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89th Academy Awards Predictions - Page 2 of 3

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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, should become the longest Oscar winner ever.

Best Documentary Feature
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America

Predicted Winner: O.J.: Made in America

Three documentaries about race, one about the power of movies, and one about refugees and hunting birds and stuff. Though it runs 7 hours and 47 minutes, making it longer than any previous Oscar winner, O.J.: Made in America is more absorbing and less flawed than any of the competition, which should make it the winner, even if it's more of an ESPN miniseries than a feature film. But judged as the latter, it's up there with the year's best narrative features.

Best Live Action Short
Ennemis intérieurs
La Femme at le TGV
Silent Nights

Predicted Winner: Ennemis intérieurs

I've seen none of these, so don't give my prediction any weight whatsoever. I'm basically picking it because others are and it sounds like a winner.

With a supporting performance that is the biggest of his film "Lion", Dev Patel could become the rare actor of Indian descent to win an acting Oscar.

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

Predicted Winner: Dev Patel, Lion

This is the biggest surprise of the night I'm predicting. Mahershala Ali has won more precursors than any of the others, but he hasn't felt in full control of this category the way past supporting actor winners like J.K. Simmons have. Patel did win the BAFTA, where as a Brit he had an advantage. I feel he gets the edge here because I think the Academy likes Lion too much to let it go home empty-handed. There's also the goodwill Patel still has from his not nominated lead performance in the otherwise heavily decorated Slumdog Millionaire. Ali has been around for a while, but he hasn't done enough where this is a career-acknowledging lock. And frankly, though the outrage of #OscarsSoWhite is mostly about African-Americans, an actor of Indian descent winning is nearly unprecedented and would be far more significant in terms of cultural representations. But either way, they can't go wrong. (And if Bridges hadn't already won an Oscar seven years back, this would be all his.)

Mel Gibson's World War II drama "Hacksaw Ridge" best chance at the Oscars lies in the Best Sound Editing category.

Best Sound Editing
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Predicted Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

The casual Oscar pool filler-outer will proceed to guess La La Land for everything it's nominated. Don't do it here. That it even got nominated is somewhat of a surprise. No live-action musical previously ever had been. If it does win this honor early in the night, then a La La Land sweep remains a real possibility. But this category tends to reward action effects, like those of American Sniper and The Hurt Locker. Hacksaw Ridge, unlikely to win anything else Sunday night, seems to fit the profile perfectly.

Best Sound Mixing
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Predicted Winner: La La Land

This similarly named but subtly different category is the one that typically recognizes musicals and films with music. Past winners include Dreamgirls, Les Misérables, and Chazelle's Whiplash. You can bet La La Land is winning this, unless the frontrunner backlash is real.

With its abundance of computer-animated animals and digital environments, Disney's well-reviewed blockbuster "The Jungle Book" ought to win the Best Visual Effects Oscar.

Best Visual Effects
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Predicted Winner: The Jungle Book

This category held one of last year's biggest surprises when little Ex Machina defeated Star Wars: The Force Awakens to win one more Oscar than the box office behemoth. It seems like The Jungle Book's extensive use of effects -- building a universe full of talking, photorealistic animals -- and warm reception ought to earn it this Oscar, which would be one more than Disney's 1967 animated musical won.

When projection of "Rebel Without a Cause" breaks down at the Rialto, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) hit the Griffiths Observatory to finish the movie themselves. "La La Land" is expected to win both original score and original song at the 89th Academy Awards.

Best Original Score
La La Land

Predicted Winner: La La Land

Thomas Newman is overdue for a first win, but he's not getting it for Passengers. Nope, this one seems clearly headed for Justin Hurwitz, who gave La La Land some compelling instrumental themes to complement its handful of original songs.

Best Original Song
"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)", La La Land
"City of Stars", La La Land
"Can't Stop the Feeling", Trolls
"The Empty Chair", Jim: The James Foley Story
"How Far I'll Go", Moana

Predicted Winner: "City of Stars", La La Land

Is there a chance that La La Land's dual nominees cannibalize one another, allowing Lin-Manuel Miranda's Moana song to win? Sure, but I don't see it happening on a night full of La La love.

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Related Reviews -- Nominees:
Best Picture: La La LandManchester by the SeaMoonlightHacksaw RidgeHell or High WaterArrivalLionHidden Figures
Acting Categories: LovingElleFlorence Foster JenkinsJackieNocturnal Animals
Best Animated Feature: ZootopiaMoanaKubo and the Two StringsRed Turtle
Best Foreign Language Film: Toni ErdmannLand of MineTanna
Tech Categories: SilenceDoctor StrangeThe Jungle BookSullyDeepwater HorizonHail, Caesar!

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Posted February 24, 2017.

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