FINAL 2017 Oscar Predictions: “Below the Line” / Technical Categories

This post was updated January 13th and the predictions are FINAL

Here you’ll find predictions for the following categories: Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song.

Best Production Design

Period and pieces and big set work do well here, though it seems like La La Land is the heavy frontrunner this year. Hail Caesar! builds old Hollywood sets as sets for the film, and that’s something the branch will surely appreciate. While the film was panned, I have a feeling Passengers will sneak in. The production design is by far the best element of the film and shows off the art form to an extent sci-fi films rarely do given their reliance on visual effects.

1) La La Land

2) Hail, Caesar!

3) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

4) Hacksaw Ridge

5) Passengers

Alternates: ArrivalJackieFencesRogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Costume Design

Another place for period pieces and big fantasy epics. It’s probably La La Land vs Jackie for the win, but keep an eye on Florence Foster Jenkins as a dark horse. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them features some impressive costume work and this is a spot to cite a very popular film.

1) La La Land

2) Jackie

3) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

4) Florence Foster Jenkins

5) Hail, Caesar!

Alternates: AlliedSilenceThe DressmakerHidden Figures

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

The bakeoff list is down to seven, so it’s as simple as picking three from that bunch. Florence Foster Jenkins is a lock and your likely winner. When a film as obscure as A Man Called Ove makes it this far it almost always gets in. Last spot for me comes down to two blockbusters; Deadpool and Star Trek Beyond. I’ll go with the former since it did a fine job of making Ryan Reynolds look ugly but still look like Ryan Reynolds.

1) Florence Foster Jenkins

2) A Man Called Ove

3) Deadpool

Alternates: Star Trek BeyondHail Caesar!, The Dressmaker, Suicide Squad

Best Visual Effects

This branch historically has awarded the *most* visual effects, but perhaps Ex Machina winning last year suggests a change in philosophy, which would be good news for Arrival. Some great blockbuster VFX work in Disney films Rogue One, Doctor Strange, and The Jungle Book should be good for noms. There’s also some real buzz surrounding Kubo and the Two Strings here, despite animated films not usually appearing.

1) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

2) The Jungle Book

3) Doctor Strange

4) Kubo and the Two Strings

5) Arrival

Alternates: The BFG, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Captain America: Civil War, Deepwater Horizon, Passengers



'Hacksaw Ridge' could be a player across multiple sound categories.
‘Hacksaw Ridge’ could be a player across multiple sound categories.

Best Sound Mixing

The difference in the sound categories: mixing is the blending of various sounds, whereas editing is more creation/manipulation of sounds. There’s usually a lot of overlap between the two. The loud war noises of Hacksaw Ridge could see it win both awards.

1) Hacksaw Ridge

2) La La Land

3) Sully

4) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

5) Deepwater Horizon

Alternates: Arrival, Patriots Day, 13 Hours, Doctor Strange



Best Sound Editing

4 of the 5 from my mixing predictions show up here, with Arrival replacing La La Land, which mixes its stuff well but doesn’t really “create” a ton of sounds.

1) Hacksaw Ridge

2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

3) Sully

4) Deepwater Horizon

5) Arrival

Alternates: The Jungle Book, Patriots Day, La La Land, Silence



Best Original Score

A weird year in original score. Usually, this branch nominates the same people over and over again. But the familiar names don’t have much in the hunt this year, opening up space for new nominees working on best picture contenders. It’s probably an easy win for La La Land, but I like Mica Levi’s work in Jackie to surprise and get a nom. It is exceptional.

1) Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)

2) Dustin O’Halloran & Hauschka (Lion)

3) Mica Levi (Jackie)

4) John Williams (The BFG)

5) Nicholas Britell (Moonlight)

Alternates: Alexandre Desplat (Florence Foster Jenkins), Darion Marianelli (Kubo and the Two Strings), Abel Korzeniowski (Nocturnal Animals), Rupert Gregson-Williams (Hacksaw Ridge), Michael Giacchino (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)



Best Original Song

La La Land is battling itself here despite Gosling not being a very good singer. Popular songs from Hidden FiguresTrolls, and Moana should show up. Here’s to hoping Sing Street surprises with a nomination.

1) “City of Stars” from La La Land

2) “Runnin” from Hidden Figures

3) “Audition” from La La Land

4) “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

5) “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls

Alternates: “Faith” from Sing, “Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street, “We Know the Way” from Moana.


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