A Look at Our 2017 Oscar Nominations Predictions

It's looking good for La La Land...

The Oscar nominations will be announced the morning of Tuesday, January 24, and based on Critics’ picks and Guild nominees, we have a pretty good idea of who will be nominated. The nods, however, are never without their surprises. Here, a look at the top categories at the Academy Awards, and our predictions for the lucky 5 (or 10) nominees for each.

oscar nomination predictions 2017
Viola Davis at the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards. Photography by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Best Supporting Actress

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

Dark Horse: Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures

This is probably the most unwavering of the acting categories: The nominees have been fairly consistent throughout awards season, as has the expected Oscar winner, Viola Davis. The only alteration we’re predicting is that perhaps Octavia Spencer loses her nod to fellow Hidden Figures co-star Janelle Monáe—Monáe, who had a breakout year, also played a small but memorable role in Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight.

Dev Patel at the 28th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala. Photography by Charley Gallay/Getty

Best Supporting Actor

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

Dark Horse: Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

After a shocking loss to Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals) at the Golden Globes earlier this year, some wondered if Mahershala Ali was still the frontrunner for his role as a drug dealer-turned-father figure in Moonlight. However, it’s safe to says he’s still a lock for a nod, alongside his closest rival for the Oscar, Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water. Dev Patel and Hugh Grant have both been fairly consistent with nominations throughout the season, but the final spot is still a toss-up between Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea, and Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals. Given that 20-year-old Hedges received a SAG nomination, we’d say he’s a solid over Shannon.

Amy Adams at the 73rd Venice Film Festival. Photography by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Best Actress

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

Dark Horse: Annette Benning, 20th Century Women

Most awards prognosticators view this as a two-horse race, between Emma Stone for La La Land and Natalie Portman for Jackie. Expect Academy favourite Amy Adams to get her sixth nomination for her performance in Arrival. After her well-received Golden Globes speech, Meryl Streep will make history with her 20th nomination, the most of any performer in history. The fifth slot has gone to a range of actresses over the past couple of months, but we expect Isabelle Huppert to secure that last spot.

The Academy often likes to include a respected, but perhaps lesser-known, European actress when they can, as they’ve done in the past with Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Rampling and Emmanuelle Riva. If there’s anyone who has a chance of taking the spot from Huppert, it’s Annette Benning for 20th Century Women. Benning sits on the Academy’s Board of Governors, so there’s a good chance they may want to recognize their respected peer.

Ryan Gosling at the Hand and Footprint ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, 2016. Photography by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Best Actor

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

Dark Horse: Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

At the beginning of awards season, most expected the Best Actor race to come down to Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea, and Denzel Washington for Fences. However, after his golden Globes speech, you can be sure Ryan Gosling will also be joining the list. The last two spots will go to Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge, and Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic. There is a chance though, that Viggo’s spot may go to Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool. Reynolds has been working the awards circuit hard this year and the film itself has been recognized with nominations by both the Writers Guild and Producers Guild of America.

Barry Jenkins at the 2016 New York Film Critics Circle Awards. Photography by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Best Director

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

Dark Horse: Denzel Washington, Fences

Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins have both been collecting the most hardware this awards season, so except the two to continue the battle for Best Director into February. Kenneth Lonergan and Quebec’s Denis Villeneuve will also definitely be recognized for Manchester by the Sea and Arrival, respectively. For the final nomination, we’re going to agree with the Directors Guild nominations and pick Garth Davis for Lion. Denzel Washington for Fences might usurp Davis, but Washington is more of a guarantee for Best Actor rather than Best Director.

oscar nominations 2017

Best Picture

La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Hidden Figures
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water

Dark Horses: 20th Century Women, Jackie

With between five and 10 possible nominees the Best Picture category has the most room for surprises. In order to make it into the Top 10, a film must accumulate enough first-place votes on the nomination ballots to amount to five percent of the total ballots cast. Of the 10 potential nominees listed below, it’s likely that at least eight will secure a Best Picture nom. The two films most likely to lose their spots are Deadpool and Hidden Figures, with a slim chance of either Jackie or 20th Century Women taking their place.

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