Now that we’ve had the Baftas and Golden Globes (as well as the SAG and DAG awards), and the Academy Awards 2017 ceremony is one week away, it’s time to give our (or more accurately my) final predictions for the winners in the big categories this year…

I’m going to talk about my top two choices for each award, and then a nominee (the Spoiler) who I think could be the Joker in the pack and surprise us all by walking off with the prize. That’d be exciting, right?

[su_heading size=”24″]Best Picture[/su_heading]

La La Land

Damien Chazelle’s inspiring, moving musical looks pretty unstoppable at this point. Even though the Academy doesn’t generally like to award comedies with the big prize (the last time this happened was Annie Hall!), the amount of effort and love that went into making this movie are likely to pay off with the Best Picture award. La La Land is my film of 2017 so far and I expect the Academy to give it Best Picture too.

My Second choice is likely to go to Moonlight, another fantastic film with a more important message and possibly better acting than La La Land, but a harder sell due to some challenging subject matter. Both films would be worthy winners I think.

My Spoiler for Best Picture is going to be… Manchester by the Sea, a movie people have probably been put off from seeing due to its depressing nature. It’s actually really funny and warm too, but something happens half way through which will wreck anyone with even a little piece of a heart. I think it’ll have to settle for…

[su_heading size=”24″]Actor in a Leading Role[/su_heading]

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

No way is anyone else winning this award if I have anything to do with it (I don’t, but still). Affleck gives one of the greatest screen performances of all time as the depressed protagonist with anger management issues in the searing Manchester by the Sea.

My Second choice is the amazing Denzel Washington in Fences but I would hate for Affleck to lose out on this award. Has anyone checked if he’s OK, by the way? A film like Manchester by the Sea has got to be tough to act in!

Ryan Gosling is going to be my Spoiler for this prize: he’s not going to get it, especially if Emma Stone wins Best Actress like she should, but his performance is great and this is not a strong field of Best Actors at all!

[su_heading size=”24″]Actress in a Leading Role[/su_heading]

Emma Stone – La La Land

This award pretty much has Emma Stone’s name all over it at this point. The other actors in the category are almost all their film’s only nomination and Emma has been deservedly hovering up the other awards this year. I love her performance in La La Land and she probably deserved Best Supporting Actress for Birdman so would be very happy to see her win this.

My Second choice is Natalie Portman for Jackie but the film has lost momentum and she is apparently the only good thing in it (except the music) so unlikely to win over Stone.

My Spoiler is Isabelle Huppert for Elle, which I would love to see when it comes out even though it sounds utterly crazy and ridiculous! But the film is divisive and I don’t think enough of the Academy members will have seen it, plus it is not in English so a hard sell all round. Ruth Negga would be a lovely surprise for Loving but Meryl Streep shouldn’t be nominated this year – her place belongs to either Taraji P Henson (Hidden Figures) or Viola Davis (Fences) – see below.

[su_heading size=”24″]Actor in a Supporting Role[/su_heading]

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

A very strong category, much more interesting than the Lead Actors. Ali should win for his brilliant portrayal of Juan in the fantastic Moonlight, but almost anyone else could take this and would deserve the prize.

My Second choice is probably Dev Patel for Lion, which the Academy may wish to award with something.
My Spoiler is going to be Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea, for one particular scene that has really stayed with me and haunted me. For such a young actor, he gives a performance of great maturity and depth.

[su_heading size=”24″]Actress in a Supporting Role[/su_heading]

Viola Davis – Fences

Davis is going to win this prize despite the fact that she should be up for Lead Actress. She is an absolute revelation in Fences, a role she has also played on Broadway and won a Tony for. Her key scene will hit you like a ten-ton truck.

My Second choice is Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea, but she isn’t in the film anywhere near as much as Davis is and I think Viola has this in the bag frankly

My Spoiler is very difficult to choose in this extremely strong bunch of nominees as they’d all be deserving winners and the Academy could still surprise us and go for someone else over the two favourites. I’d go for Naomie Harris for Moonlight, and she would certainly deserve it. Any other year, she would be a real contender but Viola Davis is too strong in terms of competition.

[su_heading size=”24″]Best Director[/su_heading]

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Hard to call (except Mel Gibson, why is he there?)

My Second choice is Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.

My Spoiler is Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea, but I’m not sure he has much of a chance in the face of the other two.

[su_heading size=”24″]Other Categories[/su_heading]

I’ll just give my personal picks in some other categories, based on what I’ve seen of the nominees so far:

  • Animated Feature FilmKubo and the Two Strings/Zootopia (please not Moana)
  • Cinematography Arrival
  • Costume DesignFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Film EditingMoonlight
  • Music (Original Score)La La Land
  • Music (Original Song)City of Stars from La La Land
  • Production DesignArrival
  • Sound EditingLa La Land
  • Sound MixingArrival
  • Visual EffectsKubo and the Two Strings
  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay)Moonlight
  • Writing (Original Screenplay)Manchester by the Sea

What are your predictions for the Oscars? Share with us in the comments below.