By Matt Neglia
One acting category is pretty much locked at this year's Oscars unless if Hell were prepared to freeze over. The other three categories have their favorites but present some unique scenarios which may or may not play out. This is my in-depth analysis of the acting categories for the 89th Academy Awards and who I predict will ultimately walk away with Oscar gold.
Click below to read my in-depth analysis.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress...
Viola Davis - "Fences"
Naomie Harris - "Moonlight"
Nicole Kidman - "Lion"
Octavia Spencer - "Hidden Figures"
Michelle Williams - "Manchester By The Sea"
This is one of those races that there is no need for us to even break out the stats. This Oscar is going to Viola Davis. I pity the individual who ends up beating her if god forbid, that happens. It would most likely go down as one of the greatest upsets in Oscar history.
Renee Zellweger, Jennifer Hudson, Mo'Nique, Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway and Patricia Arquette are the people who have won the Critics Choice, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG and all of them went on to win the Oscar. No one, since the introduction of SAG back in 1994, has ever gone on to win all of those awards and lose the Oscar. This is Viola's year. She deserves it. And it's going to be sweet.
PREDICTED WINNER: Viola Davis - "Fences"
RUNNER UP: Naomi Harris - "Moonlight"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor...
Mahershala Ali - "Moonlight"
Jeff Bridges - "Hell Or High Water"
Lucas Hedges - "Manchester By The Sea"
Dev Patel - "Lion"
Michael Shannon - "Nocturnal Animals"
And now it starts to get tougher. Here, for Best Supporting Actor we are going to break out the stats for Critics Choice, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG wins since SAG first came to be in 1994 and see how they all translated to the Oscar.
This is an odd year for Best Supporting Actor. Mahershala Ali did a near critics sweep throughout the whole season which many did not expect. He has taken a total 34 wins throughout the season including Critics Choice and SAG which has worked out only once in favor of Cuba Gooding Jr. back in 1996 who also similarly lost the Golden Globe and BAFTA to two different people. Many feel that a win for Ali here is a way to represent the film "Moonlight" in case it loses Best Adapted Screenplay. Ali also gave a moving speech at SAG which did a lot to help raise his profile with his "I'm a Muslim" proclamation. However, that could have also created some backlash with some voters as well. Let's take a look to see if his competition makes a more compelling argument...
The one who people keep looking to for an upset is Dev Patel in "Lion." After winning the BAFTA, the only people since 1994 to win only the BAFTA and go on to win the Oscar have been Alan Arkin and Mark Rylance. Both films were nominated for Best Picture which Patel's film is and "Lion" has had a groundswell recently with a lot of backing from Harvey Weinstein. Many expect it could squeeze out at least one win and this is the most likely place for it to happen. If people think "Moonlight" is safe in Adapted Screenplay and feel like spreading the wealth, they may go towards Dev Patel here. However, Patel is still young, while Ali is in his early 40's. While there is no guarantee that either will come back for another nomination, I'd bet that Patel has the better chance than Ali does there. It's a lot harder than we initially thought. Ali is featured heavily in the first part of "Moonlight" while Patel is featured in the last part of "Lion." You could flip a coin but I'd argue it's 60-40 Ali.
PREDICTED WINNER: Mahershala Ali - "Moonlight"
RUNNER UP: Dev Patel - "Lion"
Here are the nominees for Best Actress...
Isabelle Huppert - "Elle"
Ruth Negga - "Loving"
Natalie Portman - "Jackie"
Emma Stone - "La La Land"
Meryl Streep - "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Now it's about to get ugly. Best Actress feels like it's signed sealed and delivered for Emma Stone in "La La Land." After winning the Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA, she seems unstoppable. However, there has been talk of a potential upset from Isabelle Huppert in "Elle" which was not eligible for BAFTA and was not nominated at SAG. Let's take a look at the stats and see if they reveal any trends here.
Since the SAG has been around, they have correctly predicted the winner for Best Actress 16/22 times (73%). The BAFTA has gotten the winner right 11/22 times (50%). The Golden Globe Comedy/Musical Actress winner has gone on to win 5/22 times (23%). Even though the Golden Globe Drama Actress winner has gone on to win the Oscar 13/22 times (59%), the only time the winner for just the Golden Globe and nothing else has gone on to win the Oscar has only happened once and that was for Jessica Lange in "Blue Sky" in 1994.
