2017 Academy Awards Predictions

Well, the 89th Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday, so we talked predictions on Pat & JT this morning (You can listen to the podcast here). I’m confident in my “Big Six” picks—that is, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. However, I’m a little iffy on awards like Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, which always throw me for a loop. Check out the full list of nominees here, and we’ll talk predictions below!

Best Picture Prediction:
La La Land

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land (2016)

Personally, I would love to see Arrival or Moonlight grab the Best Picture, but I have a feeling that this award is going to La La Land. It’s a gorgeous film, and it’s already scooped up Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild, Directors Guild, and Critics’ Choice awards. Plus, there’s nothing that old white dudes in the Academy love more than movies that pay tribute to Hollywood.

Potential Upset(s): Hidden Figures, Moonlight

Best Actor Prediction:
Casey Affleck

Casey Affleck in Manchester By the Sea (2016)

Casey Affleck in Manchester By the Sea has consistently held the lead for Best Actor. Though Denzel Washington picked up the SAG, Affleck won Best Actor at the Critics’ Choice Awards, the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, and a dozen other critics and film festival awards. Sure, all he had to do was play a sad, angry Boston guy (what a stretch, I know), but it was easily the best performance of his career.

Potential Upset(s): Denzel Washington for Fences

Best Actress Prediction:
Emma Stone

Emma Stone in La La Land

Early on, people thought Jackie would deliver Natalie Portman her second Best Actress win. But since awards season kicked off, Emma Stone has been the favorite. If you’ve seen the “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” scene in La La Land, it should come as no surprise that this is my pick (and everyone else’s pick). The Academy loves big-eyed ingenues, and Stone’s performance in La La Land showcases exactly that. The only actress who could stop her is the pick below.

Potential Upset(s): Isabelle Huppert for Elle

Best Supporting Actor Prediction: Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali in Moonlight

Mahershala Ali might only be in a third of Moonlight, but boy does he leave his mark. You know how some supporting actors get credit for stealing the show? Well, Ali doesn’t steal the show. It’s more like his memory is a driving force for the rest of the film. That, to me, is an impressive performance. Plus, he put in some goddamn work in 2016. Luke Cage, Hidden FiguresHouse of Cards, Moonlight. Give this man the recognition he deserves, Hollywood!

Potential Upset(s): Michael Shannon in Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress Prediction: Viola Davis

Viola Davis in Fences

Fences is one of three Best Picture nominees I have yet to see, so I can’t speak for Viola Davis’ performance in the film. However, what I can tell you is that this is Davis’ third nomination (2009, 2012, 2017), making her the most nominated black woman in Oscar history, and that she’s picked up 2017 Best Supporting Actress wins at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Critics’ Choice, and more. So I’m with Viola.

Potential Upset(s): Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures

Best Director Prediction: Damien Chazelle

Director Damien Chazelle and Emma Stone on the set of LA LA LAND.

Best Director at the Golden Globes. Best Director at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Best Director at the BAFTAs. Best Director at the Directors Guild. FOLLOW THE TRAIL to a Damien Chazelle Oscar win.

Potential Upset(s): Barry Jenkins for Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay Prediction: La La Land

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land (2016)

Damien Chazelle already picked up Best Screenplay awards from the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, so I think it’s safe to say he’ll nab this, too. However, there’s a good chance that Kenneth Lonergan could swoop in and pick one up for Manchester By the Sea.

Potential Upset(s): Manchester By the Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay Prediction: Moonlight

Moonlight (2016)

One of the things I loved about Barry Jenkins’ screenplay for Moonlight—which was adapted from a play called In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney—was how it primarily utilized nonverbal communication to show us the emotions and motivations behind its characters. Absolutely stunning.

Potential Upset(s): Arrival, Hidden Figures

Best Cinematography Prediction: La La Land

La La Land's cinematography

I could make cases for Arrival and Moonlight‘s cinematography, but I feel like this is another award that La La Land‘s going to sweep up. And there’s nothing wrong with that because it was beautifully shot.

Potential Upset(s): Arrival, Moonlight

Best Production Design Prediction: Arrival

Arrival (2016)

My brain said, “Go with La La Land because it will most likely win.” But you know what? I’m going to pick the underdog this time. I’m calling Arrival for Production Design. If there’s anything that will throw off La La Land‘s winning streak, it’ll be visual and technical awards like this one. Arrival is far superior on that front.

Potential Upset(s)La La Land

Best Visual Effects Prediction: The Jungle Book

Neeli Sethi as Mowgli and Bill Murray as Baloo in 2016 The Jungle Book

This award belongs to The Jungle Book, and I don’t care what anybody says. Even if that “anybody” is the Academy.

Potential Upset(s)Doctor Strange, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Film Editing Prediction: Arrival

Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams in Arrival (2016)

If you’ve seen Arrival, you’ll know what I mean when I say the way this film was edited is crucial for hiding its ending. It deserves this.

Potential Upset(s): Moonlight

Best Sound Editing Prediction: Arrival

Trailer for Arrival (2016)

Arrival sound editors had to create sounds for aliens. I feel like that’s a lot more complicated than vehicle, explosion, and gun sounds.

Potential Upset(s): Deepwater Horizon, Hacksaw Ridge

Best Sound Mixing Prediction: Arrival

Amy Adams in Arrival (2016)

Because Arrival has such an eerie mix of silence and sound effects, I think it’ll pick up Sound Mixing, too. (Remember: Sound editing is creating effects; sound mixing is balancing the effects.)

Potential Upset(s)13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Original Score Prediction: La La Land

Best Original Score (and Best Original Song) is the one place where La La Land most definitely deserves to win. After all, it’s a musical centered around jazz. The score is gorgeous throughout the film, and I’m personally obsessed with Justin Hurwitz’s “Mia & Sebastian’s Theme.” If it doesn’t win, I’d be okay with Moonlight. Every other soundtrack on the list was a case full of mehhhh.

Potential Upset(s): Moonlight

Best Original Song Prediction: “City of Stars”

La La Land‘s sleepy lullaby “City of Stars” (sung by both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) is so simple that it’s magnificent. Though, I’d love for Lin-Manuel Miranda to win for Moana‘s “How Far I’ll Go,” I’m okay with any of the songs from La La Land winning. Also, kindly see yourself out, Justin Timberlake. Your Trolls song is hot garbage.

Potential Upset(s): “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land, “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

Best Costume Design Prediction: Jackie

Natalie Portman in Jackie

Recreating Jackie Kennedy’s outfits? Just give Madeline Fontaine the award now. You know the older Academy members eat this shit up.

Potential Upset(s)Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:
Star Trek Beyond

Idris Elba as Krall in Star Trek Beyond

If you can hide how hot Idris Elba is, you win all the makeup and hairstyling awards. And that’s why Star Trek Beyond is my vote.

Potential Upset(s): A Man Called Ove

Best Animated Feature Prediction: Zootopia

Zootopia (2016)

Disney had a hell of a year with ZootopiaMoana, and Finding Dory (not nominated), and I’m fairly confident that Zootopia will win Best Animated Feature. It had everything—production design, visual effects, the story, the acting, the music! It’s a solid film all around.

Potential Upset(s): Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana


A final note…I didn’t make predictions for Best Animated Short, Best Live-Action Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, or Best Foreign Language Film because I’ve seen NONE of them, so I’m not going to pull guesses out of my ass and pretend like I know what I’m talking about. If you have any predictions or contentions with my picks, share them in the comments!

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will be live Sunday, Feb. 26 on ABC at 7pm E/6pm C.

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