Tuesday, February 28, 2017

REVIEW: "John Wick: Chapter Two" is another part of a book I want to keep reading!

John Wick: Chapter Two Review
I was pretty big fan of "John Wick," I love any solid revenge flick. Being an animal person, I loved the way they deconstructed the idea of a revenge flick. I liked how Wick lost something dear to him but it wasn't more of the same. Then it just turns into one awesome, crazy action movie. Its an action movie that is brought to life by an amazing cast of characters, all of whom made it count more than it had to. I loved the movie, but anytime there is talk of a sequel, there is always some hesitation. Any time there is talk of a sequel, I get instantly nervous that I am going to see the same movie a second time. I mean at the end of "John Wick," we see him walk off with another dog, and I don't know if I had the stomach of seeing the brutal death of another dog.

As I watched this second film unfold, there are some similarities. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) wants to finally begin his retirement from being a badass hitman. But he is greeted by a man from his past. This man is Santino D'Antino (Riccardo Scamarcio). Apparently, this Santino guy helped wick with that big job that made him legend. It was supposed to be a known rule that if Santino ever needed Wick's help, that Wick would honor that rule. But Wick really wants out of the hitman business, he begs Santino to find someone else. Santino agrees to leave, but not before blowing up Wick's house. Thankfully, Wick's new dog wasn't in the house and SPOILER ALERT, all dogs are alive by the end of the film.

Wick heads for the Continental Hotel in New York, the hotel from the first film that seems to house the worst of the worst from around the world. He meets with The Manager (Ian McShane) who tells Wick that one of the two unbreakable codes of the underworld are that he must honor the rule of the Marker, which Santino set up with Wick before his unbreakable task. Wick finally decides to meet with Santino for his task. Santino wants Wick to kill his sister so that he can be a high ranking member of a group of crime lords. Wick accepts this job.

But crime lords being crime lords, nobody keeps their word, and soon Wick's life is once again in danger. Once again, its Wick versus the world. So it may be similar to the first film in some aspects, but its not a complete tread of water. While the first film was about a man being forced back into a world that won't let him go, "Chapter 2" is a film where the past continues to haunt you, and the realization that there maybe no way to escape your past. 

The film once again benefits from an A-list cast that makes this little revenge movie count more than it should. Keanu Reeves throws himself into every scene, every moment, he chews on every piece of dialogue like its the last time he'll ever star in a movie. I don't know what it is about this franchise, but it has awoken Reeves in a way that is exciting. It was also fucking awesome to see Neo and Morpheus share oxygen on the same set again. Yes, Laurence Fishburne shows up as a crime lord who helps Wick during a crucial moment in the film. It was awesome to see the two bounce off of each other again. McShane, John Leguizamo, Ruby Rose, Common...everyone does better than average work here. What ensues is a revenge movie that matters more than it should.

Also its fucking fun as hell to watch!

The action this time around seems to be grittier, edgier and zanier than before. Its a more pulse-pounding, blood-soaked experience this time. I am not trying to say that a more violent movie makes a better movie. But any sequel makes everything bigger in scale. The action is no different here, this is an upgrade that is more badass than ever before.

This was a franchise I would have never guessed would have become a thing. But now its a thing and now I am wildly excited about it. There is a set up for a third film so juicy that its got to happen. Honestly, it probably will happen. This sequel has already overtaken the monetary profit of the first film so this third film is guarantee. I hope they can find cool ways to expand this world, up the stakes for Wick and keep churning out kick-ass films. Here's to hoping they can continue to pull it off.

FINAL GRADE: A-

Script Review: "Bright"

Here's my very first script review!

If you were watching the Oscars on Sunday, you probably saw the first trailer for Netflix's "Bright." A movie starring Will Smith. The film is being directed by David Ayers, who also directed "Suicide Squad," so this will be the pairs second time working together. Ayers has also directed or been involved in other films such as "End of Watch," "Fury," "Sabotage" and "Training Day."

That's actually really important, because much like "Training Day," "End of Watch" and "Sabotage," Ayers is returning to the gritty underworld of Los Angeles and dabbling in the world of crime and corruption with "Bright." Except this time, there is going to be a little twist. I said from the start that if anybody was born to direct "Suicide Squad" its David Ayers. He is absolutely perfect in dealing in shades of grey with cops and robbers, highlighting corruption, showing us the dark corners of urban life in the City of Angels. I just wish that DC and Warner Brothers stayed out of his way, he would have given us a much better movie.

