Professor Miller Shares 2017 Oscar Predictions

Augustana's Dr. Jeffrey Miller predicts the 2017 Academy Award winners.

He's back with predictions for the 2017 Oscars!

Cinema expert Dr. Jeffrey Miller, chair of the Humanities Division and professor of English, shares his predictions for the 89th annual Academy Awards this weekend.

  • Best Picture: "La La Land."

    • Miller comments: You can bet your mortgage/tuition on "La La Land," if only because it will give some headline writer somewhere the opportunity to come up with “Ooh La La! Musical Dances Off with Oscar.”
  • Best Actor: Denzel Washington, "Fences."

    • Miller comments: The hardest call by far. Both Casey Affleck ("Manchester by the Sea") and Denzel Washington ("Fences") have both won numerous awards already and are both deserving. Politics may well be the ultimate arbiter here: Affleck’s past sexual harassment history and the Academy’s response to both #oscarsowhite and Donald Trump will likely tip the scales toward Denzel. 
  • Best Actress: Emma Stone, "La La Land."

    • Miller comments: Who could ever vote against Jackie Kennedy? Well, people selecting Best Actress this year, as "La La Land’s" bandwagon will carry Emma Stone to a win over Natalie Portman’s evocative portrayal of the widowed FLOTUS.
  • Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, "Fences."

    • Miller comments: She won it the moment the film was released.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, "Moonlight."

    • Miller comments: Jeff Bridges ("Hell or High Water") truly abides, but Mahershala Ali’s portrayal of everything a father should be  except for that drug dealing thing  in "Moonlight" should and will win this category.
  • Best Director: Damien Chazelle, "La La Land."

    • Miller comments: Much more often than not, the Best Picture and Best Director awards are shared by the same film, and this year will be no exception.
  • Best Animated Film: "Zootopia."

    • Miller comments: Look, Ma — no Pixar! But the mothership’s "Zootopia" should keep Oscar in Disney World — although the inventive "Kubo and the Two Strings" has a legitimate chance.
  • Best Documentary: "OJ: Made in America."

    • Miller comments: And if the Disney mothership doesn’t carry off the animation award, it almost certainly will win here for this eight-hour ESPN presentation. 
  • ​Best Original Song: "How Far I'll Go."

    • Miller comments: The Academy is not going to throw away its shot to make Lin-Manuel Miranda only the third PEGOT (Pulitzer/Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony) winner in history. Or is it EPGOT?

Watch the Academy Awards beginning at 8 p.m. (Central) on Sunday, Feb. 26, on ABC.


About Dr. Miller

Dr. Jeffrey MillerJeffrey Miller teaches courses in journalism as well as foundational courses in composition and literature. He also teaches "American Film" and “Cinema, Character and Culture,” in addition to the “Reading Augustana” course in the Civitas program, of which he was director. His areas of interest include transnational television and film and American media history. He is the author of "Something Completely Different: British Television and American Culture" (University of Minnesota Press, 2000). Dr. Miller’s Ph.D. in American Studies is from Michigan State University. In 2014, he was named the Faculty Recognition Award Recipient.

Follow his reactions to this year's Academy Award winners at @purplemiller on Twitter.