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)

Moonlight
I, Daniel Blake
Julieta
La La Land
13th

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
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
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
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
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
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
Chevalier
Fire at Sea
Julieta
Toni Erdmann

Narges
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
Moonlight
Neruda

A
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
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
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
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
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)

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Cut down to size: readers’ photos on the theme of small

For last weeks photography assignment in the Observer New Review we asked you to share your photos on the theme of small via GuardianWitness. Heres a selection of our favourites

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/community/gallery/2017/jan/29/cut-down-to-size-readers-photos-on-the-theme-of-small

Children held in Iraq over suspected Isis links ‘say they were tortured’

Human Rights Watch says boys detained in Kurdistan region said they had been beaten, burned and given electric shocks

Children detained by Iraqs Kurdistan regional government on suspicion of connections to Islamic State say they were tortured, according to a report from an international human rights group.

The children who have not been formally charged with a crime said they were held in stress positions, burned with cigarettes, shocked with electricity and beaten with plastic pipes, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York based international watchdog.

More than 180 boys under the age of 18 are being held, HRW estimates, and government officials have not informed their families where they are, increasing the likelihood of the children being disappeared.

Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at HRW, said: Legitimate security concerns do not give security forces licence to beat, manhandle or use electric shocks on children.

Many children escaping from Isis are victims who need help, yet face further abuse by Asayish [Kurdish security] forces.

The rights group said it had interviewed 19 boys aged 11 to 17 while they were in custody at a childrens reformatory in Erbil. The group said the interviews had been conducted without a security official or intelligence officer present.

As Iraqi security forces have retaken territory from Isis over the past year and a half, they have also detained hundreds of men and boys.

Many of those detained are likely to have suffered inhumane treatment or been tortured. Rights groups warn that such practices risk sowing resentment against Iraqi security forces in the wake of military victories against Isis.

If the authorities and the international coalition really care about combatting Isis, they need to look beyond the military solution, and at the policies that have empowered it, said Belkis Wille, the senior Iraq researcher for HRW.

Policies like torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of property and displacement are and will continue to [be] drivers for victims families to join extremist groups, she added.

Iraqi forces have pushed Isis out of nearly all the cities and towns the group once held in Iraq. Mosul is the last major urban centre Isis holds in Iraq and Iraqi forces have retaken half the city since the operation was officially launched in October.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/29/children-iraq-isis-say-tortured-human-rights-watch

Children held in Iraq over suspected Isis links ‘say they were tortured’

Human Rights Watch says boys detained in Kurdistan region said they had been beaten, burned and given electric shocks

Children detained by Iraqs Kurdistan regional government on suspicion of connections to Islamic State say they were tortured, according to a report from an international human rights group.

The children who have not been formally charged with a crime said they were held in stress positions, burned with cigarettes, shocked with electricity and beaten with plastic pipes, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York based international watchdog.

More than 180 boys under the age of 18 are being held, HRW estimates, and government officials have not informed their families where they are, increasing the likelihood of the children being disappeared.

Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at HRW, said: Legitimate security concerns do not give security forces licence to beat, manhandle or use electric shocks on children.

Many children escaping from Isis are victims who need help, yet face further abuse by Asayish [Kurdish security] forces.

The rights group said it had interviewed 19 boys aged 11 to 17 while they were in custody at a childrens reformatory in Erbil. The group said the interviews had been conducted without a security official or intelligence officer present.

As Iraqi security forces have retaken territory from Isis over the past year and a half, they have also detained hundreds of men and boys.

Many of those detained are likely to have suffered inhumane treatment or been tortured. Rights groups warn that such practices risk sowing resentment against Iraqi security forces in the wake of military victories against Isis.

If the authorities and the international coalition really care about combatting Isis, they need to look beyond the military solution, and at the policies that have empowered it, said Belkis Wille, the senior Iraq researcher for HRW.

Policies like torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of property and displacement are and will continue to [be] drivers for victims families to join extremist groups, she added.

Iraqi forces have pushed Isis out of nearly all the cities and towns the group once held in Iraq. Mosul is the last major urban centre Isis holds in Iraq and Iraqi forces have retaken half the city since the operation was officially launched in October.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/29/children-iraq-isis-say-tortured-human-rights-watch

Malaysia: boat carrying dozens of Chinese tourists missing off Borneo

Boat was on its way to Pulau Mengalum, an island known for its pristine beaches and dive sites, west of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah state

A boat carrying 31 people, including 28 Chinese tourists, has gone missing in the waters off Borneo island, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said on Sunday.

The owner of the boat reported it missing on Saturday evening and we have begun a search and rescue mission, Awil Kamsari, a spokesman from the agency said.

In addition to the tourists, a skipper and two crew members were also on board when the boat sailed out on Saturday morning, the spokesman said, adding that weather conditions were bad on the day.

They were on their way to Pulau Mengalum, an island known for its pristine beaches and dive sites, west of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah state.

A statement by Chinas foreign ministry said around 20 Chinese tourists were on the boat, while state television reported that its consulate in Sabah had confirmed that at least 18 Chinese nationals were on board.

An area of 400 nautical square miles is being searched with officers from the agency, the police, the navy and the airforce involved.

Malaysia navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin tweeted that it was so sad as it happened on CNY (Chinese New Year) and said navy ships and a C130 aircraft were onsite for the search and rescue operation.

I, like all the relatives of those on board, am hoping for progress in the search and rescue operation, Sabahs Tourism Minister Masidi Manjun told AFP.

Our forces are trying their best.

However, bad weather conditions were hampering on-going search efforts, authorities said.

Chinas foreign ministry said that its consulate general in Kota Kinabalu had contacted Malaysian authorities and urged them to do all that they could to rescue the tourists.

This incident comes about a week after a boat tragedy in the southern Malaysian state of Johor.

