Who will win at this year’s Oscars? Here are our predictions!

With awards season about to hit the high point in the coming weeks, we've decided to do something a little different: this is musicMagpie predicts the Oscars.

Established in 1927, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (or AMPAS for short) has endeavoured to honour the best the film industry has to offer. Sometimes it's spot-on, other times it is horribly misguided (as a certain inclusion in the 84th Academy Awards' Best Picture line-up shows), and this year marks the 89th edition of the awards ceremony. With that said, onto the predictions…

Best Picture

So far, three films seem ideally set up for the fight for the top prize: modern day musical La La Land, family drama Manchester by the Sea and acclaimed black LGBT drama Moonlight. All three films have been prominent in the awards season battle this year with Moonlight and La La Land taking the majority of the honours.

As for the final slots (the new Best Picture rules allows for between five and ten nominees), a lot of filmsare contenders. These include sci-fi thriller Arrival, action drama Hell or High Water, Denzel Washington's adaptation of August Wilson's acclaimed play Fences, Mel Gibson's war film (and first as director in a decade) Hacksaw Ridge, Martin Scorsese's religious drama Silence, crowd-pleasers Hidden Figures and Lion and biopics Jackie, Loving and Sully. All of whom have factored in the awards season at some point. With those listed, here are MM's predictions for the nominees:

Arrival (Paramount Pictures (US), eOne (UK))

Fences (Paramount Pictures)

Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate)

Hell or High Water (CBS Films (US), StudioCanal (UK))

Jackie (Fox Searchlight Pictures (US), eOne (UK))

La La Land (Lionsgate)

Lion (The Weinstein Company (US), Entertainment Film Distributors (UK))

Manchester by the Sea (Amazon (US), StudioCanal (UK))

Moonlight (A24 (US), Altitude Film Distribution (UK))

Silence (Paramount Pictures (US), StudioCanal (UK))

Best Director

Like the Best Picture category, three helmsmen look set to be announced as nominees in the Best Director category: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) and Barry Jenkins (Moonlight). Fun fact: if Chazelle were to be nominated and win in this category, he would be the youngest Best Director winner in Academy history.

Anyway, back on topic. Question is who will join them? So far the likes of David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Pablo Larrain (Jackie) and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) have all showed up at various prize-givings and critics' awards.

Out of those, Gibson could happen since Hacksaw Ridge is quite Academy-friendly (war film) but Mackenzie could benefit from the sleeper hit status of Hell or High Water and Villeneuve has the pedigree (there's a reason Warner Bros and Sony chose him as the director of Blade Runner 2049) and the studio to back him but the sci-fi ghetto may prove a problem.

But one name that could arrive late in the game is Martin Scorsese since he has been an AMPAS favourite in recent years and a veteran slot is up for grabs. With that said, here are our predictions:

Damien Chazelle "" La La Land

Barry Jenkins "" Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan "" Manchester by the Sea

Martin Scorsese "" Silence

Denis Villeneuve "" Arrival

Best Actor

So far, one name has dominated the awards season's Best Actor accolades and looks like locked for a nomination (and most likely the win); Casey Affleck, for his portrayal of a Boston janitor coping with loss and responsibility in Manchester by the Sea. So far, Affleck seems unstoppable but a few names look set to join him in this category.

Among them are Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Andrew Garfield (who has two films in Silence and Hacksaw Ridge), Joel Edgerton (Loving) and veteran actors and former Oscar winners Denzel Washington (Fences) and Tom Hanks (Sully).

In an ideal world, Adam Driver would be a factor in the Oscar race for his powerhouse performance in Jim Jarmusch's 21st Century opus Paterson. But as the events of 2016 have proven, reality is a harsh mistress most of the time. Yes, there's not much to talk about here so on with the predictions:

Casey Affleck "" Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield "" Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling "" La La Land

Viggo Mortensen "" Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress

This year, it's all been about two names: Emma Stone and Natalie Portman, with their respective performances as a struggling actress in La La Land and Jackie Kennedy in Jackie. With one of these two likely winning the award, it makes sense for them to be locked in.

As for the remaining contenders, one name who could be on the charge for her first nomination is French actress Isabelle Huppert (revered by many as the French Meryl Streep) for Paul Verhoeven's revenge thriller Elle in a performance that has seen her as an unexpected force on the awards season path (including an unexpected Golden Globe victory in the Drama Actress category over favourite Portman).

Other contenders include frequent Academy bridesmaids Amy Adams (Arrival) and Annette Bening, relative newcomer Ruth Negga (Loving) and Oscar default choice Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins). With that said:

Amy Adams "" Arrival

Isabelle Huppert "" Elle

Natalie Portman "" Jackie

Emma Stone "" La La Land

Meryl Streep "" Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor

Like Affleck in the leading equivalent, Best Supporting Actor has seen the domination of one man; Netflix series regular Mahershala Ali (House of Cards, Marvel's Luke Cage) for his performance as drug dealer Juan in Moonlight, which has seen him net practically all Best Supporting Actor accolades rewarded.

However, like Scorsese in directing, there may be competition from some late-challengers which, oddly enough, both come from Silence in the form of supporting players Adam Driver, Liam Neeson and Issey Ogata.

