Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

I feel like the heroine in a Disney musical, ready to break into song. The possibilities are limitless, and I’m ready to attack the day.

You see, for the first time, possibly, ever, I am quite ready for the Oscar nominations to be announced, not dreading it. Normally, I have had quite a bit of catching up to do before the ceremony, but before the nominations even come out, I find myself in an enviable position of being caught up with most of the main contenders (“La La Land” and “Fences” will be caught up with shortly). I didn’t end the calendar year that way, but I’ve been able to get there relatively easily the first few weeks of the new year courtesy of Netflix and an opened up schedule. Now, it’s time to dig in.

Below, you will find my personal picks, followed by the actual nominees, and a bit of commentary on the latter. I shouldn’t have too much catching up to do, but we’ll see.

Viva La Resistance!

Brian Skutle
www.sonic-cinema.com

Best Picture- Brian’s Picks
“13th”
“Arrival”
“Pete’s Dragon”
“The Music of Strangers”
“Sing Street”
“Moonlight”
“Jackie”
“Silence”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“The Little Prince”

Best Picture- The Nominees
“Arrival”
“Fences” (Haven’t Seen)
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures” (Haven’t Seen)
“La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
“Lion”
“Manchester By the Sea”
“Moonlight”

Thoughts: Nine seems to be the sweet spot for Best Picture nominees since they went to weighted voting. All three “Haven’t Seens” were at the top of my list anyway. “Hell or High Water” and “Hacksaw Ridge” were very good, but I hardly would put it in this category, especially over “Silence.” It won’t win, but so glad “Arrival” made the cut.

Best Director- Brian’s Picks
Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
David Lowery, “Pete’s Dragon”
Martin Scorsese, “Silence”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Pablo Larrain, “Jackie”

Best Director- The Nominees
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester By the Sea”
Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”

Thoughts: Not really much to be surprised about. Gibson was always in line for a possible nod after his Golden Globe nomination, although I would have traded him for either Martin Scorsese or Pablo Larrain any day.

Best Actor- Brian’s Picks
Casey Affleck, “Manchester By the Sea”
Joel Edgerton, “Loving”
Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, “Sing Street”
Jordan Becker, “A Young Man’s Future”
Ryan Reynolds, “Deadpool”

Best Actor- The Nominees
Casey Affleck, “Manchester By the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic” (Haven’t Seen)
Denzel Washington, “Fences” (Haven’t Seen)

Thoughts: Andrew Garfield is just on the outside looking in for me. Disappointed that Joel Edgerton didn’t get nominated, and surprised somewhat that Mortensen did. Add “Captain Fantastic” to the list including “Fences,” “La La Land” and “Hidden Figures” of movies to see before February 26.

Best Actress- Brian’s Picks
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Amy Adams, “Arrival” & “Nocturnal Animals”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Jessica Chastain, “Miss Sloane”
Felicity Jones, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Best Actress- The Nominees
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle” (Haven’t Seen)
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins” (Haven’t Seen)

Thoughts: Looks like “Florence Foster Jenkins” is moving up the Netflix Queue, and I hope to find “Elle” somewhere. Disappointed that Amy Adams didn’t get nominated for her great work in either movie this year.

Best Supporting Actor- Brian’s Picks
Trevante Rhodes, “Moonlight”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester By the Sea”
Yosuke Kubozuka, “Silence”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Stephen Lang, “Don’t Breathe”

Best Supporting Actor- The Nominees
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester By the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Thoughts: A pleasant surprise to see both Hedges and Patel nominated for their emotional performances. I think I’m the only person who saw “Moonlight” who would have preferred Trevante Rhodes get nominated over Ali- not that he was bad, but he didn’t make quite the impression on me he did others. Both Bridges and Shannon were in my Top 10, but outside my personal Top 5.

Best Supporting Actress- Brian’s Picks
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Witch”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester By the Sea”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Kate McKinnon, “Ghostbusters”

Best Supporting Actress- The Nominees
Viola Davis, “Fences” (Haven’t Seen)
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures” (Haven’t Seen)
Michelle Williams, “Manchester By the Sea”

Thoughts: The three I’ve see are all more than worthy, and I can’t imagine either of the two I haven’t seen not being. No bad here- just a crowded field.

