My prediction on the 89th Annual Academy Awards


The Oscar season is almost near the end now, and, as usual, we are quite sure about several things while feeling not so certain about other things. As I and others predicted from the beginning, “La La Land” has constantly been the dominant front runner in the Best Picture Oscar race, and now our attention is focused on how many awards it will actually garner during the evening of February 27th. In contrast, the Best Actor Oscar race has become quite tight between two front runner nominees, and it will be a huge upset if any nominee besides them walks onto the stage instead.

As I told you many times before, I have never been completely correct in my prediction, but I cannot simply resist the fun with guessing eventual winners or the excitement (or disappointment) experienced during the ceremony. Here is my prediction on the 89th Academy Awards, and let’s see how accurate or inaccurate it will turn out to be.


Best Motion Picture of the Year
Arrival (2016): Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder, David Linde
Fences (2016): Todd Black, Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington
Hacksaw Ridge (2016): Bill Mechanic, David Permut
Hell or High Water (2016): Carla Hacken, Julie Yorn
Hidden Figures (2016): Peter Chernin, Donna Gigliotti, Theodore Melfi, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams
La La Land (2016): Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
Lion (2016): Iain Canning, Angie Fielder, Emile Sherman
Manchester by the Sea (2016): Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Kevin J. Walsh
Moonlight (2016): Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

After winning PGA, DGA, and BAFTA awards, “La La Land” further solidified its front runner status without any doubt on its sure-fire win. I chose “La La Land” as the best film of last year, and I still stick to that my decision although I also admire “Moonlight”, “Manchester by the Sea”, and “Arrival” a lot.

Prediction: “La La Land”
Preference: “La La Land”


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Manchester by the Sea (2016): Casey Affleck
Hacksaw Ridge (2016): Andrew Garfield
La La Land (2016): Ryan Gosling
Captain Fantastic (2016): Viggo Mortensen
Fences (2016): Denzel Washington

Garfield, Gosling, and Mortensen all have taken a backseat to Affleck and Washington. Considering his steady momentum during the Oscar season, Affleck is likely to win the award, but his chance has been significantly decreased since Washington won the SAG award instead of Affleck. I pick Washington because I think his electrifying performance in “Fences” is the best one among the bunch, but I will not mind if Affleck wins the award for his effortlessly nuanced performance in “Manchester by the Sea”.

Prediction: Casey Affleck
Preference: Denzel Washington


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Elle (2016): Isabelle Huppert
Loving (2016): Ruth Negga
Jackie (2016): Natalie Portman
La La Land (2016): Emma Stone
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016): Meryl Streep

It has been quite clear that Huppert, Negga, Portman, and Streep will have to be content with their nomination, so….

Prediction: Emma Stone
Preference: Isabelle Huppert


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Moonlight (2016): Mahershala Ali
Hell or High Water (2016): Jeff Bridges
Manchester by the Sea (2016): Lucas Hedges
Lion (2016): Dev Patel
Nocturnal Animals (2016): Michael Shannon

I think Ali will win for his moving understated performance in “Moonlight”, although there may an upset by Patel or Bridges.

Prediction: Mahershala Ali
Preference: Mahershala Ali


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Fences (2016): Viola Davis
Moonlight (2016): Naomie Harris
Lion (2016): Nicole Kidman
Hidden Figures (2016): Octavia Spencer
Manchester by the Sea (2016): Michelle Williams

Does anyone bet against Davis?

Prediction: Viola Davis
Preference: Viola Davis


Best Achievement in Directing
Arrival (2016): Denis Villeneuve
Hacksaw Ridge (2016): Mel Gibson
La La Land (2016): Damien Chazelle
Manchester by the Sea (2016): Kenneth Lonergan
Moonlight (2016): Barry Jenkins

Chazelle won the Golden Globe and DGA awards, so he will certainly win an Oscar.

Prediction: Damien Chazelle
Preference: Damien Chazelle


Best Writing, Original Screenplay
Hell or High Water (2016): Taylor Sheridan
La La Land (2016): Damien Chazelle
The Lobster (2015): Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Manchester by the Sea (2016): Kenneth Lonergan
20th Century Women (2016): Mike Mills

I think “Manchester by the Sea” will win the award as predicted by many people, but watch out for “La La Land”.

Prediction: Manchester by the Sea
Preference: Manchester by the Sea


Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay
Moonlight (2016): Barry Jenkins (screenplay), Tarell Alvin McCraney (story)
Arrival (2016): Eric Heisserer
Fences (2016): August Wilson
Hidden Figures (2016): Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Lion (2016): Luke Davies

“Moonlight” will win the award. I am sure about that.

Prediction: Moonlight
Preference: Moonlight


Best Achievement in Cinematography
Arrival (2016): Bradford Young
La La Land (2016): Linus Sandgren
Lion (2016): Greig Fraser
Moonlight (2016): James Laxton
Silence (2016): Rodrigo Prieto

“La La Land” will probably win here as driven by its popularity, but watch out for “Lion”.

Prediction: La La Land
Preference: Moonlight

Best Achievement in Film Editing
La La Land (2016): Tom Cross
Hacksaw Ridge (2016): John Gilbert
Moonlight (2016): Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
Arrival (2016): Joe Walker
Hell or High Water (2016): Jake Roberts

This award usually goes to the Best Picture award winner, so….

