2017 Oscar Predictions

Ready for the Oscars this Sunday? The Feelin’ Film team — Aaron White, Patrick Hicks, Steve Clifton, and Don Shanahan— are here to tell you just who will be taking home those glorious golden statues. Below you will find four definitive lists of who will win at the 2017 Oscars followed by a brief explanation by one team member on who they think should win each award. We believe that these are all objectively correct predictions. Do with that as you will, and if you’re in an Oscar pool this year – GOOD LUCK!

Aaron White Patrick Hicks Steve Clifton Don Shanahan
Best Picture La La Land La La Land  La La Land  La La Land
Best Actor Casey Affleck Denzel Washington  Denzel Washington  Denzel Washington
Best Actress Emma Stone Meryl Streep  Emma Stone Emma Stone
Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali Michael Shannon  Mahershala Ali  Mahershala Ali
Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis Viola Davis  Viola Davis  Viola Davis
Best Director Damien Chazelle (La La Land) Damien Chazelle (La La Land)  Damien Chazelle (La La Land)  Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Best Adapted Screenplay Moonlight Moonlight  Moonlight  Moonlight
Best Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea Manchester by the Sea Manchester by the Sea Manchester by the Sea
Best Cinematography La La Land La La Land  La La Land  La La Land
Best Costume Design La La Land Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them  Jackie La La Land
Best Film Editing La La Land La La Land  La La Land  La La Land
Best Makeup and Hairstyling Star Trek Beyond Star Trek Beyond  Star Trek Beyond  Star Trek Beyond
Best Original Score La La Land La La Land  La  La Land La La Land
Best Original Song “City of Stars”

(La La Land)

“City of Stars”

(La La Land)

 “City of Stars”

(La La Land)

“City of Stars”

(La La Land)

Best Production Design La La Land La La Land  La La Land  La La Land
Best Sound Editing Hacksaw Ridge Hacksaw Ridge  Hacksaw Ridge  Hacksaw Ridge
Best Sound Mixing La La Land Arrival  La La Land  La La Land
Best Visual Effects The Jungle Book The Jungle Book  The Jungle Book  The Jungle Book
Best Animated Film Kubo & the Two Strings Zootopia  Zootopia  Zootopia
Best Foreign Language Film Toni Erdmann The Salesman  The Salesman  Toni Erdmann
Best Documentary Feature O.J.: Made in America O.J.: Made in America  O.J.: Made in America O.J.: Made in America
Best Documentary Short The White Helmets 4.1 Miles  The White Helmets The White Helmets
Best Animated Short Film Piper Pearl  Piper  Piper
Best Live-Action Short Film Timecode Silent Nights  Timecode  Ennemis Intérieurs

BEST PICTURE: An instant classic, this magical new Hollywood musical managed to capture our hearts and make us sing. With Astaire/Rogers like chemistry, Gosling & Stone transform the vision of Damien Chazelle & Justin Hurwitz into a heart-wrenching, romantic, sad, and poignant new masterpiece. This isn’t just a Hollywood love letter to itself, it’s a portrait of two people wrestling with how to pursue their dreams and love simultaneously – something far more than just aspiring actors can relate to. Not just the best film of 2016, but the best film in years. Or, if you’re asking me, the best film ever. – Aaron
Should Win:   La La Land

BEST ACTOR: Up till the last hours before I had to write this, I had seen three of the five actors in contention. The two that were left happened to be the ones that are the heavy favorites. Though I have now seen Casey Affleck make me sad in “Manchester by the Sea,” and though he has one about a thousand more of the “other” awards for best actor this season, The SAG, which hasn’t missed predicting this category in the last decade, has Denzel Washington taking home the golden trophy. So I am leaning in the Denzel camp for this one. – Patrick
Should Win:   Casey Affleck