Something must have clicked though working on such a high concept, because in "Bright," he will taking a high concept and he is dropping it in his usual, seedy, criminal backdrop. "Bright" is a movie where humans and fantasy creatures live together. But they are not living in harmony, apparently there was some kind of war thousands of years ago between humans and fantasy creatures. There was some Dark Lord and bad magic and it seems the humans won. There is still a deep mistrust between humans and fantasy creatures, but they are sharing the Earth. Scott Ward (the character Will Smith will be playing), is a beat Los Angeles police officer who is very loyal to his partner Jakoby (who will be played by Joel Edgerton) who is an Orc. (Yes, the race of monsters from Warcraft and Lord of the Rings).

If you think that this movie is simply going to be "Lord of the Rings" in LA, you are sadly mistaken. What I really like about this script right from the beginning is how grounded everything is. The movie is not going to spend lots of time over-explaining anything in the background. Not according to this script. We as an audience are going to accept that this is a story about a strange world where Orcs, Elves, witches and fairies all exist. There are some fantasy movies that explain and explain and explain themselves, making sure the audience understands that they are in a fantasy world. Other films don't explain at all and it feels like a nuisance. It seems "Bright" is able to find the right balance, we get clues and hints at the larger history of this weird world, but its not spoon fed to us. I like that. This movie is going to need an outstanding director who has an outstanding eye for detail. That's part of the reason why Ayers is as good as he is. He has a keen eye on small details that work wonders in his movies. That is definitely what got "Suicide Squad" the Oscar on Sunday. If he brings that same detail to "Bright," and it looks from the first trailer that he has, we are going to be in for a treat. Yes, it looks like there will be some special effects work in this film, but it will mostly be grounded in reality, and I am curious to see how Ayers handles it.

Scott Ward and Jakoby are radioed to a house and a shoot-out occurs. They easily take out their opponents, go into the house and find a bloody and odd crime scene. There are a bunch of dead people in the house, people they did not shoot. They all died in very eerie ways, unnatural ways. They also find something that both of them have never really seen first hand, something rare, something that got that house full of people killed. They find a magic wand. In this story, magic wands magic wands are rare. Apparently there is one in the Smithsonian, but they are barely seen by anyone. Even in a world with fantasy creatures. Its a big fucking deal that this wand is here and people died by it. When some other cops get to the scene, they want to bury the wand. They are very aware of the power of the wand. Apparently because its magic is so great, you can do anything with it. "It makes your dick bigger" one of the cops says. They want to get rid of the wand and pin the murders on Ward's Orc partner. Ward doesn't want to do it. He has no choice. They want him to kill Jakoby. He pretends to do it, but then kills the other cops instead.

If you couldn't tell from a couple of the above paragraphs, yes this movie is a comment on our current society and culture. You may scream and moan and groan. You may say that you are going to delete your Netflix account over this. But minorities living in poverty, racism, and mistrust of police are all relevant topics that are happening right now. I give this script credit for shedding light on these topics without shoving a political agenda down your throat. Yes, there are some big metaphors at play here, but it doesn't derail the story. It elevates the material.

With the wand in the possession of Ward and Jakoby, forced to work with an Elf Girl trying to keep the wand from them, they are on the run. Because everybody is after the wand. Everyone. Human gangs. Orc Gangs. Federal agents. Corrupt cops. And most dangerous of all, the witch that accidentally left it at the scene. Oh yes, that wand belonged to the witch and the wand has special magical powers that keep our trio from getting very far in either direction. This is going to be a balls-to-the-wall action film as these three people try to survive the night. Things get crazy in several parts of the film. Its also a juicy lead for Will Smith and an equally juicy roll for Joel Edgerton. There are moments of brutality, moments of honesty and moments of humor and I think Edgerton and Smith are going to do really good work here. The script plays authentic and realistic throughout, save for one fight in the third that will be so bonkers that I honestly can't wait to see it put to screen. "Bright" will be a movie about brotherhood and bravery.

