Predicting the Nominees for the 89th Academy Awards


It’s that time of the year again, folks! The Academy Awards are just around the corner. Soon the Academy will reveal all of the nominees. However, just like last year, I am going to try to predict the nominations and, later, predict the winners based on the actual nominations.

Okay, so first things first, I am not revealing which films I want to see win in this post. The films below are listed alphabetically (although the categories aren’t). Also, I have to admit that I haven’t seen all of the films that are going to be nominated. For example, Moonlight and La La Land won’t be released in Denmark until February. So, yeah, some of these are just educated guesses.

Just like last year, I won’t be trying to predict the short film categories (I just don’t get to watch enough of those). However, I didn’t include the feature documentary category last year, but I am trying to predict it now. Speaking of last year, I believe I ended up getting close to 70% of my predicted nominations correct. This year, I want to see if I can get to 80%.

Okay, so, without further ado, here are the predicted nominations for the 89th Academy Awards


  • Arrival, Paramount Pictures
  • Deepwater Horizon, Summit Entertainment
  • Doctor Strange, Walt Disney Studios
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Walt Disney Studios
  • The Jungle Book, Walt Disney Studios

I feel pretty confident about at least four of the five films above. I do think, however, that Kubo and the Two Strings has a good chance of getting nominated here.


  • Joe Walker, Arrival
  • John Gilbert, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Tom Cross, La La Land
  • Jennifer Lame, Manchester by the Sea
  • Nat Sanders & Joi McMillon, Moonlight

Hell or High Water and Silence are probably the two films that are going to fight for one of the spots up there. It’s not going to be easy, but Thelma Schoonmaker is a film legend so Silence probably has a good shot.


  • Colleen Atwood, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Consolata Boyle, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Madeline Fontaine, Jackie
  • Mary Zophres, La La Land
  • Eimer Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh, Love & Friendship

Allied will probably get on the real nomination list, but I wanted to go in a different direction with this category.


  • A Man Called Ove, Nordisk Film
  • Florence Foster Jenkins, Paramount Pictures
  • Star Trek Beyond, Paramount Pictures

This is tough, and I think my final prediction closely resembles my hopes for the category. I really think Beyond deserves a nomination.


  • Bradford Young, Arrival
  • Simon Duggan, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Linus Sandgren, La La Land
  • James Laxton, Moonlight
  • Seamus McGarvey, Nocturnal Animals

Now, one of the running themes in these predictions is that Silence is going to look missing. It’s not often that Scorsese films are completely overlooked by the Academy, but Paramount seem to have focused on Arrival and Fences instead. I’ve heard great things about the cinematography in Silence, so maybe, just maybe, the Academy will be able to find a spot for Rodrigo Prieto here.


  • Patrice Vermette, Arrival
  • Barry Robison, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Jess Gonchor, Hail, Caesar!
  • Jean Rabasse, Jackie
  • David Wasco, La La Land

The two films that I think might be able to knock off one or two here are Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Doctor Strange.


  • Arrival, Paramount Pictures
  • Deepwater Horizon, Summit Entertainment
  • Hacksaw Ridge, Lionsgate
  • La La Land, Summit Entertainment
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Walt Disney Studios

See Best Sound Editing.


  • Arrival, Paramount Pictures
  • Deepwater Horizon, Summit Entertainment
  • Hacksaw Ridge, Lionsgate
  • Hell or High Water, CBS Films
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Walt Disney Studios

These are always tough. I’m seeing the trend that La La Land is being left out of sound editing with other predictors, and as I haven’t seen it yet – I’m jumping on the bandwagon as more of an educated guess. Star Wars films are always great here.


  • “A Letter to the Free,” 13th
  • “City of Stars,” La La Land
  • “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
  • “Drive It Like You Stole It,” Sing Street
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” Trolls

I think there is a chance that more than one La La Land song gets in here. After all, it is one of the most popular musicals in years. Personally, I’d love to see more Sing Street songs get in here.


