Final Oscar Nominations Predictions: Can ‘La La Land’ Tie the Record? Is ‘Arrival’ Going for 10?

la la land

It’s all down to this! Tuesday morning the Academy will finally unveil their choices for the best in film for the year, and let’s be honest, we just all need the distraction right now. With the inauguration, confirmation hearings, and the fabric of America seemingly falling apart, retreating into the movies and glitzy red carpet shows will be a way to deal with current events.

With all that said, there are daunting questions surrounding several categories. In the tech races in particular, so many are in flux. Let’s break that down:

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Most of us feel good about predicting “Jackie” and “La La Land” to be nominated here. In fact, they are probably the frontrunners for the prize. But will the branch look outside their conventional Best Picture contenders and check off choices like “Cafe Society,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” or “Hail, Caesar!”? Did enough of them see “Silence”? Do they even care? How strong is “Florence Foster Jenkins” in below-the-line categories?

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Did the ASC get it right? If not, who is vulnerable? Greig Fraser could pull double duty with both “Lion” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The love for “Nocturnal Animals” is also pretty palpable. Does that give a boost to Seamus McGarvey? And how deep does the “Hacksaw Ridge” love go?

COSTUME DESIGN: This category didn’t shake out the way anyone expected. They seemed to pass on “Love & Friendship,” which normally would be right up their alley. Can that void be filled by “The Dressmaker,” which can also muscle its way into another category or two? Could “Kubo and the Two Strings” make some serious history with multiple tech nods for an animated feature?

FILM EDITING: Early on in the season, I was trying to identify that one film that sneaks into this category because it shows itself as a considerable contender. We’ll call this the “Dallas Buyers Club” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” of the year. My theory has changed for weeks. At first, it looked like “Lion.” Then, we moved on to “Hell or High Water,” and have seemed to settle on “Manchester by the Sea.” I’m not so convinced. Did “Hidden Figures” surge at the right time for voters to notice? Will the branch check off another “Star Wars” film two years in a row? How about the pipe dreams for “Deadpool”? How much power does “Hacksaw Ridge” have?

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MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Seven films are left in the running. We all feel good about “Deadpool” because of its PGA nomination. No film has ever gone on to be shut out of Oscar nominations after receiving a PGA nod. Then there’s “Florence Foster Jenkins” and “The Dressmaker” which seem to live on convention, while “Star Trek Beyond” and “Suicide Squad” hope to survive their reviews. Then there’s “A Man Called Ove,” with the previously nominated team behind “The 100-Year-Old Man.”  Are they in the mood for convention or uneven filmmaking?

SOUND MIXING: We all feel good knowing that “La La Land” will likely not only get nominated, but also win this category easily. War films do well here as well which is why “Hacksaw Ridge” seems safe. The Cinema Audio Society embraced those two films plus “Doctor Strange,” “Rogue One” and “Sully.” Does that seem like the five? Peter Berg’s double dose of impeccable storytelling with “Deepwater Horizon” and “Patriots Day” may be able to make some noise, but a voting member of this branch tells Awards Circuit, “Don’t be surprised to hear ‘The Jungle Book’ listed.”

SOUND EDITING: Whatever five you are choosing for Sound Mixing, you can probably remove one and transfer it to Sound Editing. Does “La La Land” trickle down into nearly every tech category? Can “Sully” get thrown a bone anywhere?  How about the work in “Hell or High Water”?

VISUAL EFFECTS: We all know “Rogue One,” “The Jungle Book” and “Arrival” will have a good day with the Visual Effects branch, but does “The BFG” carry any weight, and is “Kubo and the Two Strings” really going to mirror “The Nightmare Before Christmas” from over 20 years ago?

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ORIGINAL SCORE: With “La La Land” sure to eat up a lot of the votes, we have to be open to a few surprise inclusions. But what if “La La Land” didn’t make the cut? I know, I know…

ORIGINAL SONG: How many “La La Land” songs? Is there any room for “Hidden Figures”? What is the “Alone Yet Not Alone” of this year’s competition?