Quite frankly, the odds simply favor Stone. No winner of the Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA has gone on to lose the Oscar. If she did lose to Isabelle Huppert (Who, to her credit has also won the most critics awards), it would be because they saw that Emma was still relatively young and she would have another opportunity to win again, while this would represent a career win for the 63 year old legendary French actress. As much as I would love to see Huppert get awarded for her entire career, "Elle" is a controversial film for many, while "La La Land" remains the safe choice. I would also argue that Natalie Portman has just as much of a chance of winning here as Ryan Gosling does in Best Actor, which we'll get to in a second.
PREDICTED WINNER: Emma Stone - "La La Land"
RUNNER UP: Isabelle Huppert - "Elle"
And finally, here are the nominees for Best Actor...
Casey Affleck - "Manchester By The Sea"
Andrew Garfield - "Hacksaw Ridge"
Ryan Gosling - "La La Land"
Viggo Mortensen - "Captain Fantastic"
Denzel Washington - "Fences"
Remember Sean Penn vs. Bill Murray? Or Sean Penn again vs. Mickey Rourke? How about Eddie Redmayne vs. Michael Keaton? Well, guess what? We're here again folks. Best Actor is a coin flip. Let's see what the stats say...
While there has never been a moment since SAG has been around that the Critics Choice/Golden Globe/BAFTA Best Actor winner has lost the Oscar to the SAG winner, there has been a time when a performance swept all of the 4 major awards and still went on to lose the Oscar. Russell Crowe lost in 2001 for his performance in "A Beautiful Mind" to...you guessed it, Denzel Washington for "Training Day." Back then, the voting period was longer and the Oscars were held later which allowed for...stuff to happen. Russell Crowe got in trouble for roughing up someone at the BAFTA's and the rest is history. Casey Affleck finds himself in a similar situation this year where a sexual harassment charge from his time making the documentary "I Am Not Here" threatens to derail his Oscar chances.
We have said all season that Affleck would win the majority of critics awards, which he did, and this was surprising as he became the most awarded actor of the season with 40 different award wins. We also said that when the televised awards started that Affleck would still probably win Critics Choice, but then go on to lose Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA to Denzel Washington. Well, Affleck beat Washington at Golden Globe and won the BAFTA because Denzel was not nominated. Denzel did take the SAG which many expected but the question is, did he take it for the right reasons? Did he win because he had never won a SAG before? Or did he win because people like Denzel's performance more? Or, (And in what might be deciding factor here) did he win because simply like Denzel more?
Denzel Washington is one of the most acclaimed actors of our generation. Already a two time Oscar winner, should he win this Sunday he will join a small and illustrious group of people who have ever won three Oscars before and he will become the first African American to do so. An icon to an entire generation of actors and filmgoers, if anyone deserves this distinction, it's Denzel. "Manchester By The Sea" may have more fans than "Fences" does, but the fact remains that Denzel is simply more liked than Casey is. Denzel has also been campaigning hard all awards season while Affleck is trying to keep a low profile. Affleck has had 3 chances to get up on stage and charm the crowd with a speech and he has mumbled his way through them every time. The long beard and hair have also not helped on the awards season trail. Denzel's SAG speech charmed the room and reminded people how much they love him as a performer even if the character he plays in "Fences" is as unlikable as Affleck is perceived to be in this town. People however, sympathize with Affleck's character in "Manchester By The Sea" and in a year where even Mel Gibson could get a nomination for Best Director, perhaps the Academy will be more forgiving towards Affleck and he will continue to sweep through the season without the SAG win.
That SAG win however, is extremely important. As you could see above, SAG has only ever gotten this category wrong 4/22 times. It has an 82% success rate. Nobody has yet to win just SAG, SAG only, and still win the Oscar. There is a lot at play here but the one thing I keep going back to in my mind is the image of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis smiling together and holding each of their Oscars up proudly for the deserved work that they did together. It may be the toughest call of the night, but my gut tells me its Denzel.
PREDICTED WINNER: Denzel Washington - "Fences"
RUNNER UP: Casey Affleck - "Manchester By The Sea"
So what do you think? Which performances are you predicting to win the acting categories? Be sure to let me know in the comments below.
