Predicting This Year's Oscar Nominations | One of Us

Predicting This Year’s Oscar Nominations

2 Submitted by on Fri, 20 January 2017, 12:59

As my friends and family can tell you, there are few things that excite me in movies as much as the Academy Awards a.k.a. The Oscars. It’s not the end all of what is considered a ‘good movie,’ nor are their picks always correct (which of course is subjective to the nature of the Oscars being a democratic competition), but the role it played in maturing my movie tastes gives it a special place in my heart. After years of growing up on blockbusters and children’s films, browsing the Oscar back catalog opened a world of filmmaking I never knew before. It gave me a perspective on the history of film and the way it continues to shape the current market. It awakened me to the idea that cinema is more than just entertainment and can be quite beautiful in its artistic endeavors. Most of all, it turned my attention to some of the greatest movies ever made in all genres and from all time periods. That alone gives the ceremony a special place in my heart.

I also feel it is an essential part of the movie industry. Again, while ‘Oscar worthy’ is a subjective term, the fact this term exists shows that we as a film community truly care about what is given validation. We want to make something that people pay attention to because it is a huge boost in personal creative confidence, it can open the doors for future projects, it can give exposure to small films that deserve it and it can help shape filmmaking trends for years to come. So no matter how many other ceremonies attempt to capitalize on its importance, the Oscars will remain the gold standard for what we consider ‘excellent cinema.’

And now that nearly all the major precursor awards have published their nominations, it’s time to rain on their parade and offer up my Oscar nomination predictions. If you notice that this post is long, that’s because I will be predicting EVERY CATEGORY along with offering my runners-up picks and my reasoning for the predictions. This will be based on a mixture of what I thought about the movies I’ve seen, what has been tracking on the major prediction sites and what I feel the Academy tastes may lean towards. Please feel free to disagree and offer counter thoughts, because your guess will likely be as good as mine this year.

I will likely post one more update on my Facebook page before the actual nomination announcements on January 24, along with a reactions post to the nominees on that day. Follow the link here if you are interested.

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Best Picture

My Picks (should there be ten nominees)

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Nocturnal Animals

Runners-Up

Jackie

Loving

Silence

Why?

The two heavy hitters emerging from the precursor awards are La La Land and Moonlight, which have been scooping up nearly every Best Picture and Director prize so far. La La Land has a slight edge because it will likely dominate the technical categories, but the Academy isn’t always that predictable (just most of the time). Meanwhile, films like Manchester by the Sea, Hell or High Water, Arrival and Fences will ride their critical acclaim to what I feel are easy nominations. Hacksaw Ridge will be a question mark as to how much the Academy has forgiven Mel Gibson, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they felt the nomination may be a potential olive branch. Hidden Figures, Lion and Nocturnal Animals will live or die by how much the Academy actually liked those movies, which means it’s possible any of them could be replaced by the runners-up.

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Best Director

My Picks

Damien Chazelle for La La Land

Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge

Barry Jenkins for Moonlight

Keneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea

Denis Villeneuve for Arrival

Runners-Up

Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals

David Mackenzie for Hell or High Water

Martin Scorsese for Silence

Why?

Damien Chazelle, Barry Jenkins and Kenneth Lonergan are all locks in this category. Mel Gibson is once again a question mark here, so I would hedge my bets more on a Best Picture nomination but not be surprised if he also gets a director nod. Which then leads to a surprisingly bigger question mark. We all figured a long time again that Martin Scorsese was a safe bet for a director nomination, right? Well…Silence has proven to be somewhat divisive among critics and that might alienate the Academy. It’s not like he’s completely out of the race (he scored a nomination in this category for The Last Temptation of Christ and that was its only nomination), but I have a feeling Denis Villeneuve is going to secure his first nomination instead.

ManchesterbytheSea_Trailer

Best Actor

My Picks

Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea

Ryan Gosling for La La Land

Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge

Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington for Fences

Runners-Up

Joel Edgerton for Loving

Andrrew Garfield for Silence

Jake Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals

Why?

