The 89th Academy Awards are tonight, with nine films vying for the big prize of Best Picture. Nine films? Why, there are nine CFL teams, too! You know what that means? Yup, here are nine CFL teams and their 2017 Best Picture counterpart.
Calgary Stampeders (Arrival)
In a just world Arrival would be a lock to win Best Picture. It had an amazing story, an incredible performance by Amy Adams and an ending that you don’t see coming. It was a truly fabulous film. The Calgary Stampeders are the best football team in the CFL and in a just world, they would be the defending Grey Cup champions heading into 2017. But they aren’t, and much like the Stamps, Arrival will also go home empty handed.
While it is getting great reviews for a couple of stellar performances — both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are up for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively — critics of Fences will tell you that it is almost a carbon copy of the play it is based on. The Montreal Alouettes had a couple great veteran performers of their own last season — namely Nik Lewis and Jovon Johnson — their downfall in 2016 was almost a carbon copy of their downfall in 2015 (the team did not have a good head coach).
Saskatchewan Roughriders (Hacksaw Ridge)
Hacksaw Ridge is about a guy who goes to war, but decides the rules of war are not for him and goes about doing things his own way. Doing things his own way sounds a lot like the man who runs the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Chris Jones. Whether it is a pre-practice squad, thumbing his nose at the ratio or working out players on another team’s neg list, Jones is seemingly doing things his way, rules be damned. Also, let’s face it, Hacksaw Ridge has no chance of winning, and neither did the Riders last year.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Hell or High Water)
On paper, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers should not have been any good last year. They were coming into the season with a lame duck coach after back-to-back losing seasons with him at the helm, and the team started 1-4. It looked bleak. But the Bombers turned it around, finished 11-7 and were a dumb decision away from potentially playing in the West Final. Much like the Bombers, Hell or High Water was also surprisingly good. No one expected much from the Chris Pine starring flick when it was released in September, but it proved to be a lot better than most anticipated, just like the 2016 Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Toronto Argonauts (Hidden Figures)
This was the second-easiest pairing to make. The film is about people in the background who don’t get the publicity they should for the part they play, and the Argos are a team that gets next-to-no publicity despite playing in the country’s largest media market with the country’s largest population.
Ottawa Redblacks (La La Land)
La La Land is expected to take home the big prize, but in fairness, it doesn’t really deserve it. It is not the best movie of 2016, it is kind of overrated and its leads are really unlikeable characters. Hello, Redblacks fans that will bash me in the comments. Let’s face it, while Ottawa won the Grey Cup, they have to rank as one of the least deserving champions in CFL history. They finished under .500 with an 8-9-1 record, won a weak division and got hot at the right time. They, just like La La Land, had a lead (Henry Burris) who is only liked by a small segment of people. La La Land will win and its fans will rejoice, but the rest of the movie-going public will groan and say Arrival deserved it more.
B.C. Lions (Lion)
Outside the obvious tile ties, the B.C. Lions are also like the movie Lion in that it is probably the least-seen film of the nine up for Best Picture, much like the Lions are the least-watched CFL team. Neither is either of their faults. Lion is a really great flick starring Dev Patel that people really should go see, and the B.C. Lions have the misfortune of playing their games when a vast majority of the country is asleep. Basically what I am saying is Lion is great and you should stay up to watch the B.C. Lions (especially this year, because that offense is going to be worth the sleepless nights).
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Manchester by the Sea)
Depressing. Manchester by the Sea is easily the most depressing movie you will see, maybe ever. It is just a never-ending downer. Being a Ticats fan can be equally as depressing. It has been way too long (17 years) since the Ticats last won a championship. Believe me, that’s depressing. Also, Hamilton has been a presumed front runner for the last few years, but yet when the season ends, they fall short. Casey Affleck, the male lead in Manchester by the Sea was considered a lock for Best Actor, but as the awards season has gone on, his grip on the award has loosened and now it is no longer guaranteed that Mr. Affleck will take home the award.
Edmonton Eskimos (Moonlight)
Moonlight has some of the best performances of the year in it. Mahershala Ali is incredible, and the trio of actors — Alex Hibert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes — who play Chiron as he goes from childhood to adulthood are magnificent. The Edmonton Eskimos had some of the best individual performers in 2016, from Mike Reilly to Adarius Bowman to Derel Walker. While their season fell short of their ultimate team goal, individually they put together three of the finest seasons we have seen in some time. Moonlight will probably not win the ultimate prize, but Ali could very well earn himself a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and the performances of Piner, Jerome and Holland will not soon be forgotten.