FINAL 2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

This post was updated January 23rd and these predictions are FINAL

The Predicted Nominees

We’ve finally made it down to the deadline, and the best picture nomination race still seems wide open after the top 3 slots (La La Land, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea). It’s going to be a numbers game. Anything between 6-10 nominees is a possibility. Remember, when it comes to nominations, films that receive a lot of #1 votes even if left off many ballots score big. Think, what films will certain sectors of the Academy absolutely fall in love with even if others haven’t?

I feel good about Arrival, especially after its director landed a DGA nom. It’s a popular/acclaimed film that should get love from many branches above and below the line. Oscar has warmed up to sci-fi as of late, too. Lion is reportedly playing much stronger to the Academy than precursors suggest. It’s a skillfully made tearjerker, and Oscar loves those. Hidden Figures has put up strong numbers and is the feel-good film of the year. I don’t think its PG-rating hurts it here.

Hacksaw Ridge and Hell or High Water have both done better than anyone expected throughout the season. They’re both in play in many categories, including some acting categories. Both would make for fine selections and precursors suggest they should be in. My big shocker is Sully, which hasn’t popped anywhere yet. It’s the type of film that plays well to Oscar, and Warner Bros is running a strong campaign (it’s all they have). I don’t doubt the power of Eastwood/Hanks/true story. I think it sneaks in and that’s the big shocker in the category this year.

1) La La Land

Distributed by Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate (Dec. 9th). Directed by Damien Chazelle.

2) Moonlight

Distributed by A24 Films (Oct. 21st). Directed by Barry Jenkins.

3) Manchester by the Sea

Distributed by Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios (Nov. 18th). Directed by Kenneth Lonergan.

4) Arrival

Distributed by Paramount Pictures (Nov. 11th). Directed by Denis Villeneuve.

5) Lion

Distributed by The Weinstein Company (Nov. 25th). Directed by Garth Davis.

6) Hidden Figures

Distributed by 20th Century Fox (Dec. 25th). Directed by Theodore Melfi.

7) Hacksaw Ridge

Distributed by Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate (Nov. 4th). Directed by Mel Gibson.

8) Hell or High Water

Distributed by CBS Films (Aug. 12th). Directed by David Mackenzie.

9) Sully

Distributed by Warner Bros. (Sept. 9th). Directed by Clint Eastwood.


On The Bubble

We know the actors will go for Fences. Hell, Viola Davis is winning her category and Denzel is the #2 contender in his. But I have doubts how the almost anti-cinematic film plays to other branches, and while everyone agrees it’s good it doesn’t seem like something many will write down as #1. Silence got into the season very late, and it’s a very challenging film. It getting director and editing nods (like I’m predicting) while missing here would be unprecedented, but where’s the fun in not predicting any shockers?

Jackie and Loving both seem dead in the water here, and I almost want to slot the divisive but passion-inspiring Nocturnal Animals ahead of them. Any of the three could get in.

10) Fences

Distributed by Paramount Pictures (Dec. 25th). Directed by Denzel Washington.

11) Silence

Distributed by Paramount Pictures (Dec. 23rd). Directed by Martin Scorsese.

12) Jackie

Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures (Dec. 2nd). Directed by Pablo Larraín.

13) Loving

Distributed by Focus Features (Nov. 4th). Directed by Jeff Nichols.

14) Florence Foster Jenkins

Distributed by Paramount Pictures (Aug. 12th). Directed by Stephen Frears.

15) Nocturnal Animals

Distributed by Focus Features (Nov. 18th). Directed by Tom Ford.

16) Patriots Day

Distributed by CBS/Lionsgate (Dec. 21st). Directed by Peter Berg.

17) Captain Fantastic

Distributed by Bleeker Street (July 8th). Directed by Matt Ross.

See predictions in other categories here.

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