May 19, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Oscar Nominees: Ryan And Watson’s Oscarchat

The Oscar nominees are here, so Watson and I had to chat about them all. While these aren't necessarily our predictions, since that comes after careful consideration and evaluation of various oddsmakers, here is what we're thinking.

The Oscar nominees are here, so Watson and I had to chat about them all.  While these aren’t necessarily our predictions, since that comes after careful consideration and evaluation of various oddsmakers, here is what we’re thinking.

Best picture:

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

Watson says: No Deadpool!?! I was holding out hope that the best film of 2016 would sneak in. They need to go back to five nominees if they are JUST going to nominate art house flicks. Early favorite for me is the excellent La La Land!  Although…if I am being honest…I like the film a little less because Ryan likes it so much.

Ryan says: Deadpool should have been nominated.  With the exception of Arrival and La La Land, this looks like the same list every year.  Hacksaw Ridge makes it potentially worse.  I don’t see anything getting enough momentum to beat out La La Land.

Lead actor:

  • Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • Ryan Gosling, “La La Land,”
  • Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
  • Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Watson says: There is some controversy around Affleck’s treatment of women, but from a performance perspective he deserves to win. He was amazing. I think the scandal could open the door for Gosling.

Ryan says: I can’t comment on Affleck because I didn’t see his movie and won’t before the Oscars.  But Gosling gave a good speech at the Golden Globes so I’m pulling for him just to see what he’ll say on the big stage.

Lead actress:

  • Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
  • Ruth Negga, “Loving”
  • Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
  • Emma Stone, “La La Land”
  • Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins

Ryan says: Does anyone have a chance to beat Emma Stone?  No?  Okay.

Watson says: I think Stone wins and Shailene Woodley is green with envy. Only competition is from Natalie Portman but I think Stone comes away with the prize.

Ryan also says: Oh, and I really hope Emma Stone thinks up a better speech.  Maybe it’s because she went after Meryl Streep’s speech at the Globes but her acceptance speech was beyond boring.

Supporting actor:

  • Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
  • Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
  • Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Dev Patel, “Lion”
  • Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Ryan says: Dev Patel is one of the greatest supporting actors of all time.  He’s so good that even when he’s the lead in a movie he still gets nominated as a supporting actor.  I get that this is a strategy thing, but it’s stupid.  Just like in Slumdog Millionaire, much of his character is also shown in flashbacks as a younger boy.  But I’m fairly sure that more of Slumdog Millionaire had the younger character and Dev was STILL nominated for some awards as lead actor.  But that was nearly a decade ago and clearly he’s grown into the amazing supporting actor he is today.  Whatever.  Since Aaron Taylor-Johnson wasn’t even nominated, seems like an easy victory for Mahershala Ali.

Watson says: I really liked Dev Patel in Hidden Figures (you thought that was Kevin Costner? ACTING!) but agree this one goes to Ali. Kind of a weak year for supporting actor. I’d love to see Jeff Bridges win, but he was awarded too recently.

Supporting actress:

  • Viola Davis, “Fences”
  • Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
  • Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
  • Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
  • Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Watson says: Three African-American nominees makes me happy after the #OscarSoWhite controversies of recent years. And all deserved! Viola Davis gave the best performance of the year in any category. Octavia Spencer was great but I’ve seen this performance before. Davis gets her statue.

Ryan says: Not only three here, but this is the first year ever that an African-American was nominated in all four acting categories.  That’s cool.  I’m bummed that Janelle Monae didn’t get the supporting nod instead–she was outstanding.

Best director:

  • Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
  • Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
  • Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”

Ryan says: Mel Gibson was nominated?  MEL GIBSON WAS NOMINATED?  WTF is wrong with you, Academy?  Seriously, what is broken inside of you?  Hollywood gave him a pass when the tapes came out about him being anti-Semitic.  He was drunk driving, you said, and who doesn’t get a little anti-Semitic when they’re drunk driving (I’ll give you a clue: people who aren’t anti-Semitic)?  Then all the tapes came out showing him to be violent and potentially abusive towards women.  Which I guess if it doesn’t disqualify you from being President shouldn’t disqualify you from being nominated, right?  WRONG DUMBASSES.  Oh, and you know what he’s done since all those tapes came out to show how much he’s changed?  That’s right, nothing.  Disgusting.  My only consolation comes from the fact that he can’t win since Chazelle has this wrapped up (maybe an outside shot for Moonlight) but this is embarrassing for you, Academy.

