Hello friends! What a win over Maryland — below you’ll find a few thousand words breaking it down. Strap in for some reading!
That’d be good and grand, wouldn’t it? Well too bad! We’re giving you our super educated Academy Award picks in prep of tonight’s show, which Jimmy Kimmel will host beginning at 7:30 p.m. central on ABC. Let’s hop in!
Best Actress in a Leading Role
The Nominees: Isabelle Huppert, Elle. Ruth Negga, Loving. Natalie Portman, Jackie. Emma Stone, La La Land. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Danny Payne: Any other year, this feels a lock for Emma Stone. La La Land was my favorite of the year, but apparently people really enjoyed Natalie Portman in Jackie. But screw it, Stone wins, and will have the most ‘oh my god thank you soooo much for this unexpected award’ speech. It will be wonderful.
HawkInATX: Somehow, every time I try to pick Oscar/Grammy/Emmy winners, I find a way to do worse than I manage to do picking NCAA tournament brackets. So, I’m literally asking H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. to answer and justifying its picks ex post facto. Some of these justifications are going to be nonsense. First up is Best Actress. And the Oscar goes to: Ruth Negga for Loving. I have never even seen or heard of this movie. But Ruth was in Warcraft, so compared to that, her performance in Loving had to look Oscar-worthy.
Ben Ross: Of all these movie I only saw La La Land, so we’re going with Emma Stone officially. Unofficially I think Portman wins.
Max Brekke: Meryl Streep wins. Did anyone see Florence Foster Jenkins? I didn’t, but this seems like a safe bet here. I don’t even really like Meryl Streep all that much.
Rob Donaldson: Well, I’ve actually seen La La Land, so let’s give this one to Emma Stone.
JPinIC: I haven't seen it, but apparently La La Land was OK and critics loved it. And I heard somewhere it is expected to do well at the Oscars. Also, I've seen a movie before with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling together. So I'm going Emma Stone. Final answer.
Alex Fish: Full disclosure: I’ve seen a grand total of zero of these movies, but Meryl Streep remains an acting tour de force despite Max’s blasphemous opinion of her, so she’s got this in the bag.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
The Nominees: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge. Ryan Gosling, La La Land. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic. Denzel Washington, Fences.
Danny: Casey Affleck will win, but I’m going with Denzel because Denzel’s Denzel. And (spoiler alert), Manchester’s getting some more love below, so there’s a need to diversify my portfolio here.
HawkInATX: Oh gross… the computer picked an Affleck. And the wrong one at that. I guess even the lesser-Baldwins get some name recognition, so why not Casey Affleck, too?
Ben Ross: Casey Affleck. The Academy is in love love love with white, difficult men. This one is easy.
Max: Denzel Washington takes it home. I’m gonna go with my dude any chance I get. I always think of him in Training Day when I think of him because that is a great movie. I didn’t see Fences, though.
Rob Don: All great options here and personal preference would be Garfield. However, Denzel knocked it out of the park in Fences. He’s my choice here.
JPinIC: See my comment above. Gosling. Also, like every woman in America thinks he is good looking. That can't hurt in something like this right?
Alex Fish: Viggo Mortensen will always be the badass that is Aragorn to me, so him? Yeah let’s go with that - Captain Fantastic sounds like it’d be less horrible than most movies.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
The Nominees: Viola Davis, Fences. Naomie Harris, Moonlight. Nicole Kidman, Lion. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea.
Danny: Viola Davis. Have a feeling the rest of the staff’s going to follow my lead.
HawkInATX: Ok, the computer and I agree here. Viola Davis takes this one. I’m basing this solely on the trailers I saw before Batman vs. Superman. Worst movie of 2016 by far. Viola Davis’ trailer performance was the highlight of that trip to the theater.
Ben Ross: Viola Davis. She should have been nominated for best actress overall.
Max: Viola Davis wins this one because everyone else seems to think so. I didn’t see any of these movies in this category. You might notice a trend by now.
Rob Don: I thought Viola Davis was great in Fences. With that said, I thought Moonlight was brilliant and Naomie Harris was amazing in her role. Let’s give this one to her.
JPinIC: Oh hell, I haven't actually seen a new movie in like 2-3 years. I had this elaborate plan to just go with everything La La Land because it's all I've heard about. Now you go ahead and give me a nomination with no La La Land? What the hell? I guess I'll go Viola Davis. Not because everyone else is picking her (that can't hurt) but because I've seen her in ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder and think she's pretty damn good. Don't @ me.
