Our Predictions for the 2017 Oscar Nominations

The nominations for the 89th annual Academy Awards will be doled out at the crack of the Los Angeles dawn on Tuesday morning — and you can watch the livestream here at Yahoo Movies starting 5:18 a.m. PT/8:18 a.m. ET. As always, there’s a healthy dose of suspense in every major race, particularly in three of the four acting categories. (The Oscars themselves will be handed out at the ceremony on Feb. 26.)

Related: The Oscar Nominations Are Tomorrow! Watch Them Live Here

One thing you can absolutely count on: Awards season’s three big kahunas — La La Land, Moonlight, and Manchester by the Sea — will continue collecting the most accolades. Here are my predictions in the 11 major categories.

Related: Read our complete Oscars coverage here

BEST PICTURE

Before laying down bets on Best Picture, you have to first wager a guess on how many films will make the cut, since there can be anywhere between 5 to 10 nominees. Over the past five years, there have been 9 noms thrice and 8 noms twice. I’m tempted to go with 9 again, but it was an above-average year for film. And there’s a foul-mouthed wildcard in the mix by the name of Deadpool. If the R-rated superhero hit can indeed ride a wave of momentum it’s generated with love from the Golden Globes, PGA, and WGA, it could very well be lucky No. 10.

My Predictions: Arrival Deadpool Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight

Other Contenders: Captain Fantastic Jackie Loving Patriot’s Day Silence Sully

Watch an interview with the ‘Moonlight’ cast:

BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), and Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) are all locks, but then it gets interesting. Does 1996 winner Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge) cap off his comeback and symbolically win Hollywood’s forgiveness with the industry’s highest honor? Do boldface names like Martin Scorsese (Silence) and Denzel Washington (Fences) get bonus points for helming passion projects? Or will the Academy follow last year’s surprise nomination of Room‘s Lenny Abrahamson and honor a lesser-known director like Garth Davis (Lion) or David Mackenize (Hell or High Water)?

My Predictions: Damien Chazelle, La La Land Garth Davis, Lion Barry Jenkins, Moonlight Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Other Contenders: Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water Martin Scorsese, Silence Denzel Washington, Fences

BEST ACTRESS

For once, the lead actress race could be more competitive than its male counterpart. There are seven contenders here (eight if you count a personal favorite, Taraji P. Henson, who gave the best performance in the fan favorite Hidden Figures). Emma Stone (La La Land) and Natalie Portman (Jackie) feel like sure things, which likely leaves Amy Adams (Arrival), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), and Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) competing for the last three slots. Huppert has been a critics’ favorite and was a surprise winner at the Globes, but the French-language Elle might be too divisive and underseen. And while Streep has been the talk of the town since her Globes speech, she might have to wait until next year for her record 20th nomination.

My Predictions: Amy Adams, Arrival Annette Bening, 20th Century Women Ruth Negga, Loving Natalie Portman, Jackie Emma Stone, La La Land

Other Contenders: Emily Bunt, The Girl on the Train Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane Isabelle Huppert, Elle Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

BEST ACTOR

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) has been cleaning up this awards season, controversy be damned. He, Denzel Washington (Fences), and Ryan Gosling (La La Land) make the cut easily. Andrew Garfield should also receive the Academy’s blessing after powerful performances in two faith-driven dramas, though it’s likely he gets in for Hacksaw Ridge over Silence. The last spot, then, figures to be between Joel Edgerton (Loving) and Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic). Though Loving hasn’t been the awards season force we thought it’d be, I’ll lean toward his quietly potent turn.

My Predictions: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea Joel Edgerton, Loving Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge Ryan Gosling, La La Land Denzel Washington, Fences

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Other Contenders: Andrew Garfield, Silence Tom Hanks, Sully Michael Keaton, The Founder Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Watch the ‘Manchester by the Sea’ cast:

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

This might actually be the easiest race to predict, with the same five actresses earning nods from both the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea). They all look like safe bets for Oscar noms (especially favorites Davis and Williams). If there’s a surprise in the making, it could be Hidden Figures breakout Janelle Monáe, who also impresses in Moonlight.