Several bodies washed ashore at a beach near the east coast town of Mersing in Johor on Monday after a boat believed to be carrying some 40 Indonesian illegal immigrants capsized in rough seas.

 

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/29/malaysia-boat-carrying-dozens-of-chinese-tourists-missing-off-borneo

Trump’s vetting order prompts outcry ‘for everyone who believes in freedom’

Activists and analysts lead condemnation of executive order, warning of dangers to counter-terror efforts as the US fails to stand by its principles

Mousa al Mosawys mother woke him this week with a call from Iraq, frightened and in floods of tears. She was afraid not of attacks at home, but that a new US law could end her sons education or stop her from seeing him for years.

Donald Trump had not yet signed his executive order calling for new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States.

But early reports that the US president planned to ban citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries from entering the US looked like they would directly affect Al Mosawy, an Iraqi citizen studying law at Boston College on a student visa.

My mother was quite disturbed by this, he said. After he had consoled her and hung up, he began the far more difficult task of quieting his own fears about the executive order on immigration.

It included severe restrictions on immigration from those seven countries, implemented a 120-day halt to all refugee admissions and an indefinite ban on all refugees from Syria.

Trumps refugee ban provokes criticism at home and abroad video report

Al Mosawy, 24, is a wheelchair user and believes he would have little hope of finishing his education or launching a career if he were forced to return home.

Im from Iraq, I dont have residency in any other country, so for me [being forced to leave the US], would mean going back to Iraq, he said in a phone interview.

I have a disability and I think if I am not able to stay in this country I will not be able to finish my education. So it would be basically be a full stop to my career.

Al Mosawy said the conflicting early reports and rumours about how the new controls might work were even more frightening than the draft version that was leaked, which called for an initial 30-day ban on visas for Iraqis. The final order made that ban 90 days long.

It is far from clear how a screening process might work and the overall message sent out by the order is chilling, particularly for someone who has always felt welcome in America.

It was a stark contrast to what I had experienced previously, Al Mosawy said. Its not like Muslims have not faced persecutions or harassment in the US, I just was privileged not to personally deal with that and felt very welcomed.

In those Middle Eastern and North African countries affected by the order Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria few people were surprised.

Trumps election campaign was shot through with attacks on Muslims, including proposals to create a registry of American Muslims, plans for a ban and the hounding of a Gold Star family whose son died for his country.

But activists and analysts, many of whom have risked their own lives to push for democracy at home, warn that the order will still damage Americas soft power, built on its role as a champion of freedom.

For civil society, for democracy, for everyone who believes in freedom, its a big blow, and for Americans themselves, not just for the world, said Farea Al-Muslimi, Yemeni activist and co-founder of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies.

Anticipation of the new executive order had in effect grounded Al-Muslimi and his staff, who travel regularly to the US, though ironically it may mean little in practical terms for Yemenis at home.

The Saudi-led coalition backing one side in the raging civil war has in effect closed the main airport, meaning no one can leave anyway, he said.

The executive order may also diminish support for another of Trumps stated priorities, the global battle against extremism, by targeting countries on the frontline. Both their support and their knowledge may be lost to Washington, if their citizens are prevented from travelling.

I cannot think of another country that has given more in the fight against the Islamic State, said Rasha Al Aqeedi, a research fellow at Al Mesbar Studies and Research Center and an Iraqi citizen.

She pointed to hundreds of lives lost in the recent difficult push to dislodge the terror group from its biggest Iraqi base, the city of Mosul. The battle has been grinding on for months, and could last into the spring.

I feel including Iraq in a terror prone states list disregards the thousands of lives sacrificed over the past 100 days to liberate half of Mosul.

For Syrians who have been fighting both Isis and the autocratic rule of President Bashar al-Assad for over half a decade, rejection by a country that once hailed their fight for greater accountability is particularly bitter.

We need to be clear that the US is not willing to pull its weight or stand by its principles as a democracy, said Salim Salamah, director of the Palestinian League for Human Rights Syria, and twice a refugee. He grew up in a camp for Palestinians in Syria, and then fled Syria for Europe during the civil war.

I think one of the most scary aspects of the executive order is that its clearly indicating that part of the vetting process [for refugees seeking settlement in the US] is going to be based on religious beliefs, which ignores the fact that Muslims themselves have been the victims of radical groups.

Even before details of the executive order were released, it had begun affecting the work of activists such as Nadwa Al-Dawsari, a Yemeni citizen working in the US as a conflict analyst and fellow at the Project on Middle East Democracy.

She provides vital understanding of a country that is home to both an al-Qaida franchise and a committed opposition, and where US weapons are fuelling the brutal civil war.

I just cancelled an upcoming trip to Yemen because I worry that I wont be allowed back into the country, Al-Dawsari said, adding that in practical terms the blowback would be felt by the US itself.

What Trump is doing is simply a blanket statement that everyone who comes from these countries is a potential terrorist. The implications of that for US counter-terrorism policy in Yemen are certainly a cause of major concern for democracy, for freedoms, and even for counter-terrorism efforts.

That concern is shared by Erica Gaston, a human rights lawyer who has over a decades experience in Afghanistan and Yemen.

We have important national security and humanitarian interests in countries like Yemen, Iraq and other named countries. Working with our local partners to address the security challenges there is more important than ever, and travel and exchange are a big part of that dialogue, said Gaston, a US citizen working at the Global Public Policy institute in Berlin, Germany.

This is not just a question of limiting opportunities for citizens of these countries, although that is certainly true. It is critical for US policy that Yemenis, Iraqis, or other citizens of these countries are able to travel to the US to share what is happening on the ground, upcoming security threats that the US should be aware of, or possible solutions we might work together on.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/28/donald-trump-extreme-vetting-executive-order-muslim-countries