Other names that have a chance here include Nocturnal Animals players Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) and Dev Patel (Lion). There could even be a surprise with Ali facing internal competition from a number of players (including Trevante Rhodes). With those listed, here are our predictions:

Mahershala Ali "" Moonlight

Jeff Bridges "" Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges "" Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel "" Lion

Michael Shannon "" Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

Up until recently, it seemed certain that Michelle Williams would be given her dues for her performance in Manchester by the Sea. But now she faces competition from Fences player Viola Davis, who was moved from lead to supporting and comes with an "˜overdue' narrative (which has been forming since she lost out on a Best Actress trophy in 2012) in her hand.

Thus like this year's Best Actress field, it's all about two ladies with three more lucky to be coming along for the ride. Those names include Nicole Kidman (Lion), former winner Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and recent Bond addition Naomie Harris (Moonlight). Here's our predicted line-up:

Viola Davis "" Fences

Naomie Harris "" Moonlight

Nicole Kidman "" Lion

Octavia Spencer "" Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams "" Manchester by the Sea

Screenwriting Awards

Now onto the categories honouring Original and Adapted screenplay. Up until recently, it looked like it was going to be a massive competition for Original Screenplay. But with both Moonlight and Loving being deemed adaptations, it appears the way has been cleared for Kenneth Lonergan to secure a nomination and win for Manchester by the Sea (which has claimed quite a number of screenwriting awards over the past month).

Other films that look set to join him include La La Land and Hell or High Water (penned by Sicario scribe Taylor Sheridan) with the last two spots up for grabs. Among the films in contention are surrealist black comedy The Lobster, Jackie, German dramedy Toni Erdmann, and an outside chance of Jim Jarmusch making a surprise appearance for Paterson (whose script is something the writing branch could embrace). Here's how the Original Screenplay field could look:

Taylor Sheridan "" Hell or High Water

Noah Oppenheim "" Jackie

Damien Chazelle "" La La Land

Kenneth Lonergan "" Manchester by the Sea

Maren Ade "" Toni Erdmann

Prior to the previously mentioned movements of films from category to category, Arrival and Silence seemed like the best bets for taking victory in the barren wasteland that is the Best Adapted Screenplay field.

However, with the arrival of Moonlight (adapted from Tarell Alvin McCreaney's play In Moonlight, Black Boys Appear Blue), chances of Martin Scorsese scoring Oscar number two and the sci-fi ghetto facing further demolition have been dashed..

Other names look set to appear in this category are the aforementioned Loving, Jane Austen comedy Love & Friendship, Lion, Hidden Figures, Fences (penned by author the late August Wilson with an uncredited rewrite by Tony Kushner) and Nocturnal Animals. Here are our predictions for Adapted Screenplay:

Eric Heisserer "" Arrival (based on Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang)

August Wilson "" Fences (based on his play)

Barry Jenkins "" Moonlight (based on the play In Moonlight, Black Boys Appear Blue by Tarell Alvin McCreaney)

Tom Ford "" Nocturnal Animals (based on Tony and Susan by Austin Wright)

Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese "" Silence (based on the novel by Shūsaku Endō)

Best Animated Feature

Finally, before I summarise the final categories in list form, we move onto Best Animated Feature, and boy is it loaded.

Among the contenders are three Disney products in Moana (in cinemas now), Zootropolis (available to buy now) and Finding Dory (available to buy now), whose company has had a big influence on this category along with Dreamworks (who have two films in contention: Kung Fu Panda 3 (available to buy) and Trolls).

Other companies and their produce include previously nominated stop-motion company LAIKA and their latest work Kubo and the Two Strings, adult animation Sausage Party and numerous foreign-produced works including The Red Turtle (from Studio Ghibli), My Life as a Courgette and Your Name. Here are our predictions:

Kubo and the Two Strings (LAIKA)

Moana (Disney)

My Life as a Courgette (GKIDS)

The Red Turtle (Sony Pictures Classics (US), StudioCanal (UK))

Zootropolis (Disney)

Best Foreign Language Film

Land of Mine (Denmark)

A Man Called Ove (Sweden)

My Life as a Courgette (Switzerland)

The Salesman (Iran)

Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Best Documentary Feature

Fire at Sea

I Am Not Your Negro

O.J.: Made in America


Weiner (available to buy now)

Best Cinematography

Bradford Young "" Arrival

Linus Sandgren "" La La Land

James Laxton "" Moonlight

Seamus McGarvey "" Nocturnal Animals

Rodrigo Prieto "" Silence

Best Editing

Joe Walker "" Arrival

John Gilbert "" Hacksaw Ridge

Tom Cross "" La La Land

Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon "" Moonlight

Thelma Schoonmaker "" Silence

Best Original Score

John Williams "" The BFG (available to buy now)

Mica Levi "" Jackie

Justin Hurwitz "" La La Land

Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka "" Lion

Nicholas Britell – Moonlight

Best Costume Design

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


La La Land

Love & Friendship


Best Production Design

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

The Handmaiden


La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Visual Effects


Doctor Strange

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

The Jungle Book (available to buy now)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 

Sound Categories

Sound Editing


Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story



Sound Mixing


Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story



Best Original Song

Audition "" La La Land

Can't Stop the Feeling "" Trolls

City of Stars "" La La Land

Drive Like You Stole It "" Sing Street (available to buy now)

How Far I'll Go "" Moana

 The nominations will be announced on Tuesday 24th January at 1:30pm GMT.

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