In a recent article for The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Feinberg and Todd McCarthy made predictions about the upcoming Academy Award ceremony on Sunday (2/26/2017).  However, the majority of these guesses seem to based off of an undying love for La La Land.  

In this article, Feinberg and McCarthy would guess who they think will win, and who they think should win.  I thought I’d do the same for some of the nominations.

Their choice for both would and should was La La Land, citing it’s 14 nominations and calling it a “love letter to Hollywood” and harbringer of a new age of musical films. I would argue that Hidden Figures both has a good chance of contesting La La Land, and is a much stronger film, and more relevant socially right now, as La La Land, intentionally or not, presents a problematic whitewashing element to Jazz.

Again, the would and should in the article went to La La Land in the Director category (Damien Chazelle) citing the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and the Director’s Guild choices. Both my would and should probably go to Barry Jenkins instead, as Moonlight is an original and complex story.

Their prediction for Best Actor winner went to Denzel Washington for Fences (although they offered it rather dismissively), and should went to Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea.  I’m honestly not sure who I’d choose in this category, but I agree it will probably be Washington or Affleck that wins.

Their prediction  went to Emma Stone for best actress winner, although they surprisingly suggested Isabelle Huppert should win–even calling it a “permanent Academy disgrace” for her to loose.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Emma Stone is the popular favorite, but would also like to see Isabelle Huppert (Elle) or Ruth Negga (Loving) win.

I agree with their would and should win for Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), but my second guess would go to Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), and I was confused as to why Dev Patel is in this category instead of Lead Actor for his role in Lion.

Their would went to Viola Davis from Fences for her veteran actress status, and their should to Naomie Harris for an emotionally complex character in Moonlight.  Although I was also confused as to the placement of some of these actresses in the Supporting Actress category instead of the lead, I would put my woulds and shoulds partially on Viola Davis and Naomie Harris as well, but I wouldn’t count out Octavia Spencer who is both a contender and a deserving one for her role in Hidden Figures.  Honestly, I’d be happy to see her take home the win.

For Animated Feature their guess was Zootopia for the win and their should was The Red Turtle (for it’s simplicity?).  Although I can’t argue Disney-Pixar almost always wins, and Moana or Zootopia is basically a foregone conclusion, I might put Kubo and the Two Strings in my should category, as it’s a delightful and well thought tale about family, humanity, and hope–and made through excruciatingly painstakingly long and complex claymation animation.  It’s cinematically beautiful, features excellent voice acting, a great story, and was overall a wonderful film.

For best original song, they suggested “City of Stars” from La La Land (one in a very, very long line of La La Land suggestions).  I would say it’s no contest that the winner should be “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and performed by Auli’i Cravalho.  Not only is Miranda a talented writer, but first time star Cravalho is only sixteen years old, and she provides a truly breathtaking performance of an enchantingly good and moving song–a wonderful addition to the lineup of Disney Princesses.

If you’re interested in seeing the rest of their guesses and pitting them against your own, check out the article and the list of official Oscar nominations for this year–it’s good food for thought.

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