BEST ACTRESSWithout question, this is has been the most competitive major category during the entire Oscar race.  When the National Board of Review opened the awards season honoring Amy Adams for “Arrival,” we thought we knew where this category was going.  For the Oscars, she didn’t even get nominated.  The winds have danced that much.  “Elle” star Isabelle Huppert represents this year’s Charlotte Rampling as the revered foreign actress with clout.  She and Natalie Portman for “Jackie” have been trading the majority of minor wins since November.  It’s Emma Stone who has been surging late and looking unstoppable.  She has nowhere near the total number of precursor wins as either Huppert or Portman, but she won the ones that carried favor, the Golden Globe, the SAG, and the BAFTA, in the homestretch.  Expect her star to be fully born this Sunday as the eventual winner.  That said, her performance pales in comparison to the powerful and transcendent work of Portman as the former First Lady and societal icon.  She is likely knocked a little as a contender because she won so recently for “Black Swan.”  I don’t care if you’ve won already.  If you were the best, you get to win again and everyone else has to raise their game. – Don
Should Win:   Natalie Portman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: “And the Oscar goes to….Mark Rylance!”  That was a year ago, and my ballot had it’s first ding early into the show.  I hate that.  So this year I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out if we were going to have that Rylance moment play out again.  It’s not unheard of in the supporting categories.  While not as shocking as the Rylance incident, Christoph Waltz surprisingly won in 2013 for “Django Unchained” over the frontrunner, Tommy Lee Jones.  I’ve been looking for every reason to pick Dev Patel here, just to be edgy and so I could gloat if another upset comes to fruition.  But at the end of the day, I have to go with Mahershala Ali, for his surreal performance in “Moonlight.”  Expect this ceremony to be more political than ever, and nothing gives a middle finger to the current administration more than an African American Muslim portraying a gay man in a movie, giving a speech to the world on prime time television.  And if that’s not enough, Ali’s turn was realistically the best of the bunch. – Steve
Should Win: Mahershala Ali

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Honestly, this category is a little unfair.  As a “supporting” actress, Viola has tremendously more screen time in “Fences” than her fellow nominees in their films.  Everyone else, from Michelle Williams to Naomie Harris, have “that-one-really-good-scene” and not much more.  Viola Davis is a force the entire 139 minutes of Denzel Washington’s film.  She should be competing in the lead actress category.  She wins here with ease and, the best part is, she deserves to.  This was a cornerstone performance in a career that should have been crowned five years ago with “The Help” when she was robbed by Meryl Streep. – Don
Should Win:   Viola Davis

BEST DIRECTOR: It would be a surprise if anyone other than Damien Chazelle were to win this award.  He has the Globe and the DGA; the clearest indicators of Oscar success in this category.  There is a lot of love for Barry Jenkins, and “Moonlight” is poised as the spoiler in the event the “La La Land” juggernaut falters, but if the Academy chooses to split Director from Best Picture again as they’ve been wont to do recently, I see “Moonlight” taking picture and Chazelle holding on here.  Based on much of the logistical nuances of filming “La La Land,” it feels to me like Chazelle earned every accolade he’s received. – Steve
Should Win:    Damien Chazelle

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAYThis category of the Big Eight experienced an eligibility shift when Tarell McCraney and Barry Jenkins’s screenplay for “Moonlight” was deemed an adapted screenplay from its earlier incarnation as a proposed play and not an original work, where it just won the year-end award from the Writers Guild of America.  Its presence squelches the chances of the other four nominees.  If “Moonlight” wasn’t here, this would be a category for “Arrival” to win, likely becoming its only win of the night.  Now, Denis Villeneuve’s film will go home empty-handed.  “Moonlight” will win and, with the likely “La La Land” tidal wave going all the way to Best Picture, this is the exact right place to honor 2016’s most important narrative feature.  The “will win” and the “should win” rightly match in this category. – Don
Should Win:   Moonlight

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The writing categories are always two of my favorites. The best writing can elevate an otherwise mediocre film and it’s something that excites me when done at a high level. “La La Land’s” writing is better than some give it credit for, but not Oscar worthy. “Hell or High Water” and “Manchester by the Sea” were both superbly, tight, realistically written stories that I adored. In fact (with “La La Land”) those three make up top 3 films of the year. It’s incredibly hard to choose here, and my head wants to say that Sheridan’s work for “Hell or High Water” deserves this, but my heart knows what Lonergan’s script for “Manchester by the Sea” did to me.  – Aaron
Should win:   Manchester by the Sea

