Oscarathon 2017: Oscar Nom Predictions

In All, Movies by David

We are almost there! Oscarathon 2017 heads toward a big moment, as the Oscar nominees will finally be announced on January 24th. You can see my most recent thoughts on the state of things for most races here and here. There will be a mix of predictions and light analysis in this post, because I lament that some categories didn’t get the attention they deserve before, as I just didn’t feel there was enough to go off of, so I will do some of that now. Time to make what are sure to be a lot of wrong predictions, since the Oscars will do something nutty like they always do.

Best Picture

Despite 2016 being a rather lackluster year at both the low and middle end, the prestige season has been quite robust. Because of that, this really could be the year that ten films get nominated. That just seems unlikely, though, because I really think for that to happen we need a year that either has only one clear favorite or no clear favorites. Despite La La Land‘s new momentum, for most of the season it had been locked in a battle with Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea. This clump could make it difficult for other movies to clear the 5% threshold that is required to get a nomination. Still, there has been a pretty clear consensus around nine movies this year that have mostly separated themselves from the rest of the pack. The real question for me, then, is whether there will be nine movies or only eight. Ultimately, I think this feels like a nine movie year, with the very real threat of ten if the Academy goes in a really, really fun direction with Deadpool, or feels beholden to Martin Scorsese for Silence (if this was Spielberg, this nomination would be a lock, but with Scorcese it’s borderline), or is infested with people who love Nocturnal Animals. Still, there are so many films like that in contention that I think they will all split the remaining votes and prevent any from clearing the minimum threshold.

Predicted Nominees

  • La La Land
  • Moonlight
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Arrival
  • Lion
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hacksaw Ridge

Most Likely to Take a Spot or Earn the Mythical Tenth Spot: Deadpool (come on, do something fun, Academy)

Wild Card: Jackie (This film has no buzz, but this is just the kind of movie that gets nominated, so it sneaking in is not impossible)

Other Contenders: Silence and Nocturnal Animals

Best Director

This race looked pretty easy until the DGAs nominated Garth Davis for his work on Lion. Now things are a bit more in flux. Add in that this category just makes really weird choices at times, and has been known to snub supposed locks (Bigelow and Affleck in 2012, Ridley Scott in 2016) and this race could still produce some real surprises–especially if the Academy voters decided to ignore Kenneth Lonergan here because they feel he is more of a writer than a director. At this point, however, smart money says the Oscars will mostly fall in line with the DGA nominations. The only question is, does the final spot go to Mel Gibson or the rising Davis? Gibson seemed to have the inside track, but there were always questions about whether the Academy would be ready to forgive Gibson for his past. Complicating matters further is the deep love the Academy has for Martin Scorsese and Tom Ford. Plus, if Davis hadn’t taken the reigns, Hell and High Water‘s director David Mackenzie could have been the one to sneak in. Ultimately, I am going with Davis because of the power of the Weinsteins when it comes to Oscar campaigning. Plus, I have consistently been hesitant to say that the Academy would be willing to forgive Gibson (and Lionsgate already is getting all the love for La La Land).

Predicted Nominees:

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Garth Davis, Lion

Most Likely To Take a Spot: Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Wild Card: Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals or David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water

Can’t Ignore Until Nominations Are Out: Martin Scorsese, Silence

Best Actress

This is still a brutal category that has seven deserving candidates. The real wild card is that there has been a lot of buzz about Isabelle Huppert’s chances of a nomination. This should be utter nonsense, as she should be a lock, but Elle is a really divisive movie, and Huppert plays a character that simply cannot be played by women (especially older women) in American movies. (This is down to so many factors that I would have to write a completely separate post about them–which I might, if she does get robbed of a nomination.) The acting branch, however, has proven they are willing to nominate high profile foreign film nominations like this, and I continue to have faith that they will this time as well. Overall, if you are looking for a big surprise, it is probably going to happen in this category, but as a rule this year I am trying and give the Academy the benefit of the doubt–at least until they prove me wrong during the nominations. So the real question is, has anything changed since my last post that makes me believe either Ruth Negga or Annette Bening have done enough to move into a nomination spot? The answer is no–sadly, as both are very deserving. Really, though, I will not be that surprised if either were to be nominated, and quite frankly I would believe any configuration of the top seven nominees, as long as Emma Stone and Natalie Portman were included in the mix.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Amy Adams, Arrival
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (hey, I said I would try to give them the benefit of the doubt)

Next Up: Annette Bening, 20th Century Women and Ruth Negga, Loving

Wild Cards: Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train and Taraji P Henson, Hidden Figures

Best Actor

This is tidier than the best actress race, with only six real contenders–and of those, really it is just a fight for the last spot between Joel Edgerton for Loving and Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic. At this point you just have to pick one. Mortensen and his movie seem to have much more momentum than Edgerton and his movie, so Mortensen gets the edge.