Prediction: La La Land
Preference: La La Land

Best Achievement in Production Design
Arrival (2016): Patrice Vermette (production design), Paul Hotte (set decoration)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016): Stuart Craig (production design), Anna Pinnock (set decoration)
Hail, Caesar! (2016): Jess Gonchor (production design), Nancy Haigh (set decoration)
La La Land (2016): David Wasco (production design), Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (set decoration)
Passengers (2016): Guy Hendrix Dyas (production design), Gene Serdena (set decoration)

The other nominees in this category do not have much advantage over “La La Land”.

Prediction: La La Land
Preference: Hail, Caesar!


Best Achievement in Costume Design
Allied (2016): Joanna Johnston Sinbihan
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016): Colleen Atwood
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016): Consolata Boyle
Jackie (2016): Madeline Fontaine
La La Land (2016): Mary Zophres

I think “La La Land” will also win here for the same reason, but watch out for “Jackie”

Prediction: La La Land
Preference: Jackie

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Arrival (2016): Bernard Gariépy Strobl, Claude La Haye
Hacksaw Ridge (2016): Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, Peter Grace
La La Land (2016): Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, Steven Morrow
Rogue One : A Star Wars Story (2016): David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson
13 Hours (2016): Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Mac Ruth

The award usually goes to musical film, so I think “La La Land” will win in this category.

Prediction: La La Land
Preference: Arrival

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Arrival (2016): Sylvain Bellemare
Deepwater Horizon (2016): Wylie Stateman, Renee Tondelli
Hacksaw Ridge (2016): Robert Mackenzie, Andy Wright
La La Land (2016): Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou
Sully (2016): Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman

The award usually goes to war/action film, so I think “Hacksaw Ridge” will win in this category.

Prediction: Hacksaw Ridge
Preference: Arrival


Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Deepwater Horizon (2016): Craig Hammack, Jason H. Snell, Jason Billington, Burt Dalton
Doctor Strange (2016): Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli, Paul Corbould
The Jungle Book (2016): Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Dan Lemmon
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016): Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, Brad Schiff
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016): John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal T. Hickel, Neil Corbould

“The Jungle Book” is the most impressive one among the bunch.

Prediction: The Jungle Book
Preference: The Jungle Book

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
A Man Called Ove (2015): Eva Von Bahr, Love Larson
Star Trek Beyond (2016): Joel Harlow, Richard Alonzo
Suicide Squad (2016): Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, Christopher Allen Nelson

Guess which one is the most noticeable nominee.

Prediction: Star Trek Beyond
Preference: A Man Called Ove


Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
La La Land (2016): Justin Hurwitz (music), Benj Pasek (lyrics), Justin Paul (lyrics)
Song: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”
La La Land (2016): Justin Hurwitz (music), Benj Pasek (lyrics), Justin Paul (lyrics)
Song: “City of Stars”
Trolls (2016): Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback
Song: “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Jim: The James Foley Story (2016): J. Ralph, Sting
Song: “The Empty Chair”
Moana (2016): Lin-Manuel Miranda
Song: “How Far I’ll Go“

“City of Stars” will win, but I prefer “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”

Prediction: “City of Stars”
Preference: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Jackie (2016): Mica Levi
La La Land (2016): Justin Hurwitz
Lion (2016): Dustin O’Halloran, Volker Bertelmann
Moonlight (2016): Nicholas Britell
Passengers (2016): Thomas Newman

This is another category where “La La Land” will definitely win.

Prediction: La La Land
Preference: La La Land


Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
A Man Called Ove (2015) Sweden
The Salesman (2016) Iran
Tanna (2015) Australia
Toni Erdmann (2016) Germany
Land of Mine (2015) Denmark

I prefer “Toni Erdmann”, but I think “The Salesman”, my No.2 choice, will win considering its increasing momentum during recent weeks.

Prediction: The Salesman
Preference: Toni Erdmann


Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016): Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner
Moana (2016): Ron Clements, John Musker, Osnat Shurer
Ma vie de Courgette (2016): Claude Barras, Max Karli
The Red Turtle (2016): Michael Dudok de Wit, Toshio Suzuki
Zootopia (2016): Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Clark Spencer

I’d love to watch “Kubo and the Two Strings” winning here, but the award will go to the most popular (and the most successful) one of the bunch.

Prediction: Zootopia
Preference: Kubo and the Two Strings


Best Documentary Feature
Fire at Sea (2016): Gianfranco Rosi, Donatella Palermo
I Am Not Your Negro (2016): Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety, Hébert Peck
Life, Animated (2016): Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman
O.J.: Made in America (2016): Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow
13th (2016): Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Howard Barish

“O.J.: Made in America” has always been the front runner here.

Prediction: O.J.: Made in America
Preference: O.J.: Made in America

Best Animated Short Film
Blind Vaysha (2016): Theodore Ushev
Borrowed Time (2015): Andrew Coats, Lou Hamou-Lhadj
Pear Cider and Cigarettes (2016): Robert Valley, Cara Speller
Pearl (2016): Patrick Osborne
Piper (2016): Alan Barillaro, Marc Sondheimer

Prediction: Piper

Best Live Action Short Film
Ennemis intérieurs (2016): Selim Azzazi
La femme et le TGV (2016): Timo von Gunten, Giacun Caduff
Mindenki (2016): Kristóf Deák, Anna Udvardy
Timecode (2016): Juanjo Giménez Peña
Silent Nights (2016): Kim Magnusson, Aske Bang

Prediction: Ennemis intérieurs

Best Documentary Short Subject
Extremis (2016): Dan Krauss
4.1 Miles (2016): Daphne Matziaraki
Joe’s Violin (2016): Kahane Cooperman, Raphaela Neihausen
Watani (2016): My Homeland: Marcel Mettelsiefen, Stephen Ellis
The White Helmets (2016): Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegar

Prediction: “Joe’s Violin”

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