It's that time of the year where we dust off our crystal ball, use what we know, and take a shot at predicting the Oscar winners.
But who will win? Naturally; we turn our attention to the winners of the various guild awards for guidance, including: The Screen Actors Guild (SAGs), the Directors Guild (DGA) and the Producers Guild (PGA).
For those who are unaware; various Academy voters are members of these guilds, making them the best Oscar indicators.
So without further ado, let's predict the 2017 Oscar winners...
(NOTE: Our predicted winners are highlighted in bold)
- "Hacksaw Ridge"
- "Hell or High Water"
- "Hidden Figures"
- "La La Land"
- "Manchester by the Sea"
Reason: After nabbing a record tying 14 nominations, while winning a DGA and PGA; La La Land is poised to take home the crown jewel of the Oscars.
- Denis Villeneuve, "Arrival"
- Mel Gibson, "Hacksaw Ridge"
- Damien Chazelle, "La La Land"
- Kenneth Lonergan, "Manchester by the Sea"
- Barry Jenkins, "Moonlight"
Reason: La La Land took six years from Chazelle, who crafted the film's entire concept. Oscar voters usually take achievements like this into account.
- Casey Affleck, "Manchester by the Sea"
- Andrew Garfield, "Hacksaw Ridge"
- Ryan Gosling, "La La Land"
- Viggo Mortensen, "Captain Fantastic"
- Denzel Washington, "Fences"
Reason: Washington put a dent in Affleck's consecutive win record after he surprisingly took home the SAG award. The SAGs have never missed getting the Oscar picks right when it comes to the acting categories; so we'll take their word for it.
- Isabelle Huppert, "Elle"
- Ruth Negga, "Loving"
- Natalie Portman, "Jackie"
- Emma Stone, "La La Land"
- Meryl Streep, "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Reason: Oscar voters love versatility; and that's exactly the sort of thing Stone brings to her role in La La Land.
Best supporting actor:
- Mahershala Ali, "Moonlight"
- Jeff Bridges, "Hell or High Water"
- Lucas Hedges, "Manchester by the Sea"
- Dev Patel, "Lion"
- Michael Shannon, "Nocturnal Animals"
Reason: A few months ago we would've guessed Patel. But seeing as Ali claimed the SAG… it's a done deal for the latter.
Best supporting actress:
- Viola Davis, "Fences"
- Naomie Harris, "Moonlight"
- Nicole Kidman, "Lion"
- Octavia Spencer, "Hidden Figures"
- Michelle Williams, "Manchester by the Sea"
Reason: A winning streak that has thrived since the awards season began. The history books are set; the 89th Academy Awards marks the year Viola Davis finally wins her first Oscar, after losing the prize twice.
Best foreign language film:
- "Land of Mine" (Denmark)
- "A Man Called Ove" (Sweden)
- "The Salesman" (Iran)
- "Tanna" (Australia)
- "Toni Erdmann" (Germany)
Reason: The critically-acclaimed Toni Erdmann is the film with the most buzz; and is no doubt the Academy's pick. Unless voters change their minds last minute and go with The Salesman – another big contender.
Best animated feature:
- "Kubo and the Two Strings"
- "My Life as a Zucchini"
- "The Red Turtle"
Reason: Pixar films usually claim this award due to their thought-provoking themes. Disney's Zootropolis is the film with these elements; so we're almost certain it will walk away with the prize.
Best documentary feature:
- "Fire at Sea"
- "I Am Not Your Negro"
- "Life, Animated"
- "OJ: Made in America"
Reason: 2016 was the year of OJ Simpson after the critically-acclaimed television show won numerous Emmys. The second OJ project – a documentary – also procured prizes from prominent awards institutions. Now it's the Oscars turn to follow suit.
(A scene from 'La La Land'. Credit: Lionsgate)
Best original screenplay:
- "Hell or High Water" - Taylor Sheridan
- "La La Land" - Damien Chazelle
- "The Lobster" - Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou
- "Manchester by the Sea" - Kenneth Lonergan
- "20th Century Women" - Mike Mills
Reason: It will win Best Picture, it will win Best Director; which automatically translates to an Original Screenplay win.
Best adapted screenplay:
- "Arrival" - Eric Heisserer
- "Fences" - August Wilson
- "Hidden Figures" - Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
- "Lion" - Luke Davies
- "Moonlight" - Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney
Reason: Let's say La La Land wasn't in the Best Picture race; which film would therefore be next in line to win? Moonlight of course.
- "Arrival" - Bradford Young
- "La La Land" - Linus Sandgren
- "Lion" - Greig Fraser
- "Moonlight" - James Laxton
- "Silence" - Rodrigo Prieto
Reason: This one's between Arrival and La La Land. But since it seems as if the Academy has been bitten by the La La Land bug; we're going with the latter.
Best original score:
- "Jackie" - Mica Levi
- "La La Land" - Justin Hurwitz
- "Lion" - Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka
- "Moonlight" - Nicholas Britell
- "Passengers" - Thomas Newman
Reason: La La Land is a musical which pays tribute to the bygone era of Hollywood in both style and music. Topics Oscar voters love more than anything is Hollywood and musicals. La La Land has both, including a classic-sounding score. Nostalgia is everything to Oscar voters!
Best original song:
- "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" from "La La Land"
- "Can't Stop The Feeling" 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"
Reason: Out of all the songs on this list, City of Stars is the nostalgic and catchy tune. As mentioned above, nostalgia is a big win for voters.
Best visual effects:
- "Deepwater Horizon"
- "Doctor Strange"
- "The Jungle Book"
- "Kubo and the Two Strings"
- "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Reason: The hit Disney remake is the only film on this list which broke new ground in visual effects last year. So its victory is already set in stone.
And there you have it… our 2017 Oscar predictions. Hopefully we're spot on, unless the Academy has a few things up their sleeve.
The 89th Academy Awards airs live on February 27, 2017 at 03:30 on M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv channel 104).
For a more civilised hour, be sure to tune in for the repeat on M-Net (DStv channel 101) at 19:30.