Win Your 2017 Oscar Pool – Updated

Update: Another Oscars is in the record books, and while not without its controversies (how bout that Best Picture snafu eh?), a lot of the show stuck to the script written by the precursor awards. There were more than a few surprises though, so a perfect scorecard would be hard to find. The categories below have all been updated with the winners and you’ll find my score at the bottom.

It’s almost upon us, the time of year that cinephiles young and old wait for with baited breath, so they can trash the winners and decry that their preferred pick was superior in every way. Yes ladies and gents, it’s Oscars time. The 89th Academy Awards are a mere week away, and as the last minute touches are being put on the show, so too must you start thinking of your own Oscar picks.

This year seems to have one clear frontrunner, in the form of a certain tap dancing tuner set in Hollywood, so the typical Oscar pool will be won and lost in those categories where La La Land doesn’t have a lock on the win (admittedly there aren’t many). With 14 nominations, it also has the opportunity to surpass the all-time record for wins by a single movie (11) which is currently shared by Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. The consensus is that it’ll be big, but just how big is the question.

Here at So, Is It Any Good? we’ve been keeping an eye on all precursor awards, pundit commentary, and even the crazy rantings of Morty, that old drunk guy in the park, in order to come up with the definitive resource to help you kick some serious ass in your Oscar pool or simply beat your friends for bragging rights.

Last year using these methods I managed 16 out of 24 categories, which is not too shabby! I didn’t account for some of the Fury Road technical sweep and the Spotlight Best Picture win (although I did have it as a spoiler), so we’ll see if anything trips me up this year.

Note: This post is long, so settle in and get ready to whoop your friends.


Nominees (Click to read our review):

Hell Or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

What you need to know: If there ever was an 800-pound gorilla in the category, that would be the 14 time nominated La La Land. It’s basically as close as you can get to a sure thing as this point, winning a raft of precursor awards including the Golden Globe, Critics Choice, Producers Guild Awards and more. It’ll be one helluva shock if it doesn’t pull out the big win, but if one movie can manage the upset, it’s probably Moonlight, which won Best Drama at the Globes, as well as a bunch of critic’s awards. It’s the only one to come close to the juggernaut that is La La.

Safe Bet: La La Land

Potential Spoiler: Moonlight

WINNER: Moonlight – what an upset!



Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

What You Need To Know: Jenkins has the opportunity to make history as the first black director to win the prize for the well-loved Moonlight. The only one standing in his way is Chazelle, the 31-year-old wunderkind that has taken Hollywood by storm, and has also become its new golden boy, with the Golden Globe, Critics Choice and DGA awards under his belt. Odds are, he’ll be following that up on Monday with a shiny Oscar as well.

Safe Bet: Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Potential Spoiler: Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

WINNER: Damien Chazelle



Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington – Fences

What You Need To Know: This is a pretty stacked category, and as good as all the performances are, this is really a two-horse race between dark and broody Casey Affleck and double-Oscar winner Denzel Washington. Affleck had all the momentum for a time, winning a bunch of awards through the Golden Globes, Critics Choice and more, and then it came to a screeching halt at the SAG awards, where Denzel prevailed. It’s a toss-up at this point, so I’m going with Affleck, but would not at all be surprised to see Washington stride across to grab the trophy on Monday.

Not So Safe Bet: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Potential Spoiler: Denzel Washington – Fences

WINNER: Casey Affleck



Isabelle Huppert – Elle

Ruth Negga – Loving

Natalie Portman – Jackie

Emma Stone – La La Land

Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

What You Need To Know: Portman and Huppert basically split all of the critic’s awards leading into awards season, and Huppert took the Golden Globe for Drama, whilst Stone took the Musical/Comedy award. Since then, it’s all been Stone’s show, and she certainly fits the ingénue mould that the Academy loves to award. She’s got the heat, and that’ll probably carry her to winner’s circle as well. The spoiler is Huppert, who could ride a wave of support from the newly expanded European contingent of the Academy.

Safe Bet: Emma Stone – La La Land

Potential Spoiler: Isabelle Huppert – Elle

WINNER: Emma Stone



Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel – Lion

Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

What You Need To Know: He’s got the smallest amount of time on screen, but Mahershala Ali has made the biggest impact, winning boatloads of critics awards, and importantly, the SAG award. Jeff Bridges has the sentimental vote, and Dev Patel won the BAFTA award, but this is all Ali’s to lose.

Safe Bet: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Potential Spoiler: Dev Patel – Lion

WINNER: Mahershala Ali



Viola Davis – Fences

Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Nicole Kidman – Lion

Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

What You Need To Know: Another stacked category, the ladies are really bringing their A game this year! Both Naomie Harris and Michelle Williams are devastatingly good, and in any other year they could win this category easily, but this year they’re up against Viola Davis. She’s doing some serious ACTING in Fences, and really probably should’ve been in the Lead category, but the quirks of Oscar means the studio can put her in this category, where she’ll wipe the floor with the competition.