Any problems? Well, the scripts dialogue is pretty good throughout, but falls into cliche and cheese near the end. Its not a complete waste but it is distracting. It is noticeable. I don't know how far into development this script is, but I hope they had a chance to clean up the dialogue at the end a little bit before shooting. The characters are well written here, and we want to see their entire eventuality. For some reason, this script sidesteps what looks to be a big fire fight, and missing out on it feels disappointing. It seems like things wrap up very easily and fast at the end, when we are going to be begging they are drawn out. I hope this is something else that gets changed. There are also a couple of cliche moments we usually find in cop movies like this, and some stuff you can teleplay from the beginning of the script, I just hope those moments don't hit like a thud in the upcoming film.

But from what I've read, I am digging this script. I am ready for this to hit Netflix and I am interested enough in what's coming. I hope this turns to be a hit for Ayers and everyone else involved.

 "Bright" will be released on Netflix this December.



Monday, February 27, 2017

REVIEW: Hopefully, "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" is the final chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Review
I kinda liked the first "Resident Evil" movie. I want to stress the kinda, but I kinda did. I thought it was creepy at some points, I thought it was cool at other points, I thought it ended on a pretty spectacular cliffhanger, and it was decent for what it was. As far as video game franchises turned movie franchises, this first film wasn't bad compared to most. I hoped the same for the other movies in the franchise. Sadly, that never happened.

Every film in the rest of the franchise seemed determined to simply be a bigger version of the first film. Simply doing the same thing over again is braindead on a creative stand point. It also seemed like as the movies got bigger, the scripts got stupider, the dialogue got dumber, the special effects got worse and the acting got worse. It got to the point that I was wondering how these kept making money and why so many were continually invested in this garbage. What was the point of continually going back to franchise that was committed to being done after one movie?

"Resident Evil: The Last Chapter" suffers from the same, familiar problems with the other sequels in this franchise. Its a bigger version of the first film. Except the script is the stupidest of the sequels. The dialogue is the dumbest of the sequels, the special effects is the worst of the franchise. And, you guessed it, the acting is the worst of the franchise. Its a movie that says its the grand finale of this franchise, but ends in such a way that it could continue on, so in all honestly, the movie is a big lie. They will milk this until they can milk it no more, and that is just plain sad. Its not really about anything. Alice (Milla Jovovich) is still chasing Dr. Alexander (Iain Glen) while the doctor sets up more traps for her. She finally learns all of her past! Hooray. Because we were so heavily invested in these characters! Alice runs around and kicks ass and that's it. 

At this point, Milla Jovovich is clearly just phoning it in at this point, and so is Iain Glen. These are actors I normally like, but they are unbearably silly here. Its like they aren't even trying. Why should we care about these characters when the actors themselves really don't care about them? How are we supposed to stay emotionally invested in something that we can't relate to? 

Its weird that we get a "Resident Evil" movie with very few zombies. But honestly? Whatever. I hope I am through with this franchise, its been through with us for over a decade.

FINAL GRADE: D-

Couch Potatoe In Print: The Threequel

Couch Potatoe In Print (The Threequel)
The biggest thing on television last week was the Oscar ceremony. Even though I wrote my initial reaction last night after the ceremony, I wanted to offer up the good, the bad, and the ugly of the ceremony last night. There was plenty to talk about. I am not going to get into the who won what and who should have won, just the moments of ceremony.

THE GOOD

Justin Timberlake's Opening
It doesn't matter who you are or what type of musical artist you are, if you are getting people on their feet, that's a good thing. Not only was Justin Timberlake getting people on their feet, he had them clapping, smiling, grooving and dancing. If a singer has this much control over the crowd, its a good thing. It helps that his song for the movie "Trolls" just happens to be ridiculously catchy. It helps that Timberlake is charismatic to the bone and can put on a good show. This was a vibrant way to open the show, and it was wonderful.

Viola Davis' Acceptance Speech
A big congratulations to Viola Davis on her first Oscar win of her career. Hopefully, it won't be the last time she takes the stage in her career. What I liked most was her rousing, powerful speech. I also very much appreciated that the music members didn't drown her out with music when her speech ran too long. I appreciated the respect and honor on this actresses first win. If only they did that every time.

