Expect La La Land to sweep technical awards and Fences to take acting – Our 2017 Oscar Predictions!

The Oscars are here Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 5:30pm PST! Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Academy Awards will honor all things movie making in 2016. This year’s race has been a crazy ride, with “safe bets” like Casey Affleck and Natalie Portman suddenly being overtaken by other nominees who have raced to the top. In the Best Picture category, it’s a battle between social message films versus an escapist entertaining musical. Expect some political statements to be made, some overlong speeches to be cut off by the orchestra, and a slew of montages dedicated to epic movies of the past. Here is a look at what we predict for this year’s Oscar race, so take a look and place your bets for Sunday:

Best Picture:

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

Will Win: La La Land

Could Win: Hidden Figures

Should Win: Moonlight

Should have been nominated: 20th Century Women

It’s a battle between escapism vs. realism, a swinging fun musical vs. a deep social issue drama. La La Land has been slaying critic’s awards, taking top prizes all around. Moonlight is the underdog, a film that tackles race and homosexuality in a subtle, profound way. Hidden Figures is a box office smash hit that also tells the underdog story of three female African-American mathematicians who work at NASA. All three are contenders, but something tells us La La Land will win in the grand tradition of Oscars awarding movies that tell stories about the industry (see Birdman, The Artist…)

Best Director:

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

Will Win: Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Could Win: Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Should Win: Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Should have been nominated: Denzel Washington – Fences

Say what you want about La La Land, but it is a technical masterpiece. From it’s incredibly choreographed, colorful beginning on an LA freeway, to it’s expertly crafted finale, La La Land is a top-notch feat in directing. That doesn’t take away from Jenkins’ beautifully nuanced Moonlight that is full of poetry, gorgeous cinematography, and flawless performances. It’s a tough call choosing between two totally opposite films and style of filmmaking, but we think the Oscars will award the more showy La La Land full of eye-candy portraying the Oscar’s favorite city in the world.

Best Actor:

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Will Win: Denzel Washington – Fences

Could Win: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Should Win: Denzel Washington – Fences

Should have been nominated: Joel Edgerton – Loving

Casey Affleck was the frontrunner for months for his devastating performance in Manchester by the Sea, however controversy surrounding his sexual harassment claims have re-surfaced and could cause damage to his winning. Denzel Washington has already won two Oscars, but his performance in Fences is a career best, and he would be the first black actor to hold three Oscars, a rare feat for any actor. Also, Washington won the SAG Award, which has accurately predicted the Best Actor category at the Oscars for ten years in a row.

Best Actress:

Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Will Win: Emma Stone – La La Land

Could Win: Isabelle Huppert – Elle

Should Win: Isabelle Huppert – Elle

Should have been nominated – Annette Bening – 20th Century Women

Cut to two months ago when Natalie Portman was a lock for her immersive performance in Jackie. Since then, the race has shifted to Emma Stone, who won a Golden Globe and a SAG for her comically musical performance in La La Land. Expect her to take the Oscar as well. The only thing standing in her way is Isabelle Huppert, who would win for a career achievement for her portrayal of a rape survivor trying to identify her attacker in Elle.

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Will Win: Mashershala Ali – Moonlight

Could Win: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Should Win: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Should have been nominated: Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins

Mahershala Ali’s screen time in Moonlight might be limited, but he makes the most of every scene he is in. Playing a drug dealer who takes a young bullied boy into his home, Ali’s subtle performance is profound in not only what he says, but what he doesn’t. He’s a lock for this category. The only real threat is Jeff Bridges’ amazing performance in Hell or High Water, but since Bridges already has an Oscar, expect Ali to take the gold.

Best Supporting Actress:

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

Will Win: Viola Davis – Fences

Could Win: Viola Davis – Fences

Should Win: Viola Davis – Fences

Should have been nominated – Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women

Needless to say, Davis should already have a memorized speech ready for Sunday evening. Her teary eyed, snot faced performance is electrifying, and she has some of the most profound moments in Fences. Also a two time Oscar nominated actress before, this will be Davis’ award, finally.

Best Original Screenplay:

Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Will Win: Manchester by the Sea

Could Win: La La Land

Should Win: Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Logerman’s screenplay for Manchester by the Sea is haunting. Once a frontrunner for Best Picture, Manchester by the Sea has since fallen down a few notches making way for La La Land, Moonlight, and Hidden Figures. While Logerman doesn’t have a shot at Director or Picture, he does have Original Screenplay in the bag for a rich script dealing with trauma, loss, and forgiveness.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Hidden Figures

Will Win: Moonlight

Could Win: Hidden Figures

Should Win: Moonlight

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight is a marvel. Subtle, quiet, and poetic, Moonlight follows a black gay man from childhood to adulthood, revealing many layers along the way. While Jenkins’ might not win Director or Picture, he does have Adapted Screenplay in the bag.

Best Animated Feature:

Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle

Will Win: Zootopia

Could Win: Moana

Should Win: Moana

Zootopia has been every critic’s favorite animated film, winning the Golden Globe over the highly entertaining Moana. The visually stunning Moana still has a shot, but the animals of Zootopia will most likely march their way on stage to take the top prize.

