89th Academy Awards Predictions: Who Will Be Nominated At 2017 Oscars?

We’re less than 24 hours from the announcement of the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards! Who will be nominated for the 2017 Oscars?

Well, this year has been easier to predict up top, and harder to predict down below. By that, I mean that the first few choices in each category should be pretty obvious after the last several months of precursor awards. However, it’s getting difficult to narrow down the final one or two spots in each category. For instance, Casey Affleck, Denzel Washington, and Andrew Garfield feel like clear choices for Best Actor, with the possibility that Ryan Gosling charms his way to a nomination as well. But what about that last spot? Best Actress is even more contentious, if you think about it, considering that the only person who seems to be on 100% solid footing is Emma Stone and, perhaps, Natalie Portman. I feel good about Meryl Streep and Amy Adams making the cut, but…well, once again, what about that fifth spot? You can use precursor awards to predict who lands where, but Oscar prediction is also a game of instinct. You just have to know when to trust your hunches. While it might not always pay off, I guess I’d rather risk it and be wrong than play it safe and be right. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and while my average fluctuates from year-to-year, I’m hoping this is one of those years where the Academy takes a few more risks as well.

Check out my predictions for the Oscars, and add your own in the comments below!

89th Academy Awards Predictions Who Will Be Nominated At 2017 Oscars

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89th Academy Awards Predictions

Best Picture

La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
Hacksaw Ridge
Hidden Figures
Florence Foster Jenkins

This one is tougher than in recent years, because the top three contenders are taking so much attention, it can be difficult to figure out where the rest of the attention is going. Those three frontrunners, Moonlight, La La Land, and Manchester By the Sea, seem to be pretty much locked-in right now. As for the other contenders, I’m going out on a limb and saying Hidden Figures sneaks in over Fences, since the former movie has way more guild buzz than the latter. I also think the DGA nomination bodes well for Lion, which siphoned away a lot of heat that Martin Scorsese’s Silence had been generating. In addition, Arrival and Hacksaw Ridge have built steady support since November, so I think they’re in. Lastly, I’m throwing out a total wildcard and saying Meryl Streep pushes Florence Foster Jenkins over the line, rather than sticking by more conventional wisdom favoring Jeff Bridges helping Hell or High Water make the cut. With that said, I would love to be surprised by a Deadpool nomination, like we got at the Globes and the PGA. But that feels like the longest of long shots right now.

Best Director

Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

It’s probably insane to think Gibson will make the cut, but he’s my certified “Directorial Hunch of the Year”. Granted, my Hunch only ever makes it in about once every five years, but I’d rather take a risk and be wrong than play it safe and get it right. This also feels like a category that’s more locked-in than any other, since I can’t imagine any of the first four directors missing out. I suppose Villeneuve is vulnerable, but I just don’t see him being shaken out of that spot, even if the DGA nominated Garth Davis (Lion), and even if people do respect Denzel Washington (Fences) and Martin Scorsese (Silence).

Best Actress

Emma Stone, La La Land
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins,
Amy Adams, Arrival
Isabelle Hupert, Elle

This is probably the toughest category to predict, because it’s the most loaded of all the acting categories. The only person I’m 100% confident about is Emma Stone. Even Natalie Portman and Amy Adams are vulnerable, to me. I still think they’ll get in, but I could easily imagine a scenario where they miss out. I think Meryl Streep earns the fourth slot for Florence Foster Jenkins, especially thanks to the added publicity boost she received from her Golden Globes speech. But it’s that fifth spot that’s giving me grief, because it could go to any one of five different women: early awards season contender Ruth Negga (Loving), Golden Globes winner Isabelle Hupert (Elle), top box office star for two consecutive weeks Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures), BAFTA nominee Emily Blunt (Girl On The Train), and multi-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (20th Century Women). While the early buzz for Negga was as strong as the late buzz now for Henson, and although Bening is a legend and Blunt continues to pop up in precursors despite the movie underperforming, I feel the Academy will want to finally honor Isabelle Hupert. Naturally, this is their best chance to do so.

