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Danny Baldwin’s 2017 Oscar Picks and Predictions

2017 Oscars

If I had two wishes for tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony–you don’t get three, contrary to popular belief, as the Ravioli Genie informs the protagonist of Le génie de la boîte de raviolis, a charming short currently playing before Best Animated Feature nominee My Life as a Zucchini–I know exactly what they’d be.

One, I’d wish for host Jimmy Kimmel to make a maximum of three jokes at President Trump’s expense. This is a pragmatic request, insofar as I’m allowing him more than half-a-handful and not restricting any of the winners in their acceptance speeches, who would never be able to contain themselves even if I willed it. Indeed, no matter how much I may desire a fun, upbeat, and entertaining show rather than one that reminds us of the divisive headlines, this seems impossible at the current cultural moment.

My second wish would be that at least ten of my predictions for tonight, which follow below, prove to be wrong. Nobody likes a predictable ceremony, other than perhaps those who make a living as Oscar bloggers, and in this era of incredibly accurate awards reporting, satisfying surprises (we’re talking, Adrien Brody level surprises) have become increasingly rare.

Having seen every single film nominated, thanks in part to a just-concluded marathon viewing session of 27 titles (including the 15 nominated short films) in the past 48 hours, I’m finally ready to attempt to predict what only those PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants currently know, hours before the ceremony. Bear in mind, my “Personal Pick” for each category is what I want to win, my “Prediction” is what I think will win, and would bet on if I were in Vegas…

 

BEST PICTURE

NOMINEES:”Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight”

PERSONAL PICK: “Hell or High Water”

PREDICTION: “La La Land” (though if there’s a movie positioned for a surprise upset, it’s “Hidden Figures,” just not to the point that I would bet on it).

WINNER: “Moonlight”

* * *

DIRECTOR

NOMINEES: Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”; Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”; Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”; Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”; Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”

PERSONAL PICK: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

PREDICTION: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

WINNER: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

* * *

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”; Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”; Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”; Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”; Denzel Washington, “Fences”

PERSONAL PICK: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

PREDICTION: Denzel Washington, “Fences”

WINNER: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

* * *

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”; Ruth Negga, “Loving”; Natalie Portman, “Jackie”; Emma Stone, “La La Land”; Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

PERSONAL PICK: Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

PREDICTION: Emma Stone, “La La Land”

WINNER: Emma Stone, “La La Land”

* * *

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”; Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”; Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”; Dev Patel, “Lion”; Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

PERSONAL PICK: Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”

PREDICTION: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

WINNER: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

* * *

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES: Viola Davis, “Fences”; Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”; Nicole Kidman, “Lion”; Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”; Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

PERSONAL PICK: Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

PREDICTION: Viola Davis, “Fences”

WINNER: Viola Davis, “Fences”

* * *

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES: “Hell or High Water,” “La La Land,” “The Lobster,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “20th Century Women”

PERSONAL PICK: “The Lobster”

PREDICTION: “Manchester by the Sea”

WINNER: “Manchester by the Sea”

* * *

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES: “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Lion,” “Moonlight”

PERSONAL PICK: “Hidden Figures”

PREDICTION: “Moonlight”

WINNER: “Moonlight”

* * *

CINEMATOGRAPHY

NOMINEES: “Arrival,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Moonlight,” “Silence”

PERSONAL PICK: “Silence”

PREDICTION: “La La Land”

WINNER: “La La Land”

* * *

FILM EDITING

NOMINEES: “Arrival,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “La La Land,” “Moonlight”

PERSONAL PICK: “Hell or High Water”

PREDICTION: “La La Land”

WINNER: “Hacksaw Ridge”

* * *

COSTUME DESIGN

NOMINEES: “Allied,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Florence Foster Jenkins,” “Jackie,” “La La Land”

PERSONAL PICK: “Jackie”

PREDICTION: “La La Land”

WINNER: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

* * * 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

NOMINEES: “Arrival,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Hail, Caesar!”, “La La Land,” “Passengers”

PERSONAL PICK: “Hail, Cesar!”