Watson says: Trump’s Hollywood, Ryan. Chazelle will end this madness.

Animated feature:

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings”
  • “Moana”
  • “My Life as a Zucchini”
  • “The Red Turtle”
  • “Zootopia”

Watson says: I’m taking a flyer that Kubo snatches it away from Moana.

Ryan says: I’m cool with Kubo, Moana, or Zootopia winning.  Kubo seems different enough to not just split the traditional animated vote, so I’ll go with that.

Animated short:

  • “Blind Vaysha”
  • “Borrowed Time”
  • “Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
  • “Pearl”
  • “Piper”

Watson says: Um…can I say Dev Patel? No? The. Pear Cider and Cigarettes it is. Just like a hipster in East Austin.

Ryan says: I’m surprised Watson overlooks the stunning simplicity of Blind Vaysha.  Although Borrowed Time had some truly moving moments.  Oh, who am I kidding.  Nobody has seen any of these things.  I’m pretty sure Piper was made up.

Adapted screenplay:

  • “Arrival”
  • “Fences”
  • “Hidden Figures”
  • “Lion”
  • “Moonlight”

Watson says: I really wanted Deadpool here too!  That script was amazing.  So much pop and sparkle!  Of these, I think Hidden Figures is the best choice.  One, this is the only award that amazing film will likely win.  Two, it was an…amazing film.  It blended the Oscar Drama and Disneyification of the subject matter perfectly to create a true four quadrant film.

Ryan says: Arrival was a stunning script, but they need to give Hidden Figures an award and this is the best place to make that happen.

Original screenplay:

  • “20th Century Women”
  • “Hell or High Water”
  • “La La Land”
  • “The Lobster”
  • “Manchester by the Sea”

Watson says: The Lobster was most original.  That is a fact.  But it was a bit off putting.  La La Land is more about the music than the screenplay,  I think Hell or High Water sneaks its Oscar here.  

Ryan says: Nonsense.  La La Land takes it, even if only for the last five minutes (which is entirely script).  


  • “Arrival”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Lion”
  • “Moonlight”
  • “Silence”

Watson says: Does the guy from Birdman and The Revenant STILL have a shot at winning this one?  I think so even though he isn’t nominated.  I think La La Land takes the prize mostly for the Planetarium scene.

Ryan says: Tough call.  Either La La Land or Dev Patel.

Best documentary feature:

  • “13th”
  • “Fire at Sea”
  • “I Am Not Your Negro”
  • “Life, Animated”
  • “O.J.: Made in America”

Watson says: I didn’t know “I Am Not Your Negro” was a 2016 release.  I am really stoked to see that.  I think it takes the prize by showing the fight against oppression in a time where oppression is on the rise.  Life, Animated (the only one I have seen this year) deserved its nod.  Really sweet documentary.

Ryan says: Yawn.

Best documentary short subject:

  • “4.1 Miles”
  • “Extremis”
  • “Joe’s Violin”
  • “Watani: My Homeland”
  • “The White Helmets”

Watson says: I want the White Helmets to win to highlight their amazing work in Syria!

Ryan says: Yaw

Best live-action short film:

  • “Ennemis Interieurs”
  • “La Femme et le TGV”
  • “Silent Nights”
  • “Sing”
  • “Timecode”

Watson says: Timecode sounds like a movie I would like…and that is all I have to go on here…so I will predict La Femme et le TGV!

Ryan says: Still yawning.

Best foreign language film:

  • “A Man Called Ove”
  • “Land of Mine”
  • “Tanna”
  • “The Salesman”
  • “Toni Erdmann”

Watson says: Toni Erdmann.  Wasn’t that the executive approver in Accounting?  I am happy to see her so successful…

Ryan says: Yawning with an accent.

Film editing:

  • “Arrival”
  • “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • “Hell or High Water”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Moonlight”

Watson says: La La Land will continue its mini-sweep with this one.  Although, honorable mention to Hacksaw Ridge’s editor, who had to excise the parts Mel Gibson filmed where he glorified the Nazis…

Ryan says: Moonlight could eek out a win here by tying together multiple storylines.  But La La Land had some great editing.  Seriously.

Sound editing:

  • “Arrival”
  • “Deep Water Horizon”
  • “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Sully”

Watson says: Insert running joke about not knowing the difference between editing and mixing.  When in doubt, I will go with La La Land.

Ryan says: Yeah, La La Land.  Live singing for the win.

