And the Oscar goes to ... ?
We're just days away from Hollywood's biggest night -- the 89th Academy Awards (Feb 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on ABC) -- which means it's crunch time. Time for you to fill out your Oscars ballot and lock in your picks!
This week, Moviefone's editors will be making their picks right along with you, predicting the winners in the show's four biggest categories, starting with a Best Actress. And the nominees are...
- Isabelle Huppert ("Elle")
- Ruth Negga ("Loving")
- Emma Stone ("La La Land")
- Natalie Portman ("Jackie")
- Meryl Streep ("Florence Foster Jenkins")
Here, we're sharing who we think will win, as well as who we feel truly deserves to take home the Academy Award.
Who Will Win: Emma Stone. Because the Academy has a tendency to honor ingenues over experience, nuance, and transcendent acting, Stone will take home the award. I'm not bitter; her performance was jim-dandy. And there's nothing more entertaining than watching a flustered Emma Stone react to her win in what is sure to be a GIF-worthy journey, from seat to podium to pressroom -- and everything in between.
Who Should Win: Isabelle Huppert. To put it bluntly, "Elle" blew my mind -- and Huppert's performance is 95% of the reason I'm still trying put my brain back together. She's fearless, unpredictable, and unequivocally magnetic as Michèle Leblanc. If I muster the courage to watch the film a second time, the primary reason will be to once again witness a supreme talent like Huppert prove that film acting can truly be transcendent.
Who Will Win: Emma Stone.
Who Should Win: Emma Stone. The "Easy A" star delivers career-best work as a struggling actor realizing her dreams' reach may have exceeded her grasp. Recent "La La Land" backlash could make for an upset in this category, with Oscar voters preferring to go with Isabelle Huppert for "Elle" instead of Stone -- BUT the Academy also loves to award a young up-and-comer (re: J-Law). To sway them fully on Team Stone, I hope they rewatch her character's first audition scene, the one where she cries on cue having while faking a phone call. The scene's an all-timer.
Who Will Win: Emma Stone for "La La Land." If anyone else wins, I will honestly be shocked. Even with the awards-domination backlash, the Academy is still going to give this movie all the awards!
Who Should Win: Emma Stone. I'm going to be honest: I didn't love "La La Land." It was fine. But Emma Stone was genuinely delightful and great to watch. Ruth Negga gave an amazing performance in "Loving," but it's Stone's year. Also, her acceptance speech will be amazing and adorable.
Who Will Win: Emma Stone. Not because her performance was particularly outstanding or transformative (it wasn't), but because she will be one of the few spared by the "La La Land" backlash building as we approach the Academy Awards. Her portrayal of a down-on-her-luck actress resonates more with the voters than they would like to indicate.
Who Should Win: Isabelle Huppert. "Elle" received no nominations (aside from Best Actress), which makes it all the more impressive that her powerful and grounded performance stands out.
Who Will Win: Emma Stone. While this could easily tip the other way and award Natalie Portman, whose performance in "Jackie" approaches flawlessness, it'll be Stone who ultimately takes home the trophy. Why? Because "La La Land" is riding the kind of critical and commercial high that few films have (with 14 nominations, it also ties with the most Academy Award nominations for a single film ever). "Jackie" was too difficult, too abstract, and too aggressively stylized for Oscar voters, who probably assumed they'd be getting a standard-issue biopic instead of a fractured investigation of the depths of grief. Stone is terrific -- buoyant, clever, and cute-as-hell; just imagine how adorable her speech will be.
Who Should Win: Isabelle Huppert. Portman was flawless, but Huppert was fearless. There's so much going on with Huppert's titular character in the revenge drama "Elle" -- she's survived a sexual assault and is maneuvering the politics (sexual and otherwise) in the video game company where she works, all while trying to figure out the identity of the masked man who attacked her. Oh, and she's also the daughter of a notorious serial killer who may or may not have participated in her father's ghoulish activities. This is a performance so layered that its layers have layers. And a lot of the more "problematic" aspects melt away in the simple humanity of Huppert's performance. It's nuanced and grateful and utterly unforgettable. If the Academy had guts then they'd award it to Huppert. But they don't, so they won't. It's enough to make you want to seek revenge.