VOA entertainment reporter Penelope Poulou spent the year reporting on Hollywood films and interviewing the actors and directors about their works of art.

Here are her picks for who will win the coveted Oscar statuette in the major categories on Sunday. Penelope says she thinks this year’s ceremony will be a cliffhanger.

Best Picture – “La La Land”  but I also think “Hidden Figures” could be a surprise winner

Best Director  – Damien Chazelle for “La La Land”

Best Actor – either Denzel Washington for “Fences” or Casey Affleck for “Manchester by The Sea”  – Casey won the Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards) which makes me think he may edge out Denzel

Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight”  – although Dev Patel could be a close second for “Lion”

Best Actress – Emma Stone for “La La Land”

Best Supporting Actress – Viola Davis for “Fences” – if she doesn’t win it will be a story on its own

Best Foreign Language Film – “The Salesman” from Iran  – especially because the director said he would not travel to the U.S. for the Academy Awards ceremony in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration ban – this move mobilized many protests in Los Angeles and has shifted much focus on his film in comparison to his competitors.

If the Iranian film doesn’t win, Penelope thinks “Toni Erdmann” from Germany will take the prize.

Best Documentary Feature – “13th” by Ava du Vernay – she won a Bafta award for this movie so she is likely to also take the Oscar.  “O.J: Made in America” is also popular. A third option would be “Fire at Sea” – based on the rescue of refugees at sea, which has beautiful cinematography – if this wins it will be a political choice, Penelope thinks.


* Penelope says this years choices were particularly good so it’s hard to choose the best in a field of excellent movies



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