Oscars 2017: What won and what should’ve won

My picks for what should and should not have taken home that golden statue at the 87th Academy Awards

Casey Loving, Reporter

Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.
The red carpet of The 89th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday.

Being a movie fan, the Oscars is basically my Super Bowl. Here are the movies that won at the 89th Academy Awards, and the movies that I wish would’ve won instead.

Note: It is difficult to see a lot of the smaller films nominated, especially the ones that don’t come to nearby theaters. Important films I missed are Moonlight, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion, Captain Fantastic, Elle, Jackie, Moana, Florence Foster Jenkins and Nocturnal Animals.

Supporting Actor:

Who won: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

My vote: Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water. While I am a fan of Mahershala Ali and I did not see Moonlight, I loved Jeff Bridges’ performance in “Hell or High Water.” Bridges delivered an emotional performance that perfectly balanced comedy and drama, cementing the film as one of my favorites of the year.

Makeup and Hair Styling:

What won: Suicide Squad

My vote: Star Trek Beyond

I get this award isn’t about the quality of the movie, but you can’t tell me the powdered cast of “Suicide Squad” is more visually impressive than the exotic creatures of “Star Trek Beyond.” There is absolutely nothing in that “film” that looks even remotely better than the aliens in “Star Trek.” There goes my bracket…

Supporting Actress:

Who won: Viola Davis, Fences

My vote: Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

I may not have seen Fences, but it has been a while since I have seen a scene as emotional as Michelle Williams’ breakout scene in “Manchester by the Sea.” In an incredibly bleak and depressing film, Williams managed to have a scene that stands out as the bleakest and most depressing, and that’s worth an Oscar in my book.

Animated Short:

What won: Piper

My vote: Borrowed Time

While “Piper” is an adorable short film, I desperately wish “Borrowed Time” got the win. “Borrowed Time,” a short film made by some Pixar filmmakers in their spare time, is an animated short film that focuses on a much more adult subject than something you’ll have seen before “Finding Dory.” The short film is beautiful, it’s unique, and it deserves recognition.

Animated Feature:

What won: Zootopia

My vote: Kubo and the Two Strings

“Zootopia” is one of my favorite movies of 2016. It is emotional, it is important, and it is fun. Sadly, it is not better than “Kubo and the Two Strings.” “Kubo and the Two Strings” is a stop-motion animated film that is great for children while still feeling like an epic adventure movie, the likes of which I have not seen in a while. “Kubo and the Two Strings” manages to be one of the most enjoyable movies I saw in 2016 with an emotionally powerful story and beautiful cinematography that proves it belongs in the “Best Visual Effects” category.

Visual Effects:

What won: The Jungle Book

My vote: Doctor Strange

I’ll start this one by saying that of course the movie shot in LA on a sound stage with people in green suits that looks like a jungle with real animals is visually impressive. However, “Doctor Strange” has some of the most visually interesting and impressive action sequences I have ever seen. To me, any scene in the mirror dimension in “Doctor Strange” is just about as impressive as “The Matrix,” “Avatar” and “Inception.” Also, having seen behind-the-scenes clips of “Kubo and the Two Strings,” I would not say I’d be disappointed if that won Best Visual Effects over “The Jungle Book” either.

Original Song:

What won: City of Stars, La La Land

My pick: Audition, La La Land

“La La Land” is my third favorite movie of 2016, so I’m glad it won for Best Original Song. Sadly, I think the wrong song won. While “City of Stars” is the song behind most of the film’s marketing, it’s probably my least favorite song in the film. That’s not to say it isn’t great, but for me “Audition” is a much more emotional, powerful song. I’d also like to plug “Drive It Like You Stole It” from “Sing Street.” It wasn’t nominated, but for me it was definitely the biggest snub of the year, and the best song.

Original Screenplay:

What won: Manchester by the Sea

My pick: Manchester by the Sea

“Manchester by the Sea” is wholeheartedly the movie I wanted to win Best Original Screenplay. I love “La La Land,” but the script of that movie is it’s 10th most appealing quality, and “Hell or High Water” is an amazing screenplay, but it just wasn’t the best for me. “Manchester by the Sea” felt like a somber, emotional experience that never had me bored for a second.

Adapted Screenplay:

What won: Moonlight

My pick: Arrival

Once again, I cannot preface this enough by saying I have not seen “Moonlight.” However, “Arrival” messed with my mind like no other movie this year. “Arrival” had me hooked from the first second to the last, and it had me thinking about what I’d witnessed for a long time after. I don’t often cry in movies, but I was definitely choking up in front of strangers during “Arrival.” I’d say more about what a fantastic screenplay “Arrival” had, but anything else would spoil what is a fantastic movie.


Who won: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

My pick: Affleck

While I have not seen “Fences,” everything about it made it seem like Denzel Washington was over-acting. While I love “La La Land” and Ryan Gosling, that performance was not even my favorite performance by Gosling this year. Casey Affleck delivers such an understated performance in “Manchester by the Sea” it would be very hard for me to vote against him. Everything about his role is subtle, but Affleck delivers everything you could possibly need from the character scene after scene after scene.


Who won: Emma Stone, La La Land

My pick: Stone

Maybe it’s because it’s the only role I saw, but I really liked Emma Stone in “La La Land.” Stone plays such a likable character, delivering a great, realistic performance. Whether she’s singing or acting, Stone perfectly embodies what the character was supposed to be. Her performance of “Audition” is fantastic, her scenes with Ryan Gosling range from funny to emotional, and her performance is one that I simply could not take my eyes off of.


What won: Moonlight/Damien Chazelle

My pick: La La Land/Damien Chazelle

While my favorite movie of the year didn’t get nominated (sorry “Sing Street”), “La La Land” is a fine winner of best picture. Chazelle directs the movie expertly, providing what is one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had in a theater (without the words “Star” or “War” in the title). I have had the songs stuck in my head since I saw the movie in December, and I don’t want to get them out any time soon. If you have not yet seen “La La Land,” do yourself a favor and go see it.

Moment of the night:

Moonlight’s Best Picture win

While I desperately wanted to say that one of Jimmy Kimmel‘s fantastic bits as host was the best moment of the night, that honor must go to “Moonlight’s” Best Picture win. The moment came when the cast and crew of “La La Land” was called on stage by Faye Dunaway. With Oscars in hand, the “La La Land” group was forced to return their awards, for Dunaway had been given the wrong card (reading Emma Stone’s name from “La La Land” for Best Actress) and failed to recognize the correct winners, the group for “Moonlight.” Sorry Steve Harvey, but unique you are no more. It took me a solid minute to realize what had happened, and I can’t say that I fully understand now. I just know I’m disappointed that I thought I had a correct vote on my Oscar ballot. But hey, you’re still a winner to me, “La La Land.” You’re still a winner to me.