Final Oscar nominations predictions for 2017

Well it’s that time of year again. On the eve of the Academy’s big Oscar nominations announcement, I’m laying down my final predictions. There’s a lot up in the air here, so take them with a grain of salt. Sometimes I get it right. Sometimes I’m way off. Films have been flying up and down on the buzz-meter the last few weeks. Hidden Figures and Lion are coming on very strong at the end, so it’s possible they could both do better than I’m speculating. Silence is the big unknown. It’s barely made a blip all awards season, but you can’t rule out the older male Academy voters who’ve loved practically everything Scorsese has delivered for the past three decades. Eight nominations for Best Director cannot be ignored. I’ve got Silence down for five nominations, but in all honesty, it could also get bupkis. Let’s not forget a few years ago I was declaring Gone Girl would be up for seven awards, and it ended up receiving one solo nomination. See. Sometimes you’re best to just ignore us “experts”. Nobody knows anything.

I must point out something a little different this year – the nominees are ranked by my opinion of likelihood, rather than alphabetically. Fancy, I know.

So, here we go with this year’s predictions.

Best Picture
La La Land
Moonlight
Manchester by the Sea
Lion
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Silence

Alternates: Jackie, Nocturnal Animals, Deadpool, Florence Foster Jenkins

As with the last few years, it’s very unlikely we’re going to see ten nominees, but never say never. And I’m allowed ten spots, so why not? You can lock in the top five. Those are your certainties and what this category would have looked like in the past. The rest are all fairly shaky. Silence has been M.I.A. from every major awards show, but it’s Martin Scorsese, for crying out loud, so I can’t discount it and think it could steal one of the spots. Jackie and Nocturnal Animals don’t seem like top 5 picks for the majority of voters, so they won’t have enough support to break in. Florence Foster Jenkins is probably too light to this category. And I’m not going to call Deadpool anything other than an alternate, no matter how hard Ryan Reynolds campaigns. It’s not going to happen…oh, that declaration could come back to haunt me. Let’s not forget last year, where Carol was shamefully left off the Picture nominees, despite 6 other nominations, so that could happen to one of the “sure-things”. If I had to pick, I’d say Fences the most-likely to suffer this fate.

Best Director
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
Martin Scorsese – Silence
Alternates: Denzel Washington – Fences, Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge, Garth Davis – Lion, David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water, Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

The top four are all DGA nominees, so you can lock them in, but the fifth spot is always tricky, given the Academy and DGA haven’t matched five for five since 1999. The DGA surprised everyone by going with Davis, and while the press around that nomination would have helped, it came far too late in Oscar nomination voting to really make an impact. Instead, I think they’ll go with a big name for the final spot, and that should be Scorsese, or perhaps Washington or Gibson. If Lion really is a Picture contender, Davis needs to get in here, so I’m still hopeful. Let’s not forget two years ago the fifth spot went to a director (Bennett Miller) whose film (Foxcatcher) wasn’t even nominated for Picture, so maybe we should be prepared for a Ford shocker?

Best Actor
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Denzel Washington – Fences
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Alternates: Tom HanksSully, Joel Edgerton – Loving

One of the few categories I can’t see much movement with. If the Academy hadn’t snubbed Hanks a few years back for Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks, he could have made it in, but given his lack of precursor nominations, it’s unlikely. Likewise with Edgerton, who looked good early on, but Loving has disappeared from buzz completely.

Best Actress
Emma Stone – La La Land
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Amy Adams – Arrival
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Alternates: Annette Bening – 20th Century Women, Ruth Negga – Loving, Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures

Like Director, it seems we have four certainties and a fifth squeaker. Streep seems to have pushed herself back into the final spot by stealing the limelight at the Globes with that speech. And this would be her 20th (!) nomination, so it’s always safe to bet on Meryl. Bening and Negga could spoil her party, but neither are in buzzed about films, so they’ll likely fall short. If Henson pulls a surprise nomination, and she genuinely could, Hidden Figures is a bigger Picture threat than we’re all giving it credit for.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Dev Patel – Lion
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
Alternates: Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals, Issei Ogata – Silence

Another category that seems fairly locked, but this one always throws in a surprise or two. If Grant’s role is deemed a bit too light, Taylor-Johnson looks primed to steal the spot. Even though he won the Globe and scored a BAFTA nom, his nomination still seems far from certain, especially given how off-putting his character is. I’m only sticking Ogata as an alternate if the Academy goes really Silence crazy…

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis – Fences
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
Naomi Harris – Moonlight
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Alternates: Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women, Janelle Monae – Hidden Figures

The alternates here are just for show. This category has been locked for a while now. Just on a personal brag, I stuck Spencer in my Gold Derby predictions so long ago, her odds were 100/1, so if she gets nominated, expect to hear me roar with “told ya so”. Frankly, Monae gives the meatier performance, but I still think they’ll go with a former winner over a singer-turned-actress. I’m still not thrilled Davis is considered Supporting. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the Academy move her up to Lead and give Stone and Portman a run for their money?

I won’t elaborate/provide alternates for the remaining categories. Let’s just run through them and get this over with.

Best Original Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea
La La Land
Hell or High Water
The Lobster
Zootopia (yeah, I know…I’m an idiot for doing this…but allow me one insane prediction)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Moonlight
Lion
Fences
Arrival
Nocturnal Animals

Best Cinematography
La La Land
Moonlight
Arrival
Silence
Lion

Best Costume Design
Jackie
La La Land
Silence
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Film Editing
La La Land
Hacksaw Ridge
Moonlight
Arrival
Manchester by the Sea

Best Makeup and Hair
Florence Foster Jenkins
Deadpool
Star Trek Beyond

Best Production Design
La La Land
Jackie
Silence
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Arrival

Best Score
La La Land
Jackie
Moonlight
Lion
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Original Song
City of Stars – La La Land
How Far I’ll Go – Moana
Can’t Stop the Feeling – Trolls
Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – La La Land
Try Everything – Zootopia

Best Sound Editing
Hacksaw Ridge
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
La La Land
Arrival
The Jungle Book

Best Sound Mixing
La La Land
Hacksaw Ridge
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Arrival
The Jungle Book

Best Visual Effects
The Jungle Book
Doctor Strange
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Arrival

Best Animated Feature
Zootopia
Moana
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Red Turtle
Finding Dory

Best Documentary Feature
O.J.:Made in America
The 13th
I Am Not Your Negro
The Eagle Huntress
Cameraperson

Best Foreign Film
Toni Erdmann
Land of Mine
The Salesman
A Man Called Ove
My Life as a Zucchini

Best Animated Short
Piper
Sous Tes Doigts
Pearl
The Head Vanishes
Inner Workings

Best Documentary Short
Joe’s Violin
The Mute’s House
The White Helmets
Extremis
Watani: My Homeland

Best Live Action Short
Nocturne in Black
Timecode
The Way of Tea
Sing (Mindenki)
The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf and the Boy

Well, there you go. There’s bound to be a whole stack of snubs, shocks and surprises, so get ready for my The Good, The Bad and the Ugly reaction post tomorrow. In the end, I believe we’ll see La La Land equal All About Eve and Titanic’s record of 14 nominations, followed by Arrival with 10, Moonlight with 8, and Manchester by the Sea with 7.

Let the games begin…

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