. After competing for Best Original Screenplay at most awards, it competes for Best Adapted Screenplay here.
Could win: Lion. Its recent BAFTA win has boosted its momentum.
Should win: Lion. This was an excellent adaptation.

Best Cinematography

These nominees all had amazing cinematography.

Will win: La La Land. This is just the beginning of La La Land's onslaught through the technical categories.
Could win: Arrival. Bradford Young's cinematography is amazing.
Should win: La La Land. It has the best cinematography of the year.

Best Film Editing

This is a runaway race.

Will win: La La Land. Tom Cross looks to get his 2nd Oscar win in this category.
Could win: La La Land. It's locked for this.
Should win: Arrival. The technical achievements were outstanding.

Best Costume Design

It's a tight race.

Will win: La La Land. This is Mary Zophres's 2nd nomination in this category.
Could win: Jackie. This is Madeline Fontaine's 1st nomination.
Should win: La La Land. The costumes are absolutely beautiful.

Best Production Design

It's a runaway race.

Will win: La La Land. No one is stopping this.
Could win: La La Land. It's locked.
Should win: La La Land. The production design is amazing.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

I don't understand why Suicide Squad is nominated here.

Will win: Star Trek Beyond. The odds are in its favor.
Could win: Star Trek Beyond. No one is stopping this.
Should win: Star Trek Beyond. The makeup & hairstyling are amazing.

Best Sound Editing

It's a very close race.

Will win: Hacksaw Ridge. The Academy tends to go for war films in this category.
Could win: La La Land. This could sweep the sound categories.
Should win: Arrival. The sound editing is excellent.

Best Sound Mixing

It's less of a close race.

Will win: La La Land. The Academy tends to go for more music-driven films here.
Could win: Hacksaw Ridge. This could sweep the sound categories as well.
Should win: Arrival. The sound mixing is amazing.

Best Visual Effects

I don't understand why Deepwater Horizon is nominated here.

Will win: The Jungle Book. The visual effects are absolutely stunning.
Could win: The Jungle Book. It's locked here.
Should win: Doctor Strange. The visual effects are just absolutely amazing.

Best Original Score

These film scores are amazing.

Will win: La La Land. Nothing will stop this.
Could win: La La Land. It's locked.
Should win: La La Land. The film score is absolutely beautiful.

Best Original Song

The songs in this category are amazing.

Will win: City of Stars. La La Land has 2 songs nominated here, but this has the best chance of winning.
Could win: How Far I'll Go. If City of Stars & Audition (The Fools Who Dream) split the vote, How Far I'll Go could win, which would give Lin-Manuel Miranda the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony).
Should win: City of Stars. It's the best song nominated here.

Best Animated Feature

This one is almost a lock.

Will win: Zootopia. It's been the frontrunner for a long time.
Could win: Kubo & the Two Strings. Its BAFTA win boosted its momentum.
Should win: Zootopia. It's the best animated film of the year.

Best Foreign Language Film

I can't believe Elle didn't make the shortlist, let alone get nominated.

Will win: Toni Erdmann. Its odds have faltered recently, but it had the frontrunner status for a while, & I think it wins here.
Could win: The Salesman. It has become the frontrunner recently because the director, Asghar Farhadi, will not attend the ceremony due to Donald Trump's Muslim ban.
Should win: Toni Erdmann. It's the best film nominated.

Best Documentary Feature

This is locked.

Will win: O.J.: Made in America. It's been the frontrunner for a long, long time.
Could win: O.J.: Made in America. This has it locked.
Should win: I Am Not Your Negro. This was the best documentary of the year.

Best Animated Short Film

It's locked here.

Will win: Piper. This will be Pixar's first win in this category since 2001's For the Birds.
Could win: Piper. Nothing will stop this.
Should win: Piper. It's the best animated short of the year.

Best Live Action Short Film

It's a somewhat close race.

Will win: Ennemis Intérieurs. It's the frontrunner here.
Could win: Sing. It's the potential spoiler.
Should win: Ennemis Intérieurs. It's the best live action short film of the year.

Best Documentary Short Subject

It's a close race.

Will win: The White Helmets. This has become the frontrunner recently, especially since the film's cinematographer was barred from entering the United States.
Could win: Joe's Violin. It's the potential spoiler.
Should win: The White Helmets. It's the best documentary short subject of the year.

Well, these are my predictions for the Oscars! Keep an eye on my predictions, & don't forget to watch the Oscars tonight at 8:30pm on ABC!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Michigan Movie Guy's Top 25 Films of 2016

2016 was a crappy year overall, & I think we can all agree on that. But in terms of film, 2016 was one of the best years of film since at least 2007. Now, I will be announcing the 25 best films of 2016. Here we go!

25. Denial

★★★★★ - An excellent film about an amazing true story that is now more important than ever in today's political climate.

24. Paterson

★★★★★ - One of Jim Jarmusch's best films, featuring an excellent performance from Adam Driver & a breakout performance from Golshifteh Farahani.

23. Zootopia

★★★★★ - The best animated film of 2016. It has amazing animation & an absolutely amazing message that is extremely timely.

22. American Pastoral

★★★★★ - An excellent & critically underrated adaptation of Philip Roth's classic novel, boosted by phenomenal performances, excellent cinematography, amazing costume design, excellent production design, & a beautiful film score.

