And the real winner is welcome to the Observers alternative Oscars

The nominations for the 2017 Academy Awards are out. Our team of critics make their own shortlists of the films and artists theyd like to see with a statuette

Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

Best picture my shortlist (favourite first)

I, Daniel Blake
La La Land

Moonlight trailer: Barry Jenkinss Oscar-tipped drama video

Many of my favourite films of last year (Under the Shadow, Notes on Blindness, A United Kingdom) were either ineligible or not submitted in the main Oscar categories, but the omission of I, Daniel Blake from the best picture list is a very regrettable oversight. I would have liked to see Almodvars Julieta up there too, along with Ava DuVernays brilliant documentary 13th, which now seems more relevant than ever. I loved La La Land, but Moonlight deserves the top prize.
Will win: La La Land

Best director

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Andrea Arnold (American Honey)
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Ava DuVernay (13th)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight. Photograph: EPA

Barry Jenkins gets my vote for the astonishing Moonlight, although hell probably lose out to Damien Chazelle on the night. Its slightly depressing (if unsurprising) to see the Academy choosing another all-male list. Id have liked to have seen nominations for Ava DuVernay (her 13th is up for best documentary) and Andrea Arnold for her dazzling American Honey, which was completely overlooked.
Will win: Damien Chazelle

Best actor

Casey Affleck (Manchester By the Sea)
Dave Johns (I, Daniel Blake)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
Tom Hiddleston (High-Rise)

Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea. Photograph: Allstar/STUDIOCANAL/UPI

A United Kingdom didnt open in the US in time to qualify, so David Oyelowos brilliant portrayal of Seretse Khama isnt in the running nor is Shah Rukh Khans dynamic dual role in Fan. In their absence, my vote goes to Casey Affleck, the tortured heart of Manchester By the Sea. Id also nominate Tom Hiddleston for his mercurial role in Ben Wheatleys overlooked High-Rise.
Will win: Casey Affleck

Best actress

Amy Adams (Arrival)
Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
Isabelle Huppert (Things to Come)
Ruth Negga (Loving)
Emma Stone (La La Land)

Amy Adams in Arrival. Photograph: Jan Thijs/AP

With brilliant turns in both Arrival and Nocturnal Animals, it is this years major Oscar mistake that Amy Adams has been overlooked in both actress categories. I havent seen Elle, but Isabelle Huppert would get my nomination for her mesmerising turn in Mia Hansen-Lves Things to Come. A nod from me, too, for Annette Bening who delivers a vibrant, complex performance in 20th Century Women.
Will win: Emma Stone

Best supporting actor

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Issei Ogata (Silence)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

Mahershala Ali, left, and Alex Hibbert in Moonlight. Photograph: David Bornfriend/AP

If I were choosing a supporting actor nominee for Nocturnal Animals, Aaron Taylor-Johnson would have the edge over Michael Shannon. Id also include Issei Ogata for Scorseses Silence; the film may be flawed, but he is note-perfect. Hugh Grant is on the cusp of the actor/supporting actor categories; Ive put him in the latter. Ultimately, however, Mahershala Ali gets my vote for Moonlight, and looks like a firm favourite.
Will win: Mahershala Ali

Best supporting actress

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Viola Davis (Fences)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Naomie Harris in Moonlight. Photograph: AP

Wouldnt it have been wonderful to see Hayley Squires pick up a nomination here? Was there a more powerful scene in cinema last year than the food bank sequence from the harrowing yet uplifting I, Daniel Blake? This is a strong category, with Viola Davis out in the lead for Fences, and strong competition from Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures. Id give the award to Naomie Harris for her key role in Moonlight, clearly a passion project for all involved.
Will win: Viola Davis

Best foreign-language film

Under the Shadow
Fire at Sea
Toni Erdmann

Narges Rashidi, centre, in Under the Shadow.

I havent yet seen all the films on the Oscar shortlist, so some surprises clearly still await me. But my favourite film of 2016, Babak Anvaris electrifying Under the Shadow, was the UK entry in this category, and its a terrible shame this masterpiece didnt make it through to the nominations. Set in Tehran, shot in Jordan, and filmed in Persian, Anvaris ghostly chiller boasts brilliant performances by Narges Rashidi and Avin Manshadi. It is utterly overwhelming.
Will win: Toni Erdmann

Wendy Ide, Observer film writer

Best picture my shortlist (favourite first)

Fire at Sea
Certain Women
Manchester By the Sea

A scene from Fire at Sea. Photograph: AP

While there is no actual rule that says a documentary cant be eligible for best picture, to date none has been nominated. Many hoped that the 2009 decision to increase the number of best picture nominations allowed to 10 meant that docs, animation and foreign-language films would get a look in. And few are more deserving and more timely than the extraordinary Fire at Sea, a film about the migrant crisis which is as lyrical as it is unflinching.
Will win: La La Land

Best director

Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women)
Mia Hansen-Lve (Things to Come)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Pablo Larran (Neruda)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea)

Kelly Reichardt, director of Certain Women. Photograph: Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Come on, Academy, you couldnt find a single female director to nominate? Mia Hansen-Lve certainly deserves a spot, for her bracingly intellectual portrait of a woman at a crossroads, Things To Come. But my winner is Kelly Reichardt: she doesnt make the kind of big, bold statement movies that stamp their technique all over the screen. Hers are low-key, humane. The gentleness of Certain Women belies the skill with which she weaves together the three stories.
Will win: Kenneth Lonergan

Best actor

Casey Affleck (Manchester By the Sea)
Shahab Hosseini (The Salesman)
Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Lewis MacDougall (A Monster Calls)

Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini in The Salesman. Photograph: Cannes film festival

I loved the careworn ache of Vincent Lindon in Measure of a Man and Shahab Hosseinis mercurial turn in The Salesman, but sometimes a performance is so powerful, so consuming, it eclipses everything else around it. This year, Casey Afflecks remarkable, raw turn in Manchester By the Sea, in which he conveys so much with such economy, is just that.
Will win: Casey Affleck

Best actress

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
Krisha Fairchild (Krisha)
Rebecca Hall (Christine)
Taraji P Henson (Hidden Figures)

Isabelle Huppert in Elle. Photograph: Allstar/SBS Productions/Picturehouse Entertainment

It was a particularly strong year for lead actress performances I could have filled this category many times over, at least half of them with roles played by Isabelle Huppert. But while I loved the warmth of Annette Bening in 20th Century Women, and the fractured sadness of Rebecca Hall in Christine, no other actor on the planet could have inhabited a treacherously complex character like the one in Elle as persuasively as Isabelle Huppert.
Will win: Emma Stone

Best supporting actor

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Hayden Szeto (The Edge of Seventeen)
Michael Barbieri (Little Men)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester By the Sea)
Gael Garca Bernal (Neruda)

Hailee Steinfeld and Hayden Szeto in The Edge of Seventeen. Photograph: Murray Close/AP

The supporting actor/actress category is often the most interesting; without the burden of carrying a film, the actor is free to takeye-catching e risks. This is certainly true of Hayden Szeto, with his deliciously off-kilter comic turn in The Edge of Seventeen, and Michael Barbieri practically bounces off the edge of the frame in Little Men. But the magnetic Mahershala Ali, also great in Hidden Figures, provides the beating heart of Moonlight.
Will win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Best supporting actress

Lily Gladstone (Certain Women)
Janelle Mone (Hidden Figures)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Michelle Williams (Manchester By the Sea)
Kristen Stewart (Certain Women)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s