PREDICTION: “La La Land”

WINNER: “La La Land”

* * *

VISUAL EFFECTS

NOMINEES: “Deepwater Horizon,” “Doctor Strange,” “The Jungle Book,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

PERSONAL PICK: “The Jungle Book”

PREDICTION: “The Jungle Book”

WINNER: “The Jungle Book”

* * *

SOUND EDITING

NOMINEES: “Arrival,” “Deepwater Horizon,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “La La Land,” “Sully”

PERSONAL PICK: “Arrival”

PREDICTION: “Hacksaw Ridge”

WINNER: “Arrival”

* * * 

SOUND MIXING

NOMINEES: “Arrival,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “La La Land,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

PERSONAL PICK: “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

PREDICTION: “La La Land”

WINNER: “Hacksaw Ridge”

* * *

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

NOMINEES: “A Man Called Ove,” “Star Trek Beyond,” “Suicide Squad”

PERSONAL PICK: “Suicide Squad”

PREDICTION: “Star Trek Beyond”

WINNER: “Suicide Squad”

* * *

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

NOMINEES: “Jackie,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Moonlight,” “Passengers”

PERSONAL PICK“Jackie”

PREDICTION: “La La Land”

WINNER: “La La Land”

* * *

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

NOMINEES: “Audition” from “La La Land”; “Can’t Stop the Feelin'” from Trolls”; “City of Stars” from “La La Land”; “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”; “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”

PERSONAL PICK: “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”

PREDICTION: “City of Stars” from “La La Land”

WINNER: “City of Stars” from “La La Land”

* * *

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

NOMINEES: “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Moana,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” “The Red Turtle,” “Zootopia”

PERSONAL PICK:”My Life as a Zucchini”

PREDICTION: “Zootopia”

WINNER: “Zootopia”

* * *

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

NOMINEES: “Fire at Sea,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “Life, Animated,” “O.J.: Made in America,” “13th”

PERSONAL PICK: “O.J.: Made in America”

PREDICTION: “O.J.: Made in America”

WINNER: “O.J.: Made in America”

* * *

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

NOMINEES: “Land of Mine,” “A Man Called Ove,” “The Salesman,” “Tanna,” “Toni Erdmann”

PERSONAL PICK: “Toni Erdmann”

PREDICTION: “The Salesman”

WINNER: “The Salesman”

* * *

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

NOMINEES: “Extremis,” “4.1 Miles,” “Joe’s Violin,” “Watani: My Homeland,” “The White Helmets”

PERSONAL PICK: “Joe’s Violin”

PREDICTION: “Joe’s Violin”

WINNER: “The White Helmets”

* * *

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

NOMINEES: “Blind Vaysha,” “Borrowed Time,” “Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” “Pearl,” “Piper”

PERSONAL PICK: “Borrowed Time”

PREDICTION: “Piper”

WINNER: “Piper”

* * *

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

NOMINEES: “Ennemis intérieurs,” “La Femme et le TGV,” “Silent Nights,” “Sing,” “Timecode”

PERSONAL PICK: “Sing”

PREDICTION: “Ennemis intérieurs”

WINNER: “Sing”

* * *

 

RESULTS: 15 of 24 categories correct (63%)

* * *

Jimmy hosts the 89th annual Academy Awards at 8:30 p.m. EST / 5:30 p.m. PST on ABC.

About Danny Baldwin

Danny Baldwin has been writing about film on the Internet for over a decade, initially for BucketReviews.com and now for Critic Speak. He holds a Master's degree in Critical Studies from the University of Southern California and in past years served as a member of both the Online Film Critics Society and the San Diego Film Critics Society. Danny's favorite films include “The 400 Blows,” “Imitation of Life" (1959), “My Neighbor Totoro” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” He lives in Los Angeles.