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89th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions and Preview - Page 2

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Damien Chazelle directs Emma Stone on the set of "La La Land."

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denzel Washington, Fences
Martin Scorsese, Silence

Next in line:
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Garth Davis, Lion
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water
Clint Eastwood, Sully
Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures
Jeff Nichols, Loving
Pablo Larrain, Jackie

The top three seem locked and the other two could believably be inhabited by any number of others. I'm picking Scorsese because I don't think Silence could get shut out entirely and the director is so beloved he could make it in here. Directing nominations without Best Picture ones have become increasingly rare; Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher was the most recent one. But if anyone could do it, it's Scorsese. The DGA nominations give Villeneuve and Davis an edge over Washington and Scorsese, but this category still feels like one of the more unpredictable.

"Hell or High Water", starring Ben Foster and Chris Pine, seems likely to draw a number of Oscar nominations including one for Taylor Sheridan's Original Screenplay.

Best Original Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea
La La Land
Hell or High Water

Next in line:
The Lobster
Captain Fantastic
20th Century Women
The Edge of Seventeen

Zootopia isn't being predicted by many here, but I think there's enough love for the film for it to sneak in, with the help of the various events Disney has recently held in support of its campaigns. This category is less competitive than its Adapted counterpart.

"Nocturnal Animals", starring Amy Adams, seems to have been on the cusp of awards contention this whole season. Adapted Screenplay is one of its likeliest sources of recognition.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Nocturnal Animals

Next in line:
Hidden Figures
Love and Friendship
Hacksaw Ridge

The Academy's classification of Moonlight as adapted (it was based on an unproduced play) probably cleared the path for its victory. The other four nominees, including Nocturnal Animals which conceivably could not show up elsewhere or anywhere at all, seem like pretty safe bets, especially since Love and Friendship's commercial and critical success has amounted to shockingly little, even if it would appear to be in the Academy's wheelhouse.

With its distinct three act structure, "Moonlight" has a good shot at having Best Editing be among its Oscar nominations.

Best Film Editing
La La Land
Hacksaw Ridge
Manchester by the Sea

Next in line:
Hell or High Water
Nocturnal Animals

You have to assume the three frontrunners make the cut here and the Academy usually is receptive towards action editing, which bodes well for Hacksaw Ridge. Any of the others could fill the fifth slot, but I wonder if voters could use this as an opportunity to recognize Jackie, a film that seems to be inspiring more like than love, beyond just Best Actress.

Disney's "Moana" has timing on its side, having opened later than the other American films vying for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

Best Animated Feature
Kubo and the Two Strings

My Life as a Zucchini
Finding Dory

Next in line:
The Red Turtle
Sausage Party

Every year, this category's nominations surprise some pundits, who have yet to realize that an obscure foreign production crashes the field more often than not. This year's seems to be either My Life as a Zucchini (which was also shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film) or The Red Turtle, which hails from Japan's oft-recognized Studio Ghibli. If the acclaimed and well-attended Finding Dory misses a nomination as many are predicting, it would likely be some bizarre response to Disney and Pixar's domination of this category over the past several years.

With some potential heavyweights missing the shortlist, the German dramedy "Toni Erdmann" suddenly seems like the favorite to win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Best Foreign Language Film
Toni Erdmann (Germany)
A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
The Salesman (Iran)
My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland)
Paradise (Russia)

Next in line:
Land of Mine (Denmark)
Tanna (Australia)
It's Only the End of the World (Canada)
The King's Choice (Norway)

With a shortlist of just nine still in contention, this category has gotten its biggest surprises out of the way already.

Thanks to a limited theatrical release, the epic nearly 8-hour ESPN Films documentary "O.J.: Made in America" about O.J. Simpson and his slain wife Nicole Brown Simpson, could become the longest Oscar winner ever.

Best Documentary Feature
O.J.: Made in America
I Am Not Your Negro
The Ivory Game

Next in line:
Zero Days
The Eagle Huntress
Life, Animated

Another category with a shortlist -- this one holding fifteen -- gives us a decent idea of what to expect. The nearly 8-hour OJ: Made in America, much easier to think of as an ESPN miniseries than a theatrical feature, could become the longest film to win an Oscar, for it could beat the USSR's 1968 Foreign Language Film winner War and Peace.

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Related Reviews -- Predicted Nominees:
La La Land Manchester by the Sea Moonlight Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water
Arrival Lion Hidden Figures Loving Sully Elle
Zootopia Moana Kubo and the Two Strings Finding Dory
Silence Doctor Strange The Jungle Book Florence Foster Jenkins Hail, Caesar!

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Posted January 17, 2017.

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