With a mere 24 hours until the 2017 Academy Awards, In Reel Deep is here to offer some quick predictions on Hollywood's big night.
If this doesn't go to La La Land, I'll eat my hat. And I don't own many edible hats.
In my own personal power rankings, Damien Chazelle's musical is way behind Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea (not to mention The Lobster). But it's been proven time and time again that I am not representative of the Academy; it's also very well-known that Hollywood's self-referential films, your Artists and your Birdmen, are what take home the gold. La La's not as pretentious, but it dips more than a toe into the "aren't we neat" pool.
If there's a surprise in this category, it'll be Moonlight. But given that La La has made $135 million in the United States and enjoyed praise from nearly everyone, I don't see any way it loses. Such is life.
Lock of the night
If I can't say La La for Best Picture, I'll go with Viola Davis for Fences.
It's one of the few 2016 standouts I haven't seen, but all signs indicate that she's terrific and due for a win. That's high praise given such a stacked category: Michelle Williams in Manchester, Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures, Naomie Harris in Moonlight.
But this is Viola's year; she even made Suicide Squad kinda, sorta watchable. After becoming the first black actress in history to garner three Oscar nominations, it'll be a victory worth celebrating.
Casey Affleck is going to lose.
I think this will be one of the more predictable years in recent memory. We know La La and Chazelle will clean up, along with Viola and likely Mahershala Ali in the supporting categories, and Emma Stone feels certain as well. So the boldest guess I can make is that the sexual harassment allegations will catch up with Casey and Denzel Washington will surge to his third trophy.
I liked Casey a lot in Manchester, and I've done my best to separate the man and the performance (it's admittedly easier when you really enjoyed the movie). But there's a non-zero chance we'll see three black performers celebrating on stage Sunday night, which would actually be the real upset.
Most likely to call out Donald Trump
Meryl Streep already had her moment. Michael Shannon had a wonderful rant on WTF with Marc Maron, but he's not likely to win. Ali gave a powerful speech at the SAG Awards, but his message is one of unity.
So let's go with the Best Actress winner. Stone seems on the cusp of becoming a rabble-rouser, and Natalie Portman has already voiced her discontent at the Women's March. Either way, it seems likely that the president will come up at least once.
One more to keep an eye on
Honestly, once La La Land starts winning everything the show might get (even more) boring as hell. So let's go with Best Documentary; the two front-runners are a Netflix doc about race and a five-part ESPN doc about race, and both are terrific.
But I'm rooting for O.J.: Made in America over 13th because it's an unprecedented look at how skin color, athletic success, financial advantages, and American culture all came together in a messy blur that still captivates the nation. Ava DuVernay's work might be more searing and important, but Ezra Edelman's opus cannot be denied.