Predicted Nominees:

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

Alternate Pick: Joel Edgerton, Loving

Wild Cards: Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool or Andrew Garfield, Silence

Best Supporting Actress

While there might be a chance this could flip, this category feels pretty easy to pick at this point. The only real question is which Hidden Figures actress will get the nod between Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. Spencer has the momentum, so I am going with her.

Predicted Nominees:

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

Alternate Pick: Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures

Wild Card: Hayley Squires, I, Daniel Blake

Best Supporting Actor

Unlike Supporting Actress, this category is a mess. The only thing I am sure of is that Mahershala Ali and Jeff Bridges are getting nominations. I would be really surprised if Dev Patel didn’t get nominated, but not totally shocked considering how competitive this category has become. The biggest change is that Kevin Costner is surging, as people have finally gotten to see Hidden Figures and it is doing really, really well (he is also quite good, but that is besides the point). Add in that no one seems to be able to agree on who is preferred between Nocturnal Animals‘s Michael Shannon and Aaron-Taylor Johnson, and this category has become chaotic. Hugh Grant seemed like he was headed toward a nomination, but at this point I think Costner may have taken his spot. Meanwhile, Lucas Hedges still looms, but it is a tall order for him to get this nomination over so many better known actors. I think the Globes have effectively infected everyone with this Aaron Taylor-Johnson hype, so I think he and Costner get the final two spots.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Next Up: Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins

Wild Cards: Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea or Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Original Screenplay

This is a race with four easy picks, and then a final spot that could really go in any direction. You could argue that The Lobster could still get knocked out, but it seems like it is trending towards a nomination and is the kind of film that generally gets a nomination for writing. Three scripts have come up a bit more than others when speaking of the final spot, though–Jackie, Zootopia, and Captain Fantastic. If The Lobster wasn’t around, both Toni Erdmann and I, Daniel Blake might have better shots. If Jackie had built on its Best Picture chances better, it would probably be a lock, but now feels like something that will only happen if it does better than expected nomination-wise. Captain Fantastic may see a bump if Mortensen nabs a Best Actor spot, while Zootopia benefits from being the most popular film with the full weight of Disney behind it. Ultimately, I think it comes down to Captain Fantastic and Zootopia, and since I think Mortensen is going to get a nomination, that carries Captain Fantastic for me. Still, this spot is so wide open that if any category was to really pick something out there, it would be this one.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth LonerganManchester by the Sea  
  • Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water
  • Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster
  • Matt Ross, Captain Fantastic

Next Best Bet: Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Phil Johnson, Jennifer Lee, Rich Moore, Jim Reardon, Josie Trinidad, Zootopia or Noah Oppenheim, Jackie

Wild Card: Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Best Adapted Screenplay

A much more cluttered category than it’s Original counterpart, the only two sure things in this one look to be Moonlight and Arrival. After that there are a lot of Best Picture contenders duking it out for the last three spots. Lion, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, Nocturnal Animals, and Fences are all in the mix, plus Deadpool lingers as well. Ultimately, this category likely swings towards either Fences or Hidden Figures, as it is likely they are being forced to compete over one spot for reasons I will just let you come to all on your own. The love for Tom Ford will net him a nomination, and then the surging momentum of Lion will get it one as well.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney, Moonlight
  • Eric Heisserer, Arrival
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
  • Luke Davies, Lion
  • August Wilson, Fences

Next Best Bet: Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder, Hidden Figures

Wild Card: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Deadpool 

Best Animated Film

Okay, this is the year, Animated Film category. This is the year I choose to believe that you will not make a mockery of animation because of popular opinion. If you fail me this year, I am writing this category off in the same way I have more or less written off the Best Foreign Film category. There are basically two versions that likely occur here: one where the category doesn’t pick Finding Dory because it shouldn’t be nominated in such a crowded year, and one in which it does, because everyone’s kids saw Finding Dory. Disney is likely getting two nominations anyhow, and Pixar will get a chance at more trophies next year with Coco, so this should be the year the Academy draws a line in the sand, especially as we are entering an age where Pixar isn’t going to make original movies nearly as much as they used to. Netflix is pushing really hard for The Little Prince, but this probably wasn’t the best year to do so because of how strong the category was. Even without Finding Dory, this year’s nominees are likely to be more boring than they should have been, so I am just kind of done with talking about this category for now. I am sure I will have one last rant in me once the actual nominations come out.

