Who’s going to be nominated for Academy Awards on Tuesday? Well, despite a seemingly endless season of speculation, no one really knows—the Academy is infamous for its singular taste. But, hey, let’s give it a shot!
Predictions: “Arrival”; “Fences”; “Hacksaw Ridge”; “Hell or High Water”; “Hidden Figures”; “La La Land”; “Lion”; “Manchester by the Sea”; “Nocturnal Animals”; “Moonlight.”
The top category is tricky to parse out because of the Academy’s strange voting procedure. Under its current rules, anywhere between five and ten films can receive nominations depending on a complex voting system in which passion (the amount of top-pick votes a film receives) counts above all. Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals” didn’t really register on the awards circuit outside of the Golden Globes initially, but its bounty of BAFTA nominations last week bodes well for its inclusion. If there’s a surprise inclusion, I can imagine Pablo Larraín’s incredible “Jackie” sneaking in.
Predictions: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”; Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”; Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”; Martin Scorsese, “Silence”; Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival.”
Alternate: Garth Davis, “Lion”
The Directors’ Branch of the Academy always has a surprise or two up its sleeve, so I would not be shocked to see Scorsese recognized for his ignored passion project about the limitations of faith.
Predictions: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”; Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”; Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”; Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nocturnal Animals”; Denzel Washington, “Fences.”
Alternate: Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
I’m thinking the Academy will follow BAFTA’s lead and nominate Gyllenhaal over Mortensen, who received Golden Globe and SAG nominations. But I could also see a circumstance in which Garfield’s dueling lead performances (“Hacksaw Ridge” and “Silence”) split his votes, and he’s passed over for someone like Tom Hanks.
Predictions: Amy Adams, “Arrival”; Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”; Natalie Portman, “Jackie”; Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”; Emma Stone, “La La Land.”
Alternate: Emily Blunt, “The Girl on the Train”
This is the trickiest of the major categories. Portman and Stone are undeniable, and Adams has solidified her (incredibly deserved) nomination for her muted performance in one of the year’s surprise hits.
After that, it gets a little more complex. Meryl Streep is probably in for her fun turn as an infamously bad opera singer, especially after her political Golden Globes speech. But that last spot? Golden Globe winner Isabelle Huppert could take it for her performance as a rape victim out for revenge in “Elle,” but apparently the film has proven too uncomfortable for many in the Academy. And Emily Blunt—the beloved actress who has somehow never received an Oscar nomination—scored both SAG and BAFTA nominations and could take it, but the film wasn’t well received critically, so I’m thinking Bening gets it instead.
Best Supporting Actor
Predictions: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”; Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”; Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”; Dev Patel, “Lion”; Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Nocturnal Animals.”
Alternate: Hugh Grant, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
This is another difficult category. Typically, it’s hard for younger actors to make it in, which is bad news for Hedges and Taylor-Johnson. But I’m thinking “Nocturnal Animals” will continue its late-breaking momentum, which benefits Golden Globe winner and BAFTA nominee Taylor-Johnson. On the other hand, Hedges is the heart of “Manchester by the Sea,” and I think he will ride in on the film’s overwhelming popularity.
Best Supporting Actress
Predictions: Viola Davis, “Fences”; Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”; Nicole Kidman, “Lion”; Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”; Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea.”
Alternate: Greta Gerwig, “20th Century Women”
Easiest category, hands down. Gerwig could rally support and replace Spencer, but that’s pretty much it. Davis will coast to the win.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Predictions: Luke Davies, “Lion”; Tom Ford, “Nocturnal Animals”; Barry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney, “Moonlight”; Eric Heisserer, “Arrival”; Jeff Nichols, “Loving.”
Alternate: August Wilson, “Fences”
Can we get some women writers in here? Please?
Best Original Screenplay
Predictions: Maren Ade, “Toni Erdmann”; Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”; Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Lobster”; Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea.”
Alternate: Mass Ross, “Captain Fantastic”