We rate, hate and can’t wait for the Oscars 2017

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With the BAFTAs now behind us and just a few days to go, it’s time to think about the big dogs, and look forward to the Oscars. Where previous years have seen some pretty unexciting and unsurprising line-ups, this year’s set of nominees has the potential to really shake up Hollywood, while also showing some interesting choices with a few heartbreaking snubs.

We’re really sad about…

Emma Stone is good. She was fun in Easy A, she’s a brave Gwen Stacy to Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman, and sure, she can (almost) sing in La La Land. But the fact that she is nominated for Best Actress while Amy Adams’ performance in Arrival isn’t even considered reeks of injustice. Adams’ character gives Hollywood the feminist boost that it needs with a tall, intelligent and (here it goes) really strong female character. The Academy will be kicking themselves for this.

Andrea Arnold’s American Honey is a three-hour US road trip odyssey, focusing on Star (newcomer Sasha Lane) as she joins a mag crew and discovers the sweet lust for life of american youth. Like Boyhood’s cool older sibling, the film went down a treat on the festival circuit, but is nowhere to be seen in the Oscars – or in any other awards ceremony for that matter. Sure-fire successes don’t seem so sure anymore unfortunately. Make sure to give it a watch to see what they’re all missing.

We’re particularly excited for…

Following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy last year and one that has plagued the Academy since we can remember, it’s a fantastic relief to see so much diversity. Moonlight tells the story of growing up as a gay black man in Miami, and has a universally beautiful and stirring core. It’s a particularly great year for women of colour too, as Naomie Harris, Viola Davis and Ruth Negga all see their talent noticed. Let’s just hope that Michelle Williams and Emma Stone stay down quietly this time round.

You know Moonrise Kingdom? Do you remember the pop-up appearance of schoolboy Lucas Hedges in it? No? Me neither. Thankfully he is now back with a terrific performance supporting Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea. After Miles Teller was snubbed in Whiplash, Hedges’ nomination is encouraging for young actors and provides a fresh face to what could have been a stale category. Let’s see how he fares opposite Mahershala Ali…

We’re really not surprised at…

Since its festival release late 2015, La La Land has been sweeping up all the awards it can get. It won 7 Golden Globes and is nominated for 14 Oscars, and while it leaves audiences divided, it’s proving to be a universal hit among critics. On a production side, director Damien Chazelle’s ascension is inspiring and deserved after the phenomenal Whiplash missed full recognition in 2014. On top of this, the story, characters and general design all tick the boxes needed for success. It’s a feelgood film with a bittersweet undertone, allowing La La Land to swim blissfully in a pool of glittering glory. However many wins it gets, none will really surprise me.

Although animation is particularly strong this year, Zootopia seems to have it in the bag. Intelligent characters? Check. Politically activist? Check. Catchy song by Shakira? You bet. Zootopia is thoughtful and enjoyable, never pretentious nor patronising. It’s aware of its flaws and embraces its medium, and is set to take home the Oscar.

We’ve called these wins…

Jackie won’t win as much as it deserves, it’ll be a neck-and-neck battle between La La Land and Moonlight, while Manchester by the Sea will see a respectful nod. And Rogue One will win Visual Effects, because did the Oscars even happen if Star Wars didn’t win?

Easy. See you there?

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