Watching awards shows can be a chore, particularly one as long as the Academy Awards. Maybe you haven’t seen the movies. Maybe you wish they’d skip the musical performances. But you can still care if you play along in an Oscar pool. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for people who may not have seen all (or any) of the movies, along with picks that ought to help you win, or at least compete, in your pool.
Best movie: “La La Land” will probably win; it’s the safest pick. But if you want to sound smart, when they call its name say, “Moonlight was better.”
Best actor: Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea.” There’s a small chance Denzel Washington could win for “Fences,” but that’s not a bet worth taking. What to say when Affleck wins: “He was great, but the movie was so depressing.”
Best actress: Emma Stone for “La La Land.” She sang, she danced, she acted up a storm. Plus, seemingly everyone in Hollywood likes her. It’s possible Isabelle Huppert could win, but not likely. What to say when Stone wins: “She’s from Scottsdale, you know.”
Best supporting actor: Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight.” This is as sure a thing as there is, with one possible exception. Well-deserved. What to say when he wins: “He was wasted in ‘Hidden Figures.’”
Best supporting actress: Viola Davis for “Fences.” The other sure thing, even more so than Ali. Some people touted Michelle Williams for “Manchester by the Sea,” and she was great. But no one is going to beat Davis. What to say when Davis wins: “She won a Tony for this role on Broadway.”
Best director: Damien Chazelle for “La La Land.” You don’t see a lot of old-fashioned musicals anymore, but that’s what Chazelle made. There is some chance that Barry Jenkins could win for “Moonlight,” but it’s not a big one. What to say when Chazelle wins: “He’s only 32. Now what?”