Casey Affleck has this category locked down. He has scooped up more Best Actor prizes than anyone so far and with such quotes as ‘one of the performances of the decade’ accompanying most of his reviews, it’s going to be quite a shock if he lost. Denzel Washington is the only person who will offer any serious competition, which means anyone else who makes it will just be happy to be nominated. Andrew Garfield and Ryan Gosling will easily ride the critical praise of their movies to nominations. Which leaves that fifth slot, which isn’t as locked as you think. Where Joel Edgerton was once a guaranteed pick for Loving, the film’s Oscar heat has cooled off dramatically. I get the feeling that the out of nowhere resurgence of Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic will make the cut, but it’s fair game for any of the contenders if he doesn’t.

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Best Actress

My Picks

Amy Adams for Arrival

Isabella Hubert for Elle

Natalie Portman for Jackie

Emma Stone for La La Land

Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins

Runners-Up

Annette Bening for 20th Century Women

Emily Blunt for The Girl on the Train

Ruth Negga for Loving

Why?

I’m pretty confident this will be the final five nominees. All of them have the appropriate praise and critic award support, while that California state law Jared Leto joked about a few years back is clearly back in effect for Meryl Streep. Should any of them not make it though, look for Annette Bening and Ruth Negga to duke it out for that fifth slot.

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Best Supporting Actor

My Picks

Mahershala Ali for Moonlight

Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water

Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins

Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel for Lion

Runners-Up

Ben Foster for Hell or High Water

Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals

Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals

Why?

Mahershala Ali has been steamrolling this competition, though the Academy has bucked tradition with surprise winners before. Remember when we thought Sylvester Stallone was a guaranteed win for Creed? That said, I feel pretty confident about these five being the eventual nominees, but expect Lucas Hedges or Dev Patel to be swapped out for Aaron Taylor-Johnson or Michael Shannon should the Academy embrace Nocturnal Animals.

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Best Supporting Actress

My Picks

Viola Davis for Fences

Naomi Harris for Moonlight

Nicole Kidman for Lion

Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea

Runners-Up

Greta Gerwig for 20th Century Women

Helen Mirren for Eye in the Sky

Janelle Monae for Hidden Figures

Why?

Regardless of whoever else is nominated in this category, Viola Davis is pretty much guaranteed to win. Everyone else will just be happy to be there. Interesting note: should all five of these women make the cut, or Janelle Moane take Octavia Spencer’s spot, this will be the most diverse category of all the acting nominees.

THE-LOBSTER

Best Original Screenplay

My Picks

Captain Fantastic

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea

Runners-Up

20th Century Women

Eye in the Sky

Jackie

Why?

Manchester by the Sea has been a consistent winner in this category, but La La Land scored a couple notable wins for its screenplay, so it will be a close race here. Hell or High Water will easily secure a nomination and The Lobster will likely be that ‘so weird it has to be recognized’ nominee. Which leaves the fifth slot, which is another big question mark. Part of me wants to say 20th Century Women, but I got a feeling Captain Fantastic (written by Matt Ross a.k.a. Gavin Belson from Silicon Valley) or Jackie will actually get the nomination.

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Best Adapted Screenplay

My Picks

Arrival

Fences

Lion

Moonlight

Nocturnal Animals

Runners-Up

Hidden Figures

A Monster Calls

Silence

Why?

Moonlight is an ‘Oscar baity’ film with mountains of critical support backing it, so I feel pretty confident that it will win. However, Arrival has a good amount of critical support to give it some competition. Fences is guaranteed a nomination and I feel that Lion will be that feel good movie the Academy has a weakness for. Which will likely leave many readers wonder: Justin, why are you picking Nocturnal Animals for so many categories? Well, the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes show that this movie has garnering some considerable last minute traction, which leads me to believe it will snag a couple nominations in the Big 8 categories (Picture, Director, Acting, Writing). That and I also really loved that movie, so I don’t apologize for picking it. If it doesn’t make it, Hidden Figures or Silence will take its place.

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Best Cinematography

My Picks

Arrival

La La Land

Moonlight

Nocturnal Animals

Silence

Runners-Up

Hacksaw Ridge

Jackie

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Why?