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, Manchester By the Sea
Denzel Washington, Fences
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals

The big question right now is whether the Academy will love La La Land as much as the Hollywood Foreign Press did. If so, I could see La La Land earning an enormous nomination sweep, which means Ryan Gosling could be carried in. It would be a surprise, considering much of the acting buzz is on Stone. But his performance is worth noting, since he basically had to learn piano in three weeks, and train extensively in dance, every bit as much as Stone had to. With that said, his nomination is a longshot, which is why he’s near the bottom of my list. But the reason he’s not at the very bottom is because I’m going out on a limb and saying Jake Gyllenhaal will duplicate his BAFTA nomination with Oscar. There was a minor backlash against the Academy for snubbing him for Nightcrawler, and I think this is their chance to make it up to him. And it’s a more than worthy performance. Unfortunately, for him to get in, it would have to knock out Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic, which has performed really well in the precursors so far. Mortensen would be the smarter bet, but I’m going to kick myself if Gyllenhaal gets in and I didn’t throw it out there.

(EDIT: I woke up this morning and realized I had forgotten about Colin Farrell in The Lobster and Tom Hanks in Sully. Both are solid performances, but I’m not sure where I’d rank them in this lineup, even though I would definitely allow for at least an outside chance for either man. But to anyone else who reads this, what do you think their odds are?)

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, Fences
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Michelle Williams, Manchester By the Sea
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Naomie Harris, Moonlight

The nominations here feel pretty locked-in. Sure, there is always the chance of a surprise, but this is probably the category I feel most comfortable with, at least out of the acting categories.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Dev Patel, Lion
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea

I feel safe about the first three, although I’m shakey on the last two, and this is mostly because of the late surge for Nocturnal Animals. That film has buzz on two separate supporting performances, by Michael Shannon and surprise Golden Globe winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson. I could easily see a scenario where, if the Academy really does go gaga for it, both men could get in. It’s rare in Supporting Actor, but not exactly unheard of. With that said, I think the more likely scenario is that Shannon and Taylor-Johnson split votes, allowing for Grant and Hedges to make the cut.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nocturnal Animals

Hidden Figures, Silence, Elle and Loving are threats, as is Hacksaw Ridge, if it manages to earn a Best Picture nomination. But I feel like the Academy is looking for more cerebral scripts. While that doesn’t exactly describe Lion or Fences, I expect those two films to be the Academy’s more populist choices.

Best Original Screenplay

La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
The Lobster
Captain Fantastic
Hell or High Water

This one is more of a crapshoot than Adapted Screenplay, since the top two picks are the only ones I feel confident about. But this also tends to be a bit more adventurous a category than Adapted Screenplay, so I think The Lobster has a real shot at a nomination, at the very least. The other two were a tougher call, especially since movies like Zootopia and Jackie have been picking up steam. However, I’m sticking with Hell or High Water and Captain Fantastic.

Best Animated Feature

Finding Dory
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Red Turtle

There has been some slight buzz for Sing, and a lot of late buzz for My Life As a Zucchini, but the Academy tends to be really random in this category (that snub for The LEGO Movie still stings!). I would imagine if any presumed frontrunner misses out, it’ll be Moana, especially since there are two Disney movies in the running already. But I’m not willing to actually predict it, so I’m keeping Moana right where she is.

Best Documentary Feature

O.J.: Made In America
The Ivory Game
Fire At Sea

The first two are the only ones I feel confident about right now. The others are mostly predicted through subject, although even then, it’s not an exact science to narrow down the Academy’s tastes in documentaries.

Best Foreign-Language Film

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

Paradise has a real shot of sneaking in here somewhere, but I’m not sure which film it would knock out of contention, so I’m keeping my finalists locked.

Best Cinematography

La La Land
Hacksaw Ridge

It feels strange to predict Silence here and not really go for it in any other major categories, but I feel the film is far more respected than loved. Of course, I could just be hilariously wrong, whhich is equally possible. If anything, I feel Silence is probably on firmer ground in this category than Hacksaw Ridge.

Best Costume Design

La La Land
Florence Foster Jenkins
The Dressmaker
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

I’m basically just guessing off of what I think the Academy will find visually appealing, since it’s hard to narrow down five nominees from the fifteen that the Costumers’ Guild chooses each year. I think it’s hard to ever pass on Colleen Atwood in this category, but she’s probably splitting votes between Fantastic Beasts and Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. Still, she’s an 11-time nominee, three-time winner, and all-time legend in this category, so I think she’s in. And for my left field pick, I’m passing on Silence and The Handmaiden in favor of The Dressmaker, whose plot actually revolves around its costumes. It’s a movie basically designed to earn attention in this category.

Best Film Editing

La La Land
Manchester By the Sea

This is the most important category to earn a nomination if you want to win Best Picture, considering movies without a nomination for Film Editing rarely win Best Picture. So I think the three big Best Picture frontrunners, La La Land, Moonlight, and Manchester By the Sea, have to be in this category. I also think Arrival will make the cut, leaving it down to Hacksaw Ridge and Jackie. Ultimately, I’m going to roll the dice and say Jackie.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Florence Foster Jenkins
A Man Called Ove

Again, totally spitballing here.

