Animated Short Film: When in doubt, pick whichever nominee the most people have likely seen. In this case, it’s Pixar’s Piper. Pixar has been in a slump in this category but I just can’t picture voters overcoming its pure charm.
The Nominees: Blind Vaysha, Borrowed Time, Pear Cider and Cigarettes, Pearl, Piper
Will Win: Piper
Could Win: Pearl
Animated Feature Film: Zootopia is a very good movie. Moana is an entertaining inspiration. The Red Turtle lives within its own simple beauty. Kubo and the Two Strings is an unadulterated masterpiece. And My Life as a Zuchini has no sway here. Kubo should earn top honors and deserves to win over the oh-so-slightly inferior competition, but I fear the Netflix quality will doom its chances. At this point, everyone has either seen Zootopia in theaters or streamed it at home; voters tend to pick what they’ve seen, which means Disney should have another winner on their hands. But, and I stress BUT, the BAFTA winner in this category has never lost the Oscar, which means I’m picking Kubo while being well aware most signs point to me landing on the wrong side of fate. This one could be a true spoiler.
The Nominees: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zuchinni, The Red Turtle, Zootopia
Will Win: Zootopia
Could Win: Kubo and the Two Strings
Deserved Consideration: Your Name, Sing
Production Design: Out of these 5, La La Land is the 5th most accomplished. I hated Fantastic Beasts as a film, mostly because it’s so damn lackluster on a personal scale, but you can’t deny the sheer magnitude of its world building. It should win, or even Arrival for that matter. The biggest detriment is that Beasts has the same set designer who’s pulled in 3 previous statues, so I expect the academy to vote for the biggest winner of them all. That spells La La Land.
The Nominees: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hail Caesar!, La La Land, Passengers
Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Deserved Consideration: 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Handmaiden, The Neon Demon, The Nice Guys, Nocturnal Animals
Visual Effects: The Jungle Book has the best visual effects I’ve seen; they are demonstratively better than rest of the pack and so photo-realistic that you’re left squinting at details. But isn’t this basically an animated movie with one human character? Of course The Jungle Book will win. The only question is…how will this affect the fate of the category?
The Nominees: Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Will Win: The Jungle Book
Could Win: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Deserved Consideration: The BFG, Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool, Warcraft
Film Editing: The past few years have found flashy films taking this one purely because the Best Picture winners were so mellow. This year won’t follow suit. La La Land is your winner. No doubt about it.
The Nominees: Joe Walker (Arrival), John Gilbert (Hacksaw Ridge), Jake Roberts (Hell or High Water), Tom Cross (La La Land), Nat Sanders & Joi McMillon (Moonlight)
Will Win: Tom Cross (La La Land)
Could Win: Joe Walker (Arrival)
Deserved Consideration: Joe Bini (American Honey), Jeff Draheim (Moana), David Freeman (Born to Be Blue), Gardner Gould (Don’t Breathe), Bret Granato & Maya Mumma & Ben Sozanski (OJ: Made in America), Leslie Jones (20th Century Women), Thelma Schoonmaker (Silence), Joan Sobel (Nocturnal Animals)
Live Action Short Film: I’m actually not sure here and can see it going practically anywhere. Ennemis intérieurs is the most timely so write it in, even though it’s entirely unpredictable.
The Nominees: Ennemis intérieurs, La Femme et le TGV, Silent Nights, Sing, Timecode
Will Win: Ennemis intérieurs
Could Win: La Feeme et le TGV
Documentary Short Subject: When push comes to shove, pick the saddest short in the category. My guess is that the emotional Holocaust drama comes out on top.
The Nominees: Extremis, 4.1 Miles, Joe’s Violin, Watani: My Homeland, The White Helmets
Will Win: Joe’s Violin
Could Win: The White Helmets
Cinematography: La La Land is a lock for a few specialized categories; this is one of them. Prieto or Young could just as easily be the winners here, but picking against the system is just a poor judgement call. Take Sandgren.
The Nominees: Bradford Young (Arrival), Linus Sandgren (La La Land), Greig Fraser (Lion), James Laxton (Moonlight), Rodrigo Prieto (Silence)
Will Win: Linus Sandgren (La La Land)
Could Win: James Laxton (Moonlight)
Deserved Consideration: Chung Chung-hoon (The Handmaiden), Stéphane Fontaine (Jackie), Camilla Hjelm (Land of Mine), Seamus McGarvey (Nocturnal Animals), Robbie Ryan (American Honey)
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