There are a lot of first time nominees who will be competing this year (out of the eight movies I picked, only Rodrigo Prieto from Silence has been nominated for shooting Brokeback Mountain). La La Land, Moonlight and Arrival are guaranteed nominees here based on their success during the award season so far. Silence may combat its declining Oscar buzz to secure a nomination since even its detractors have praised the film here. I have a strong feeling Nocturnal Animals will also secure a nomination, but expect Hacksaw Ridge or Jackie to jump on that open nomination slot should it not make the cut.

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Best Production Design

My Picks

Arrival

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Jackie

La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Runners-Up

Hacksaw Ridge

Live by Night

Silence

Why?

The technical categories get tougher to predict from here on out, since they become increasingly more subjective as to how the voters judge their quality. I have a strong feeling La La Land will be the eventual winner, while the other four predicted contenders are strong competition and equally worthy of praise. Honestly, though I have my three runners-up included, it’s very possible for anyone to get into this category if they campaigned themselves to the right people.

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Best Costume Design

My Picks

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

Jackie

La La Land

Love & Friendship

Runners-Up

The Handmaiden

Live By Night

Silence

Why?

The Academy historically loves to award costume dramas here, but last year showed that they are willing to shake it up and reward bold design work. There aren’t as many of those this year sadly, but I feel the five predicted contenders here offer a nice blend of classic and more modern picks that the Academy loves. If not, any of the runners-up will slide in easily.

hell-or-high-water

Best Film Editing

My Picks

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Runners-Up

Hell or High Water

Lion

Silence

Why?

La La Land is very likely going to be the winner here, but let’s not count out the terrific diversity of editing styles present. We got movies like Arrival and Manchester by the Sea in one corner that trickle out information through carefully structured narratives. We got movies like Hacksaw Ridge in another corner that lull you into a sense of security before assaulting your eyes with a flurry of violent imagery, And then we got movies like Moonlight in their own corner that use stylized but grounded cuts to weave together compelling sequences. The precursor nods are pointing to these being the eventual competitors and I’m inclined to agree. Expect Hell or High Water to take Arrival’s spot should that not make the cut though.

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Best Sound Mixing

My Picks

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Runners-Up

The Jungle Book

Patriots Day

Silence

Why?

The sound categories will be interesting this year. Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are guaranteed nominations, but the other two slots could be taken by any number of worthy competitors. Part of the problem is that increasing issue of subjectivity and the different styles of sound mixes that are contending. Movies like Arrival and Deepwater Horizon are equally impressive mixes, but one aims for a slightly softer approach where the other fills your ears with a large variety of sound effects. So it will all depend on what the Academy’s sensitive eardrums will favor. Worth noting: though Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day are not done by the same sound teams, they’re both Peter Berg movies so they may be perceived as interchangeable to most voters.

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Best Sound Editing

My Picks

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Runners-Up

La La Land

Patriots Day

Silence

Why?

Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are definitely in. Hell or High Water might be that nice non-blockbuster contender that the Academy occasionally picks in this category, but that and Deepwater Horizon are nowhere near safe for the reasons mentioned in the above category.

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Best Visual Effects

My Picks

Arrival

Captain America: Civil War

Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Runners-Up

Deepwater Horizon

Kubo and the Two Strings

Passengers

Why?

The shortlist for visual effect contenders has been published and it’s largely the movies you would expect. However, I don’t think we really have a frontrunner here. The Academy proved last year that sometimes the smaller, less obvious visual effects are more remarkable than big budget CGI fests. So while many are predicting The Jungle Book or Doctor Strange to take the prize (though Doctor Strange’s momentary frontrunner status seems to have dissipated for no obvious reason), there is a chance the Academy may throw another curve ball at us. I could see Deepwater Horizon or even Kubo and the Two Strings (yes, it’s on the shortlist) being contenders at this rate.

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Best Makeup and Hairstyling

My Picks

Deadpool

A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond

Runners-Up

The Dressmaker

Florence Foster Jenkins

Hail, Caesar!

Why?

I know, I know. What the frak is A Man Called Ove? Well, it’s one of the seven movies shortlisted for this category and the people who did the make-up were nominated last year for the equally out of nowhere contender The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. The Academy has a history of nominating foreign contenders for this category with movies like Il Divo and Mar Adentro, so I have a safe bet that this film will get a nod too. So the real question is will the Academy go with more traditional makeup effects or more elaborate ones? My bet is on the elaborate, what with Deadpool’s surge in award season representation and the Academy’s support of the previous J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies.

lion1

Best Original Score

My Picks

Jackie

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Nocturnal Animals

Runners-Up

The BFG

Florence Foster Jenkins

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Why?

