Oscar nominations are in! With less than two weeks before the big ceremony (February 26th), we’re here to share our prognostications and picks. Though there are several promising candidates in the six major categories, only a select few will take home the Oscar gold. Here are our predictions for the 2017 Oscars. Share your picks for a chance to win a 12 month MoviePass subscription.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Favorite: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Likely Challengers: Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water – Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dark Horse: Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals – Dev Patel, Lion
ANALYSIS: Ali is the clear favorite here, with Moonlight gaining momentum in the Best Picture category and a ton of awards honors for him already (although Aaron Taylor-Johnson had a surprise upset at the Globes). Bridges and Hedges are probably right behind Ali, on the strength of their Best Picture-nominated films.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Favorite: Viola Davis, Fences
Likely Challenger: Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Dark Horses: Nicole Kidman, Lion – Naomie Harris, Moonlight – Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
ANALYSIS: The easiest to call at this point. Davis has never won, despite a boatload of nominations, and Fences allows her to truly shine. Her only challenger is Williams; she has the best scene of the year in Manchester by the Sea and there’s a chance she could snatch another Oscar from Davis. It’s nice to see Kidman and Spencer (both former Oscar winners), as well as the supremely talented Harris in there, but they are most likely, going home empty-handed. This is Davis or Williams, no one else.
Favorite: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Likely Challengers: Denzel Washington, Fences – Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Dark Horses: Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge – Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
ANALYSIS: Affleck and Washington are neck and neck here in the closest race on the board, with Affleck having a slight edge for the prize. Could off-the-screen legal questions derail his chances? If so, Washington could easily win it. If La La Land really steamrolls the awards, there’s a minuscule chance Gosling sneaks in for Best Actor. Very miniscule. Garfield finally gets an Oscar nomination after some great performances over the years, and Mortensen gets a deserved nomination for the little-seen Captain Fantastic. That’ll have to do for them this year.
Favorite: Emma Stone, La La Land
Likely Challengers: Isabelle Huppert, Elle – Natalie Portman, Jackie
Dark Horses: Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins – Ruth Negga, Loving
ANALYSIS: Stone, after a Golden Globe win, is the favorite here, but the veteran Huppert – so great in Paul Verhoven’s Elle – could be primed for an upset, as could Portman for Jackie (although her buzz has cooled considerably). If there’s an upset brewing at the 2017 Oscars, it’s likely to come from this category. Huppert is an excellent dart throw.
Meanwhile, Streep gets another nomination, but this isn’t one of her winning years. Negga is a talent who’ll likely pick up an Oscar in the future. For now, though, they’re pretty dark horses.
Favorite: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Likely Challengers: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight – Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Dark Horses: Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge – Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
ANALYSIS: Chazelle’s lovely throwback musical will probably bring him his first Oscar. Jenkins and Lonergan, helmers of the other two features who have a shot at Best Picture, are in second and third, respectively – but this is Chazelle’s to win. It’s kind of a shock to see Gibson back in there and it’s unlikely to see the Academy giving him an award. Villeneuve is going to win an Oscar soon. Just not this year.
Favorite: La La Land
Likely Challengers: Manchester by the Sea – Moonlight
Dark Horses: Hacksaw Ridge – Arrival – Hell or High Water – Fences– Lion – Hidden Figures
ANALYSIS: La La Land is the favorite – a throwback feature about Los Angeles is catnip to the Academy – but if the backlash to the favorite gets too great, watch for a split, with Chazelle winning Best Director and Moonlight taking Best Picture. It could happen. Or Manchester by the Sea could come roaring back for Best Picture (call it a one-in-nine chance there).
Could anyone from the dark horses break out? Maybe, if Hell or High Water snowballs, or if the acting noms in Fences overwhelm. But don’t count on it. This is a three-horse race that could easily be a two-horse race very soon.
This year’s Oscar competition is fierce. So, feel free to share your own hopes and predictions below.