2017 Oscar Predictions

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With the 89th Academy Awards set to take place this Sunday, we’re analyzing all the races and how things stack up. Some races are clearer than others, but we won’t truly know the winners until Oscar night. Regardless, we’ve made predictions for all 24 categories, while also naming the more deserving winners if the Academy is likely to get it wrong.


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Best Picture: Will La La Land get to put the icing on its cake and take home the big award. Probably. And that’s fine, it’s a fantastic piece of cinema. With Hidden Figures and Lion gaining some light traction, but Manchester By the Sea all but dropping off, competition is relatively light. The most likely to be the musical juggernaut is Moonlight, the only film I’d argue is better than Damien Chazelle’s instant classic. With the events that have taken place in American politics since the nominations were announced, don’t be too surprised if the Academy chooses to award the more important film. Will Win: La La Land/Should Win: Moonlight


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Best Director: There’s no question that this one is going to Damien Chazelle. While Barry Jenkins did great work with MoonlightLa La Land is slightly more the technical masterpiece, all while pulling out one of the best performances of the year through Emma Stone. Will/Should Win: Damien Chazelle for La La Land


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Best Actor: This race has gotten murkier the longer it’s sat. Casey Affleck’s scandals could deter some voters from awarding him, but the performance still stands tall as one of the best of the year. The better one, however, is Denzel Washington’s masterful command in Fences. Still, if the Academy is willing to forgive Mel Gibson, allegations against Affleck might not do him much damage. Will Win: Casey Affleck for Manchester By the Sea/Should Win: Denzel Washington for Fences



Best Actress: A lot of the conversation here is revolving around Isabelle Huppert. Will the veteran actress finally take home her first Oscar? It’s likely not her year again, with Emma Stone’s committed, incredible performance being the best thing about a movie in which everything feels like the best thing about it. Will/Should Win: Emma Stone for La La Land


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Best Supporting Actor: After a Golden Globes loss, that incredible SAGs speech all but solidified it in terms of his campaign. Luckily, he’s more than deserving as well. It’s Mahershala Ali. No one else has a chance. Will/Should Win: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight


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Best Supporting Actress: At one point, this was a tighter race, with Michelle Williams getting more attention than she deserved, frankly (her role in Manchester By the Sea is just so small). But Viola Davis has rightfully taken the lead. Will/Should Win: Viola Davis for Fences


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Best Original Screenplay: I wouldn’t count out La La Land in just about any category its nominated for, but this is likely where the Academy will honor Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By the Sea, possibly for the only time of the evening. 20th Century Women is also deserving, but there’s no denying the power of Lonergan’s script. Will/Should Win: Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester By the Sea


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Best Adapted Screenplay: The only thing that could hurt Moonlight here is that some voters might not see its inclusion in the “Adapted” category as viable. If that’s the case, Hidden Figures or Fences will likely take home the award. But still, Moonlight‘s script, adapted or not, is one of its strongest suits. Will/Should Win: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney for Moonlight


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Best Foreign Language Film: Toni Erdmann was long the favorite until Donald Trump’s travel ban affected Muslims in seven Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, where The Salesman director Asghar Farhadi is from. Both are great films, but I don’t expect the Academy to change their vote so quickly just because of politics, meaning Toni Erdmann‘s traction will likely ring true. But that still leaves the best of the bunch, the indigenous Australian retelling of Romeo & JulietTanna, sadly out of the conversation. Will Win: Toni Erdmann/Should Win: Tanna


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Best Animated Feature Film: Kubo and the Two Strings has been gaining traction, but is it enough to defeat Zootopia, easily the best of the nominees? Likely not, but then there’s still the possibility of a Moana upset. Or will the Academy go for an off-the-wall pick with My Life as a Zucchini? This is a hard one to predict this year, but Zootopia does still seem to be holding onto a lot of momentum, especially with its message now being more relevant than ever. Will/Should Win: Zootopia


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Best Documentary Feature: The conversation has long been around O.J.: Made in America, so expect that to take home the award. However, upsets from I Am Not Your Negro or 13th wouldn’t exactly be shocking. Will Win: O.J.: Made in America