Predicted Nominees:

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

If This Was a Real Category, Next Best Bet: The Little Prince

Because This May Be a Joke Category: Finding Dory

Wild Card: Your Name (I will keep this dream alive until they kill it)

Best Foreign Language Film

There is so little to go on in this category, and this branch of the Academy is weird. Like, Toni Erdmann and The Salesman will get nominations, and then I am just going to pick three others at more or less random, with the caveat that My Life as a Zucchini‘s chances might depend on if it gets an Animated nomination or not. It seems like there is no chance that It’s Only the End of the World gets nominated, so it probably will.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Toni Erdmann
  • The Salesman
  • Land of Mine
  • A Man Called Ove
  • My Life As a Zucchini (fuck it, all in)

Next Best Bet: Tanna

Wild Card: Paradise, The King’s Choice

Best Documentary

This category is still a bit of a cipher, but enough has started to emerge that a couple of picks look pretty easy, while the rest is just a matter of picking a number of similarly buzzy movies out of a hat. 13th and OJ: Made in America look to be safe, but this otherwise a very unsettled category. The Eagle Huntress has shown well, as has Weiner, and you can never discount any documentary about music. So really, a lot of these predictions are just going to be by feel, as any of the final 15 films are in contention and could get nominated, so it is likely I will miss something unless I list all 15.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Ava DuVernay, 13th
  • Ezra Edelman, OJ: Made in America
  • Otto Bell, The Eagle Huntress
  • Kirsten Johnson, Cameraperson
  • Roger Ross Williams, Life, Animated

Next Best Bet: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg, Weiner

Wild Card: Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro

Best Cinematography

Honestly, there is no real reason that I can see to go against picking the same nominations that the ASC picked, unless you want to side with BAFTA on things with either Nocturnal Animals or Hell and High Water. I am dubious of that, so this is a pretty straightforward category.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Greig Fraser, Lion
  • James Laxton, Moonlight
  • Rodrigo Prieto, Silence
  • Linus Sandgren, La La Land
  • Bradford Young, Arrival

Next Best Bet: Seamus McGarvey, Nocturnal Animals

Wild Card: Giles Nuttgens, Hell or High Water

Best Film Editing

This is one of the categories I never really got around to speaking about. The BAFTA nominees offer a rather solid list, and the Eddies splits the categories like the Golden Globes does. The one anomaly for all of these is Rogue One, because Star Wars is always a threat in technical categories. Still, this category is generally a good test case for the real Best Picture contenders, and if something fails to get a nomination, that would significantly hinder its best picture chances. La La Land is a lock at this point, but after that it gets a bit iffy. Moonlight would seem to also be heading towards a nomination, and did get an Eddie nomination, but didn’t get a BAFTA nom, so if BAFTA was in fact the prelude to a poor Moonlight showing we could see that here. I am prone to thinking that BAFTA is just an anomaly, and that Moonlight‘s strong editing is a lock. Meanwhile, Manchester by the Sea got both a BAFTA and Eddie nomination, and as the last member of the Big Three seems heading for the Oscar nod. Arrival looks to be a good bet for similar reasons, as it got both nominations, is generally considered closer to the Big Three than the rest in the Best Picture race, and is a technical marvel, so it looks good. After that, there is only one movie that got both Eddie and BAFTA nominations: Hacksaw Ridge. So that seems like the last movie in. That said, both Nocturnal Animals with its BAFTA nomination and Hell or High Water with its Eddie nomination loom in the background.

