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My Predictions for the 2017 Oscar Nominations (Major Categories Only)

The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning, and as per usual we pretty much already know what’s going to happen or at least we think we do. Thanks to the clusterfuck of awards season, by the time the Oscars roll around we already know which films (and related performances) have momentum and which do not. The Oscars are simply the final step on a journey which roughly begins with the Golden Globes before traveling through the various guilds (Screen Actors, Directors, Producers, etc.), BAFTAs and film critics associations. So, all those movies everyone else loved … yeah, the Oscars love them too.

However, we can so easily trick ourselves into thinking we know exactly what to expect when in fact every year inevitably brings some surprises, be it the widely revilved Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close somehow netting a Best Picture nomination in 2012 or Lenny Abrahamson beating both Spielberg (Bridge of Spies) and Ridley Scott (The Martian) for a Best Director nomination for Room last year. These surprises happen for a variety of reasons. Very few of the other awards bodies actually overlap in membership with the Academy. Some films come out so impossibly late in the year they don’t warrant serious consideration for anything other than Oscars. And some potential nominees simply suck at campaigning for themselves, rubbing potential voters the wrong way at film studio-sponsored get togethers.

Looking ahead to tomorrow morning, we already know  La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester By the Sea will be generously rewarded, and many of the acting categories seem locked up. Thankfully, there will be no #OscarsSoWhite three-peat, and the Academy’s efforts to bolster its ranks with a younger, more racially diverse membership might pay off in more progressive voting. Just as importantly, there are plenty of diverse movies worth voting for this year.

But where are the surprises? Where’s the WTF moment? For many, that would be seeing Deadpool receive a Best Picture nomination, largely because it now has a Writers Guild and Producers Guild nomination. However, Producers Guild nominees are often about rewarding success, not creative achievement (not that the two are mutually exclusive), and I could more see the Academy doing something different, embrace a little-seen piece of Oscar bait with big name talent. As such, my pick for big surprise is Martin Scorsese’s Silence being nominated for Best Picture even though it has been shut out just about everywhere else and would otherwise seem to have zero momentum.

Honestly, the rest of my predictions are fairly in keeping with what everyone else has predicted, but I have this feeling about Silence. Either way, here are my predictions for the major categories:


  • La La Land (Lionsgate)
  • Moonlight (A24)
  • Manchester by the Sea (Amazon/Roadside Attractions)
  • Lion (The Weinstein Co.)
  • Hell or High Water (CBS Films/Lionsgate)
  • Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate)
  • Hidden Figures (Fox)
  • Arrival (Paramount)
  • Fences (Paramount)
  • Silence (Paramount)

First One Out: Silence

First One In: Deadpool


  • Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
  • Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
  • Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
  • Denis Villeneueve (Arrival)
  • Garth Davis (Lion)

First One Out: Garth Davis

First One In: Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)


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

First One Out: Viggo Mortensen

First One In: Sunny Pawar (Lion)


  • Emma Stone (La La Land)
  • Natalie Portman (Jackie)
  • Amy Adams (Arrival)
  • Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
  • Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

First One Out: Huppert

First One In: Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures)


  • Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
  • Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
  • Dev Patel (Lion)
  • Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
  • Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)

First One Out: Lucas Hedges

First One In: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)


  • Viola Davis (Fences)
  • Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
  • Nicole Kidman (Lion)
  • Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
  • Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women)

First One Out: Gerwig

First One In: Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)


  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
  • Lion (Luke Davies)
  • Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford)
  • Arrival (Eric Heisserer)
  • Hidden Figures (Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi)

First One Out: Hidden Figures

First One In: Hacksaw Ridge (Andrew Knight, Robert Schenkkan)


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

First One Out: The Lobster

First One In: I, Daniel Blake


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

First One Out: The Red Turtle

First One In: Finding Dory


  • OJ: Made in America
  • Cameraperson
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • 13th
  • Life, Animated

First One Out: 13th

First One In: Fire at Sea

Source: THR

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