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Best Live-Action Short Film: So Ennemis interieurs is a short about the French government’s “extreme vetting” of people from the Middle East in the 1990s. It’s well made and wonderfully written. It’s going to win. More poignant, however, is La Femme et le TGV, the story of woman, played by Jane Birkin, trying to overcome her own loneliness. It’s beautiful, emotional, and well-acted, and definitely the best of the bunch, even if it’s less important. Will Win: Ennemis interieurs/Should Win: Le Femme et le TGV


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Best Animated Short Film: With Finding Dory left out of the Animated Feature category, will Pixar get recognized here instead for the beautiful Piper? That’s where voters seem to be pointing, but the more ambitious, gorgeously animated fable Blind Vaysha is the more deserving pick. Will Win: Piper/Should Win: Blind Vaysha


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Best Documentary Short Subject: Notoriously a difficult category to predict, this is one where I expect recent events in the world of politics to bleed over into voters’ choices. 4.1 Miles is all about immigration. Watani: My Homeland is about a family’s escape from Syria during the civil war. The White Helmets is about volunteer rescue workers in Syria. Personally, I think it’s going to the one about families relocating from one of Trump’s banned countries. Will Win: Watani: My Homeland


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Best Original Score: Aside from Passengers, this is a category really overflowing with talent this year. Moonlight and Jackie both had particularly strong compositions throughout. But La La Land also came out this year, so most of the films likely don’t stand a chance. Will/Should Win: La La Land


Best Original Song: Lin Manuel Miranda is a powerful man. Having written Moana‘s “How Far I’ll Go,” gives the song an edge. With two songs from La La Land nominated, the votes could be split, giving Miranda a chance at Oscar gold. Still, “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” is the number that brings all of Damien Chazelle’s masterpiece together emotionally speaking, no matter how strong and empowering “How Far I’ll Go” is. Will Win: “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana/Should Win: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land



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Best Editing: Ah, the great Best Picture determiner. That automatically makes this race between La La Land and Moonlight. Both are beautifully edited, but how about how Moonlight can string so much emotion into a single cut? Also, how about how economical it is? Will Win: La La Land/Should Win: Moonlight


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Best Cinematography: Another category blossoming with talent (and sadly the only one Martin Scorsese’s Silence scored a nomination for), this is likely a race between La La Land and Arrival. Does the Academy take its chance here to award a sci-fi film? Probably not, as La La Land‘s great technical strengths kept the camera work and lighting a primary focus throughout. Will/Should Win: La La Land


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Best Production Design: The fact that Arrival is likely the least deserving here is a testament to just how strong a category this is this year. Still, expect this to be one of the many La La Land will take home just for that gorgeous final dream sequence alone. Will/Should Win: La La Land


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Best Costume Design: Throughout history, has any figure resembled a particular zeitgeist more prominently than Jackie Kennedy? Expect Pablo Larrain’s inventive biopic to get its due here for effortlessly recreating some of the former First Lady’s most iconic looks. That said, the period setting and sheer inventiveness of certain pieces in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the perfect blend of new and old that deserves recognition. Will Win: Jackie/Should Win: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


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Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Not sure how A Man Called Ove snuck in here, but don’t expect it to win. Also, some of Suicide Squad‘s makeup, much like the movie itself, is really terrible. By default, though certainly still earning its trophy, Star Trek Beyond is the likely winner here. Will/Should Win: Star Trek Beyond


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Best Visual Effects: All these films have some really great and cool stuff going on in them, but the outcome should be obvious. What Jon Favreau did with The Jungle Book was every bit as mesmerizing as Avatar, even if the surprise of that mesmerization hasn’t quite stuck. Will/Should Win: The Jungle Book


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Best Sound Editing: While most of this category is the usual action fare, the 89th Academy Awards are all about La La Land. With its infectious sound and effortless production, the musical seems destined to rack up another award here. Will/Should Win: La La Land


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Best Sound Mixing: Differing from the Sound Editing category in that this one involves the actual invention of sounds, La La Land might not continue its reign here (but it of course always could). This is the Academy’s chance to award Hacksaw Ridge, a movie they apparently love, though it’s a worthy winner here. But also don’t count out a Star Wars movie in a sound category. Will/Should Win: Hacksaw Ridge



Do you agree with our predictions? Who do you think will win all the awards? Let us know in the comments below!


By Matt Dougherty

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