What you're watching on TV on Sunday night is a party thrown by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hosted by Jimmy Fallon in an effort to be loved and share some love. It’s a popularity contest more than a true Oscar precursor. The winners do get a pretty positive rub and the marketers gain a few more "Winner of..." graphics to put in the newspapers next to their films and we get Brendan Fraser GIFs. Check out my 2017 Awards Tracker page where I've been reading the tea leaves of who has won what so far this year. As always, I'm not a TV guy and this is not a TV blog. That half of the awards ceremony is dead to me. Let's take a look at the film categories and pick some winners.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees: Nicholas Britell- "Moonlight": Justin Hurwitz- "La La Land"; Johann Johannsson- "Arrival"; Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka- "Lion"; Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Benjamin Wallfisch- "Hidden Figures."
Hey, what about me? The biggest snub here is Mica Levi’s intoxicating work from “Jackie,” a score that should flat-out win the whole thing.
Who should win? Johann Johannsson’s work in “Arrival” is a clinic in tone and atmosphere that can completely shape a film. One can argue putting music in a film like “Arrival” that works that well is more challenging than the eventual winner.
Who will win? Let the “La La Land” parade begin. The musical wins the musical categories and asserts its authority. Dominance aside, it is still gorgeous work.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Nominees: "Can't Stop the Feeling!"- “Trolls, "City of Stars"- “La La Land,” ''Faith”- “Sing,” "Gold"- “Gold,” ''How Far I'll Go"- “Moana”
Hey, what about me? If you’re not going to double “Moana” (“Your’re Welcome”) or “La La Land” (“Audition”), then give a slot to “Runnin’” from “Hidden Figures” or, heaven forbid, nominate something from another musical like “Sing Street” and make the category legitimate. Go home, Iggy Pop and “Gold.”
Who should win? In the 2016-2017 version of “Happy,” the Justin Timberlake single of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls” is absolutely infectious. It won’t win, but it’s a blast.
Who will win? The second float in the parade arrives and it’s decorated just like the Best Original Score trophy. I would be shocked if “City of Stars” doesn’t win.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Nominees: "Divines," ''Elle," ''Neruda," ''The Salesman," ''Toni Erdmann."
Hey, what about me? Equal to its own country not submitting it for the Oscars, the omission of South Korea’s “The Handmaiden” is a crime. It should be here and even win.
Who should win and will win? This is a tight race between the popularity contest of Paul Verhoeven’s name behind “Elle” and the near-universal acclaim for “Toni Erdmann.” I think “Toni Erdmann” takes it, but this is a close one.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Nominees: "Kubo and the Two Strings," ''Moana," ''My Life as a Zucchini," ''Sing," ''Zootopia."
Hey, what about me? Since this is a popularity contest, I’m shocked “Finding Dory” didn’t get a glad-handed spot in this field.
Who should win? Mark me down as a “Kubo and the Two Strings” fan. It’s stop-motion animation is off the charts and its original fantasy is well-crafted and affecting.
Who will win? “Finding Dory” might not be here, but a Disney stud is still represented with “Zootopia,” a film matching its praise for its progressive undertones. It and “Kubo” have been in a two-horse race all awards season. On a show like the Globes, Disney wins.
Nominees: Damien Chazelle, "La La Land"; Tom Ford, "Nocturnal Animals"; Barry Jenkins, "Moonlight"; Kenneth Lonergan, "Manchester by the Sea"; Taylor Sheridan, "Hell or High Water"
Hey, what about me? In an annual rant, I hate that the screenplay categories are merged. It takes different skills between originals and adaptations. The five here are fine, but two categories would make room to honor “Arrival,” “Fences,” “The Lobster,” and “Jackie.”
Who should win and will win? This category comes down to the top original screenplay (Lonergan) versus the top adapted screenplay (Jenkins). I will side with original getting more love than adapted. Expect to see Kenneth Lonergan stepping up to the mic.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Mahershala Ali- "Moonlight"; Jeff Bridges- "Hell or High Water"; Simon Helberg- "Florence Foster Jenkins"; Dev Patel- "Lion"; Aaron Taylor-Johnson- "Nocturnal Animals."
Hey, what about me? To me, the wrong “Nocturnal Animals” actor is here. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is electric, but Michael Shannon steals that whole show. Lucas Hedges from “Manchester by the Sea” and Issey Ogata from “Silence” would have been nice substitutes for the lesser Helberg here. If you want a real dark horse, John Goodman from "10 Cloverfield Lane" would have been awesome.
Who should win and will win? Mahershala Ali has been sweeping every possible award for this category all season. I don’t think he’s the best member of the “Moonlight” ensemble (give me the unknown men playing Chiron), but he’s as close to a lock as any award of the night.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Viola Davis- "Fences"; Naomie Harris- "Moonlight"; Nicole Kidman- "Lion"; Octavia Spencer- "Hidden Figures"; Michelle Williams- "Manchester by the Sea."
Hey, what about me? To me, these are the perfect five nominees. In a rare alignment, these match the SAG nominees as well. Everyone and anyone else is another tier and class away.
Who should win and will win? Viola Davis is an absolute force in “Fences” and probably should be classified more as a lead than a supporting performer. Her volume of impact and work dominates this field and she deserves this award and, eventually, the Oscar.
BEST ACTRESS- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: Annette Bening- "20th Century Women"; Lily Collins- "Rules Don't Apply"; Hailee Steinfeld- "The Edge of Seventeen"; Emma Stone- "La La Land"; Meryl Streep- " Florence Foster Jenkins."