Predicted Nominees:

  •  Joe Walker, Arrival
  • John Gilbert, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Jennifer Lame, Manchester by the Sea
  • Nat Sanders, Joi McMillon, Moonlight
  • Tom Cross, La La Land

Next Best Bet: Jake Roberts, Hell or High Water or Joan Sobel, Nocturnal Animals

Wild Card:  John Gilroy, Colin Goudie, Jabez Olssen, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

From here on out, I am just going offer up picks and forgo any analysis; I’ll get into each of these more once I have actual nominations, as for now these categories either don’t have any data, or haven’t changed since my last update.

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

  • Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
  • Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka, Lion
  • Nicholas Brittel, Moonlight
  • Pharrell Williams and Benjamin Wallfisch, Hidden Figures
  • John Williams, The BFG

Next Best Bet: Rupert Gregson-Williams, Hacksaw Ridge

Wild Card: Dario Marianelli, Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

  • “City of Stars” (La La Land)
  • “How Far I’ll Go” (Moana)
  • “Runnin'”   (Hidden Figures)
  • “Drive It Like You Stole It” (Sing Street)
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (Trolls)

Next Best Bet: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream”) (La La Land)

Wild Card: “Dancing with Your Shadow” (Po)

Best Production Design:

Predicted Nominees:

  • Stuart Craig, James Hambige, Anna Pinnock, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
  • Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh, Hail, Caesar!
  • David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, La La Land 
  • Jean Rabasse, Veronique Melery, Jackie   
  • Seong-hie Ryu, The Handmaiden

Next Best Bet: Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo, Silence 

Wild Card: Charles Wood, John Bush, Doctor Strange

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

  • Colleen Atwood, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
  • Consolata Boyle, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Madeline Fontaine, Jackie
  • Mary Zophres, La La Land
  • Marion Boyce, Margot Wilson, The Dressmaker

Next Best Bet: Mary Zophres, Hail Ceasar!

Wild Card: Deborah Cook, Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

  • Suicide Squad
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • A Man Called Ove

Next Best Bet: Florence Foster Jenkins

Wild Card: Deadpool

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Arrival
  • 13th Hour
  • Deepwater Horizon

Next Best Bet: Sully, The Jungle Book

Wild Card: La La Land

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • 13th Hours
  • Deepwater Horizon

Next Best Bet: Sully, Arrival

Wild Card: The Jungle Book

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

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

Next Best Bet: Deepwater Horizon

Wild Card: The BFG

There is really no good way to look at the shorts categories before there are actual nominations, because watching shorts is rather difficult unless you just go to loads of festivals, and analysis of these categories doesn’t really begin in earnest until the nominations are announced. Outside of some animated shorts, I haven’t seen anything, and really just have the shortlists to work with. More so than any others, these predictions are simply my best guess, after looking over numerous predications by more qualified people and discerning the best mix of their advice.

Best Animated Short

Predicted Nominees:

  • Frank Dion, “The Head Vanishes”
  • Leo Matsuda and Sean Lurie, “Inner Workings”
  • Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer, “Piper”
  • Patrick Osborne, “Pearl”
  • Theodore Ushev, “Blind Vaysha”

Next Best Bet: Robert Valley and Cara Speller, “Pear and Cider Cigerettes”

Wild Card: Marie-Christine Courtes; Ludivine Berthouloux, “Sous Tes Doigts (Under Your Fingers)”

Best Documentary Short

Predicted Nominees:

  • Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara, “The White Helmets”
  • Kahane Cooperman, Raphaela Neihausen, “Joe’s Violin”
  • Tamar Kay, Ariel Richter, “The Mute’s House” 
  • Dan Krauss, “Extremis”
  • Zofia Kowalewska, “Close Ties”

Next Best Bet: Daphne Matziaraki, “4.1 Miles”

Wild Card: Marcel Mettelsiefen, Stephen Ellis, “Watani: My Homeland”

Best Live Action Short

Predicted Nominees:

  • Jimmy Keyrouz, “Nocturne in Black”
  • Juanjo Gimenez, “Timecode”
  • Aske Bang; Kim Magnusson, “Silent Nights”
  • Marc Wilkins, Joel Jent, “Bon Voyage”
  •  Lluis Quilez, “Graffiti”  

Next Best Bet: Selim Azzazi, “Ennemis Interieurs” 

Wild Card: Marc Fouchard, Matthieu Devillers, “The Way of Tea (Les Fremissements du The)”  

That’s it! We’ll see fairly shortly how well these came out, and then it will finally be time to starting predicting winners instead of simply nominees!