Best Foreign Film:

Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Toni Erdmann

What Will Win: The Salesman

What Could Win: Toni Erdmann

What Should Win: The Salesman

Toni Erdmann has been a lock for Best Foreign Film for a while, until The Salesman’s director Asghar Farhadi threatened to boycott the Oscars over Trump’s travel ban. Since then, The Salesman has built up a lot of steam, and it would make quite a political statement at the ceremony for it to win.

Best Score:

La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Could Win: La La Land

Should Win: La La Land

With 14 nominations total and all fingers pointing to Best Picture, this original music will undoubtedly win Best Score.

Best Editing:

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Could Win: Hacksaw Ridge

Should Win: La La Land

The opening sequence of La La Land alone will win the category of Best Editing, and then there is the stunning fifteen minute finale that is expertly crafted. Once again, another award for La La Land.

Best Costume Design:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land

Will Win: Jackie

Could Win: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Should Win: Jackie

Jackie is a beautiful film that perfectly recreates history to portray Jacqueline Kennedy dealing with the loss of her husband. While it most likely won’t win Best Actress or Score, Costume Design should be a lock, and an only win, for the beautiful Jackie and her expertly tailored Chanel suits. Still, Fantastic Beasts could upset with it’s magically beautiful costumes.

Best Production Design:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Could Win: Fantastic Beasts

Should Win: La La Land

La La Land, once again, will take a technical award for painting a vivid and colorful world of Los Angeles (The Oscars just love LA!)

Best Cinematography:

La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Could Win: Lion

Should Win: Arrival

Once again, the opening sequence of La La Land is a technical masterpiece, and one that will be remembered forever in cinematic history. Linus Sandgren’s use of color is gorgeous and much of La La Land can be paused and hung on a wall as a piece of art. Still, Arrival deserves recognition for it’s hypnotic work in cinematography, but La La Land will win, and deservedly so.

Best Visual Effects:

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Will Win: The Jungle Book

Could Win: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Should Win: The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book was a massive hit commercially and critically. It was a stunning recreaton of the beloved Disney classic, and should win Best Visual Effects over another Star Wars movie.

Best Documentary Feature:

Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America

Will Win: OJ: Made in America

Could Win: OJ: Made in America

Should Win: OJ: Made in America

OJ: Made in America is a technical masterpiece, and it’s been broadcast on ESPN which means a large audience has seen it. Still, James Baldwin’s works highlighted in the beautiful I Am Not Your Negro deserves recognition, but OJ is an outstanding piece of work, and will most definitely win the Oscar.

Best Documentary Short:

4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

What Will Win: The White Helmets

What Could Win: Joe’s Violin

What Should Win: Joe’s Violin

Joe’s Violin is haunting and beautiful, telling the story of a Holocaust survivor. But, The White Helmets is a frontrunner, and deservedly so, telling the story of a group of people who rush in and rescue survivors of a bombing.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:

A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Will Win: Star Trek Beyond

Could Win: Suicide Squad

Should Win: Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad was a critical disaster, receiving poor reviews and a Razzie nomination for Jared Leto. Many don’t want to see the film win an Oscar at all, even one for Best Makeup & Hairstyling. That means Star Trek Beyond will mostly likely win the award (even if we love Harley Quinn’s iconic style!)

Best Sound Editing:

Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Will Win: Hacksaw Ridge

Could Win: Arrival

Should Win: Hacksaw Ridge

Action movies and WWII battle movies usually do very well in this category. Plus, Mel Gibson’s WWII epic is not likely to win other categories, so expect Hacksaw Ridge to take this one.

Best Sound Mixing:

Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Will Win: Hacksaw Ridge

Could Win: Arrival

Should Win: Hacksaw Ridge

(Same as Best Sound Editing)

Best Original Song:

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

What Will Win: City of Stars

What Could Win: City of Stars

What Should Win: The Audition

Once again, La La Land will sweep, especially in the music category as it is an original musical. Still, The Audition is a much better song due to it’s amazing delivery from Emma Stone in one of the film’s best scenes, but City of Stars is catchy and is prevalent throughout the film as it is a theme song to the Oscar’s favorite city in the world.

Best Animated Short:

Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Will Win: Piper

Could Win: Pearl

Should Win: Piper

Pixar hasn’t won this award since 2001, but Piper is adorable, and is more lively than the rather more depressing bunch.

Best Live Action Short:

Ennemis Entreniers
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights

What Will Win: Silent Nights

What Could Win: Ennemis Interieurs

What Should Win: Silent Nights

All of these short films are profound, but Silent Nights is the frontrunner, telling the story of a Danish woman and her Ghanian immigrant boyfriend, coming out at a perfect time politically.

Those are our predictions for the 2017 Academy Awards! What do you think will? What do you think could win? What do you think should win? Tell us in the comments below!

Watch the Oscars live on ABC Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 5:30pm PST, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as we update live coverage!

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