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?

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?

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!

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CLICK THROUGH THE FINAL OSCAR CATEGORIES:

PICTURE |DIRECTOR | LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS |SUPPORTING ACTOR |SUPPORTING ACTRESS |ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY |ADAPTED SCREENPLAY |ANIMATED FEATURE |PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | FOREIGN LANGUAGE | LIVE ACTION SHORT | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT