Going for the gold: Academy Awards predictions

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With the Academy Awards quickly approaching, here are the movies we predict will take home awards, those we would love to finally see shine and others that could prove to surprise us.

unnamedBest Picture

Who will win: La La Land

Who should win: Moonlight

Wild card: Manchester by the Sea

Damien Chazelle’s magical musical literally leaps in the air with its charming rhythms. It’s a dreamer’s story Hollywood cherishes. But “Moonlight” and Barry Jenkins has a vision and a story that exceeds any expectations. The flawless Indie taking place in the Miami drug scene shouldn’t be overlooked. — Matt Koske

Best Actor

Who will win: Casey Affleck

Who should win: Casey Affleck

Wild card: Denzel Washington

Casey Affleck’s performance in “Manchester by the Sea” has a sly and agitated tone to it. Already securing many wins in the award season so far, Affleck’s a frontrunner for this dawning drama. Keep in mind Denzel Washington’s praised role of Troy Maxson in “Fences.” — Matt Koske

Best Actress

Who will win: Emma Stone

Who should win: Emma Stone

Wild card: Natalie Portman

While Natalie Portman was once the frontrunner of this category, all past awards have proven that this is her year to lose.  Emma Stone’s singning, dancing and emotional depth in “La La Land” has surely locked a trophy for her to take home. — Pat Mullane

Best Director

Who will win: Barry Jenkins

Who should win: Barry Jenkins

Wild card: Damien Chazelle

Barry Jenkins’ profound work on “Moonlight” has stapled him as a magnificent storyteller and filmmaker. His vision through “Little”, “Chiron” and “Black” evolves a timeless tale of masculinity, human self-discovery and connection. A close second is Damien Chazelle’s colorful portrayal of “La La Land.”  Matt Koske

Best Supporting Actor

Who will win: Mahershala Ali

Who should win: Mahershala Ali

Wild card: Dev Patel

The strong and well-desired favorite is Mahershala Ali for his revolutionary role in “Moonlight.” Ali’s momentum of winning heading into the Academy Awards in undeniable. If Patel pulls away with the win it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise because of his growing in popularity leading into the Oscars.  Jesus Montero

Best Supporting Actress

Who will win: Viola Davis

Who should win: Viola Davis

Wild card: Michelle Williams

Davis, a three-time nominee, who could have pulled a Best Actress in a leading role, wins this with her fierce and heartbreaking performance. Purposely deciding to go after best supporting actress, Davis’ Rose Maxson in August Wilson’s “Fences” will finally bring her an Oscar win.

Jesus Montero

Best Adapted Screenplay

Who will win: Moonlight

Who should win: Moonlight

Wild card: Fences

“Moonlight” is the clear favorite with overwhelming support from critics. That support is spot on because of “Moonlight’s” gripping story of self-discovery and the human connection. What Barry Jenkin, screenplay writer and director for “Moonlight,” creates is a piece of art using grounded character to balance breathtaking themes of life is tell this life changing story. — Jesus Montero

Best Original Song

Who will win: La La Land

Who should win: La La Land

Wild card: Moana

With two songs nominated in the category, it’ll be hard for any film to sweep away “La La Land’s” powerhouse musical numbers.  But if there was a song to take the trophy outside of the musical, it’d be “Moana’s” “How Far I’ll Go.”  Pat Mullane

Best Cinematography 

Who will win: La La Land

Who should win: La La Land

Wild card: Moonlight

Adding one more trophy to what’s destined to be a night of a long list of wins, Linus Sandgren’s work on “La La Land” will not only gain him his first nomination but also his first win.  Of course the only film that can beat the musical, may be “Moonlight.”  Pat Mullane