Safe Bet: Viola Davis – Fences

Potential Spoiler: Naomie Harris – Moonlight

WINNER: Viola Davis



Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea

20th Century Women

What You Need To Know: One of the categories where the Academy loves to share the wealth around, it’s also an opportunity to reward Kenneth Lonergan who’s been on their radar since You Can Count On Me. A musical hasn’t won a screenplay Oscar since Gigi in 1958, so there’s some long odds against a La La Land victory, but if the sweep is on, maybe Chazelle’s getting up to the podium three times on Monday.

Safe Bet: Manchester by the Sea

Potential Spoiler: La La Land

WINNER: Manchester By The Sea





Hidden Figures



What You Need To Know: All of these are Best Picture nominees, so this is tough category to call. Arrival won the WGA award in this category, and strangely enough Moonlight won the WGA too, in the Original Screenplay category. Wacky. The switch in categories is a real head-scratcher, but it puts the film in good stead to be noticed on the big night. My sense is this Moonlight is golden.

Safe Bet: Moonlight

Potential Spoiler: Arrival

WINNER: Moonlight



Kubo and the Two Strings


My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle


What You Need To Know: Disney is up against itself here, with Zootopia and Moana the big guns against a trio of indie animations. There’s a real soft spot for Kubo, and if the Disney vote splits, then they might just take it. By my money’s on the animation with a strong social message, and a raft of previous awards in tow, which should play well with the Hollywood liberals in the era of Trump.

Safe Bet: Zootopia

Potential Spoiler: Kubo and the Two Strings

WINNER: Zootopia



Land of Mine (Denmark)

A Man Called Ove (Sweden)

The Salesman (Iran)

Tanna (Australia)

Toni Erdmann (Germany)

What You Need To Know: This is where the ceremony could really get political, cause the filmmakers behind Iran’s entry were caught up in the whole travel ban fiasco, and are now boycotting the ceremony in protest. If the voters were swayed more by politics than the film, then The Salesman winning will make a big statement. The spoiler, if politics doesn’t carry the day, would be the crowd-pleasing Toni Erdmann, which has been charming audiences, and has Jack Nicholson back out of retirement to star in the English-language remake.

Safe Bet: The Salesman (Iran)

Potential Spoiler: Toni Erdmann (Germany)

WINNER: The Salesman



Fire at Sea

I Am Not Your Negro

Life, Animated

O.J.: Made in America


What You Need To Know: OJ: Made In America is a pretty sure bet here, even though it was released on ESPN as a TV series. The 7+ hour epic is exhaustive in its reporting, and the Academy will want to award the achievement. Unless some protest in it’s inclusion because of the whole TV thing, then the prize might go to another hard-hitting doco about race in America, I Am Not Your Negro or 13th. But I’m bettin’ on the Juice.

Safe Bet: O.J.: Made in America

Potential Spoiler: I Am Not Your Negro

WINNER: OJ: Made In America




La La Land




What You Need To Know: The ASC Cinematographers actually went with Lion as their pick, a rare precursor to not go the way of La La Land, and there’s every possibility for a repeat here, but it’s hard to bet against a juggernaut, and it helps that the movie also looked amazing. Bet against La La Land if you dare.

Safe Bet: La La Land

Potential Spoiler: Lion

WINNER: La La Land




Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

La La Land


What You Need To Know: A key category, a film editing nomination is crucial to a film’s Best Picture chances – although not necessarily a win. All five nominees are also in the big category, so that doesn’t help us out much. War movies tend to do well here, but other than the BAFTA award, Hacksaw Ridge has come up short. The ACE Editors gave their prizes to Arrival (Drama) and you guessed it, La La Land (Comedy/Musical). I’m betting Oscar falls in line with the La La sweep and it claims the editing prize as well, but if the sweep stops short, they may choose to give Arrival some love here.

Safe Bet: La La Land

Potential Spoiler: Arrival

WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge




Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land


What You Need To Know: It’s funny that the modern day set La La Land which is love with old Hollywood, is up against the old Hollywood set Hail, Caesar! and will probably prevail. There could be some support for the alien drama Arrival, but Passengers picked up the Art Directors Guild prize in the Fantasy category (La La won for Contemporary), so if the tide’s turning against the musical, look for the space romantic drama to reap the rewards.

Safe Bet: La La Land

Potential Spoiler: Passengers

WINNER: La La Land




Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins


La La Land

What You Need To Know: It’s a safe bet that historical always trumps modern in the costume match-ups, so Allied, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Jackie probably have the heat here. I’m guessing Jackie gets the nod for the faithfully recreated Kennedy duds, but then again La La Land won at the Costume Designers Guild, so who knows, maybe momentum sweeps along here too.