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: I was really torn on this one. One of the things that stood out to me about “Arrival” was the way in which the visual storytelling was equally as powerful as the verbal (ironically, the theme of language was visualized rather than textualized in this one). However, I’m always equally as impressed with the creative use of camera work (particularly single tracked shots for long periods of time) and when you have an opening scene like the one from “La La Land” to set the stage for a beautiful looking film, I have to give the Oscar to “La La Land.” – Patrick
Should Win:   La La Land

BEST COSTUME DESIGNThe vibrancy of this category is far-reaching, but only two films of the five are real contenders.  “La La Land” costume designer Mary Zophres is the odds-on frontrunner for her primary colors and the film’s juggernaut popularity.  In terms of resume, Zophres also did the Hollywood backlot fashion for “Hail, Caesar!”  Chasing behind her is my preferred pick, Madeline Fontaine’s work on “Jackie.”  Her sharp period recreations were inspired and flawless.  Not a thread was dull or out of place.  Expect “La La Land,” but love on “Jackie.” – Don
Should Win:   Jackie

BEST FILM EDITING: Pacing would be the operative word to describe the quality of a well-edited film. Did it flow? Did each scene lead well into the next? Were there abrupt changes to the tone of the film as a result of the way it was pieced together? These are questions I asked myself, reflecting on the five nominees, of which “Moonlight” is the lone film I haven’t seen. From the four that are left, it feels like a tough call. Each story felt complete. Nothing stood out as jarring or visually disconnected. I’d personally like to give the Oscar to “Hacksaw Ridge” (a personal favorite from 2016) but my head says, all things being equal, give it to the movie that is dominating the nominations. – Patrick
Should Win:   Hacksaw Ridge

BEST MAKEUP/HAIRSTYLING: “Suicide Squad” was a mess, and no one in Hollywood is likely to garner any praise on it here.  “A Man Called Ove” is a foreign film that no one had ever heard of before all of the fallout from the Trump Muslim ban threw that category into turmoil.  So by default, “Star Trek: Beyond” seems the de facto winner in the Makeup & Hairstyling arena for this year.  And let’s face it, you’re going to be up taking a bathroom break or making another tray of canapés for your guests as soon as this category gets mentioned. – Steve
Should Win:    Star Trek: Beyond

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: GRRR. This one frustrates me for a number of reasons. Of the five nominations, I have only seen two of the films (“La La Land” and “Passengers”), so clearly I am going to be biased towards those. But of those two, the clear favorite, “La La Land”, doesn’t scream Best Original Score to me. Soundtrack? Heck yeah. But if I’m thinking about instrumental music that helps elevate a film, “Passengers” did that, from the opening scene to the closing credits. Oh well, here’s to those who dream. – Patrick
Should Win:   Passengers

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: I would love nothing more than to see Audition (The Fools Who Dream) take this award.  Watching Emma Stone belt that out in “La La Land” was simply surreal, and you can expect that performance to be copied in many a high school musical audition for the foreseeable future.  However, City of Stars is going to win this one.  It’s a justifiable win, as the song is not only well done, it serves as the backdrop for the entire experience that is “La La Land.”  More than just a song, City of Stars is the harmonious glue that binds the film. – Steve
Should Win:    Audition (The Fools Who Dream) (La La Land)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: I could draw this out, but I won’t. Formerly known as Best Art Direction this award belongs to “La La Land.” It’s incredible sets and mesmerizing dream-like sequences are all wonderfully designed and frankly nothing else comes close.  – Aaron
Should win:   La La Land

BEST SOUND EDITING: AKA. One of two categories I never can differentiate between. I did research to help clarify what makes this different from Sound Mixing, and based on the ever reliable internet’s definition. Editing refers to the sounds that make up the movie, while mixing refers to the culmination of those elements that make the film great. And while I think “La La Land” could conceivably take home the mixing category, my vote goes to “Hacksaw Ridge.” The battle alone in the movie makes it worthy of the Oscar. – Patrick
Should Win:   Hacksaw Ridge

