Oscars 2017: Who may win, and who missed out

Will ‘Moonlight’ spoil ‘La La Land’s’ anticipated rout? What happened to ‘Paterson’? We survey the various Oscar races


An Oscar statue is seen outside the Dolby Theatre as preparations continue for the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
An Oscar statue is seen outside the Dolby Theatre as preparations continue for the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Best Picture

The nominees: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight.

La La Land
La La Land

Who may win: City of stars, shining just for La La Land.

Who was missed: Because this is the Oscars, a whole host of innovative, daring foreign films—Elle and Neruda in particular—have been ignored. Among English-language films, the tender, humanistic Paterson should have found a place.

Best Director

The nominees: Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Damien Chazelle (La La Land).

Who may win: There’s little to suggest that Chazelle won’t win this as well.

Who was missed: Jim Jarmusch, who reins in the eccentricity and creates something truly resonant in Paterson.

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Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water), Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou (The Lobster), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), Mike Mills (20th Century Women).

Manchester By the Sea
Manchester By the Sea

Who may win: Lonergan’s devastating Manchester by the Sea is the frontrunner; The Lobster would be a fascinating upset.

Who was missed: Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women)

Best Actor

The nominees: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences).

Who may win: Affleck’s miserablist turn should win over the Denzel-est performance imaginable.

Who they missed: Colin Farrell’s turn as a gently depressive wallflower in The Lobster was a thing of comic beauty.

Best Actress

The nominees: Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Emma Stone (La La Land), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins).

Who may win: Emma Stone, in all likelihood. But we’d prefer it if Isabelle Huppert’s sly performance in Elle was rewarded.

Who they missed: Amy Adams, the aching heart of Arrival, was inexplicably overlooked. So was Sasha Lane, who gives a marvellously instinctive performance in American Honey.

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Best Actor (Supporting)

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

Mahershala Ali in Moonlight
Mahershala Ali in Moonlight

Who may win: Mahershala Ali, capping off a great year.

Who was missed: David Oyelowo in Queen of Katwe.

Best Actress (Supporting)

Nominees: Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea), Viola Davis (Fences), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Nicole Kidman (Lion).

Who may win: Davis should edge out Harris.

Who was missed: Lily Gladstone, heartbreaking in Certain Women.

Best Cinematography

Nominees: James Laxton (Moonlight), Rodrigo Prieto (Silence), Greig Fraser (Lion), Linus Sandgren (La La Land), Bradford Young (Arrival).

Who may win: Sandgren’s ecstatic camera work in La La Land will be a deserving winner, though the atmospheric work of Laxton and Young is just as impressive.

Who was missed: In American Honey, cinematographer Robbie Ryan takes the Lubezski-Malick style and runs with it; the results are dizzying.

Best Editing

The nominees: Tom Cross (La La Land), John Gilbert (Hacksaw Ridge), Jake Roberts (Hell or High Water), Joi McMillon (Moonlight), Joe Walker (Arrival).

Who may win: It’s between Cross, Gilbert and Walker. Gilbert’s BAFTA win might just give him the edge.

Who was missed: Sebastián Sepúlveda juggles time and space to great effect in Jackie, and ought to have made the list in place of McMillon or Roberts.

Best Animated Feature

The nominees: Moana, Zootopia, My Life as a Courgette, The Red Turtle, Kubo and the Two Strings.

Zootopia
Zootopia

Who may win: After an exceptionally strong field last year, this year’s animated feature nominees is tame. Zootopia should win for its message of inclusion.

Who was missed: Despite all its YA trappings, the body-switching sci-fi hit from Japan, Your Name, is consistently surprising and strangely resonant.

Best Foreign Film

Nominees: Land of Mine, Tanna, Toni Erdmann, A Man Called Ove, The Salesman.

The Salesman
The Salesman

Who may win: Asghar Farhadi, whose A Separation won in 2011, seems in line for his second Oscar with The Salesman.

Who was missed: We’ve only seen a couple of nominees, so, without damning the Academy’s selection, we’ll just say that Pablo Larrain’s Neruda, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden and Paul Verhoeven’s Elle represented some of the most inventive, twisty cinema of 2016.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Mica Levi (Jackie), Justin Hurwitz (La La Land), Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka (Lion), Nicholas Britell (Moonlight), Thomas Newman (Passengers).

Who may win: Hurwitz will win for La La Land. Levi for Jackie or Britell for Moonlight would be more deserving.

Who was missed: In place of Lion and Passengers, two superior options might have been Cho Young-wuk’s haunting, lush music for The Handmaiden and Scott Walker’s demonic orchestral score for The Childhood of a Leader.

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