After last years’ backlash, this year the Academy has tried to be inclusive and diverse. “Wow, what a difference a year makes,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and rightfully so. The institution has introduced 683 new academy members (46 % women and 41 % people of color) into Academy voting membership this year. Now that that the Oscars are just around the corner, we are ready to place our bets on a handful few. Here we go.
Date: February 26, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM PST
Host: Jimmy Kimmel
Location: Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, California, United States
Academy Award for Best Picture
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Hell Or High Water
- Hidden Figures
- La La Land
- Manchester by the Sea
La La Land is our pick for this year. It’s a musical written and directed by Damien Chazelle starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The film has received 14 nominations (equalling 1997’s Titanic and 1950’s All About Eve) at the 89th Academy Awards.
- Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
- Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
- Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
- Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
- Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Damien Chazelle, director, and winner of La La Land is likely to take the crown for this one. Chazelle had written the screenplay for the film back in 2010, and it was only after the success of Whiplash, he could find a producer willing to take on his project.
- Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
- Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
- Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
- Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
- Denzel Washington (Fences)
Casey Affleck gave a solid performance in Manchester by the Sea this year. And he is our frontrunner for the Best Actor this year. Besides the Best Actor, the film has received nominations for 5 more awards for Sunday’s Academy Awards.
- Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
- Ruth Negga (Loving)
- Natalie Portman (Jackie)
- Emma Stone (La La Land)
- Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Emma Stone who played Mia Dolan, in this year’s hit musical La La Land is our pick for Best Actress this year. Emma Watson was the first choice for the film, but since Watson at the time was committed to making Beauty and the Beast, Stone was roped in for the role.
Academy Award for 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)
Mahershala Ali in Moonlight did a marvelous and is the most likely candidate here. The film had won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes. Moonlight has received eight nominations at the 89th Academy Awards.
Best Supporting Actress
- Viola Davis (Fences)
- Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
- Nicole Kidman (LionOctavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
- Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
Viola Davis is a powerhouse of talent, she’ll be sweeping off the Best Supporting Actress awards this year. She won the best Supporting Actress award at the Golden Globe this year. Fences have altogether received four Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards.
Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
- Land of Mine (Denmark)
- The Salesman (Iran)
- Tanna (Australia)
- Toni Erdmann (Germany)
Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman is the front-runner in this category. Remember when Asghar Farhadi won Oscar for A Separation? His latest film too deals with inevitable complications that arise in a family, right out of nowhere. The film has already won the Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival.
Best Documentary Feature
- Fire at Sea
- I Am Not Your Negro
- Life, Animated
- OJ: Made in America
13th is a documentary directed by Ava DuVernay and centers around racism in the United States criminal justice system. It’s one of the highest ranking documentaries of this year and had opened to widespread critical praise.
Best Animated Feature
- Kubo and the Two Strings
- My Life as a Zucchini
- The Red Turtle
Kubo and the Two Strings picked up Bafta this year. But Moana and Zootopia are our top pick for the category. Moana co-directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams and features voices of Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Temuera Morrison, Rachel House, Jemaine Clement, Alan Tudyk, and Nicole Scherzinger. And Zootopia is directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore while starring the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, J. K. Simmons, Idris Elba, Jason Bateman, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Nate Torrence, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, and Shakira.
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
- La La Land
Bradford Young for Arrival and Linus Sandgren for La La Land are our frontrunners for this category. While Young is known for his work on Pariah, Sandgren ahs worked with David O Russell on his films American Hustle and Joy.
Best Costume Design
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Florence Foster Jenkins
- La La Land
Colleen Atwood has pulled up and amazing work in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Over her long spanning career, Atwood has received nominations for the Academy Awards for Best Costume Design eleven times. She won thrice for Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Alice in Wonderland.
Best Make-up and Hairstyling
- A Man Called Ove (Love Larson and Eva von Bahr)
- Star Trek Beyond (Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo )
- Suicide Squad (Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson)
Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo for Star Trek Beyond are celebrated stylists. Harlow had been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling in The Lone Ranger and had won Oscar for his work on Star Trek. And Alonzo had been involved with critically acclaimed films, The Sixth Sense, Artificial Intelligence, Iron Man, and Avatar.
Academy Award for Best Visual Effects
- Deepwater Horizon
- Doctor Strange
- The Jungle Book
- Kubo and the Two Strings
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Jungle Book is our top contender for this one. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s work, the film is directed and co-produced by Jon Favreau. It features the voices of Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Giancarlo Esposito, and Christopher Walken.
Best Original Score
- Jackie (Mica Levi)
- La La Land (Justin Hurwitz)
- Lion (Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka)
- Moonlight (Nicholas Britell)
- Passengers (Thomas Newman)
We have narrowed down to La La Land. The musical has been praised the score for the film was composed and orchestrated by Justin Hurwitz who had worked with Chazelle (director) on two of his previous films. Hurwitz and Chazelle had been classmates at Harvard University.
Academy Award for Best Original Song
- Jim: The James Foley Story (Song: The Empty Chair/Music and Lyrics: J Ralph and Sting)
- La La Land (Song: Audition/Music: Justin Hurwitz/Lyrics: Pasek and Paul)
- La La Land (Song: City of Stars/Music: Justin Hurwitz/Lyrics: Pasek and Paul)
- Moana (Song: How Far I’ll Go/Music and Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda)
- Trolls (Song: Can’t Stop the Feeling!/Music and Lyrics: Max Martin, Shellback, and Justin Timberlake)
Either La La Land‘s Audition song or City of Stars will be taking the Oscar home. The lyrics were written by Pasek and Paul who recently won the won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. The film’s album had peaked at number 1 on the UK Albums Chart and number 2 on the US Billboard 200.
Best Original Screenplay
- Hell or High Water (Taylor Sheridan)
- La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
- The Lobster, (Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou)
- Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
- 20th Century Women (Mike Mills)
Here to La La Land is expected to in this category. But we feel The Lobster and 20th Century Women deserves mention. It’s directed, co-written, and co-produced by Yorgos Lanthimos starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. While 20th Century Women directed and written by Mike Mills and star Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning, Lucas Jade Zumann and Billy Crudup.
Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
- Arrival (Eric Heisserer; short story by Ted Chiang)
- Fences (August Wilson; adapted from his own play)
- Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder; book by Margot Lee Shetterly)
- Lion (Luke Davies; memoir titled A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose)
- Moonlight (Larry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney; based on the play by Tarell Alvin McCraney)
After winning Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 74th Golden Globe Awards, Moonlight is tipped to win this category again at the Academy Awards. Based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the film is directed by Barry Jenkins and stars Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, Jharrel Jerome, Ashton Sanders, and Mahershala Ali.
The 89th Academy Awards will take place on February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, California, United States.