Oscar Edition Mean Tweets
Okay, it helps to be a fan of Jimmy Kimmel's funny "Mean Tweets" segment in order to appreciate this. But I sure do and I thought the segment he put together was funny.

Tourist Meet Actors
There were some people who didn't like this segment of the show. While I feel it was blatantly staged, I still am incredibly envious that so many lucky movie fans got to meet their favorite actors. And heck, a couple got married by Denzel Friggin' Washington. Not bad at all. I would have had a ball if that was me.

The Real Katherine Johnson

Any time the show takes the time to honor a real person from a movie based on a true story, I think its really sweet and sincere. Katherine Johnson, who was a really NASA numbers girl who helped get our astronauts to the moon during the Cold War, may not have done much. But her being able to participate was what mattered. She got a well deserved standing ovation.

 Michael J. Fox and Seth Rogen
I have always enjoyed Michael J. Fox, and I have always felt bad about his Parkinson's disease. Telling from last night, he seems to be doing really good. I love that he was able to present last night. And his "Back To The Future" flashback with Seth Rogen was part of the fun.

 THE BAD

Jimmy Kimmel's Overall Hosting
Let me get this out of the way. I like Jimmy Kimmel. I like his show on ABC. I think he's a good guy. I will even go as far to say that his hosting skills weren't so bad in the beginning of the show. As the ceremony dragged on however, he became increasingly not-funny, increasingly annoying, and his jokes were overlong. Simply keep reading to find out more. I like you Kimmel, but please don't host again.


Kimmel versus Matt Damon
So apparently there is some bad blood between Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel for some reason or another. For some reason their "feud" spilled over into the Oscar ceremony. For some reason, it was a ceremony long joke that got real old, real quick. Especially at the end, when the ceremony should be wrapping up, and Kimmel is compelled to keep the joke alive. I'd be fine with it, if it were actually funny.


The falling refreshments
Again, this was a fun little charming joke at the beginning. But when it kept happening. And kept happening. And kept happening. Well, Kimmel should have known when to pull the plug.


NOT DEAD!
I always feel bad when we loose our artists, no matter if they are major or minor. I hope Janet Patterson is smiling in Heaven. The only problem is...that ain't Janet Patterson. That must have been awkward.

THE UGLY

Meryl Streep Ass-Kissing
Can I ask an honest question here, is Meryl Streep some kind of mob boss in Los Angeles? Does she have blackmail on everyone in Hollywood? Will she send a couple muscle meatheads to your home if we were to go one year without kissing her ass? She's been clocking it in as an actress for decades now, yet we still have to nominate her for something? I have gotten over  the nominations at every turn. But forcing a round of applause simply because she's Meryl Streep was fucking disgusting. I am also pretty sure the movie memory with Javier Bardem was staged. Come on, the guy is from Spain, the film that touched him most is a Meryl Streep movie?

Best Picture gets Steve Harveyed!
Good lord, what a clusterfuck. While I am overjoyed that the underdog got the win over the much predicted winner going into the ceremony. The way it was handled was, quite frankly, stupid. Was Jimmy Kimmel trying to make one last joke? Did Warren Beatty mix something up. Did someone steal Emma Stone's winner card on purpose? Did they make multiple cards for some unknown reason and simply stick one in the wrong envelope? No matter, what happened though was a giant clusterfuck and its just good that both parties handled the situation gracefully. Maybe next year we triple check the envelopes before handing them out?

What were your favorite and least favorite moments?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Reaction to the 89th Annual Academy Awards


I got thirteen of the my twenty-four Oscar predictions right this year. I don't remember the last time I did so poorly on my predictions. It was a night full of upsets, and I guess since we are discussing movies that came out in 2016, that makes perfect sense. Seems perfectly fitting where we would get a Best Picture that won the popular vote and another that won the electoral college. It seems fitting that we would have a ceremony that ended with the revealing of alternative facts or an ode to Steve Harvey or whatever that was. Honestly, I don't feel bad for doing so poorly on my predictions this year. I do them for fun not money. If I did do them for money, I would have a massive problem right now. I think this showing of winners this year proves how strong a movie year it was last night. Usually with the Academy Awards, predicting winners is wildly easy. There always seem to be "givens" with most years, but not this year. This was the most unpredictable year I have seen in awhile and I should have just thrown my prediction sheet to side and enjoyed the ride!

