It's Oscar time again. Pardon my asterisks, but I am completely out of f***ks to give.
It's not that 2016 wasn't a fantastic year for films (It was!) or that the really great ones aren't up for any Oscars (Many of them are!). It's just that ... I'm SO DONE with 2016 and I'm tired of celebrating anything to do with it. Outside of the cinema, 2016 was a thoroughly crap year that I don't want to revisit - even through film clips and ESPECIALLY not through a weepy "In Memoriam" montage. (Frankly, just the experience of living through 2016 felt like being trapped in an "In Memoriam" montage that just kept rolling and getting sadder and sadder.)
Also, I'm REALLY TIRED of talking about La La Land. And I loved La La Land! It was at the top of my list of the best films of 2016. But it doesn't merit the level of bickering and controversy it's generated. Seriously, everyone needs to chill out and rent The Young Girls of Rochefort this weekend. (Get a clue, people - it's not based just on Hollywood musicals!) Meanwhile, I will keep trying to get the melody of "City of Stars" out of my head, where it's been stuck for over three months now.
But... I'm a film blogger who writes about the Oscars every year, so I'm digging deep for the motivation to give you my annual "Good, Bad, Undeserving and Overlooked" assessment of this year's nominees. (Disclaimer: as of this moment, I still have not seen Lion, Nocturnal Animals or Elle. Watch this space for late-breaking updates, as I plan to finally see at least one of those in the next 48 hours...)
Before we begin, a word about this year's host: I have only the highest hopes for Jimmy Kimmel, who seems like the perfect choice to helm this year's ceremony.
Last year, at the height of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and Chris Rock's edgy hosting gig, I predicted that "we can probably expect an old-fashioned, crowd-pleasing white host in 2017." I fully expected that host to be Billy Crystal; even so, I wasn't entirely off the mark. Kimmel is the easiest to take of the network late-night hosts: funny but not too edgy, naughty but not smutty, topical but without the bite or sting of pointed satire. He occupies a comfortable, enjoyable middle ground between the exuberant ass-kissery of Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight" show and the barbed political takedowns on Stephen Colbert's "Late Show." Kimmel's emcee chops were developed over years of hosting the American Music Awards and the Emmys. He'll be funny, and he'll keep the show humming along nicely, without too many Trump jokes. And despite the fact that I enjoy a good laugh at the President's expense, I'm actually looking forward to that.
And now, on to the nominees. Due to my overwhelming Oscar ennui, I'm keeping it to bare-bones predictions and shout-outs this year. No long-winded essays or cries of shock and outrage - just the facts, ma'am:
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Viola Davis for Fences
Should Win: Viola Davis for Fences
Overlooked: Julianne Moore for Maggie's Plan (Because she was so funny! After playing so many silently suffering women, we forgot she had such wicked comedy chops.)
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Should Win: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Overlooked: Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins (best performance of his career), Alden Ehrenreich for Hail Caesar! (he stole the film!), Ralph Fiennes for A Bigger Splash (his happy dance to the Stones' "Emotional Rescue" alone merits the nomination)
Will Win: Emma Stone for La La Land
Should Win: Natalie Portman for Jackie
Overlooked: Molly Shannon for Other People (she's come a looong way since SNL), Susan Sarandon for The Meddler (a lovely performance in a underseen, underrated film), Amy Adams for Arrival (because how is she not on this list?)
Will Win: Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea
Should Win: Denzel Washington for Fences
Overlooked: Tom Hanks for Sully (contrary to popular belief, he does NOT play every role the same), Joel Edgerton for Loving (every bit as great as his nominated co-star).
Will Win: Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Should Win: Barry Jenkins for Moonlight OR Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge
Overlooked: Pablo Larrain for Jackie
Will Win: La La Land
Should Win: Does it matter? La La Land is going to win and that's fine, although I'd also be happy to see Moonlight take the top prize.
Overlooked: Jackie and Allied.