Best Picture: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight
- Will Win: La La Land seems inevitable, but if fatigue from that inevitability sets in, I could see Moonlight pulling an upset.
- Should Win: Moonlight. It’s always nice to see the Best Picture nominated for Best Picture.
- Left out: Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea can stay. I’d take out the rest and add Silence, Love & Friendship, Little Sister, Certain Women, Mountains May Depart, OJ: Made in America and Hail, Caesar!
Best Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
- Will Win: Chazelle.
- Should Win: Jenkins.
- Left out: The only two I’d leave in this category would be Jenkins and Lonergan. I’d replace the rest with Martin Scorsese for Silence, Whit Stilman for Love & Friendship and Kelly Reichardt for Certain Women.
Best Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences)
- Will Win: Casey Affleck seemed like a lock, but I’m going to to go with Denzel.
- Should Win: I’d be fine with a Washington win, especially in light of the sexual harassment allegations that have resurfaced against Affleck.
- Left out: I’d have nominated Gosling for his better performance in The Nice Guys, Garfield for his better one in Silence and Ralph Fiennes for A Bigger Splash.
Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
- Will Win: Emma Stone. I anticipate a very boring night for non-La La Land nominees.
- Should Win: Isabelle Huppert is simply astonishing in Elle. It’s a towering performance by one of the greatest living actresses.
- Left out: Krisha Fairchild in Krisha, Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship, Rebecca Hall in Christine, Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen, Zhao Tao in Mountains May Depart… I could go on. However, Annette Bening is the biggest omission here for her incredible turn in 20th Century Women.
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)
- Will Win: Ali.
- Should Win: I’ll be more than happy with Academy Award Winner Mahershala Ali, but Hedges and Bridges were also great in their respective movies.
- Left out: Issey Ogata deserved to be nominated for his incredible work in Silence. All three actors who play Chiron in Moonlight should’ve been in this category, and nearly the entire cast of Everybody Wants Some!! would have been welcome as well.
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
- Will Win: This is Viola Davis’ year, at last
- Should Win: Though Davis’ role is easily a lead performance, she gives the strongest performance in this category.
- Left out: Lily Gladstone gave a heart-wrenching breakout performance in Certain Women, and I’d also nominate Kim Min-hee for The Handmaiden and Hayley Squires for I, Daniel Blake. Janelle Monáe should be here twice for both Moonlight and Hidden Figures.
Best Original Screenplay: 20th Century Women (Mike Mills), Hell or High Water (Taylor Sheridan), La La Land (Damien Chazelle), The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou), Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
- Will Win: Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea
- Should Win: Lonergan
- Left out: I’d throw out everyone by Mills and Lonergan and nominate Kelly Fremon Craig for The Edge of Seventeen, Zach Clark for Little Sister and Richard Linklater for Everybody Wants Some!!
Best Adapted Screenplay: Arrival (Eric Heisserer), Fences (August Wilson), Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi & Allison Schroeder), Lion (Luke Davies), Moonlight (Barry Jenkins & Tarell Alvin McCraney)
- Will Win: Moonlight
- Should Win: Moonlight
- Left out: The biggest omission here, and the one that I’d pick even over Moonlight, would be Whit Stilman for his Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship. I’d also nominate Kelly Reichardt for Certain Women.
My predictions in the remaining categories (Will win/Should win)
Cinematography: La La Land/Moonlight
Animated Feature: I’ve only seen Kubo and the Two Strings, so that
Costume Design: La La Land/I don’t care because Love & Friendship wasn’t nominated but I guess I’d pick Jackie.
Production Design: La La Land/Hail, Caesar!
Editing: I am sick of typing La La Land/I am not sick of typing Moonlight
Foreign Language Film: The Salesman/I haven’t seen any of the others yet
Documentary: OJ: Made in America/I haven’t seen any of the others yet
Makeup: Star Trek: Beyond/Sure that’s fine
Original Score: The Land of La La/Jackie
Original Song: “City of Stars” for La Land/”Audition” was better but I’m actually fine with that
Visual Effects: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story/The Jungle Book
Sound Editing: Hacksaw Ridge/Arrival
Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge/Arrival