The only thing you need to know about this category is that La La Land is going to win. No doubt about it. So the question is that outside of Moonlight, what else is going to make the cut? This category fluctuates between obvious picks and out of nowhere nominations so often that there’s no way to be sure what plucked the right note for the voters. It doesn’t help that outside of La La Land, there hasn’t been a consensus on what people considered the year’s best scores. So it will be a real toss-up no matter what.

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Best Original Song

My Picks

Hidden Figures (“Runnin’”)

La La Land (“City of Stars”)

La La Land (“Audition (The Ones Who Dream)”)

Moana (“How Far I’ll Go”)

Sing Street (“Drive it Like You Stole It”)

Runners-Up

13th (“Letter to the Free”)

Moana (“We Know the Way”)

Trolls (“Can’t Stop the Feeling”)

Why?

Three things come to mind here. 1) La La Land is going to win this category too, so it doesn’t really matter what else I predict. 2) There are A LOT of songs in contention this year, so most of my guesses could be completely wrong. 3) Why has “How Far I’ll Go” become the award season front runner for Moana? I know Disney only submitted two of the movie’s songs for competition (and not even its best ones), but that is such a generic song compared to “We Know the Way.” I guess it’s the ‘safe choice,’ but come on, Academy…

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Best Animated Feature

My Picks

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

Runners-Up

Miss Hokusai

Sausage Party

Sing

Why?

It’s a strong year for animated films overall, but there is still plenty of competition in this category. The Academy likes to throw in foreign contenders, hence my predictions for My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle, but they also are extra friendly to domestic contenders. Regardless, Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana and Zootopia are safe bets.

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Best Documentary Feature

My Picks

13th

Cameraperson

The Eagle Huntress

I Am Not Your Negro

OJ: Made in America

Runners-Up

Fire at Sea

Life, Animated

Weiner

Why?

There is a fair amount of controversy in this category because many people feel that OJ: Made In America shouldn’t be eligible due to its television run. However, it does have A LOT of support behind it, so it might just make it. The other contenders would all be worthy choices, but it’s anyone’s guess here.

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Best Foreign Language Feature

My Picks

Land of Mine

A Man Called Ove

The Salesman

Tanna

Toni Erdmann

Runners-Up

It’s Only the End of the World

The King’s Choice

My Life as a Zucchini

Why?

The contenders shortlist is out and a lot of big contenders were left off the list (Elle, Julieta, Neruda), so this is what we have to work with. The Salesman and Toni Erdmann are getting in no questions asked, so the remaining three slots are open for anyone to take.

PIPER – Concept Art by Jason Deamer (Production Designer). ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Best Animated Short

My Picks

The Head Vanishes

Inner Workings

Pearl

Piper

Sous Tes Doigts

Runners-Up

Blind Vaysha

Borrowed Time

Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Why?

Piper is by far the front runner here, but I’m going to be honest in saying that the Academy’s history for picking short category nominations is about as random as throwing darts at a dartboard. So don’t expect any rhyme or reason for my predictions other than hearsay from other sites.

whitehelmets

Best Documentary Short

My Picks

Extremis

Joe’s Violin

The Mute’s House

Watani: My Homeland

The White Helmets

Runner-Up

4.1 Miles

Close Ties

The Other Side of Home

Why?

The dartboard will determine the nominees here too.

bonvoyage

Best Live-Action Short

My Picks

Nocturne in Black

The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf and the Boy

Sing (Mindenki)

Timecode

The Way of Tea

Runners-Up

Bon Voyage

Ennemis Interieurs

Graffiti

Why?

See above

What abut you reader? What are your Oscar predictions? Any films or performances that you feel have been overlooked this year? Let us know in the comments below!


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  • Scott Johnson

    Daaaaamn, you hit a lot of these right on the money.

    • zgamer

      I’ve been playing this guessing game for a while, but yeah this was a good year for me. Some of these categories can be pretty hard to guess though.