Best Original Screenplay- Brian’s Picks
“Sing Street” (John Carney)
“Jackie” (Noah Oppenheim)
“A Young Man’s Future” (Edgar Michael Bravo)
“Loving” (Jeff Nichols)
“Manchester By the Sea” (Kenneth Lonergan)

Best Original Screenplay- The Nominees
“Hell or High Water” (Taylor Sheridan)
“La La Land” (Damien Chazelle) (Haven’t Seen)
“The Lobster” (Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou) (Haven’t Seen)
“Manchester By the Sea” (Kenneth Lonergan)
“20th Century Women” (Mike Mills) (Haven’t Seen)

Thoughts: “Hell or High Water” was in my Top 10 for screenplay. I haven’t seen three of the films. Looks like more to add to the Queue…

Best Adapted Screenplay- Brian’s Picks
“Arrival” (Eric Heisserer)
“Pete’s Dragon” (David Lowery & Toby Halbrooks)
“Silence” (Jay Cocks & Martin Scorsese)
“Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins)
“Star Trek Beyond” (Simon Pegg & Doug Jung)

Best Adapted Screenplay- The Nominees
“Arrival” (Eric Heisserer)
“Fences” (August Wilson)
“Hidden Figures” (Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi)
“Lion” (Luke Davies)
“Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins)

Thoughts: I’m guessing the Academy really loved “Hidden Figures.” I’m extremely glad to see the intelligent sci-fi of “Arrival” get much-deserved love.

Best Original Score- Brian’s Picks
“Arrival” (Johann Johansson)
“Jackie” (Mica Levi)
“Silence” (Kathryn & Kim Allen Kluge)
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (Michael Giacchino)

Best Original Score- The Nominees
“Jackie” (Mica Levi)
“La La Land” (Justin Hurwitz) (Haven’t Seen)
“Lion” (Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka)
“Moonlight” (Nicholas Britell)
“Passengers” (Thomas Newman)

Thoughts: “Lion” and, from what I remember, “Moonlight” are fine choices, but only a handful of scores were truly exceptional this year, and two of them (“Silence” and “Arrival”) were ineligible. The weakest this category has been in quite some time, in my opinion.

Best Original Song- Brian’s Picks
“Drive It Like You Stole It” from “Sing Street” (Gary Clark)
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” (Lin-Manuel Miranda)
“Something Wild” from “Pete’s Dragon” (Lindsey Stirling, Andrew McMahon, Peter Hanna & Taylor Bird)
“To Find You” from “Sing Street” (Gary Clark)
“The Great Beyond” from “Sausage Party” (Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Ariel Shaffir & Kyle Hunter)

Best Original Song- The Nominees
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land” (Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul) (Haven’t Seen)
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls” (Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback)
“City of Stars” from “La La Land” (Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul) (Haven’t Seen)
“The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story” (J. Ralph, Sting) (Haven’t Seen)
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Thoughts: At least Lin-Manuel Miranda got one nomination for “Moana.” That said, no “Sing Street” is devastating for me, and the inevitability of “La La Land” is a drag on this category.

Best Visual Effects- Brian’s Picks
“Arrival”
“Pete’s Dragon”
“Doctor Strange”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“The Jungle Book”

Best Visual Effects- The Nominees
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Doctor Strange”
“The Jungle Book”
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Thoughts: No “Arrival” is disappointing, but none of these choices (even the surprising “Kubo and the Two Strings”) are slouches.

Best Sound Mixing- Brian’s Picks
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“Arrival”
“Silence”
“Deadpool”
“Sing Street”

Best Sound Mixing- The Nominees
“Arrival”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

Thoughts: Not a lot of surprises, and not really a ringer, although like the musical categories, I know how this is going to go already.

Best Sound Editing- Brian’s Picks
“Arrival”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“The Jungle Book”
“Doctor Strange”
“Deadpool”

Best Sound Editing- The Nominees
“Arrival”
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
“Sully”

Thoughts: Outside of “Sully” over “Rogue One” or “Doctor Strange,” not really any big surprises. Could be a rare loss for “La La Land”- just don’t know what wins just yet.