In regards to the acting categories, we’re due for something like 2004 (a few shockers on the morning). Questions on the acting races:

  • Can Viggo Mortensen get himself another acting nomination by doing full frontal twice?
  • Did enough voters pop in “Elle” in time for voting despite the Golden Globe win for Isabelle Huppert?
  • Was the Aaron Taylor-Johnson surge too little too late?
  • Who has the power to get ahead of Octavia Spencer?

Check out the full list of Oscar Predictions on the sidebar, or click through each individual category to see the ranking and commentary.

WANT EVEN MORE COMMENTARY?  Listen to the latest Circuit Breaker podcast as we break it all down!

Share your own final Oscar predictions in the comments below!



About Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He’s also an active member of New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Phill Milner

    I think people will be surprised at the lack of Arrival love… bold prediction.

    • John Jingle

      The academy hates Canadiens!

  • michaeldal65

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see CAFE SOCIETY get in for production design.

    Hope to see lots of love for HIDDEN FIGURES, ARRIVAL, and MOONLIGHT. 3 of the year’s best. And I’ve got everything crossed that PATERSON stakes a claim somehow.

  • Joey Magidson

    My picks:


    1. La La Land

    2. Moonlight

    3. Manchester by the Sea

    4. Lion

    5. Arrival

    6. Hell or High Water

    7. Hidden Figures

    8. Hacksaw Ridge

    9. Fences

    10. Captain Fantastic

    Next in line: 11. Deadpool 12. Nocturnal Animals 13. Silence 14. Jackie 15. 20th Century Women


    1. Damien Chazelle – La La Land

    2. Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

    3. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

    4. Denis Villenueve – Arrival

    5. David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water

    Next in line: 6. Garth Davis – Lion 7. Martin Scorsese – Silence 8. Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge 9. Denzel Washington – Fences 10. Pablo Larraín – Jackie


    1. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

    2. Denzel Washington – Fences

    3. Ryan Gosling – La La Land

    4. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

    5. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge

    Next in line: 6. Joel Edgerton – Loving 7. Michael Keaton – The Founder 8. Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool 9. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals 10. Sunny Pawar – Lion


    1. Emma Stone – La La Land

    2. Natalie Portman – Jackie

    3. Amy Adams – Arrival

    4. Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

    5. Isabelle Huppert – Elle

    Next in line: 6. Emily Blunt – The Girl on the Train 7. Annette Bening – 20th Century Women 8. Ruth Negga – Loving 9. Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures 10. Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane


    1. Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

    2. Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

    3. Dev Patel – Lion

    4. Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins

    5. Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea

    Next in line: 6. Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals 7. Ben Foster – Hell or High Water 8. Kevin Costner – Hidden Figures 9. Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals 10. Mykelti Williamson – Fences


    1. Viola Davis – Fences

    2. Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

    3. Naomi Harris – Moonlight

    4. Nicole Kidman – Lion

    5. Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

    Next in line: 6. Janelle Monae – Hidden Figures (or Moonlight) 7. Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women (or Jackie) 8. Helen Mirren – Eye in the Sky 9. Lily Gladstone – Certain Women 10. Molly Shannon – Other People


    1. Manchester by the Sea

    2. La La Land

    3. Hell or High Water

    4. The Lobster

    5. Captain Fantastic

    Next in line: 6. Kubo and the Two Strings 7. 20th Century Women 8. Jackie 9. Toni Erdmann 10. Zootopia


    1. Moonlight

    2. Arrival

    3. Hidden Figures

    4. Lion

    5. Hacksaw Ridge

    Next in line: 6. Fences 7. Deadpool 8. Nocturnal Animals 9. Loving 10. Silence


    1. Zootopia

    2. Kubo and the Two Strings

    3. Moana

    4. The Red Turtle

    5. My Life as a Zucchini

    Next in line: 6. Miss Hokusai 7. Sing 8. April and the Extraordinary World 9. Finding Dory 10. Sausage Party


    1. La La Land

    2. Arrival

    3. Hacksaw Ridge

    4. Jackie

    5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    Next in line: 6. Silence 7. Kubo and the Two Strings 8. Rules Don’t Apply 9. Hail, Caesar! 10. Hidden Figures