My Predictions: Viola Davis, Fences Naomie Harris, Moonlight Nicole Kidman, Lion Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Other Contenders: Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women Janelle Monáe, Hidden Figures

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

By contrast, this could be the most difficult category to predict, with eight viable contenders in the running. Michael Shannon gives one of the best performances in any category this year as a caustic sheriff in Nocturnal Animals, but he was snubbed by the Globes in favor of costar (and surprise winner) Aaron Taylor-Johnson. (Neither of them made the SAG Awards cut.) Mahershala Ali appears to be the early favorite for Moonlight and — if Shannon and Taylor-Johnson cancel each other out — could be joined by fellow SAG nominees Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), and Dev Patel (Lion). Grant, however, could face a similar dilemma, with colleague Simon Helberg in contention.

My Predictions: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea Dev Patel, Lion Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Other Contenders: Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins Liam Neeson, Silence Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

There’s a bit of a controversy in the screenplay categories, with the Academy’s decision to move Moonlight (based on an unpublished play) and Loving (based on the documentary The Loving Story) to the adapted category despite the fact that the Writers Guild considers them originals. That opens up room for some films that otherwise might not be in the running here, like Yorgos Lanthimos’s and Efthimis Filippou’s inspired work on the dark comedy The Lobster.

My Predictions: Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water Noah Oppenheim, Jackie Damien Chazelle, La La Land Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, The Lobster Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea

Other Contenders: Mike Mills, 20th Century Women Matt Ross, Captain Fantastic Jared Bush and Phil Johnston, Zootopia

 Watch an interview with the ‘Loving’ cast:

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Academy’s own categorization of Moonlight shouldn’t hurt its chances here, though it could spell doom for Loving. Otherwise, this category looks to be a safe landing for Arrival, for which Eric Heisserer devised an alien language, and the stage-to-screen adaption of Fences, by the late August Wilson. What else makes the grade is tougher to commit to, though you have to think likely Best Picture nominees Lion or Hidden Figures have an advantage over Nocturnal Animals. And then there’s always Deadpool, which scored a surprise WGA nom.

My Predictions: Eric Heisserer, Arrival August Wilson, Fences Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures Luke Davies, Lion Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Other Contenders: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, Deadpool Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight, Hacksaw Ridge Jeff Nichols, Loving Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, Silence

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

It’s no surprise that Disney has the two frontrunners in this race, with the box office behemoths Zootopia and Moana. The question is, can the Mouse House reel in a third slot for Finding Dory? It might be tough with the critically adored Kubo and the Two Strings all but assured a spot, and the Academy’s tendency to honor artier fare like The Red Turtle and My Life as a Zucchini, plus pushes from other studio hits like The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. I’d love for Sausage Party to sneak in, but chances are slimmer than a Slim Jim.

My Predictions: Finding Dory Kubo and the Two Strings Moana The Red Turtle Zootopia

Others: My Life as a Zucchini Sausage Party The Secret Life of Pets Sing Trolls

Watch an interview with the ‘Moana’ directors:

BEST DOCUMENTARY

The epic, eight-hour doc O.J.: Made in America and Ava DuVernay’s timely take on race and mass incarceration 13th should be locks here. Then it gets a lot blurrier. Cameraperson, The Eagle Huntress, Fire at Sea, Gleason, I Am Not Your Negro, Life, Animated, Tower, Weiner, and The Witness have all had their champions. It speaks to what an excellent year 2016 was for nonfiction.

Most Likely: 13th Cameraperson Gleason I Am Not Your Negro O.J.: Made in America

Others: The Eagle Huntress Fire at Sea The Ivory Game Life, Animated Tower Weiner The Witness

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

There have already been some major snubs in this race, with Paul Verhoeven’s early presumed frontrunner and Golden Globe winner Elle failing to make the Academy’s shortlist. Also on the outside looking in: Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta and Pablo Larraín’s Neruda. Those omissions open the door for lesser-known titles like Land of Mine and A Man Called Ove or the animated import My Life as a Zucchini, in addition to favorites Toni Erdmann and The Salesman. 

My Predictions: Land of Mine (Denmark) A Man Called Ove (Sweden) My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland) The Salesman (Iran) Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Others: It’s Only the End of the World (Canada) The King’s Choice (Norway) Paradise (Russia) Tanna (Australia)

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