Alex Fish: I didn’t realize Viola Davis was such a Friend of the Pants...forget that. It takes some courage to spell Naomi with an ‘e,’ so I’m giving Ms. Harris the nod for something called Moonlight. Cool.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
The Nominees: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea. Dev Patel, Lion. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
Danny : Lucas Hedges was the best part of Manchester, but Dev Patel’s getting this one. How he’s up for supporting when he was the lead is beyond me, but here we are.
Nathan Darus (HawkInATX): H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. likes the underdog Dev Patel here. The Brits get a win. But it’s only for supporting actor, because the Empire fell some time last century and they’re just a bit player now.
Ben Ross: Mahershala Ali. Moonlight has to get a win somewhere.
Max: I’m going with Dev Patel in Lion. I didn’t see the movie, but I heard it was really good and that he was good in it from a friend. The only movie I have seen in theaters in the past calendar year is Fifty Shades Darker I’m pretty sure. And Rogue One. I live a disappointing life.
Rob Don: Using the same reasoning as my last pick, I have to go with Mahershala Ali from Moonlight here.
JPinIC: Again, I haven't seen any of these. My heart wants me to go with Bridges because the Dude abides. My brain is saying I heard hype on Manchester by the Sea, but is conflicted because Manchester, Iowa is nowhere near the damned sea. Screw you brain, I'm going Bridges. There's a beverage here!
Alex Fish: Wait, I actually know people in this one! Jeff Bridges is cool, I guess, but no one tops Dev Patel in sheer artistic badassery, so he gets the nod here for something called Lion. Who can argue with a movie called Lion?
The Nominees: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival. Damien Chazelle, La La Land. Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge.
Danny : Find another person who can shut down a Los Angeles highway to shoot a musical! In Cinemascope! Damien Chazelle in the mortal lock of the evening.
HawkInATX: 4th pick, and the computer still doesn’t like La La Land. I guess the AI noticed that Ryan Gosling watches his feet when he dances. I guess that’s a bad thing. And here’s the second pick for Manchester. Congratulations, Kenneth Lonergan! Here’s a huge gold paperweight for your efforts!
Ben Ross: Mel Gibson! Redemption! Or something like that.
Max: I’m going with Denis Villeneuve. I’m kind of disappointed that Quentin Tarantino didn’t do anything this year that was considered for the Oscars. I didn’t see Arrival.
Rob Don: I’m torn here between Barry Jenkins and Mel Gibson and, personally, I’d probably go Jenkins. However, Gibson’s directorial skills were once again on full display in Hacksaw Ridge and I think the voters will lean that way.
JPinIC: Hey look! La La Land is an option again! Also, I feel like I remember DMXs name is Damien. That has to count for something here. Damien Chazelle it is.
Alex Fish: I can’t help but respect someone who actually goes by “Kenneth” so Mr. Lonergan gets the nod here. Manchester by the Sea sounds like one of those artsy films that does well in these (but Casey Affleck?) so there.
The Nominees: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight
Danny: Should be La La Land, will be Moonlight. The social media crusaders will be out in full force if it goes any other way.
HawkInATX: And in a crazy moment where computers find patterns, H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. predicts Manchester by the Sea to win for Best Picture. I guess if the Best Actor and Best Director win for that movie, it’s probably the best picture, too, right? But am I crazy to think that the movie title Hell or High Water sounds like a Daniel Day-Lewis flick? Congratulations Manchester by the Sea. You didn’t sweep it, but 3 out of 5 ain’t bad.
Ben Ross: La La Land. This year kinda sucked for movies. I’m not even a Star Wars guy and Rogue One was the best movie I saw all year. @ me all you want I dare you.
Max: I’m going with Manchester by the Sea, which is a movie I didn’t see. It has Coach Taylor/John Rayburn in it and now I’m going to go watch Friday Night Lights and Bloodline.
Rob Don: This is really tough, but I’m going to stay consistent with my picks and say Moonlight takes it home because it truly deserves to, in my opinion.
JPinIC: La La Land. I'm going to win this having never left my mom’s basement and it's going to be glorious. The meat loaf!!
Alex Fish: Guys, guys, guys. This one should clearly go to Hidden Figures if for no other reason than that I like to bet against everything you all predict. So yeah - that one.