By ASHLEY MUÑOZ
Oscar season is the best time of the year. Better than my birthday. Better than Christmas. Even better than St. Patrick’s Day. It’s my Super Bowl.
What can I say? I really love movies and I really hate my life. It’s the one time of the year I can lay in bed with twizzlers in my hair and have my voice at full volume because “The Social Network” deserved an Oscar!
Here are my psychic predictions for the winners. If they prove to be wrong, it’s because the Academy is wrong. Not me.
- Best Picture – “Moonlight”
The most beautiful and essential film of 2016 must go to “Moonlight” by Barry Jenkins.
This coming of age story, unlike any other, is split among three specific chapters of a young man’s life. You see him overcome the biggest of obstacles. He battles pain, finds love and feels genuine happiness, all while dealing with his inner demons and suppressing who he truly is.
- Actor in leading role – Denzel Washington, “Fences”
Denzel Washington is a man on fire in this beautifully acted drama.
Best actor in the world, duh. “Malcolm X,” “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Glory,” just to name a few. And now he stars in and directs “Fences.” Washington could be in the worst movie in the world and it still would not be an awful movie.
“Fences” was originally a Pulitzer prize-winning play written by August Wilson. The movie, set in the 1950s, tackles America’s socio-economic conditions, race relations and familial tensions.
This story is nothing short of genius, and emotional. If an award higher than the Oscar existed, this film would receive it.
- Actress in leading role – Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Stone has come an extremely long way since “Superbad” and “Easy A,” starring in Oscar-nominated films like “The Help” and “Birdman.” She has finally snagged a leading lady role that shows how talented she truly is.
(I had to put in something from “La La Land.” I’m sure it’ll win everything it’s nominated for but it doesn’t deserve it, trust me. Check out these other films.)
- Actor in supporting role – Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Mahershala Ali has had an amazing year, starting with “Luke Cage,” then “Hidden Figures” and now Oscar-nominated “Moonlight.” There’s nothing he can’t do.
No one in this category deserves the win more than Ali. If he doesn’t win, you can bet your ass I’ll write a strongly worded email to the Academy that will never get read.
- Animated feature film – “Zootopia”
With its undeniable charm, wit and A1 animation, “Zootopia” is the last movie you’d expect from Disney. Its insightful writing focuses on social political issues, using Disney’s humorous, cutesy way.
- Cinematography – “Moonlight”
Hello, yes “Moonlight” again.
Credit James Laxton for the beautiful cinematography. Instead of trying to play it safe, Laxton shot stunning scenes with the boldest lighting in a film this year. He utilizes vivid colors, retains the rich skin tones of the actors and uses high contrast in his favor.
- Directing – “Moonlight”
“Moonlight” again, duh. I’m sorry, but not really. If you haven’t seen “Moonlight,” stop reading this and go watch it. You’re welcome.
Barry Jenkins created the most necessary and flawless film of the year. It’s better than “La La Land,” better than “Arrival.” This coming-of-age story is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s raw, it’s real and it leaves you wanting more.
- Documentary (feature) – “13th”
I’m an avid documentary watcher and “13th” is easily in my top five. Created by Ava DuVernay, the crime/drama documentary zeroes in on America’s past history of racial inequality before focusing on present-day racism in prison systems.
(“13th” is on Netflix. Go watch it. Leave “The Bachelor” alone.)
- Foreign language film – “The Salesman”
Writer-director Asghar Farhadi constructed a brilliantly beautiful film of everyday incidents and packs them with devastating consequences.
Now, I can’t talk about this film without touching on the controversial Muslim ban that President Trump ordered. If it stands, Farhadi will be denied entrance into America.
I’m not trying to get “too” political, I’m simply stating a fact. Everyone should know that a ban could keep an Oscar-nominated director from attending an awards show, in 2017.
Cinema has a history of bringing all people together. Let’s keep it that way.
- Music original song – Moana, “How far I’ll Go”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, notably known for “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” wrote “How Far I’ll Go.”
Miranda tackled a new project in this Disney film, brilliantly scoring an animated heroine story. It captures you from the start with its beautiful themes and composed score.