Hollywood is getting ready for its biggest night of the year, and this one might be one for the books. The world will be looking at this bastion of artistry for answers on how the industry is reacting to a changing country and the election of the 45th U.S. President Donald Trump. Will the host make fun of the new POTUS? Will the Academy Awards winners mention him in their speech? Will foreign actors address immigration policies?
On the artistic front, history could also be made with the most wins for the same movie. It will also be interesting to see if one year after the birth of the #OscarSoWhite movement diversity can become part of the fabric of the biggest event in entertainment. A lot of questions will be answered and here is what you can look forward to.
What are the Oscars?
The Academy Awards ceremony is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize excellence in filmmaking in the US. This year will mark the 89th edition of the annual event. It is commonly referred to as the “Oscars” in a nod to golden statuettes that winners in different categories receive.
Who is hosting the 89th Academy Awards?
The host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live Jimmy Kimmel announced without real fanfare in December that he was picked to host the coveted ceremony. This is the holy grail of hosting gigs, many people have tried, and many have failed. The 49-year-old comedian hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2012 and 2016. Mr. Kimmel has also played master of ceremonies at the American Music Awards (five times) and the ESPY Awards in 2007. The father of two’s performance at the Emmys last year was a real star turn. Critics just could not stop praising how he handled things. This probably contributed to him hosting the Oscars. Kimmel will receive $15,000 for the night. A list of previous hosts includes Chris Rock, Billy Crystal, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, and Seth MacFarlane. James Franco and Anne Hathaway, who hosted the show in 2011, did not leave a significant mark.
When is the Oscars ceremony? Where will it take place?
The Academy Awards ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on February 26. It will start at 5.30 PM (PST) live on ABC.
What films are expected to dominate the big night?
With fourteen nominations La La Land is supposed to have a great evening. After winning seven Golden Globes, movie experts predict that the musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling will take home at least five Oscars including Best Picture where it is competing against Manchester by the Sea and the Denzel Washington-directed drama, Fences. Hacksaw Ridge, which was directed by the very controversial Mel Gibson, Moonlight, and Hidden Figures also have the potential to surprise people in the Best Picture category. Gibson is up for Best Director, and since the media has dubbed him the new Hollywood comeback kid, he could pull it off.
Which actor will dominate Oscar night?
Despite the mounting controversy surrounding past allegations of sexual harassment, Casey Affleck for his extraordinary performance in Manchester by the Sea seems destined to enter the special club of Academy Award winner in the Actor in a Leading Role category. Affleck plays a loner who becomes the legal guardian of his 16-year-old nephew. The character has to deal with a new tragedy and return to his past simultaneously. Denzel Washington has also received a lot of praises for his work in Fences, but Ben Affleck’s brother has dominated the award season, so far. If La La Land breaks records on Oscar night, Ryan Gosling could take this coveted prize. However, in the prediction game, he is currently behind the two actors mentioned above.
Which actress will win big on Academy Award night?
The Actress in a Leading Role category is quite open although La La Land‘s Emma Stone is a slight favorite. French acting legend Isabelle Huppert could also go home with the award. She was excellent in Elle playing a rape victim who becomes obsessed with what happened. Meryl Streep got a nomination for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins, but many do not expect her to take the big prize this year.
No matter what happens, Oscar night will have people talking. The nominations already created a lot of drama. For example, many people do not understand why La La Land got so many Oscar nods, and big names like Amy Adams and Tom Hanks were not nominated. The Actress in a Supporting Role category has three black actresses nominated, will there be more controversy if the award goes to Manchester by the Sea‘s Michelle Williams as some predictions suggest?
Oscar Predictions 2017
One of the most fun things leading up to an Academy Awards ceremony is the prediction game in the main categories. We will go through them and tell you which films or actors we expect to come up on top.
La La Land is the heavy favorite in this category although it has divided moviegoers around the country. This film, which touches on the love of movies, jazz, and Hollywood, is a beautiful letter to the arts. Critics have a hard time rejecting good movies that show appreciation for the wonderful world of art creation. The Artist, which won this award in 2012, had the same feel to it.
Damien Chazelle is expected to win for his work on La La Land. A surprise is always possible with Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea or Barry Jenkins and Moonlight, but this is unlikely. The movie industry has fallen in love with La La Land and will use the big night to showcase that affection.
This category has a little bit more competition. For quite some time, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) looked like he had this one in the bag, but his showing during the award season was underwhelming, and Denzel Washington (Fences) looks like he can make up the small deficit in the race.
Emma Stone (La La Land) ran a campaign like no other, and it looks that it will pay big time on Sunday. However, if by a miracle French movie legend Isabelle Huppert manages to get the big prize for Elle, most people will be all right with it. The versatile European star is a class act, and her performance in the controversial film is one that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) is a lock in this category. Critics loved everything about him this season including an excellent speech at the SAG Awards about the current political climate in the country. Dev Patel (Lion) is very far behind although he was able to win a BAFTA.
Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis (Fences) has a rendezvous with destiny, and at this point, it is hard to imagine anyone else winning this award. Her profile rose in Hollywood in the past few years making her a clear favorite. Naomie Harris did a great job in Moonlight, but Davis is too strong of a frontrunner this time around.
Other big moments that we are anticipating on Sunday is the Best Foreign-Language Film category where The Salesman became a favorite after its director, Asghar Farhadi, decided to skip the ceremony protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Before all the hoopla, German comedy Toni Erdmann was expected to take the trophy. In the end, award season is all about creating moments and building momentum.
In conclusion, many expect this ceremony to be like nothing we have seen in recent memory. It could be all hype and bubble talk, but Hollywood is in a corner and has to deliver an impeccable spectacle on Sunday. Get the popcorn ready and enjoy the show.