With winners coming from every which way, trying to discuss upsets is a little hard. It seems some winners were never even in the discussion of winning. "Suicide Squad" now has as many Oscars as "Citizen Kane," fucking weird right? We weren't expecting "Hacksaw Ridge" to win in the categories that it did. It's been a weird and strange ceremony this year. But even though everything was a surprise, there were still some big upsets. Casey Affleck winning over Denzel Washington? Tragic. Extremis not getting short documentary? Tragic. That whole Steve Harvey announcement of Best Picture? That was just, beyond tragic. I don't know if they made multiple cards of winners and they accidentally put another Emma Stone winner card in the Best Picture envelope? Or was this a big joke between Warren Betty and Jimmy Kimmel? I am not exactly sure what happened, but it was not funny, it was stupid. I am glad "Moonlight" won though, great great movie. 

How was Jimmy Kimmel as a host? Well, he started out really good, but some the things he was doing got annoying fast, I thought. The dropping candy from the ceiling was funny (maybe) at first, then got old fast. The Matt Damon feud was funny (bigger maybe) at first, but then got old fast. There were moments when Jimmy Kimmel was laugh-out-loud funny and other times where he didn't seem to know what he was doing. I will say I liked the Oscar edition of Mean Tweets. I thought the surprise walkthrough of the Oscar ceremony was cool, although it was blatantly obvious that it was staged. He was just mediocre and I was kinda hoping he'd be great. I am a little sad to write this, but I don't think I really want to see Jimmy Kimmel host this again. I love your show dude, but you're no Oscar host. The Academy needs to find a consistent host to really draw things in each year, like what they did with Billy Crystal or Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. I still hold hope that Seth MacFarlane will be interested in hosting again.

"Suicide Squad" winning best Make-Up was random, and its even more random that "Suicide Squad" has as many Oscars as "Citizen Kane." I am happy for the categories that "La La Land" did win in, I know lots of people find that film to be typical Hollywood dreck, but I throughly enjoyed the film. I was happy Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress and that her heartfelt speech was not cut short to keep the show moving. I am glad "The Jungle Book" won for Visual Effects, even though I would have loved to see it go to "Doctor Strange." I loved that Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor. I am happy Emma Stone won for Best Lead Actress. I liked some of the reflection stories some of the actors did, discussing their favorite movies. Even though I think the Javier Bardem one was made just to stroke Meryl Streep's ego more. Jesus, why does Hollywood worship her so much? I don't agree with our new President on much, but I would discuss with him for five hours on how overrated Meryl Streep truly is as an actress. I mean, she NEEDED a standing ovation at the beginning of the ceremony? Really? What has she done besides playing the same character in every movie? Drop it already! My favorite thing this ceremony did though, was remind me how much I loved "Cinema Paradiso." If you have not seen "Cinema Paradiso," you need to track it down ASAP!

Anyway, weird ceremony overall. But it adds to the flavor of what 2016 as a year truly was. I don't know if I want another Oscar ceremony like it next year, but I hope 2017 presents another rich year of movies where predicting the winners will be just as difficult. Now, its time to officially stick a fork in 2016, its done. Now its time to catch up on 2017. I've got a huge host of new reviews to get going on, and the train to the next ceremony starts all over again right now. Enjoy!

RIP Bill Paxton

RIP Bill Paxton
Bill Paxton was a guy who could do it all. Whether he had a role in a movie or a TV show or even a music video. Whether the role he was playing was a comedy or a drama. Whether he was a hero or villain. Whether he was the lead or a supporting role or just a cameo, Bill Paxton could do it all. He had an extensive career that included a huge host of diverse roles from both movies and television. He has been revered as one of the nicest and kindest people in the entire business. He brought his A-game to everything he did.

There are an avalanche of great roles he had. Some films that will never die. I may not have liked the film "Twister," but that doesn't mean Paxton didn't play his role well. There was his great role in "Apollo 13" where he acted along side Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon. There was his role in "Titantic," and even though he was only in the flashback scenes, he made those scenes count. Or his absolutely bonkers, creepy role in "True Lies." Or his cowardly commando role in "Aliens." Those are the big ones people will talk about, the roles people will bring up most today in conversation. I don't blame them, he was great in all of them.




