Oscar Thoughts (2017)

By Sean Gardner

The Oscars usually have a pretty boring ceremony and we usually have to suffer through pointless musical acts, comedy bits, and so forth until they announce the winners. This year, however, ended up being one of the craziest shows ever. A lot of it had to do with the mix up of the Best Picture winner. The real winner was low budget underdog, Moonlight. However, there had been a mix up in the winner envelopes, and the overwhelming favorite, La La Land, was announced first. In a bitter sweet moment, the producers of La La Land had to hand over the Oscars they had just been given to the producers of Moonlight, and they could not have handled it more gracefully. 

But, that was not the only thing that happened. There were awards given to many deserving films. Here’s how the major categories turned out (winners in bold):




Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land 


Manchester by the Sea


My favorite film from 2016 was Arrival so I was hoping that it would take Best Picture. But I knew it had no shot against La La Land and Oscar-bait, heavy films like Moonlight.


Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Kenneth Logerman, Manchester by the Sea

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

The same thing I said about Best Picture can be said about Best Director. I love Arrival and Denis Villeneuve films in general, so I was hoping he’d get it. Yet, Damien Chazelle takes it for La La Land, despite the recent backlash. And the way Villeneuve’s career is going, I’m sure he’ll get a statue eventually. 


Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Vigo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington, Fences 

I am glad Casey Affleck won. While Manchester by the Sea overall was just an ok movie for me, all of the performances were stellar. I also loved the congratulatory hug Casey got from his older brother, Ben. Having two brothers myself, I can relate to that kind of happiness for a sibling’s success. 


Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Emma Stone, La La Land

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Why Streep keeps getting nominated, I’ll never know. However, that’s beside the point. I thought Emma Stone should’ve won for Birdman a few years ago, but she takes it this year. 

Supporting Actor 

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Lance Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel, Lion

Michael Shannon, Nocternal Animals

Mahershala Ali was the favorite from the start, so no big surprise here. 

Supporting Actress

Viola David, Fences

Naomi Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

There is a legitimate argument that can be made that Viola Davis was really the female lead in Fences rather than a supporting character. It would’ve been interesting to see her up against Emma Stone in the Lead Actress category, but since she was in this category, it was hers to lose. 

Original Screenplay

20th Century Women

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea

I thought Hell or High Water, as far as dialogue goes, was the most compelling on this list. Again, the relationship between the brothers, and having a tight knit family, is something that I can relate too really well. Plus, the fact that Hell or High Water was overall a more hopeful movie, left me a little let down that Manchester by the Sea won. 

Adapted Screenplay



Hidden Figures



The Academy took the bait with this one as far as I’m concerned. I’ve gushed enough about Arrival,  so I’ll spare you the details. But, after the “Oscars so white” controversy over the past few years, of course they were not going to give this award to the only movie in the category involving mostly white characters. 

Animated Picture

Kubo and the Two Strings



The Red Turtle

My Life as a Zucchini

I’m going to be honest, Zootopia is the only movie on this list that I’ve seen. So I can’t really judge the merit of the other ones. That being said, a Disney movie won Best Animated Picture, so no surprise here. 

Those are my thoughts on this years Oscars. Despite the controversy, it was a fairly well done ceremony with good speeches and deserving winners. Thoughts? Comment below! 

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