Sound mixing:

  • “Arrival”
  • “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
  • “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

Watson says: Sound Mixing is the heart and soul of a film.  Everyone knows that!  While part of me wants to predict a Michael Bay film to win an Oscar, I will also predict La La Land.

Ryan says: La La Land.  Although Rogue One has a shot.  Alan Tudyk’s words were perfectly synched to K-2SO’s lightlips.

Production design:

  • “Arrival”
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • “Hail, Caesar!”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Passengers”

Watson says: Passengers…just to annoy Ryan.  

Ryan says: I’m trying to figure out an award where all of these make sense.  Arrival’s sets consisted mostly of a beach house, a military camp, and a black rectangular room.  La La Land had dozens of sets and dancing in stars.  Passengers featured a cyberstalker turned murderer.  So, yeah, let’s give it to Fantastic Beasts.

Original score:

  • “Jackie”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Lion”
  • “Moonlight”
  • “Passengers”

Watson says: La La Land has this in the bag.  The main score (the music to City of Stars) was as good as I’ve heard in years.  

Ryan says: Totally La La Land.  The jazz sequences in between the songs were fantastic.

Original song:

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” “La La Land”
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Trolls”
  • “City of Stars,” “La La Land”
  • “The Empty Chair,” “Jim: The James Foley Story”
  • “How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana”

Ryan says: I’ve been saying for a while that this is the most interesting award for me this year.  Mostly because I want Lin-Manuel Miranda to win his Oscar and complete his EGOT.  I also think Moana is a fantastic collection of songs and How Far I’ll Go is an excellent song.  City of Stars was always going to get nominated, it’s a pleasant surprise that Audition was nominated too.  That’s my favorite song from the La La Land soundtrack and it should split the vote with City of Stars to lock up Lin’s EGOT.

Watson says: Know how I said in the Best Picture category how I like La La Land a little less because of Ryan’s fanatical devotion?  I practically despise Lin-Manuel Miranda.  I think Miranda has to wait to get an Oscar with his tour de force performance in Mary Poppins and City of Stars takes the prize.  Though…in all likelihood…in my official picks, I will select Moana.  Damn, Ryan…

Ryan also says: Not liking Lin-Manuel Miranda is akin to not liking sex.  Want to confess to the group, Watson?

Makeup and hair:

  • “A Man Called Ove”
  • “Star Trek Beyond”
  • “Suicide Squad”

Ryan says: I get that the Academy is trying to overcome its diversity issues, but giving a nomination to Star Trek Beyond seems a bit too far.  The entire reason for the nomination is Jaylah, a character who is both black and white, so take that #OscarsSoWhite!

Watson says: Ebony and Ivory, my friend.  Living together in perfect harmony.  Read the Bible!  What?  That was McCartney/Jackson?  Um…yeah….they wrote Deuteronmy!  In this category I will predict Suicide Squad!

Costume design:

  • “Allied”
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • “Florence Foster Jenkins”
  • “Jackie”
  • “La La Land”

Watson says: La La Land is classic Hollywood set in modern times.  The costumes allowed you to forget this wasn’t set in 1930s L.A. even though they were texting each other.  

Ryan says: Wasn’t Fantastic Beasts set in the actual 1930s?  Then give it to the REAL 30s flick!

Visual effects:

  • “Deepwater Horizon”
  • “Doctor Strange”
  • “Jungle Book”
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings”
  • “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Ryan says: What an interesting mix.  Rogue One has the CGI characters, which most people liked even though I found them a bit off-putting.  Doctor Strange has amazing visuals, from out there parallel universes to subtle things like a cloak that you’d want to be friends with.  Kubo was amazing–halfway through I realized it was stop motion and was blown away (it just was so seamless I forgot).  Jungle Book looked very realistic for an almost all-green-screen movie, at least from the trailers (I didn’t see the movie).  And then…Deepwater Horizon?  Why is that there?  I’d ask someone who saw it–but I don’t know anyone who saw it.  Personally, I’d give this to Doctor Strange but maybe I’m missing some groundbreaking water visuals.

Watson says: I don’t like that Kubo was nominated even though it is my favorite animated film.  When the whole film is animated, you have an advantage to do anything you want.  When it is live action, you have to play in the boundaries of reality.  That’s where Rogue One shined.  I was a little put off by the CGI characters, but they really did take a big leap forward.  Not Apes on Horses with Machine Guns level advancement, but solid.