Some of my favorite Bill Paxton roles were in the films "Near Dark," "Tombstone" and "U-571." "Near Dark" was a vampire western type movie where a group of vampires drove around the desert, and feeding on humans they found. There is a wonderful villainous role that Paxton mastered. "Tombstone" is one of the best modern westerns of all time, and tells the story of Wyatt Earp better than that self-titled garbage that came out in 1994. Paxton plays Earp's brother, and its just another great dramatic performance by Paxton. "U-571" was about a daring Allied mission during World War II where a group of American soldiers overtake a German vessel, only to be confronted by more than they bargained for. Its a fascinating movie, and features a great Paxton performance. There is also "Frality," a little saw, under-appreciated film that not only did Paxton star in, but also directed. Also, "A Simple Plan" was one of the best films of the 1990's. These all may not be the roles that Paxton is readily remembered for, but a rich collection of his work that showcases how much of a range he truly possessed.




Bill Paxton also played one of my favorite villains from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When Bill Paxton was announced that he was going to join "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." I was pretty damn excited. But when it was later found out that he was both The Clairvoyant and a part of HYDRA, my jaw hit the floor. The massive reversal of good guy to bad guy felt like a betrayal for me. Thats what a great villain does, makes you feel something when they are doing their bad deeds. He made this TV show count and he was clearly having a ball playing this character. His passion showed in his work.




We could spend all day talking about the great work done by Bill Paxton. He is a man that will be missed quite a bit.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

My 2017 Oscar Predictions

2017 OSCAR PREDICTIONS
The biggest night of the awards circuit that closes us out for the year is tomorrow. I have spent all week catching up on movies I needed to see. Even though I didn't review them for my site, I loved and adored both "Fences" and "Lion." Seriously, some really good movies there. Its been a whirlwind of a week for me, with wedding stuff and my fiance and I getting things done for our first house that will close at the end of March. Its been exciting and its been hectic and its been strenuous. But as always this time of year I can't wait for tomorrow night.

The Oscars are always kind a weird time for me as well. It seems like the movies I am most passionate about don't win the big awards. Or there are years where I feel strongly about a couple movies, and they just get shunned. In recent years, my favorite film of the year either doesn't win best picture or it gets shunned completely. The later happened this year. Don't get me wrong, I love "La La Land," I think its great. But "American Honey" transported me to a different realm entirely. I watch "La La Land" and I am in awe of how great it is. I watch "American Honey" and I get positively lost in it. That's why its my pick for the best film of the year, and I can't stand that it got shunned. I figured since "Spotlight" won Best Picture last year, that the Academy still had love for  the smaller, more indie films. Not this year though. I should have known better though. "La La Land" is all about Hollywood, acting and the arts. Of course the Academy was going to have sex with it. (Okay, sorry, bad analogy). I'm expecting some big things from "La La Land" tomorrow night, and I feel strongly it will come through.

Below, you will see all the nominees for each category. I will give my final prediction under "Who Will Win" then discuss what could win, what should win and what should have been nominated in each category. See below for my predictions!


WHO WILL WIN: "La La Land"
WHO COULD WIN: "Moonlight"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "La La Land"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "American Honey"
=============================
Casey AffleckManchester by the Sea
Andrew GarfieldHacksaw Ridge
Ryan GoslingLa La Land
Viggo MortensenCaptain Fantastic

WHO WILL WIN: Denzel Washington
WHO COULD WIN: Casey Affleck
WHO SHOULD WIN: Denzel Washington
WHY NO NOMINATION?: Shia LaBeouf, "American Honey"
=============================
Ruth NeggaLoving
Natalie PortmanJackie
Emma StoneLa La Land
Meryl StreepFlorence Foster Jenkins

WHO WILL WIN: Emma Stone
WHO COULD WIN: Natalie Portman
WHO SHOULD WIN: Emma Stone
WHY NO NOMINATION?: Sasha Lane, "American Honey"
=============================
Mahershala AliMoonlight
Jeff BridgesHell or High Water
Lucas HedgesManchester by the Sea
Dev PatelLion
Michael ShannonNocturnal Animals

