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The 89th Academy Awards

January 31, 2017

Academy Award nominations were released last week, livestreamed on Twitter for the first time in history. 


Damien Chazelle's modern musical “La La Land” made history with 14 nominations, tying the record with “Titanic” and “All About Eve,” according to Guinness World Records.


Last year the awards received criticism from prominent African American stars using the #OscarsSoWhite trend. This year, a record-setting six black actors/actresses have received nominations.


There are still voices of anger as many feel the historically diversified nominations are being overshadowed by the allegedly outlandishly ‘white’ film “La La Land.”


Film professor and cinema journalist Will Brooker wrote in The Conversation that the film is merely a white male American dream, pandering to the expressed concern over lack of diversity.


As far as predictions go, I’ve decided to put my input into the conversation making my predictions for the ‘Big Four’, which include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.


Leading Actress Nominations


Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Emma Stone (La La Land), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins).


Prediction: In one of the strongest classes in recent years, Ruth Negga put on a dazzling performance in the film “Loving,” and is whom I believe will win. Negga plays the part of Mildred Loving, a wife of a struggling interracial couple in the 1950s who must fight all the way to the Supreme Court for legal marriage.


Leading Actor Nominations


Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences).


Prediction: For few months now many critics have been confidently saying Casey Affleck is deserving of this award, and I tend to agree. In the film, Affleck plays an underqualified uncle who is unexpectedly placed with the challenge of taking care of his teenage nephew. Affleck took over the screen and made the audience laugh, cry and upset all within 120 minutes.


Best Director Nominations


Denis Villeneuve (Arrival),  Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight).


Prediction: In what’s been regarded as one the most creative films in years, Damien Chazelle should take home this award for his work in “La La Land.” Following his film “Whiplash” in 2014, many thought it was impossible for Chazelle to outdo his creative jazz tendencies; Chazelle took on the challenge. Launching a musical in 2016 could be a suicide mission for some directors; however in this film audiences see just how beautiful and impactful musicals still are.


Best Picture Nominations


“Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight.”


Prediction: As previously described, Lionsgate’s “La La Land”, is too creative, innovative and daring not to receive this award. It was a film in which the audience was half watching and half dreaming. The musical, which revolves around a couple (Sebastian and Mia) aspiring for their own dreams, ends in a bittersweet heartbreak. There isn’t in a point in the film in which the audience isn’t left thinking about their own dreams and aspirations, while also riding on the coattails of Sebastian and Mia’s dreams.


Jimmy Kimmel will host the 89th Academy Awards for the first time on February 26 on ABC.


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