Our Full 2017 Oscar Predictions (Wherein La La Land Wins Everything)

Breaking down what we know and only think we know about the 2017 Academy Awards.

Alex Hibbert as chiron in "moonlight." Photo by David Bornfriend. Courtesy of A24.

Here are some things I know about the 2017 Academy Awards, which take place this Sunday.

  • Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali are getting Oscars. The Supporting Actress and Actor races are locks, and for fine reason. Davis was incredibly powerful in “Fences,” equalling Denzel Washington’s performance and nearly stealing the film out from under him; meanwhile, Ali expertly and deftly set the world of “Moonlight” into motion, delivering a subtle and lovely performance in the process. None of their competitors have anything near the level of momentum for an upset here.

  • “La La Land” will win the most awards overall. No other film, even those expected to do well on the night, has a path to the top of the heap. My predictions have the memorable musical taking eight awards, and I was being conservative; double-digits aren’t out of the question.

  • Some very good films are going to leave empty-handed. That’s the likely fate for “Arrival,” although some have predicted it has an outside shot at Best Adapted Screenplay (a category where “Moonlight” is a clear favorite). It could be the result for “Manchester by the Sea,” if Casey Affleck — who has gone from a sure thing to a question mark — loses and the Original Screenplay award ends up going to “La La Land.” I can’t see any possible wins for “Hidden Figures” or “Lion,” both fine films.

Here are some questions I still have about this year’s Oscars.

  • Who’s getting the top acting prizes? Most experts on the subject are predicting a Best Actress win for Emma Stone, but I can’t quite see it; while she did a great job and was certainly lovable, I’d call three of her competitors clearly superior. I think there’s a strong possibility that Isabelle Huppert pulls an upset win here, as her astounding turn in “Elle” has been widely praised. Meanwhile, Affleck and Washington are in a dead heat for the Best Actor prize, with Washington’s win at the SAG Awards convincing many that he has the momentum.

  • Could “La La Land” break the all-time record? It’d be tough; as I said above, I’m calling eight wins for the film. It would take four more than that to set the all-time mark for most Oscars in a given year. But looking at my predictions, I see the path — the octet I’m already predicting, as well as Best Actress (I think it’ll be Huppert), Best Original Screenplay (I’m leaning toward “Manchester by the Sea,”) Best Costume Design (I’m going with slight underdog “Jackie”) and Best Sound Editing (where I think the Academy will throw a bone to “Hacksaw Ridge.”) All of those are definitely possible, if not all probable.

  • Is “O.J.: Made in America” a movie? The sprawling, nearly-eight-hour documentary on the life and times of Orenthal James Simpson was indeed originally released as one film. It gained its reputation, however, after it was divided up into a miniseries, largely through airings on ESPN. If the Academy views it as a film, it’s a lock to win Best Documentary Feature; few recent projects have been so ambitious and thorough. If they think it’s a TV series, though, look for “The 13th” or possibly “I Am Not Your Negro” to take the award.

The important thing, as always, is getting more predictions right than everyone else at your party. To that end, I’ve included my full predictions for Sunday night below; know that I’m betting on underdogs in a few categories. Betting lines for every race are readily available throughout the internet if you want to stick to the smart money.

And if you just write down “La La Land” for every possible category, you’ll probably win.


Best Picture: “La La Land”
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Best Actor: Denzel Washington, “Fences”
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, “Fences”
Best Original Screenplay: “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Moonlight”
Best Film Editing: “La La Land”
Best Cinematography: “La La Land”
Best Visual Effects: “The Jungle Book”
Best Animated Film: “Zootopia”
Best Documentary Feature Film: “O.J.: Made in America”
Best Foreign-Language Film: “The Salesman”
Best Original Song: “City of Stars” from “La La Land”
Best Original Score: “La La Land”
Best Costume Design: “Jackie”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: “Star Trek Beyond”
Best Production Design: “La La Land”
Best Sound Editing: “Hacksaw Ridge”
Best Sound Mixing: “La La Land”
Best Animated Short: “Piper”
Best Live-Action Short: “Ennemis Interieurs”
Best Documentary Short: “Joe’s Violin”


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