BEST SOUND MIXING: Let’s keep it real.  Sound Mixing is another of those bathroom break categories, but also one of those categories where you can either sink or soar in your Oscar pool.  Conventional wisdom says when in doubt, pick “La La Land” this year.  But the Academy does love it’s war films, and likes to reward good war films (defined here as films also nominated for Best Picture) with wins in the technical categories.  So there are justifiable reasons to be looking hard at “Hacksaw Ridge” to steal this one.  But I’m predicting a split in the sound categories this year, with “Hacksaw Ridge” grabbing one in the Sound Editing category; so feel confident in riding the “La La Land” train to victory here.  Need some historical facts to back it up?  Musicals lend themselves more to the mixing category.  Look back to 2003, when “Chicago”, which went on to win Best Picture, grabbed the Sound Mixing Oscar, but relented the Sound Editing award to “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.” – Steve
Should Win:    La La Land

BEST VISUAL EFFECTSThe blockbusters reign here in Best Visual Effects.  The fanboy vote would go to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” but there is more dazzle in galaxies closer than those far, far away.  Vegas will tell you that “The Jungle Book” will win and I can see why with the Disney clout and the volume of its entirely green-screen work.  My personal pick would be “Doctor Strange.”  They were the only effects this year that made my eyes pop and my jaw drop.  The film was the best use of 3D I’ve seen in years.  To me, this one’s not even close.  Sorry, Bill “Baloo” Murray. – Don
Should Win:   Doctor Strange

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Here we most likely have  showdown between the Disney film packed full of references and championing a very timely message all about inclusion and the stop-motion gem from Laika. While “Zootopia” may likely win an Oscar because it’s (buzzword) “relevant”, “Kubo & the Two Strings” is the film that features truly cutting edge animation and offers a complex, moving story. It’s the only animated film in my Top 10 of 2016 and the only one I want to own and watch over and over again. If you must blink, do it now. Hopefully when you open your eyes Laika will be celebrating a much deserved Oscar win. – Aaron
Should win:   Kubo & the Two Strings

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Leading well into the month of January, this category was “Toni Erdmann’s” (Germany) to lose.  But then President Trump enacted a Muslim ban, effectively alienating, well, just about everyone.  Enter the plight of director Asghar Farhadi, who all of a sudden might not be allowed into the country to enjoy the spoils of becoming an Oscar nominee for his film “The Salesman” (Iran).  Since “Toni Erdmann” is an almost three hour slog that most voters aren’t likely to want to invest in to see if it’s even worthy, expect the political middle finger to once again extend in the direction of Washington, with “The Salesman” the beneficiary of Hollywood’s version of humanitarian justice being served. – Steve
Should Win:    Who cares

BEST DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): This is a category stacked with incredible films (and many others worthy that weren’t nominated). Several of them deal with race, but the one that stands out most is “O.J.: Made in America.” It is an extraordinary portrait of one icon’s rise and fall, told through a much broader and more important lens of race relations in America going back 50 years. I was mesmerized for all 7+ hours of this documentary’s running time. My mind was constantly blown as this film dug deeper and deeper. This should be required viewing for all Americans.  – Aaron
Should Win:   O.J.: Made in America

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: Let’s be honest, this is one of, what I like to call, “dartboard categories,” where you guess is about as good as anyone else’s.  As a credentialed film critic in Chicago, I have all five of these nominees available to me to view as screener links, but I haven’t made the time to catch them yet.  My dartboard is busy holding up pictures of people I despise.  So, I’m going to lean on some precursor data.  “The White Helmets” won this very category from the International Documentary Association. That’s good enough for me. It gets my dartboard dart as a personal pick.  – Don
Should Win:   The White Helmets

BEST ANIMATED SHORT: The ability to tell a complete story is a huge undertaking, but to do it in 5-7 minutes is even more daunting. Couple that with animating the thing and you’ve got, well, a worthy Oscar category. Admittedly I’d only seen one of these films until recently (“Piper”). I have now seen four of the five and I have to tell you, only one stands above all others. In a time when optimism feels necessary in film, one of these shorts stood out as encompassing that in the most sincere way. – Patrick
Should Win:   Pearl

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT: So, yeah. Um… “Timecode” definitely has the coolest name. – Aaron
Should Win:   Timecode

Agree with our picks? Disagree? Want to share your own? Leave us some feedback. We’d love to discuss them with you. Thanks for reading!

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