odds + ends

the 2017 Oscars: my picks

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Awards season!

While we can’t make it to the movies anymore as much as we enjoyed pre-kids, we do our best to catch some films throughout the year, especially towards winter as the Oscar buzz swells. It’s even easier than ever to play catch-up with many of the nominees available on RedBox or Amazon Video.

Continuing my annual tradition of dishing on my Oscars ballot, here are my picks (drumroll!):

La La Land has an avalanche of nominations, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t relish every moment of it. But I’m going out on a branch here to predict that Moonlight will capture the gold this year – as a New Yorker critic pointed out, the Oscars voting took place the second half of February, i.e. post-presidential inauguration. The tide of politically charged acceptance speeches in this awards season, and the diverse crowd of new Academy members, lead me to believe – and hope – that Moonlight will prevail. If you haven’t seen it, add it to the top of your queue.


Damien Chazelle is favored to win for La La Land in the Director category, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if this year yields another Best Director / Best Picture split between Moonlight and La La Land. But I can’t help but root for Barry Jenkins, who would be the first black filmmaker to win an Oscar for Best Director. Moonlight shone with both substance and style.

There are plenty of critics who are predicting Denzel will take home his third Oscar, but I’m casting my vote for Casey Affleck, who made me sob for 135 minutes straight. (Yikes, did I just admit that?)


Emma Stone seems a shoe-in. She sang and danced her way through La La Land with her usual down-to-earth charm and effortless grace. (Full disclosure: I haven’t yet seen any other films nominated for this category.)


As evidenced by the votes above (I’m using the New York Times Oscar Ballot tool), Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis are squashing the competition in their categories. Both are long overdue for Academy recognition.


La La Land has been a Hollywood favorite, so I’m predicting it will edge out the competition in Original Screenplay. It’s hard to imagine a Moonlight stage production, as Barry Jenkins translated the compelling story to film with skill and perfection.

I wouldn’t be loyal to my husband and his Persian family if I didn’t pick Iran’s The Salesman for Best Foreign Film. It’s been in a neck-to-neck race with A Man Called Ove for awhile, yet I’m predicting the political vibes in Hollywood at the moment will carry it to victory. (If you’re interested in catching a foreign film, the director’s previous work, A Separation, was excellent. I find it fascinating to peer into Persian culture, and the cinematic style is starkly different from most American films.)


La La Land’s scenes of Los Angeles through a Technicolor filter were undeniably dreamy. (Admit that you’d give a limb to spend a night with your love alone at Griffith Observatory.) Sebastian’s threadbare apartment was just the beatnik space you’d expect. I’m excited to see future projects of husband-and-wife production team David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco.

I predict the theme of the night will be La La Land, and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t pick up another award in the Cinematography category. Jackie could very well scoop up best Costume Design, however; each item, from the iconic red wool Dior suit to the pillbox hats, was handmade in-house for the film.



Which films are topping your Oscar picks this year?





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