Best Production Design

La La Land
The Jungle Book
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Typically, “Best Production Design” means “Most Production Design”, and these are each films with a distinctive visual flair, whether it’s creating a fantastical world, or recreating a specific time in American history. Silence could sneak in, I suppose, but I wonder how many people have had the time to see it, considering the relative lateness of its release.

Best Original Score

La La Land
Florence Foster Jenkins
Kubo and the Two Strings

Tough category. La La Land is the score to beat, and I’m mostly predicting The BFG and Florence Foster Jenkins because they’re from John Williams and Alexandre Desplat, respectively. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rogue One make the cut, especially since the score doesn’t rely as heavily on the familiar Star Wars cues of old. But I think a likelier spoiler would be Hidden Figures, since Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams make for a killer duo. With that said, I’m not sure how much enthusiasm is there for the score, as memorable as it was.

Best Original Song

“City of Stars” from La La Land
“Audition” from La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls
“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
“Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street

My favorite category! And this year is an embarrassment of riches. This has to be the most stacked Best Original Song race in recent memory, since so many different hits in 2016 were actually from movies, which means the usual low-key contenders have serious competition from more mainstream competition this year. I’m thinking two La La Land songs will get in, although I’m not sure what the second will be. The first is most likely “City of Stars”, while the second could be the emotional “Audition” or the peppy “Another Day of Sun”. Ultimately, I think emotion will trump pep, in this instance. I also think Lin-Manuel Miranda is likely to get in for his contribution to the Moana soundtrack, although part of me wonders if the Academy will choose the crowd-pleasing “You’re Welcome” over the more anthemic “How Far I’ll Go”. But I’ll stick with the more traditional Disney song of the two, which leaves two spots left.

I’ll be honest, I’ll be really disappointed if “Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street misses out, even though it feels like a longshot (in spite of its Critics’ Choice nomination). It’s the one nomination I’m rooting for more than anything this year, so I’m adding it to my final five. For the last spot, they’ll probably go with a song from a mainstream artist, although I have no loving idea what it’ll be. They could go with something like Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens” from Suicide Squad, or honor Pharrell with one of his songs from Hidden Figures. Shakira also had a song on the Zootopia soundtrack, while Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande have a Golden Globe-nominated song from Sing. But I think they’ll ultimately go with one of the biggest soundtrack hits of the year, and finally give Justin Timberlake a nomination for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls. With that said, I feel there’s still the risk the Academy could go smaller and nominate something from a documentary, like “Letter To the Free” from 13th, or “I’m Still Here” from Miss Sharon Jones, considering they’ve tended to go with out-of-left-field documentary songs in recent years. But I’m hedging my bets far too much already, so I’m sticking with the five I’ve chosen.

Best Sound Editing

La La Land
Hacksaw Ridge
The Jungle Book
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

This is a rough category for me every year, but I feel like blockbusters tend to do better here than in other categories. Rogue One feels like a safe bet, along with The Jungle Book. Musicals don’t always do well here, but I’ll say La La Land anyway, along with two of my other predicted Best Picture nominees, Hacksaw Ridge and Arrival.

Best Sound Mixing

La La Land
Hacksaw Ridge
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Visual Effects

The Jungle Book
Doctor Strange
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Deepwater Horizon

I’m sticking with blockbusters in this category, although I’m choosing to go wildcard and say Deepwater Horizon gets in. If it made it to the finals among all the different submissions to this category, it got there for a reason. So I think there’s support for it within the Academy.

Best Live-Action Short Film

Nocturne In Black
The Rifle, The Jackal, The Wolf, and the Boy
The Way of Tea

Picking mostly off of subject matter.

Best Documentary Short Subject

Joe’s Violin
The Mute’s House
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Same as live-action short, I’m going off of what the film is about.

Best Animated Short

Once Upon A Line
Borrowed Time
A Happy End
The Head Vanishes

For this, my picks are more from a combination of animation style and subject matter.,I’ll be anxious to see the nominees once they’re released theatrically in my area, which won’t be until about two weeks before the big show, weirdly enough.

And that’s a wrap! What do you think of my predictions for the 89th Academy Awards? Sound off in the comments!

And for more movie news, find out when and where you can watch the Oscar nominations tomorrow morning, as well as which Hollywood stars will be join Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs for the big announcement!

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