Oscars Preview: Predictions and Projections

Madison Watkins, Staff Writer

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in “La La Land” expected to win Best Picture at this year’s Oscars.

It’s that time of year again! The beginning of February means awards season is in full swing. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday, Jan. 24, the nominations for the 2017 Academy Awards, also known as The Oscars.

The Oscars are broadcast every year and recognize the best films released in the past year. In terms of cinema, winning best actor and actress, best visual effects, best screenplay and best picture is considered the highest attainable honor.

The films up for the most awards this year are (director’s)  “La La Land” tying the record for most nominations at 14, “Moonlight” and “Arrival” with eight and “Manchester by the Sea” with six.

“La La Land” is expected to win for Best Picture after it won in every category it was nominated for at the Golden Globes. The film “Moonlight” however, is getting a lot of attention for its gripping story, winning Best Motion Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes. It will be tough for the Academy to choose between the two films.

Judging by this year’s nominations, the Academy is beginning to break away from its controversial #OscarsSoWhite trend of rarely nominating actors of color. Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis received a nomination for best actor and best supporting actress in the film “Fences” which also received a best picture nomination.

Viola Davis, now on her third nomination, became the first black actress to receive this many nominations. The writer and director of “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins, also made history with the nominations this year as the first black man to be nominated for best director and best-adapted screenplay and best picture.

For the first time in Oscar history, there is a black actor nominated in every acting category: Denzel Washington for best actor, Ruth Negga for best actress, Viola Davis for best supporting actress and Mahershala Ali for best supporting actor.

Dev Patel has been nominated for his work in “Lion,” making him the third Indian actor in history to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Armstrong professor of film, Dr. Amanda Konkle, was interested by the nominations for minority groups.

““Moonlight” and “Fences” both had a lot of nominations and are very important,” she said. “It is also important for women to be recognized for their work.”

Konkle was also surprised by the somewhat-controversial picks to be nominated such as Casey Affleck for best actor and Mel Gibson for best director.

“There will be controversy about Casey Affleck and Mel Gibson, given their histories,” she explained. “Some of the choices for the awards are more lifetime achievement choices than positive merit.”

For the general public, there are two sides of the spectrum.

Sophomore nursing major Alyssa Frederick does not understand the hype behind Oscar season, explaining that, “The Oscars are among the many different award shows used to recognize the achievements of actors. There is so much effort put into these shows, they can put these efforts towards something more beneficial that goes beyond those who work in Hollywood.”

Sophomore Radiology major Sean Riley loves watching the Oscars and hopes to see “La La Land” win for best picture “because it was a beautifully created movie that harkens back to a genre of cinema long forgotten.”

The Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. On Feb. 26, 2017.