  • Mica Levi, Jackie
  • Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
  • Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka, Lion
  • Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
  • Abel Korzeniowski, Nocturnal Animals

So, sadly, the Academy disqualified what might be the best original score this year – Arrival. I know that some people think Rogue One: A Star Wars Story might get a nomination here, but I really don’t, as some Star Wars fans aren’t even fans of Giacchino’s musical score for that film. In fact, the Rogue One score wasn’t even my favorite Giacchino score from 2016.


  • 13th, Ava DuVernay
  • Cameraperson, Kirsten Johnson
  • Gleason, Clay Tweel
  • I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck
  • O. J.: Made in America, Ezra Edelman

Now the one thing that might trip up O. J.: Made in America is that I’m not sure Academy voters are ready to spend 7 hours to watch a documentary that also might be considered a television show instead.


  • A Man Called Ove, Sweden
  • My Life as a Zucchini, Switzerland
  • Land of Mine, Denmark
  • The Salesman, Iran
  • Toni Erdmann, Germany

Now, I’m biased. I’d love to see Denmark get a nomination here, but it’s a tough one. Norway, Canada, and Australia all have films that could knock it out.


  • Kubo and the Two Strings, Laika
  • Moana, Walt Disney Studios
  • The Red Turtle, Sony Pictures Classics
  • Your Name, Toho
  • Zootopia, Walt Disney Studios

A pretty strong category this year. My Life as a Zucchini, Finding Dory, The Little Prince, and Sausage Party are all animated films that people have talked a lot about. Zucchini has a big chance here, and it could easily take The Red Turtle‘s spot.


  • Eric Heisserer, Arrival
  • Alison Schroeder & Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures
  • Luke Davies, Lion
  • Barry Jenkins & Tarell McCraney, Moonlight
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Now the screenplay categories are pretty strong this year. I think Fences also has a chance to get in here. The same can be said for Silence, which scored a Chicago Film Critics Association nomination for the screenplay, and this year’s big surprise: Deadpool, which got a WGA nomination this year.


  • Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Efthimis Filippou & Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster
  • Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Rich Moore, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, Phil Johnston, and Jennifer Lee, Zootopia

Again, a lot of really strong movies in this category, and the only film I could potentially see take a surprising Oscar nomination in this category is Matt Ross’ underseen and underrated Captain Fantastic.


  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight

I honestly feel like this category is pretty locked. I know that Hayley Squires got a BAFTA nomination for her performance in I, Daniel Blake, but that isn’t going to be an Oscar darling, it just isn’t.


  • Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

I’ve heard great things about Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea (I won’t get to see it until the end of the week), as well as Issey Ogata in Silence (which I won’t get to see until next week). One of the interesting turn of events during award season is that Aaron Taylor-Johnson has started to become a rather popular choice for this category, even though Michael Shannon maybe even got more praise from critics for Nocturnal Animals. Another interesting choice would be Ben Foster’s performance from Hell or High Water. I also think Kevin Costner could possibly pop up here.


  • Amy Adams, Arrival
  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land

Now this has been an interesting category to follow. Huppert has gotten a lot of love, but for a while it looked like it was between Emma Stone and Natalie Portman. I do think Adams has a chance – and it would be great if she finally won an Oscar – but I think this is a very tough year to win in.

I think Ruth Negga’s performance from Loving could be an interesting choice if the Academy chooses not to honor Huppert or Streep. Emily Blunt’s performance from The Girl on the Train has, somewhat surprisingly, gotten a lot of love with both a SAG nomination and a BAFTA nomination. So, I guess Blunt has a big chance here too.


  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

When I saw Captain Fantastic some months ago, I didn’t think Mortensen would end up with an Oscar nomination for his role, but it’s looking more and more likely as we get closer to the Oscars. I think he is the only actor – of the five I’ve named above – that isn’t basically a lock for a nomination.

