Nicole M. Campbell is a KFI editrix. She thinks David Letterman’s Uma-Oprah bit from the 1995 Oscars was pure brilliance. This week, the Girl on Film gives us her Oscar predictions.
Coming from a show business family, the Academy Awards are sacred in my household. In recent years, I have begged off Oscar parties or watching with others because people don't take the show as seriously as I do. Put another way, I cannot stand talking during the speeches. So I sit in silence, happily.
I have seen all this year's Best Picture nominees and all but one of the acting nominations. (Sorry, Meryl Streep.) But be forewarned, dear reader! Last year my predictions were as terrible as Trump's tresses, so I wouldn't necessarily go into the office Oscar pool with confidence based on what I'm telling you.
Should Win: "Lion." The minute I saw this last year, I knew it was going to be the best thing I had seen in 2016. (And I ended up seeing 212 movies.) It's a true story with great acting and heart and a breakout star in the Indian boy who carries the first half of the film.
Will Win: "La La Land." There has been a growing backlash against this movie musical, but I think the momentum it has created may be too strong to stop. "Hidden Figures" could be the spoiler, as it won the Best Picture equivalent at the SAG Awards.
Should Win: Damien Chazelle, "La La Land." Though the movie is a bit derivative, and Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are actors who do a decent job of singing and dancing, rather than natural singers and dancers who can act, like the musicals of yore, Chazelle's direction in putting all the stuff together is impressive. He should win just for that first number on the freeway overpass!
Will Win: Chazelle. And he'll become the youngest Best Director winner if he does. What were you doing at 32? Exactly.
Should Win: Denzel Washington, "Fences." If you thought the Denwash hype machine was working overtime before, watching him in a self-directed role in this movie will change your mind. The way he effortlessly tears through dialogue - and there's a lot of it in this film - won me over.
Will Win: It's a toss-up on this one. I think the tide has turned for Washington - again, he won the SAG Award - but don't count out early favorite Casey Affleck for his role in "Manchester by the Sea." He gives a subtle, real performance and sometimes voters like to give an Oscar to someone who hasn't won one before. Washington has won two already.
Should Win: Natalie Portman, "Jackie." She did an absolutely fantastic job, nailing Jackie Kennedy's speech patterns and voice and humanizing an iconic American figure.
Will Win: Emma Stone, "La La Land." This will be yet another instance of Oscar voters giving the Best Actress Oscar to the ingénue of the moment. Think Grace Kelly in "The Country Girl," Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shakespeare In Love," Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook." Stone is a good actress and does a fine job in "La La Land" but it's no match for the heavy performance Portman portrays.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Should Win: Viola Davis, "Fences." I wondered why Davis was nominated in a supporting role, as she's the main, and only, female lead in the film. But she campaigned for the category. Strange, as she won a Tony for the same role on Broadway and that award was for a leading part. Perhaps she went this route so she'd be a slam dunk. Well done, Miss Davis, well done.
Will Win: Davis. It's about time this lady gets the golden guy.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Should Win: Mahershala Ali, "Moonlight." He's not in the movie for long, but he gives a memorable performance as a drug dealer trying to do right by a child trying to find his way in the world. Ali has been doing good work for a good while, so it's great he's shining in the spotlight.
Will Win: I think Ali has it. I'd love to see one of my faves, Michael Shannon, get the award but no doubt he'll win an Oscar in the near future.
Should Win: "O.J.: Made in America." The amount of research that went into this is impressive, and award-worthy. Just when you thought you knew everything about this story, the documentary revealed more.
Will Win: I think the Juice has put the squeeze on Oscar voters, but don't count out Ava Duvernay's doc, "13th," about the prison industrial complex and its effect on black inmates.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Should Win: "A Man Called Ove." This Swedish film was in my Top 10 last year. It's a great mix of heavy and humor and somehow manages to escape the curmudgeon-with-a-heart-of-gold cliché.
Will Win: "Land of Mine." I haven't seen it, but the true story of German POWs who clear land mines in Denmark after WWII seems like the kind of subject matter Oscar voters salivate over.