A collection of work by Nick Rojas.

The Academy Awards air February 26th, 2017 at 8pm

The Academy Awards air February 26th, 2017 at 8pm

My Oscar picks 2017

Here we go!

This is my favorite time of the year as a movie fan, between when the award nominees are listed and the actual show itself. Its the time when we find out if I really put in the time and effort in 2016 to accurately predict and see which movies would actually end up being nominated. Usually its not that hard to predict, everyone knew Manchester by the Sea and La La Land would be nominated, but outside of that there were hardly any guarantees. 

This year Nick Boyle (my podcast co-host) & I had only seen 5 of the 9 nominees before they were announced, so we had some catching up to do (Hacksaw Ridge, Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Fences were the four we had to see) before the big night.

Quickly, my order of the best picture nominees (ordering these in terms of how much I enjoyed and how I felt about them, and not necessarily how I think they are generally perceived).

1. Manchester By The Sea (I am mostly dead on the inside emotionally but this movie took me and everyone in the theater on an emotional roller coaster.)

2. La La Land (I didn't want this movie to end and that's saying a lot since I don't really like musicals. The soundtrack is AWESOME.)

3. Arrival (when I first saw it, it was the best movie I had seen of the year to that point. Smart twist on alien invasion movies.)

4. Hell or High Water (the thinking man's western with strong performances from Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster. Great summer movie.)

5. Lion (Great first half to the movie, second half really slowed down for me since he spent most of it on Google Earth, ending was a real tear-jerker.)

6. Fences (Denzel and Viola were great! Once you get over the fact that its a play you begin to enjoy it.)

7. Hidden Figures (Gotta be honest, I fell asleep halfway through this movie. First half was good though!)

8. Moonlight (First third of the movie was good, but's just performances. Obviously worthy of being nominated, just didn't really enjoy it that much. Most people disagree with me here and I can understand why.)

9. Hacksaw Ridge (I can legit think of maybe 10 movies more deserving to be here than this. Great story, did not like the acting at all, first half was just awful. Great action.)


Best Picture

Should win: Manchester by the Sea

Will Win: La La Land

Would Not Be Surprised: Moonlight

When it comes to Best Picture my only hope is ten to twenty years from now we're not saying "Dances with Wolves beat Goodfellas for Best Picture?!?!?" I get it, awards shows are politics at the end of the day. Sometimes the "best" picture doesn't always win. But I still think years from now if we see that La La Land or Manchester by the Sea won Best Picture we won't be upset. Truthfully I thought the story and acting in MBTS was so good and original that it was the best movie to come out last year. That's not to take anything away from La La Land either.

Actor in a Leading Role

Should win: Denzel Washington

Will Win: Casey Affleck

Would Not Be Surprised: Viggo Mortensen (no one is winning this outside those two.)

This might one of the toughest two horse races in the show (La La Land & Manchester by the Sea will be close in plenty of categories) between Affleck and Denzel. It would be a great story to see Casey officially come out of his brother's shadow and win an award for some of the work he's done over the past few years. That being said Denzel put on a master class with his performance in the film Fences so it is a tough decision. Really depends on how you feel, with MBTS being more of a movie-movie and Fences being more of a play. I think Casey will win but I am not confident about it, after Denzel won the SAG award for best actor over Affleck I think this could go either way. 

Actress in a Leading Role

Should Win: Natalie Portman

Will Win: Emma Stone

WNBS: Meryl Streep

I'll be honest with you all here: I saw one of these movies. One of my big blind spots this year were movies with female leads in them, apparently. Heard Natalie Portman was essentially flawless but we all know Emma Stone was in the more entertaining movie and sang so that's points in her favor. Wouldn't be surprised if Meryl wins it because she wins every year.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Should win: Lucas Hedges

Will Win: Mahershala Ali

WNBS: Michael Shannon

This is a category that gives everyone fits (based off how last year no one saw Mark Rylance defeating Sly Stallone in the Best Supporting Actor category.) So this year while it seems like Mahershala Ali is a golden lock, I would not be surprised if they give it to someone else. Everyone in this category was great, but the best was Lucas Hedges, who brought it. He balanced laughter and tears better than most people twice his age could have done. Great work by a newcomer. Ali was great in his third of the movie, and he left a big impact. I wish he was in the movie more.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Should Win: Viola Davis

Will Win: Viola Davis

WNBS: Viola Davis

Viola Davis was so good in Fences I wonder if they started engraving her Oscar as soon as it was over. Plus she grew up in Rhode Island so I'm biased, but she was great. I'd say in a distant second Michelle Williams was great but this is Viola's year. Crazy to think that in a movie that was as great as Manchester by the Sea in the performance category, they might go home empty-handed in that department.

Okay let's roll through these quickly, these will be my picks of what I think will win

Animated Feature - Zootopia (The best I saw in 2016, this deserves to win.)

Cinematography - La La Land (everything looked so nice in this movie)

Costume Design - Florence Foster Jenkins (after Mad Max last year the Academy will go more traditional.)

Directing - Damien Chazelle for La La Land

Documentary (Feature) - O.J.: Made in America (never saw it but I've heard its gonna win. #analysis)

Documentary (Short) - Watani: My Homeland (Didn't see any of these)

Film Editing - Hacksaw Ridge (War movies take excellent editing, this one earned it but La La Land was also intriguing.)

Foreign Language Film - The Salesman (Think this might be a political choice.)

Makeup and Hairstyling - Suicide Squad (Not a great movie, but the makeup and hair were great!)

Music (Original Score) - La La Land (still listening to this soundtrack nearly two months later.)

Music (Original Song) - City of Stars from La La Land (4 songs in this category could deserve this but this most likely will.)

Production Design - La La Land (so many cool looking sets here)

Short Film (Animated) - Piper (Adorable. And Pixar. Pearl was great too.)

Short Film (Live Action) - Silent Nights (I think this was the best of the five and most likely to resonate with the Academy.)

Sound Editing - La La Land

Sound Mixing - La La Land (I always mix up sound editing and sound mixing but with a movie about music I'm assuming I can't go wrong rolling with the favorites.)

Visual Effects - The Jungle Book (I think anytime you mix live-action characters with CGI animals in a good movie, you're a guaranteed winner.)

Writing (Adapted Screenplay) - Moonlight (I'm no writer here but in a movie that relied on great dialogue instead of action, this one nailed it on the head.)

Writing (Original Screenplay) - Manchester by the Sea (this really should win. It was gut-wrenching one minute and then gut-busting with the laughter...okay that was a lame sentence, but you get where I'm going here. It was depressing at times and at other times it was really funny, all while slowly unraveling who these characters are while going back and forth with the past and present.


Those are my picks! If you agree, disagree, want to call me an idiot, go yell at me on Twitter @ROJO36. If you've made it this far, thanks! Didn't really expect anyone to read this so thanks for doing that. And as always listen to what Nick Boyle and I have to think about movies on the Boyle and Rojas podcast! Search for it on iTunes and Soundcloud.