Hey, what about me? Lily Collins in the forgettable “Rules Don’t Apply” sticks out like a sore thumb. That fifth spot could have gone to Sally Field in “My Name is Doris.” The Golden Globes get a big name old favorite in a perfectly-tuned comedic performance worthy of more attention, especially in its own race away from the drama nominees.
Who should win? Just to offer a name away from the clear frontrunner, it would be very nice to see Hailee Steinfeld get the award and a boost as one of the best and most promising young American actresses on the rise.
Who will win? However, someone else has been rising as an “It Girl” for a while and she finally had her big moment. This is Emma Stone’s award all night. Outside of the Hollywood favoritism, she stills earns this trophy for her committed and multi-talented performance.
BEST ACTOR- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: Colin Farrell- "The Lobster"; Ryan Gosling- "La La Land"; Hugh Grant- "Florence Foster Jenkins"; Jonah Hill- "War Dogs"; Ryan Reynolds- "Deadpool."
Hey, what about me? This field of five nominees shows a little of the thinness when you split comedy and drama. I’m a fan of honoring comedy with its own half of awards, but the pickings get slim. There’s not a standout snub here, maybe George Clooney in “Hail, Caesar!” on a small level, when you scraping the bottom of the barrel to put Jonah Hill in there.
Who should win? If we’re talking pure comedy and counting laughs, Ryan Reynolds is a one-man, joke-shooting hurricane in “Deadpool.” No offense to Colin Farrell’s inspired work for dark comedy in “The Lobster,” but give me Reynolds.
Who will win? The popularity contest and parade continues for “La La Land.” Ryan Gosling will win here. Furthermore, the promotional push from this win will enable him to steal one of the five final spots for Best Actor at the Oscars. Just you watch. He will bump a big name home on January 24th.
BEST ACTRESS- DRAMA
Nominees: Amy Adams- "Arrival"; Jessica Chastain- "Miss Sloane"; Isabelle Huppert- "Elle"; Ruth Negga- "Loving"; Natalie Portman- "Jackie."
Hey, what about me? With Stone and Bening divided to comedy, these are the right five. Maybe an argument in the popularity direction could have put Taraji P. Henson or Kate Beckinsale here for “Hidden Figures” or “Love and Friendship,” but a more worthy real contender would have been Rebecca Hall in the too-little-seen “Christine.”
Who should win and will win? Natalie Portman is simply on another level compared to the other four nominees. Embodying an icon with an intimate and searing portrayal, “Jackie” is the exactly the kind of achievement that wins this award. She is the Oscar frontrunner.
BEST ACTOR- DRAMA
Nominees: Casey Affleck- "Manchester by the Sea"; Joel Edgerton- "Loving"; Andrew Garfield- "Hacksaw Ridge"; Viggo Mortensen- "Captain Fantastic"; Denzel Washington- "Fences."
Hey, what about me? In my opinion, this has been a weak year for male lead performances. I think the women are taking them to town. Garfield is a terrible pick that should have went to Tom Hanks for “Sully.”
Who should win? Denzel Washington rants and complete characterization in “Fences” remind us that he one of the greatest living actors, period. His performance is huge, but he’s won his fair share of awards in his career.
Who will win? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will look past Denzel and honor a new veteran who finally made the jump to leading man. Casey Affleck has swept just about every major lead actor award and there’s no stopping him winning on Sunday.
Nominees: Damien Chazelle- "La La Land," Tom Ford- "Nocturnal Animals," Mel Gibson- "Hacksaw Ridge"; Barry Jenkins- "Moonlight"; Kenneth Lonergan- "Manchester by the Sea."
Hey, what about me? This is where the big names not named Mel Gibson can ask how they fell short to young people and new faces like Ford, Jenkins, and Chazelle. The Mt. Rushmore faces of Martin Scorsese ("Silence") and Clint Eastwood ("Sully") are quite bit of clout on the sidelines in this race. As far as real snubs, I think Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival") and Pablo Larrain ("Jackie") should replace Gibson and Lonergan more than Scorsese and Eastwood.
Who should win? To me, a director needs to pull performances first before executing the other moving parts around the actors. The eventual winner (see next) pulled all of the other puppet strings to perfectin, but the gentleman who fostered the best acting from his cast was Barry Jenkins from "Moonlight." I think he is going to get robbed.
Who will win? I'm calling for an upset here. I think the glitz and glamour of "La La Land" pushes the hot young face of Damien Chazelle to the top of the heap over Jenkins. He leads the film that does the most and shows off the most for these voters.
BEST PICTURE- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: ”20th Century Women,” “Deadpool,” “Florence Foster Jenkins,” “La La Land,” “Sing Street”
Hey, what about me? Everyone seems surprised by “Deadpool,” but I am not. It subverted so much of the superhero genre to be fresh, funny, and different. I suppose the dark comedy prestige of “The Lobster” or “Love and Friendship” are more fitting, but give the Merc-with-a-Mouth.
Who should win and will win? Come on. Do you even need to ask? Go watch the parade and put on Justin Hurwitz’s soundtrack that you have on your iPhone right now.
BEST PICTURE- DRAMA
Nominees: “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea,” Moonlight”
Hey, what about me? “Jackie” is the biggest snub from this field (and maybe the whole night) as a skillful and taut historical drama worthy of major consideration. “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Hell or High Water” are both terrifically overrated compared to Pablo Larrain’s masterwork. If you need a second replacement, go get “Loving” or “Silence.”
Who should win and will win? “Moonlight” is the right film for the right time in this country and even foreign press members can see that. It sets itself up for an Oscar showdown against “La La Land” in February with a reputation-cementing win here.