So who’s really fighting with Mortensen for the spot? Well, Tom Hanks, Joel Edgerton and Jake Gyllenhaal. I don’t think Edgerton will be able to knock Mortensen off the list of nominees, but I think Hanks definitely could. Everyone just loves Tom Hanks, and if the Academy looks kindly on Sully, then he’s getting a nomination for sure. Gyllenhaal is the wildcard, though. I didn’t expect him to get a BAFTA nomination for his role in Nocturnal Animals, but he was good in that movie.


  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

I think there are three directors that will definitely be nominated: Chazelle, Jenkins, and Lonergan. The six other directors that’ll be fighting for the spot are probably: Martin Scorsese, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, David Mackenzie, Garth Davis, and Denis Villeneuve. A little while ago the Directors Guild of America announced their five nominees and they picked: Chazelle, Jenkins, Lonergan, Villeneuve, and Davis.

However, if you take a look at their nominees in the 2010s, you start to notice a pattern. In 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015, four of the five DGA nominated directors were nominated for the Oscar. By that logic one of the five DGA nominated directors is out, and I believe Garth Davis is that director. I don’t think Lion is going to get a lot of recognition this year – at least, not compared to Arrival, La La Land, Moonlight or Hacksaw Ridge.

Although I haven’t seen Silence yet, I desperately want the Academy to nominate Scorsese here (and it may happen even if Silence doesn’t get a lot of recognition in the other categories). But if the Oscars want to not just honor the same stars they always adore, then they’re going to take a look at Mackenzie, Villeneuve, and, perhaps even, Mel Gibson. Seeing as most people agree that Arrival is fantastic, I’m willing to say that Villeneuve is a pretty safe bet. Then it comes down to Gibson versus Mackenzie, of course, and here I’m ultimately going with Mackenzie based on the idea that I’m not sure the Academy members are ready to accept Gibson back into their hearts.


  • Arrival, Paramount Pictures
  • Hacksaw Ridge, Lionsgate
  • Hell or High Water, CBS Films
  • Hidden Figures, 20th Century Fox
  • La La Land, Summit Entertainment
  • Lion, The Weinstein Company
  • Manchester by the Sea, Amazon Studios
  • Moonlight, A24
  • If they nominate 9 films: Fences
  • If they nominate 10 films: Fences & Silence

It’s fairly well-known that these days the Academy can choose to nominate up to ten films for Best Picture every year. However, they rarely actually nominate ten films. Since they increased the limit starting with the 82nd Academy Awards, they’ve only nominated ten films twice (82nd and 83rd), and they’ve nominated eight in each of the last two years. So I’m going to stick with eight nominees here.

However, I don’t think it’s unlikely we’ll get ten nominees this year. You could easily make room for Lion and Silence, or maybe even Deadpool, which, for some reason, has gotten a lot of love at the guild awards already with multiple nominations. It would actually be a ‘good look’ for the Academy to nominate Deadpool, seeing as they increased the number of nominees to include well-received blockbusters to boost ratings (more on that here).

And that’s it! Those were the predicted nominations. As I mentioned earlier, I will try to predict the winners at some point after the actual nominations have been announced, but I’ll probably also update this post with the final percentage result of the nomination.

Result/Update: I had a lot of fun with trying to predict the nominations this awards season, it went a little bit better than last year’s predictions. I believe I got 77% of my predictions correct this year. 83/107.

If you’ve made it this far, then thank you very much. Please leave a comment below, if you have any post requests.

– I’m Jeffrey Rex

3 thoughts on “Predicting the Nominees for the 89th Academy Awards

    1. I mean, she definitely has a good chance here – even though the film got mixed reviews. The SAG nomination definitely goes a long way. I guess, it’s going to come down to Blunt, Streep, and Huppert, with only two spots to fill. I think Streep is pretty much a lock, though.

      It is an interesting fact that ‘Elle’ isn’t even on the final Foreign Language Film-shortlist, so it might then be a film they overlook. However, she did win the Golden Globe, and that definitely could’ve played a role in the final nominations.

      It is going to be a very interesting nomination list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.