21. Don't Think Twice

★★★★★ - One of the most real films of the year, this brilliant dramedy features great performances & honest direction & screenwriting from Mike Birbiglia.

20. Miss Sloane

★★★★★ - One of the year's most important films, with the always-amazing Jessica Chastain giving one of her best performances, & John Madden directing his best film of the decade.

19. Jackie

★★★★★ - An excellent performance from Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy leads this stunning film filled with amazing costume design, excellent cinematography, & brilliant production design.

18. Sing Street

★★★★★ - One of the best coming-of-age films in recent memory. This film is filled with great performances, great direction, a brilliant screenplay, & one of the best soundtracks of the year.

17. Fences

★★★★★ - This amazing adaptation of August Wilson's iconic play features amazing performances from Denzel Washington & Viola Davis.

16. The Nice Guys

★★★★★ - One of the funniest films of the year, led by a hilarious Ryan Gosling, a fascinating return to form by Russell Crowe, a potentially star-making performance from Angourie Rice, & excellent direction & screenwriting from Shane Black.

15. Silence

★★★★★ - Featuring great performances & breathtaking cinematography from Rodrigo Prieto, this 28-year passion project is one of Martin Scorsese's best of the century.

14. Lion

★★★★★ - This is a great film about an astonishing true story. The performances are great, the direction is great, the screenplay is excellent, the editing is great, the film score is great, & the cinematography is amazing. (Also, the fact that Rooney Mara is in it made me love this film automatically).

13. The Edge of Seventeen

★★★★★ - One of the best coming-of-age comedies I've ever seen. The cast is amazing, & it's an amazing filmmaking debut for Kelly Fremon Craig.

12. Hacksaw Ridge

★★★★★ - Filled with some of the best war scenes in recent memory, this excellent return to form for Mel Gibson features a great performance from Andrew Garfield, great editing, & excellent sound design.

11. Hidden Figures

★★★★★ - An excellent film filled with great performances, great direction, a brilliant screenplay, & an excellent soundtrack.

10. Nocturnal Animals

★★★★★ - An absolutely brilliant film featuring an excellent performances, great direction & screenwriting from Tom Ford, excellent cinematography, amazing costume design, beautiful production design, & excellent makeup & hairstyling.

9. Everybody Wants Some!!

★★★★★ - The funniest film of the year. This definitely ranks as one of Richard Linklater's best films, along with Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Boyhood, & Dazed & Confused.

8. Hell or High Water

★★★★★ - One of the best crime thrillers in years. The cast is spectacular, especially Ben Foster. The direction by David Mackenzie & the screenplay by Taylor Sheridan are both amazing. And the cinematography by Giles Nuttgens is absolutely stunning.

7. Elle

★★★★★ - The best foreign-language film of the year. Isabelle Huppert gives her best performance ever. Paul Verhoeven directs his best film yet, & David Birke's screenplay is brilliant. This film went to places I never thought a film would go. All at once, it's disturbing, thrilling, & hilarious.

6. The Lobster

★★★★★ - The weirdest film I've ever seen. Colin Farrell gives an excellent performance, & Yorgos Lanthimos's direction is amazing. But the best part of the film is Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou's brilliantly funny screenplay.

5. Arrival

★★★★★ - It's the best sci-fi film I've ever seen. Amy Adams's performance is beautifully nuanced, & Denis Villeneuve's direction is amazing. Eric Heisserer's screenplay is brilliant. The cinematography is stunning, the editing is amazing, the production design is breathtaking, the sound design is amazing, & the visual effects are the best I've seen in a long time.

4. Moonlight

★★★★★ - The most fascinating coming-of-age film I've ever seen, filled with amazing performances, excellent direction by Barry Jenkins, an excellent screenplay by Jenkins & Tarell Alvin McCraney, amazing editing, excellent cinematography, & an amazing film score.

3. La La Land

★★★★★ - The most beautiful film of the year. The performances are excellent. The direction is excellent. The screenplay is amazing. The cinematography, editing, costume design, production design, sound design, & makeup & hairstyling are all phenomenal. But the film score & the original songs are the most amazing part of this film. This is one of the best film musicals ever made.

2. Manchester by the Sea

★★★★★ - One of the most real films of the year, this features the best male performance of the year from Casey Affleck, a breakout performance from Lucas Hedges, & an absolutely heartbreaking performance from Michelle Williams. Kenneth Lonergan's direction & screenplay is beautifully understated. The editing from Jennifer Lame is excellent. And Lesley Barber's score is hauntingly beautiful.

1. 20th Century Women

★★★★★ - This is the best film I've ever seen. Annette Bening gives the best performance of the year, & the best of her career. Elle Fanning & Greta Gerwig give their best performances yet. Billy Crudup gives his best performance since his performance in Almost Famous. Lucas Jade Zumann gives an amazing breakout performance. Mike Mills's direction & screenplay are absolutely amazing, building off the promise given by his previous masterpieces, 2005's Thumbsucker & 2011's Beginners. The costume design, film editing, production design, cinematography & makeup & hairstyling are phenomenal. And the film score by Roger Neill is the best of the year. I've never felt as big of an emotional connection to a film as I did here. I cried tears of joy when I saw this film. The characters in this film felt so undeniably real, as I encounter people like them every day. This is a film that will stick with me for a long time.