Best Cinematography- Brian’s Picks
“Silence”
“Arrival”
“Pete’s Dragon”
“Moonlight”
“Doctor Strange”

Best Cinematography- The Nominees
“Arrival”
“La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
“Lion”
“Moonlight”
“Silence”

Thoughts: I’m so grateful “Silence” got nominated here, and no 3D juggernauts this year, either. “Silence” could just win this thing against four Best Picture nominees.

Best Film Editing- Brian’s Picks
“Silence”
“Arrival”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“Snowden”
“Deadpool”

Best Film Editing- The Nominees
“Arrival”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
“Moonlight”

Thoughts: “Hell or High Water” is a surprise, but it’s hard to guess what could have overtaken it. (Maybe “Deepwater Horizon?”) Good collection from the ones I’ve seen.

Best Production Design- Brian’s Picks
“Silence”
“The Nice Guys”
“Jackie”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“The Witch”

Best Production Design- The Nominees
“Arrival”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Hail, Caesar!”
“La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)
“Passengers”

Thoughts: Some outside-the-box thinking here (I especially love “Hail, Caesar!” here), although “Silence” and “Jackie” especially would have made this category interesting.

Best Costume Design- Brian’s Picks
“Jackie”
“Silence”
“The Nice Guys”
“The Birth of a Nation”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Best Costume Design- The Nominees
“Allied” (Haven’t Seen)
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Florence Foster Jenkins” (Haven’t Seen)
“Jackie”
“La La Land” (Haven’t Seen)

Thoughts: Really disappointed “Silence” isn’t in here, but “Jackie” can give “La La Land” a run for its money here.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling- Brian’s Picks
“Silence”
“Suicide Squad”
“The Nice Guys”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling- The Nominees
“A Man Called Ove” (Haven’t Seen)
“Star Trek Beyond”
“Suicide Squad”

Thoughts: I don’t really have any. This is always a relatively exclusive category to get into.

Best Animated Film- Brian’s Picks
“The Little Prince”
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“Zootopia”
“Finding Dory”

Best Animated Film- The Nominees
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“My Life as a Zucchini” (Haven’t Seen)
“The Red Turtle” (Haven’t Seen)
“Zootopia”

Thoughts: I’m surprised “Finding Dory” didn’t make the cut. Is Pixar sequel fatigue an issue for the Oscars?

Best Documentary Feature- Brian’s Picks
“13th”
“The Music of Strangers”
“Audrey & Daisy”
“Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World”
“Trapped”

Best Documentary Feature- The Nominees
“Fire at Sea” (Haven’t Seen)
“I Am Not Your Negro” (Haven’t Seen)
“Life, Animated” (Haven’t Seen)
“O.J.: Made in America” (Haven’t Seen)
“13th”

Thoughts: Hopefully, I get to see all, or most, of these by Oscar night.

Best Foreign-Language Film- The Nominees
“Land of Mine”
“A Man Called Ove”
“The Salesman”
“Tanna”
“Toni Erdmann”

Thoughts: I have not see any foreign feature films this year. As usual nowadays.

Best Short Film- Live Action- Brian’s Picks
“Nihan: The Last Page”
“Hell-Bent”
“Out of My Mind”
“Dirty Books”
“Araf”

Best Short Film- Live Action- The Nominees
“Ennemis intérieurs”
“La femme et le TGV”
“Mindenki”
“Silent Nights”
“Timecode”

Thoughts: Just once, it would be amazing to have one of the short films I’ve screened nominated for an Oscar. I haven’t seen any of the nominees.

Best Short Film- Animated- The Nominees
“Blind Vaysha”
“Borrowed Time”
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
“Pearl”
“Piper”

Thoughts: “Piper” was a delight when it was in front of “Finding Dory,” but I haven’t seen the rest.

Best Short Film- Documentary- The Nominees
“Extremis”
“Joe’s Violin”
“Watani: My Homeland”
“The White Helmets”
“4.1 Miles”

Thoughts: I haven’t seen any of these.

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