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The 2017 Oscars: My Predicitions

Updated on February 25, 2017

The 2017 Oscars: What will win the gold?

I know this is really late, but being the cinema true believer I am I just had to make my Oscar predictions. This list is nowhere near as detailed as my previous entries; sorry about that. Still, each category will have my picks in the order I think they have any chances of winning, and I'll comment on anything that seems particularly relevant. Hopefully, it will still be useful in determining your own predictions for Oscar night.

Best Picture

The Nominees:

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Arrival

Moonlight

Lion

Hidden Figures

Hell or High Water

Hacksaw Ridge

Fences

What Will Win:

This is actually one of the easier categories to call, and one of the easiest-to-call Best Picture races in some time--it'll be La La Land by a la la landslide. Not only is the film freakin' awesome, it is a tremendously popular film that combines top-notch production value and talent with a charming message of following your dreams and being true to yourself; in short, a nice escape from the storms swirling outside right about now. Manchester by the Sea is probably the only possible spoiler, though a win in this category in very unlikely. In all probability, Hell or High Water, Hacksaw Ridge and Fences haven't a shot in hell between them.

Best Director

The Nominees:

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Denis Villenueve, Arrival

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

What Will Win:

I believe we can also call this one for La La Land, though this win is less clear-cut. Damien Chazelle is very young, and this is only his second film, so those two things will count against him. However, his other film was Whiplash; how's that for a big plus? Kenneth Lonergan and Barry Jenkins could be spoilers; much as I'd love to see Denis Villenueve win, he'll probably join Mel Gibson in the "happy-to-be-here" category.

Best Actor

The Nominees:

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Denzel Washington, Fences

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Who Will Win:

This is almost guaranteed to be Casey Affleck's win. However, two things could make this Gosling's win. One, some controversy has erupted over Affleck's treatment of women, and many would rather he not win. Two, La La Land's sweep could be bigger than expected. Denzel Washington could sneak in for a third Oscar, but Andrew Garfield and Viggo Mortensen will definitely remain seated when the winner is announced. In the end, this award will probably be the token win for Manchester by the Sea.

Best Actress

The Nominees:

Emma Stone, La La Land

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Who Will Win:

This could actually be Isabelle Huppert's win; her film Elle has gotten strong reviews, and she herself is a highly-regarded talent up for her first Oscar. That said, Emma Stone is likely to ride the immense wave of support for La La Land for her first Oscar win. Ruth Negga is a darkhorse contender, especially if the Academy decides to fully complete the 180 from #oscarssowhite that the nominations seem to imply, but this really is another two-pony race. Natalie Portman is not likely to win this time around, and Meryl Streep will have to wait at least until her 21st nomination (next year) to win her fourth Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees:

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Dev Patel, Lion

Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Who Will Win:

Once again, we have what appears to be a two-pony race: Mahershala Ali is the clear favorite to win for Moonlight, but Dev Patel could be a spoiler for Lion. The other three candidates are frankly just there to fill seats this year.

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees:

Viola Davis, Fences

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Who Will Win:

This category is actually pretty hard to call--the easiest part of it is that Nicole Kidman has little chance of winning this time around. It actually looks like it will be primarily a matchup between The Help costars Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer: considering that Spencer won her Oscar, and Davis is now 0 for 3, I give the win to Viola Davis for Fences. Spencer could land Hidden Figures a token nod, however. It doesn't stay that simple, however, since both Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris are in play as well--either could be a looongshot winner.

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees:

Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, The Lobster

Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

What Will Win:

This category is actually really hard to call--it is extremely tempting to say that it will be part of a sweep by La La Land, but I'm inclined to think that the strong buzz for Hell or High Water (plus lingering irritation at Sicario's snub last year) will lead to a win for Taylor Sheridan. Manchester by the Sea is a longshot contender, and one cannot fully count out The Lobster, which is the very definition of an original screenplay. I think we can count out 20th Century Women, though.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees:

August Wilson, Fences

Eric Heisserer, Arrival

Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight

Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures

Luke Davies, Lion

Who Will Win:

This one is also hard to call, but I'm going to go with August Wilson's adaptation of his play Fences. There are multiple reasons; it would be a way to posthumously honor a highly acclaimed playwright, the screenplay does feature great dialogue, and this would be a way for the Academy to further distance itself from #oscarssowhite. However, the award could almost as easily go to Arrival, and I wouldn't actually consider any of the nominees out of play. I personally prefer Arrival for the win--we shall see.

Best Animated Feature

The Nominees:

Zootopia

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

La Tortue Rouge (The Red Turtle)

Ma Vie de Courgette (My Life As a Zucchini)

Who Will Win:

This is likely to be Zootopia in a walk. That said, it is widely believed that Kubo and the Two Strings could be a spoiler, and there is a slim chance Moana might sneak in. The two foreign films have no shot of winning this year.

