This weekend marks the biggest highlight in film all year: the Academy Awards. We’re rolling out the red carpet and sharing our chosen winners for Sunday, so check them out below and let us know what you think!
Best Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea
This film’s non-linear story line engages audiences and gives them the responsibility to piece together this timeline. The non-linear format is executed flawlessly and creates a powerful contrast in emotions between stages of the film. The story is simple and undoubtedly a sad one, but it certainly feels like one worth telling. In addition, character dynamics are strong and natural.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures manages to make a film about math consistently entertaining. There are hardly any lulls in action and the three leads are likeable in their own distinct personality. Hidden Figures shares an otherwise unknown piece of history in an exciting way and has the ability to appeal to a wide range of moviegoers.
Best Production Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Our pick for production design goes to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for its vibrant and beautifully crafted sets. The film displays an older New York City, very different from any previous depictions. It’s a fun and exciting world for the film’s fantastical events to occur.
Best Original Score: La La Land
La La Land’s beautiful score is both catchy and moving. It perfectly compliments the emotion of each scene, whether fun and uplifting or somber and melancholy. It also does an effective job of conveying the dreamlike theme felt throughout the film.
Best Director: Moonlight
The masterful directing behind Moonlight lends to moving performances and impactful imagery throughout the film. Barry Jenkins deserves the award this year for best director for being able to take audiences through this protagonist’s struggle, broken up into three distinct stages of his life, so seamlessly. He combines unconventional and traditional techniques of narrative storytelling to yield strong emotional reactions from audiences. Cutting away from the narrative to see key characters in an abstract format gives viewers a greater understanding of the psychology of the film.
Best Cinematography: Arrival
Arrival and its anxiety-inducing imagery of landscapes with alien spaceships hovering in the distance is why it earned our pick for best cinematography. Watching Amy Adams ride in a jeep through a grassy field to a strange vessel perched on the horizon is an unforgettable shot that sums up the film’s ominous but oddly beautiful vibe. This is a moving and consequential science fiction story unlike any other that has come before it, and its visually stunning and awe-inspiring camera work secures that.
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis
Viola Davis is an easy choice despite the strong performances across the board. Fences is an intimate story that relies heavily on the performances of its actors to carry it. Davis demonstrates an astounding level of range on the emotional spectrum.
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali
Mahershala Ali gives an incredible and memorable performance despite only being present for the first third of the film. The fact that he was able to accomplish so much in so little time is reason enough for him take home the Oscar this Sunday. His portrayal of a drug dealer living in 1970s Miami was full of depth and stuck with the audience long after the film’s credits.
Best Actress: Emma Stone
Emma Stone earns our pick for Best Actress this year with a passionate and authentic performance that ultimately depicts the quintessential Hollywood dreamer. Her performance shows how emotionally taxing it can be to pursue your dreams while simultaneously reminding people why it is they get up every day and go after it. It was not that long ago that Stone herself was in the same position that the struggling actress she plays was in. It is clear that she was able to harness this part of her life to deliver an unforgettable and extremely enjoyable performance.
Best Actor: Casey Affleck
For this personal, a-day-in-the-life story to land, Manchester by the Sea needed an actor who could internalize this character’s struggles and convey those complex emotions. This is exactly what Casey Affleck was able to accomplish. The performance soared with all the subtleties in facial expressions, mannerisms, and tones letting you know the inner pain this character was struggling with.
Best Picture: La La Land
The best picture award more often than not tends to be the most controversial. With so many excellent films released each year, selecting one as the definitive best seems impossible. This year is especially difficult but the Wolf Pack selects La La Land for flawlessly bringing together all the components of filmmaking. The story is simple, but elegant; the acting and directing is solid across the board, suggesting undeniable chemistry not only between cast members, but also crew. But La La Land’s real achievement is in its innovation. It redefines the musical genre. Damien Chazelle and his crew are craft a modern day musical that can be enjoyed by a wide audience, regardless of whether or not one has enjoyed musicals in the past. This unparalleled combination of high quality and mass appeal is why La La Land deserves to take home top honors of the night.
So grab the popcorn, a seat in front of the television and tune in this Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT for a thrilling night in cinema! Who do you think will win?