Oscars 2017: Winner predictions, from La La Land to Moonlight

Expect La La Land to sweep the Academy off its feet and dance the night away with the top awards.

By Derek Lall

Date February 22, 2017

After a long awards season the Academy Awards are finally upon us. Get your Oscar ballots ready, and have a look at who is most likely to take home gold on the big night.

Best Supporting Actress
Of the four acting categories this race has the clearest winner. Viola Davis (Fences) has taken home practically every award she has been nominated for this season, and the Oscars will be no exception. Some have expressed that her role is much more of a lead than supporting, but the Academy loves her, and really wants to reward Davis’ body of work, especially after her unexpected loss to Meryl Streep for Best Actress in 2012.

Who should win/will win: Viola Davis, Fences

Best Supporting Actor
This has been the most volatile of the acting categories: the Golden Globe went to Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals, the BAFTA went to Dev Patel for Lion, and the Screen Actors Guild Award went to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight. However, the latter’s awards body overlaps with the Academy’s membership, and after Ali’s powerful SAG speech he should be going home with some hardware Sunday night.

Who should win/will win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Actor
For most of last year, many predicted that Casey Affleck was all but guaranteed an Oscar for his performance in Manchester by the Sea, which premiered at Sundance in early 2016. However, that all changed when sexual harassment allegations from 2010 resurfaced during fall. Denzel Washington ended up besting Affleck at the SAG Awards for his role in Fences. After that it seemed Affleck’s chances were slim, but we still expect him to take the win, particularly since Washington has already won twice and the Academy may want to share the love.

Who should win: Denzel Washington, Fences
Who will win: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress
Last December, it looked as though this was going to be a two-way race between Emma Stone for La La Land and Natalie Portman for Jackie. Portman is incredible in her role as Jackie O in the days after JFK’s assassination, and it’s the best performance of her career. The real shift began early last month, when Portman lost the Golden Globe to Isabelle Huppert for Elle. Stone, nevertheless, has been the most consistent winner throughout the season and will definitely be rewarded for her triple-threat performance in La La Land.

Who should win: Natalie Portman, Jackie
Who will win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Director
The Director’s Guild of America gave their top prize to Damien Chazelle (La La Land), so expect a repeat come Oscars night. The DGA is one of the most reliable harbingers to indicate the likely Oscar winner, and many have praised Chazelle for bringing back the Old Hollywood musical. However, what Barry Jenkins accomplished with Moonlight in 3.5 weeks with a $1.5 million budget, is nothing less than extraordinary. While beautiful and exuberant, La La Land has quite a few technical missteps and a less than stellar second act. On the contrary, Moonlight is flawless throughout, so don’t discount Jenkins just yet.

Who should win: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Who will win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Picture
La La Land has been an awards season juggernaut, taking top honours at the Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. The most relevant indicator of its future success was at the Producers Guild Awards, where it won Best Feature. With 14 nominations, La La Land is beloved across every branch of the Academy, and there’s little chance anything can stop this train. The only thing they should be worried about is La La Land fatigue, in which case Moonlight, or Hidden Figures could pull off a surprise win.

Who should win: Moonlight
Who will win: La La Land

Photography by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

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