You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture
Nomadland (15) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NDFS, NSFC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA, TIFF, VENICE
Promising Young Woman (4) - COFCA, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS
First Cow (2) - FFCC, NYFCC
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Minari (2) - NCFCA, OFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2) - DFCS, HFCS
Another Round - EFA
Da 5 Bloods - CIC
Small Axe - LAFCA
Chloé Zhao (22) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BFCC, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, LAFCA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCC, PFCC, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Spike Lee (2) - CIC, HFCS
Regina King - BFCC
Darius Marder - SCA
Andrew Patterson - GOTHAM
Thomas Vinterberg - EFA
Frances McDormand (12) - AWFJ, BOFCA, CFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, OFCC, SFBAFCC
Carey Mulligan (7) - COFCA, DFCS, HFCS, LAFCA, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
Viola Davis (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Sidney Flanigan (2) - BSFC, NYFCC
Paula Beer - EFA
Nicole Beharie - GOTHAM
Chadwick Boseman (9) - AWFJ, BFCC, CFCA, CIC, DFCS, LAFCA, MSFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Riz Ahmed (8) - COFCA, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, NDFS, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS
Delroy Lindo (7) - BOFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NSFC, NYFCC, PFCC
Anthony Hopkins (2) - BSFC, FFCC
Mads Mikkelsen - EFA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Youn Yuh-jung (13) - AWFJ, BFCC, BSFC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, MCFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Maria Bakalaova (10) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC
Ellen Burstyn - DFCS
Olivia Cooke - HFCS
Amanda Seyfried - PFCC
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Raci (13) - BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, NSFC, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Sacha Baron Cohen (4) - DFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS
Leslie Odom Jr. (4) - AWFJ, BFCC, HFCS, IFJA
Chadwick Boseman (3) - CIC, NYFCC, PFCC
Glynn Turman - LAFCA
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nomadland (8) - AWFJ, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, OFCC
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (4) - BOFCA, BSFC, FFCC, StLFCA
First Cow (3) - DFCS, PFCC, SFBAFCC
The Father (2) - SCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - BFCC, CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Promising Young Woman (8) - AWFJ, CIC, COFCA, HFCS, LAFCA, NDFS, OFCC, StLFCA
Minari (5) - BFCC, FFCC, NCFCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC
Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always (5) - CFCA, GWNYFCA, IFJA, NSFC, NYFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Another Round - EFA
The Forty-Year-Old-Version - GOTHAM
Fourteen - GOTHAM
Nomadland (15) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, PFCC, SDFCS, StLFCA
Mank (3) - FFCC, OFCC, SCA
Small Axe (2) - LAFCA, NYFCC
Tenet (2) - BFCC, HFCS
First Cow - SFBAFCC
Hidden Away - EFA
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Emma. (2) - CFCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - CIC, HFCS
Hidden Away - EFA
BEST FILM EDITING
Nomadland (6) - AWFJ, BOFCA, GWNYFCA, NDFS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, COFCA, HFCS, MCFCA
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (2) - BSFC, CFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - MCFCA, SDFCS
The Father - LAFCA
Once More Unto The Breach - EFA
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
The Endless Trench - EFA
Mank - HFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Soul (13) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, LAFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Tenet (3) - IFJA, MCFCA, SCA
Mank (2) - HFCS, NDFS
Berlin Alexanderplatz - EFA
Minari - BSFC
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
One Night In Miami (5) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Over The Moon - NDFS
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Mank (9) - CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, LAFCA, MCFCA, NDFS, SDFCS, StLFCA
First Cow - SFBAFCC
The Personal History Of David Copperfield - EFA
Little Girl - EFA
Sound Of Metal - HFCS
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Tenet (6) - DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, NCFCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - CFCA, CIC
The Platform - EFA
Possessor - FFCC
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Soul (15) - AWFJ, BFCC, CCA, CIC, DFCS, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, OFCC, PFCC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Wolfwalkers (7) - BOFCA, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, NYFCC, SDFCS
Josep - EFA
The Wolf House - BSFC
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Another Round (8) - AWFJ, CFCA, EFA, IFJA, MCFCA, NCFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Minari (3) - COFCA, DFCS, GWNYFCA
Bacurau (2) - BOFCA, NYFCC
The Life Ahead (2) - HFCS, SDFCS
And Then We Danced - NDFS
A Sun - HFCS
Beanpole - LAFCA
Collective - NSFC
His House - CIC
Identifying Features - GOTHAM
Jumbo - PFCC
La Llorona - BSFC
Los Fuertes - FFCC
Martin Eden - OFCC
Night Of The Kings - BFCC
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Time (7) - BFCC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, NYFCC, PFCC, SDFCS
Dick Johnson Is Dead (5) - CCA, CFCA, COFCA, IFJA, NCFCA
Collective (4) - BSFC, EFA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Boys State (3) - CIC, DFCS, OFCC
All In: The Fight For Democracy (2) - AWFJ, NDFS
The Painter And The Thief (2) - AWFJ, BOFCA
Beastie Boys Story - HFCS
Crip Camp - IDA
My Octopus Teacher - HFCS
The Social Dilemma - MCFCA
A Thousand Cuts - GOTHAM
You Don't Nomi - FFCC