    1. La La Land

    2. Arrival

    3. Moonlight

    4. Silence

    5. Lion

    Next in line: 6. Nocturnal Animals 7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 8. The Handmaiden 9. Live by Night 10. Jackie


    1. Jackie

    2. La La Land

    3. Florence Foster Jenkins

    4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    5. Captain Fantastic

    Next in line: 6. Nocturnal Animals 7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 8. Allied 9. The Dressmaker 10. Kubo and the Two Strings


    1. La La Land

    2. Moonlight

    3. Manchester by the Sea

    4. Arrival

    5. Hell or High Water

    Next in line: 6. Lion 7. Hacksaw Ridge 8. Silence 9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 10. Deadpool


    1. Deadpool

    2. Star Trek Beyond

    3. A Man Called Ove

    Next in line: 4. Florence Foster Jenkins 5. The Dressmaker 6. Hail, Caesar! 7. Suicide Squad


    1. La La Land

    2. Hacksaw Ridge

    3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    4. Arrival

    5. Deepwater Horizon

    Next in line: 6. Deadpool 7. The Jungle Book 8. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 9. Sully 10. Patriots Day


    1. Hacksaw Ridge

    2. La La Land

    3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    4. Arrival

    5. Deadpool

    Next in line: 6. Sully 7. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk 8. Patriots Day 9. A Monster Calls 10. Jason Bourne


    1. The Jungle Book

    2. Arrival

    3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    4. Doctor Strange

    5. Kubo and the Two Strings

    Next in line: 6. Captain America: Civil War 7. Deepwater Horizon 8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 9. The BFG 10. Passengers


    1. La La Land

    2. Moonlight

    3. Lion

    4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    5. The BFG

    Next in line: 6. Hell or High Water 7. Jackie 8. Patriots Day 9. Nocturnal Animals 10. Florence Foster Jenkins


    1. La La Land – “City of Stars”

    2. Moana – “How Far I’ll Go”

    3. La La Land – “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”

    4. Sing Street – “Drive It Like You Stole It”

    5. Hidden Figures – “Runnin”

    Next in line: 6. Trolls – “Can’t Stop the Feeling” 7. Moana – “We Know the Way” 8. Sausage Party – “The Great Beyond” 9. Snowden – “The Veil” 10. Sing Street – “Go Now”


    1. O.J.: Made in America

    2. 13th

    3. Gleason

    4. Life, Animated

    5. Cameraperson

    Next in line: 6. I Am Not Your Negro 7. Weiner 8. Tower 9. Fire at Sea 10. The Witness


    1. Toni Erdmann

    2. Land of Mine

    3. The Salesman

    4. My Life as a Zucchini

    5. A Man Called Ove

    Next in line: 6. Paradise 7. It’s Only the End of the World 8. Tanna 9. The King’s Choice


    1. Inner Workings

    2. Pearl

    3. Piper

    4. Borrowed Time

    5. Once Upon a Line


    1. Joe’s Violin

    2. The White Helmets

    3. Frame 394

    4. The Other Side of Home

    5. The Mute’s House


    1. Silent Nights

    2. The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf and the Boy

    3. Bon Voyage

    4. Nocturne in Black

    5. Timecode

    • U forgot about Your Name in BEST ANIMATED FEATURE…

      • Joey Magidson

        No, I just don’t think it’s a likely nominee.

        • Ok, we will see.

          • Joey Magidson

            Indeed we shall.

            • Well, you won)

              • Joey Magidson

                So it seems.

  • Alec Glass

    Well, if we’re really searching for that WTF nomination in the acting categories tomorrow morning…. don’t discount Alden Ehrenreich… I know, I know, its early in the year, the movie itself isn’t getting campaigned that hard, BUT look at how its picked up with little effort in techs as of late… I’ve been shouting about that in production design since it came out and we’re finally saying it’s likely to happen there, it may not make it into makeup and hair, but it did make it into the shortlist and that means people are thingking about it, and he is so many people’s FAVORITE thing about that movie, and ESPECIALLY those I’ve talked to in the generational demographic of the classic oscar voter. It feels like a classical performance but its also exciting. Those who love him do love him enough to put him as their number 1. He’s my number 6 now, so I’m not sure I’ll pull the trigger on it but lets keep an eye out……