Best Foreign Language Feature

The Nominees:

Forushande (The Salesman), Iran

Toni Erdmann, Germany

En Man Som Heter Ove (A Man Called Ove), Sweden

Under Sandet (Land of Mine), Denmark

Tanna, Australia

Who Will Win:

In any other year, I'd be willing to call this for Toni Erdmann. The reviews for the film have been pretty phenomenal, and it has been the odds-on favorite for most of the season. However, Trump's ham-handed and unbelievably ill-advised Muslin ban caused the Oscar-winning director of The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, and several of his countrymen to boycott the Oscar ceremony; it is entirely likely that the Academy may vote for his film to show their solidarity with the talented filmmakers of the world, as well as to thumb their noses at Washington. One also cannot fully discount A Man Called Ove, since it is based on a worldwide best-seller that has done quite well here too. Sadly, though, Tanna will likely be left behind.

Best Cinematography and Production Design

The Cinematography Nominees:

La La Land

Arrival

Moonlight

Lion

Silence

The Production Design Nominees:

La La Land

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

Arrival

Passengers

Who Will Win:

I'm calling both of these categories for La La Land as part of a major sweep. However, Arrival has a fair shot at cinematography, and Moonlight and Lion might have a shot. Fantastic Beasts actually has a good shot at Production Design, and Hail, Caesar! and Arrival are longshots.

Best Costume Design and Makeup/ Hairstyling

The Costume Design Nominees:

La La Land

Jackie

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

Allied

The Makeup Nominees:

Star Trek Beyond

En Man Som Heter Ove (A Man Called Ove)

Suicide Squad

Who Will Win:

I'm calling La La Land to continue its sweep with Best Costume Design, but there is a distinct chance that Jackie will get a token win here; Fantastic Beasts is a longshot possibility. As for Best Makeup, this is actually a wide-open category; I think many will be bitterly opposed to Suicide Squad winning an Oscar, and I'm sure I'm not the only one puzzled by the nomination for A Man Called Ove here, though I'd love to see it win something, and there may be enough voters thinking along those lines to vote it to a win. However, while Star Trek is by no means a lock for the win, it is simply the most likely to rise to the top.

Best Film Editing and Sound

The Film Editing Nominees:

La La Land

Moonlight

Arrival

Hell or High Water

Hacksaw Ridge

The Sound Mixing Nominees:

La La Land

Rogue One

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

13 Hours

The Sound Editing Nominees:

La La Land

Sully

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

Who Will Win:

I'm calling all three of these categories to go to La La Land as part of a sweep. That said, Moonlight seems the most likely spoiler in the Film Editing category, Sully and Rogue One could snag token sound awards to make up for being generally snubbed, and Arrival is a viable contender in all three categories.

Best Visual Effects

The Nominees:

The Jungle Book

Doctor Strange

Rogue One

Deepwater Horizon

Kubo and the Two Strings

Who Will Win:

I still can't freakin' believe there is an animated film in this category! Unfortunately, the Academy's prejudice against animation means Kubo and the Two Strings will not be the winner here. In reality, though, even Rogue One will have a hell of a time beating either Doctor Strange or The Jungle Book. Both films feature phenomenal special effects, and it's really hard to call one winner; I'll go with Jungle Book.

Best Music

The Nominees for Original Score:

Justin Hurwitz, La La Land

Nicholas Britell, Moonlight

Thomas Newman, Passengers

Dustin O'Halloran and Volker Bertelmann, Lion

Mica Levi, Jackie

The Nominees for Original Song:

"How Far I'll Go" (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Moana

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" (Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), La La Land

"City of Stars" (Justin Hurtwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), La La Land

"The Empty Chair" (J. Ralph and Sting), Jim: The James Foley Story

"Can't Stop the Feeling" (Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Shellback), Trolls

Who Will Win:

La La Land seems like the pretty clear winner for Best Original Score. That said, overall affection for Moonlight, plus the fact that the music is pretty excellent, make it a solid spoiler. Also, let's not forget that Thomas Newman's nomination for Passengers is his fourteenth, and he has never won. Even given the tepid reaction to the film the Academy may choose to go ahead and give it to him. As for the original song category, sadly the three strongest contenders are the three weakest songs when removed from their respective films. I think the La La Land vote will split, leaving Moana to sail forward with her token win.

Best Documentary Feature

The Nominees:

13th

I Am Not Your Negro

Fire at Sea

O.J.: Made in America

Life, Animated

Who Will Win:

I have to admit that I'm really not sure which direction the Academy will go this year for Documentary Feature. The strong emphasis on racially-oriented films hints that one of these will win, but the vote could just as easily split, leaving room for Fire at Sea or Life, Animated. I'm going with 13th for the win, if only because so many people thought Ava DuVernay was snubbed for Selma.

There You Have It

Finally finished! As usual, I did not offer an in-depth look at the short films, since I cannot even pretend to be expert there. I am indisputably pulling for Piper to win in the Best Animated Short category--it is a great little film, and Pixar has a decent history in this category. I'll go with Ennemis Intérieurs for Best Live-Action Short and Watani: My Homeland for Best Documentary Short. At any rate, I hope you have enjoyed checking out my predictions for the 2017 Oscars; feel free to leave any comments you may have on categories you think I may have called wrong. Let's watch tonight and see how many turn out according to plan!

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