The time has come again to honour the best performances of this year at the Oscars 2017. The nominations have been announced and the voting has been closed. The winners’ names are sealed and shut to be opened on Sunday night February 26, 2017 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Dresses by renowned designers and branded jewelry will be worn and actress will twirl and try their best to outdo each other and make it to the best dressed list. Men will wear tailored tuxedos and shiny shoes and try to look suave and stylish with their wives/girlfriends or dates on their arm. There will be attempts to outdo Ellen DeGeneres’s selfie and after award parties to attend and unwind. But the biggest question is who will make it to the winner’s list?

The 89th Annual Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture have come out and this year there are a total of 9 movies which have made the cut. They boast of a stellar star cast and breakthrough performances with amazing and hard-to-believe direction. With less than a week to go for the big night and most of the guilds (Producers, Directors and Actors) have voted we are expecting quite a few surprises on the event night. La La Land that leads the tally with 14 nominations is expected to win big with probably Fences following suit and coming a close second. Predicting the Oscars is one of the best pastimes ever and it also shows a way to have an intellectual debate for us Indians, no? So have you made your choice? If no then read on for our predictions of Oscar winners.

1. Best Picture Nominees: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight.

Winner: La La Land

La La Land has already won almost all the precursor awards like BAFTA, Critics Choice, Golden Globe and Producers Guild Award this year so if it doesn’t win an Oscar in this category it will be really surprising. It has received 14 nominations and tied with Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950) for most nominations by a single film. The Academy loves this movie and it is based on ‘making it’ in Los Angeles so obviously it is a clear favourite. Some intellectuals would like to root for Moonlight or Manchester By the Sea but a loss by La La Land in this category will be a really huge surprise. Oscar Awards 2017 Best Picture Nominees: All you need to know about the movies

Watch trailer of La La Land here:

2. Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominees: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea, Andrew Garfield- Hacksaw Ridge, Ryan Gosling- La La Land, Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic, Denzel Washington – Fences.

Winner: Denzel Washington – Fences

Denzel Washington won this year’s Screen Actors Guild Award and San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor. His closest competition is from Casey Affleck who gave a nuanced performance in Manchester By the Sea but since he has gotten himself embroiled in sexual harassment allegations and lawsuits the Academy might overlook his performance. If Denzel Washington wins this year then he will equal Meryl Streep’s record of most Oscar wins – 3 in total. Ryan Gosling might have a chance to spring a surprise but by far Denzel Washington seems to edge closer to the finishing line and the Academy has a tendency of choosing substance over style.
Watch the trailer of the movie here:

3. Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominees: Isabelle Huppert – Elle, Ruth Negga- Loving, Natalie Portman – Jackie, Emma Stone – La La Land, Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Winner: Emma Stone – La La Land

It’s a fine year for women as the category is packed with one bravura performance after another. There was a time when we thought Natalie Portman might win her second Oscar for portraying a grieving but fierce widow Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie.  But the real race is between Isabelle Huppert for Elle and Emma Stone for La La Land. However, our pick is that Emma Stone will take the trophy home and get to ascend the steps of Dolby Theater’s stage for her role which she made it look easy even though it demanded talent, poise and precision. Emma Stone has also won all the precursor awards and the Oscar will be a fine culmination of her labours. Oscar Awards 2017: Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for these 3 movies!

Watch a clip “City of Stars” here:

4. Best Director Nominees: Denis Villeneuve –Arrival, Mel Gibson –Hacksaw Ridge, Damien Chazelle – La La Land, Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea, Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Winner: Damien Chazelle – La La Land

The Best Director trophy has been a tricky category since three of the last five wins have been won by Directors whose film did not win Best Picture. However, this year the tide seems to turn back with La La Land probably winning both Best Director and Best Picture. Moonlight might aim to turn spoiler for La La Land and Barry Jenkins might clinch the trophy but that seems to be a long shot. Another potential dark horse is Mel Gibson who might win it for Hacksaw Ridge. But discounting any last minute surprises we would like to place our bets with Damien Chazelle.

Watch the teaser clip of the movie here:

5. Best Supporting Actor Nominees: Mahershala Ali –Moonlight, Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water ,Lucas Hedges- Manchester by the Sea, Dev Patel – Lion, Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Winner: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Although Mahershala Ali did not win at the Golden Globes or at the BAFTAs but he has a very strong chance of clinching the golden statue for his role in Moonlight. Mahershala Ali infused a sense of warmth and humanity in his role in Moonlight, his chances might get upset by Dev Patel who gave a riveting performance in Lion but we feel that he is a sure shot winner in this category.

Watch the trailer here:

6. Best Supporting Actress Nominees: Viola Davis –Fences, Naomie Harris – Moonlight, Nicole KidmanLion, Octavia Spencer –Hidden Figures, Michelle Williams –Manchester by the Sea

Winner: Viola Davis – Fences

This is Viola Davis’s third nomination and this time she will definitely come through. She should have won for ‘Help’ but could not, but this time she is a sure shot winner. Her nomination in this category is a little controversial but even her competitors would agree that her performance in Fences is superlative to theirs. The other nominees Naomie Harris, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer and Michelle Williams all pale into comparison in front of Viola Davis’s riveting performance opposite Denzel Washington in Fences.

Watch the official trailer #2 here:

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will air live in India on February 27, 2017 on Star Movies,  Star Movies HD, and Star Movies Select HD channels depending on your subscriptions at 5.30 am. You can catch the repeat telecast at 9 pm which will showcase the winners but will not show the red carpet shenanigans.