The most important event of 2017 is almost nigh, which means it’s time for final Oscar predictions! In all seriousness, given everything that’s going on right now it seems silly to watch Hollywood celebrate itself in a grand ceremony. But the Oscars have never really been that important. They’re fun! And while who wins and who loses doesn’t necessarily mean anything (The Social Network and Inception lost Best Picture to The King’s Speech, but who’s still talking about The King’s Speech today?), the Oscars do have the ability to highlight films and performances worth seeking out that audiences may have missed the first time around. This year, indies like Moonlight and Hell or High Water had their profiles raised tremendously, leading folks who maybe wouldn’t necessarily feel inclined to see them to seek them out. And cinematographers like Bradford Young and Greig Fraser get pushed into the limelight for phenomenal work. That’s a good thing!
But in the end the Oscars are a contest, and as I’ve been covering this year’s race for what feels like an eternity, it’s nice to finally be able to come down on who I think will win. There have been plenty of ups and downs over the past few months, but as opposed to years where there was a clear X vs. Y contest (Birdman vs. Boyhood; 12 Years a Slave vs. Gravity), this year a trifecta emerged with La La Land, Moonlight, and Manchester by the Sea leading the pack. Of course, it turned out not to be that big of a contest as the La La Land train has been rolling since September and thus far, nothing’s knocked it off its perch. But there are some tight races to be found elsewhere, so below I run down my picks for who’s going to win every category while also offering up who could win, should win, and should have been nominated.
Now I’m not merely guessing here—this is based on a mix of statistics, precedent, and gut-instinct. You’d actually probably do fine if you picked La La Land to win every category in which it’s nominated, but that’s no fun. So while stats can get you so far, ultimately some categories just come down to a feeling. Without further ado, I present to you my 2017 Oscar predictions.