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Oscars 2017: predictions for all 24 Academy Award categories

Most of the big categories are snoozes, but Best Actor is a close race

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
So. Many. La La Land. Press stills. On. Oscar. Articles.
Lionsgate

Right now, if you're thinking about the Oscars, it's probably because you're filling out a ballot in hopes of winning your friendly local Oscar pool. And if you need informed choices, we've got 'em.

This year’s awards are a little less exciting than they’ve been in year’s past, mostly because the 14-times-nominated La La Land stands to win many of the 13 categories it’s nominated in. (It was nominated twice for Best Original Song.) But there are a few interesting races around the edges of the evening.

Vox film critic Alissa Wilkinson and I broke down our picks in all 24 categories more thoroughly in the articles linked below, but if you just need a quick reference guide, here are those picks in one handy-dandy place.

Best Picture

This race isn’t particularly close. La La Land will win, and if the trophy goes to any other film, it will be the biggest Oscar upset ever. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Directing

The Picture and Directing winner usually line up, which is good news for La La Land director Damien Chazelle. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in Fences
Will Denzel Washington and Viola Davis both win for Fences? It seems possible.
Paramount Pictures

Of the eight main races, this one is closest, but expect Denzel Washington from Fences to eke out a win over Casey Affleck from Manchester by the Sea. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Emma Stone is almost certainly winning for her La La Land performance, though Isabelle Huppert has a chance for Elle. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

The safest best here is Mahershala Ali from Moonlight, though there’s no completely obvious frontrunner. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

This is the easiest to predict acting race of the night: Viola Davis is winning for Fences. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Original Screenplay

Though La La Land has a good shot in this category, we’re predicting that Manchester by the Sea (written by the great screenwriter and director Kenneth Lonergan) will squeak out a win. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Adapted Screenplay

The screenplay awards often go to movies the Academy knows are good but also knows won’t win Best Picture. That’s a good argument for Moonlight to win here. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Foreign Language Film

The Salesman
Will The Salesman win the Oscar for Foreign Language Film?
Cohen Media Group

In most other years, the sweet Swedish comedy A Man Called Ove would win this category. But President Trump’s attempted ban on citizens of countries with majority Muslim populations entering the US has made The Salesman, by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (who was affected by the ban), a narrow favorite. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Documentary Feature

This is another exciting race, with good arguments for three contenders. But expect the nearly eight-hour O.J.: Made in America to claim the victory. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Animated Feature

Zootopia, Disney’s animal allegory about the importance of learning to recognize your own prejudices, seems like a comfortable frontrunner here. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Cinematography

This is just one of many technical categories La La Land should win, thanks to its fluid, moving camerawork. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Editing

It’s usually safe to bet on the Best Picture winner in the Editing category, which makes La La Land a favorite. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Production Design

We’re predicting Arrival will win for its eerie alien spaceship, but La La Land has a good chance here ... as it does in almost every technical category. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Costume Design

Our prediction is Jackie, for its evocation of one of the most famous style icons of all time. But, as always, La La Land looms. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad just might become “Academy Award-winning Suicide Squad.”
Warner Bros.

This is one of only two technical categories where La La Land isn’t nominated, so expect this win to go to, of all things, the supervillain team-up film Suicide Squad. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Original Score

La La Land is a musical with all original songs, and one of its most memorable pieces of music has no words at all. You can see where I’m headed with this ... (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Original Song

We’re predicting La La Land’s two nominations here will cancel each other out, leading to a win for Moana. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Sound Mixing

Musicals often do well in the sound categories, but so do war films. And La La Land’s sound was arguably the worst thing about it. So we’re predicting Hacksaw Ridge. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Sound Editing

Advantage: Hacksaw Ridge, again. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Visual Effects

The other technical category with no La La Land in it will probably go to The Jungle Book for its photorealistic computer-generated jungle animals, but Marvel’s Doctor Strange also has a shot. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Animated Short

Piper
Look at that cute lil’ bird!
Disney/Pixar

The short film categories are generally anybody’s guess, but we’re giving the edge here to Pixar’s Piper, a charming tale of a shorebird learning the ropes of finding food. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Live Action Short

The French film Ennemis Intérieurs (Enemies Within) is incredibly timely, with its story of a Muslim man trying to immigrate to France from Algeria. That should give it the boost. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)

Best Documentary Short

Fully three of the entries in this category are directly about the Syrian refugee crisis, and one is indirectly about the Syrian refugee crisis, which makes the winner tough to predict. But we’re going with the easily-accessible-on-Netflix The White Helmets. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this race.)


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