WHO WILL WIN: Mahershala Ali
WHO COULD WIN: Dev Patel
WHO SHOULD WIN: Michael Shannon (lots of people think Hedges should win, but Shannon was excellent. This is a COMPETATIVE year for this category.)
WHY NO NOMINATION?: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, "Nocturnal Animals"
=============================
Viola DavisFences
Naomie HarrisMoonlight
Octavia SpencerHidden Figures
Michelle WilliamsManchester by the Sea

WHO WILL WIN: Viola Davis
WHO COULD WIN: Octavia Spencer
WHO SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis
WHY NO NOMINATION?: Janelle Monae, "Moonlight"
=============================

WHO WILL WIN: "Zootopia"
WHO COULD WIN: "Kubo And The Two Strings"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Kubo And The Two Strings"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "Sausage Party"
=============================
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

WHO WILL WIN: "La La Land"
WHO COULD WIN: "Arrival"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "La La Land"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "The Witch" seriously, gorgeous movie.
=============================
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

WHO WILL WIN: "Jackie"
WHO COULD WIN: "La La Land"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Jackie"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "Cafe Society"
=============================
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

WHO WILL WIN: "La La Land"
WHO COULD WIN: "Moonlight"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "La La Land" or "Moonlight"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "Hell Or High Water"
=============================
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

WHO WILL WIN: "O.J.: Made In America"
WHO COULD WIN: "I Am Not Your Negro"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "13TH"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "Weiner"
=============================
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Since "Extremis" is the only documentary short I saw, and since I liked that one so much, I am rooting for "Extremis." I don't know enough of this category to make good predictions.
=============================
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

WHO WILL WIN: "La La Land"
WHO COULD WIN: "Hacksaw Ridge"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "La La Land" or "Hell or High Water"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "Manchester By The Sea"
=============================
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

WHO WILL WIN: "Toni Erdmann"
WHO COULD WIN: "The Salesman"
WHO SHOULD WIN: N/A
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "The Handmaiden" That was the see all-be all foreign language film of last year.
=============================
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

WHO COULD WIN: "Star Trek Beyond"
WHO COULD WIN: "A Man Called Ove"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Star Trek Beyond" (no way The Academy will give it to "Suicide Squad")
WHY NO NOMINATION?: umm.. "Rogue One," "Fantastic Beasts," "Jackie," "Doctor Strange," even "Hacksaw Ridge." Weird year for this category.
=============================
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

WHO WILL WIN: "La La Land"
WHO COULD WIN: "Moonlight"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "La La Land"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "The BFG"
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Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
"City Of Stars" from La La Land
Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
"The Empty Chair" from Jim: The James Foley Story
Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
"How Far I’ll Go" from Moana
Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

WHO WILL WIN: "City of Stars"
WHO COULD WIN: "Can't Stop The Feeling!"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "City of Stars"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: LITERALLY ANY SONG FROM "SING STREET" How "Sing Street" isn't somewhere here is baffling to me.
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Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

WHO WILL WIN: "La La Land"
WHO COULD WIN: "Fantastic Beasts" or "Arrival"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Fantastic Beasts"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: Again, is there something against horror titles, because "The Witch" would be perfect for this.
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Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

I always wildly guess in this category.
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Ennemis Intérieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

I always wildly guess in this category.
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Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

WHO WILL WIN: "Hacksaw Ridge"
WHO COULD WIN: "Deepwater Horizon" or "Arrival"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Hacksaw Ridge" one of the few things I really liked from that movie.
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "Captain America: Civil War" or "Rogue One"
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Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

WHO WILL WIN: "La La Land"
WHO COULD WIN: "Arrival"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Rogue One"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "DEADPOOL"
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Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

WHO WILL WIN: "The Jungle Book"
WHO COULD WIN: "Kubo And The Two Strings" I do have a fool's hope for "Doctor Strange"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Doctor Strange"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them"
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Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

WHO WILL WIN: "Moonlight"
WHO COULD WIN: "Hidden Figures"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Arrival"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: Does "Captain America: Civil War" count? "Nocturnal Animals"
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Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

WHO WILL WIN: "Manchester By The Sea"
WHO COULD WIN: "La La Land"
WHO SHOULD WIN: "The Lobster"
WHY NO NOMINATION?: "American Honey" or "Arrival"