In 2016, as a direct response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that cast a shadow over last year’s ceremony, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences invited over 600 new members, significantly comprised of women and people of color. While it’s difficult to say whether this will ultimately have a substantial impact on this year’s winners, it was still something we had to consider when we put our heads together and attempted to figure out who would walk away with trophies this weekend. Last year we were 16/24, and there are some tough categories this year, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed! See below to read through our full list of Oscar predictions.
Since Damien Chazelle’s love letter to Los Angeles hit the festival circuit last Fall, plenty of pundits have been predicting this as not simply a contender, but the favorite to win Sunday’s big prize. Yes, there’s been a backlash, and Moonlight seems to be gaining some late-race momentum, but in the end, La La Land will take Best Picture.
There’s a chance this year that we’ll see a split between the awards for Directing and Best Picture, but if that happens, it will only be because Moonlight takes Best Picture. La La Land expertly balances big dance numbers and smaller character moments, and we think that will propel Damien Chazelle into the win here.
Denzel is our late-breaking favorite here, most notably winning Best Actor at this years’ SAG Awards. The acting branch of the Academy is the largest branch, and we predict that SAG win will match up with an Oscar win on Sunday night.
This is another category where we think the recent SAG winner will strike gold again on Oscar night. Stone puts in a terrific performance that’s going to resonate with any Academy member that’s endured a painful audition process.
Mahershala Ali is a strong favorite in this category. Dev Patel is close, but Ali has won a dozen other awards (according to our leaderboard), and we think the streak will continue on Oscar night.
If there’s one “gimme” for the night, it’s this one. You can argue that it’s not exactly a supporting role, but that doesn’t matter. Viola Davis is going to walk with this one.
We’ve predicted that Kenneth Lonergan’s film will get mostly shut out in various categories on Sunday night, but we think this is the one race that it’s mostly likely to win. The other nominees are strong contenders, but we think Manchester by the Sea will take home this one (and only this one).
Barry Jenkins did some impressive work adapting Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play into a film, most notably rearranging the structure into a more linear story and letting relatively sparse dialogue have dramatic impact. We think the voters will notice too, and that Jenkins can count on at least one award of his own on Sunday night.
This isn’t a lock, but Zootopia arguably has the broadest appeal of all the movies in the category. The strongest challenger here is Kubo, but we think Zootopia will still win.
Asghar Farhadi has previously won this same award for A Separation in 2011, and we think he’ll win again this year.
This is another category with some great contenders, but we think O.J.: Made in America will be the ultimate winner, narrowly edging out 13th and I Am Not Your Negro.
There was a lot of disagreement in the Tomatoplex over this category. Each of the nominees had their champions on the RT team, but after thinking about the dance numbers, especially the opening number on the freeway, most of our votes went to La La Land.
We think Arrival takes this one largely due to how it deftly moves through various times in Louise’s life, and how that jumping around is the key to understanding the movie.
This Coen brothers farce recreated 50s-era Tinseltown with such flair that we think it’s going to resonate with Academy members more than the other nominees.
So many of the reviews for this movie mention how the film really nailed Jackie’s look and style. We think that Academy voters will have noticed that too.
The Oscar for music has to go to the musical this year right? We’ll frankly be shocked if this doesn’t happen.
Although there’s a risk that the two songs from La La Land will sabotage each others’ chances, we’re still pretty sure that “City of Stars” will be the winner here.
This category caused a lot of disagreement in the Tomatoplex. A lot of us really think that Doctor Strange could take this one, but more of us think that the seamless mix of CGI and practical effects in The Jungle Book will get the most votes.
In spite of the Tomatometer, we think Suicide Squad will eke out a win over the other contenders here.
There’s a great mix of familiar and new audio elements in the Star Wars universe, and that’s going to help make Rogue One an Oscar winner on Sunday night.
The various sounds created for this film that become such an essential part of the story are going to cement a win for Arrival.
Believe it or not, Pixar hasn’t won an Oscar for Best Animated Short since For the Birds back in 2002. We think their latest avian adventure, the adorable Piper, will win the hearts of the Academy.
The tense, topical Enemies Within (Ennemis Intérieurs) – about a French police officer interrogating an Algerian immigrant – touches on such hot-button issues as immigration, terrorism, and patriotism at a moment when tensions are rife across continents. Several of the Live Action shorts are lighter in tone, but Enemies Within feels particularly urgent.
It’s not uncommon for the short docs to tackle heavy subject matter, but this year’s slate is especially heartbreaking, with three entries focusing on the Syrian Civil War. The White Helmets, which follows volunteer rescue workers operating in the war zone, has a power and immediacy that is certain to resonate with Academy voters.