The 2017 Academy Awards arrive on Sunday at a moment of severe upheaval in the United States and abroad, and so they will be watched more closely for what’s said at the podium than for the actual winners themselves.
Others can speculate on who will provide the ceremony’s “Meryl Streep moment” and when it will arrive. At the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted proceedings, which begin at 8:30 p.m. on ABC, there are still movies and talented artists to be honored. These are our predictions in the five major categories:
“La La Land”
The original musical set in Hollywood hits all the right marks for a winner in this day and age — it takes a halcyon look at the business, stars two of the biggest actors around and pays loving tribute to the visual splendor of Los Angeles, where most Academy voters live and work.
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
This is a much tougher category to predict; Stone faces stiff competition from the legendary Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”) and Natalie Portman (“Jackie”), but we’re betting “La La” enthusiasm extends to this category.
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
There’s some momentum for a Denzel Washington win for “Fences” here, and Affleck has faced controversy over past sexual harassment allegations, but he seems like a likely bet.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis, “Fences”
One of the great actors around finally gets her due at the Oscars.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Ali has been a dependable character actor for years, and he works magic in “Moonlight.”