Safe Bet: Jackie

Potential Spoiler: La La Land

WINNER: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them




La La Land




What You Need To Know: Justin Hurwitz spent 7 years getting the score for La La Land right and if you can’t get the music right for a musical, then you’re sunk right from the get-go. Luckily his work is stellar, and he will be justly rewarded on Monday for his efforts.

Safe Bet: La La Land

Potential Spoiler: Jackie

WINNER: La La Land



“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” – La La Land 

“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” – Trolls

“City of Stars” – La La Land 

“The Empty Chair” – Jim: The James Foley Story

“How Far I’ll Go” – Moana

What You Need To Know: Hurwitz is going for the double, and with a pair of noms for “City of Stars” and “Audition”, he has twice as many chances as the rest of the nominees. “City of Stars” is the official anthem of the movie, so it’ll likely get the golden nod, but in the case of a La La Land split, look for the Moana tune to triumph giving it’s writer Lin-Manuel Miranda the coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award quinella.

Safe Bet: “City of Stars” – La La Land

Potential Spoiler: “How Far I’ll Go” – Moana

WINNER: La La Land



Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book 

Kubo and the Two Strings 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 

What You Need To Know: Finally, a category where La La Land doesn’t have a look in. This is where the big blockbusters come to play, and ordinarily, a Marvel or Star Wars movie would be a lock, but the technical wizardry on display in The Jungle Book (also a giant hit) will not go unnoticed.

Safe Bet: The Jungle Book 

Potential Spoiler: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

WINNER: The Jungle Book



A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond

Suicide Squad

What You Need To Know: This category always throws up some weird nominations, and I think voters will go for the one they’ve seen and liked (Star Trek Beyond) over the one nobody saw (A Man Called Ove) and the one pretty universally panned (Suicide Squad).

Safe Bet: Star Trek Beyond

Potential Spoiler: A Man Called Ove

WINNER: Suicide Squad




Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge 

La La Land


What You Need To Know: Nobody outside the sound branch of the Academy knows the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, so they usually just go with the one they like best. I’m giving the edge to Hacksaw Ridge, because war movies always tend to do well here, and it gives them the opportunity to reward Mel Gibson’s epic in some way.

Safe Bet: Hacksaw Ridge 

Potential Spoiler: La La Land

WINNER: Arrival




Hacksaw Ridge 

La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

What You Need To Know: Again, nobody knows what they’re voting for here, so I’m betting Hacksaw triumphs again, unless they really like the way those songs were mixed in La La Land.

Safe Bet: Hacksaw Ridge

Potential Spoiler: La La Land

WINNER: Hacksaw RidgeAnd now we get to the part which is the hardest to predict, because both viewers and Academy members largely don’t see all of the nominees (yeah it’s a bit weird like that). These are also the ones that can make or break your Oscar predictions, get ’em right and you’ll be that much ahead of the competition. I’m just taking best guesses based on other pundits and the subject matters.




4.1 Miles 

Joe’s Violin 

Watani: My Homeland

The White Helmets

What You Need To Know: The refugee crisis looms large in the Documentary Short category, with Extremis, 4.1 Miles and Watani: My Homeland all tackling the issues from different viewpoints. With three navigating the same waters, the opportunity is ripe for the vote to split and someone else to take the trophy, and in my experience, never bet against the Holocaust story – here repped by Joe’s Violin.

Safe Bet: Joe’s Violin

Potential Spoiler: The White Helmets

WINNER: The White Helmets



Ennemis intérieurs

La Femme et le TGV

Silent Nights



What You Need To Know: After the heaviness of the Documentary subjects, the Live Action short films are a chance for voters to find some joy. Look for the charming story of a woman and a train to win out over a choir of kids finding their voice.

Safe Bet: La Femme et le TGV

Potential Spoiler: Sing




Blind Vaysha 

Borrowed Time 

Pear Cider and Cigarettes 



What You Need To Know: Whenever Pixar is in this race, you’ve got to at least give them a shot, and in this instance their probably in for a win. Piper is a warm and funny tale of a baby bird learning to fend for himself, and the animation is stunning. The spoiler would be Pearl Cider And Cigarettes, if the Academy are feeling a little more grown-up and cynical.

Safe Bet: Piper

Potential Spoiler: Pear Cider And Cigarettes


So there you have it, an exhaustive list, but hopefully enough info so that you’re ready to rock your Oscar predictions and win all sorts of fame and glory (but probably just gloating rights). I’m betting on La La Land taking home 8 trophies, but there are enough toss-ups in there to bring it up to 11, maybe even 12. We’ll just have to wait and see. You can head over to the Oscars website to challenge your friends with your own Oscar pool as well.

Come back tomorrow to see how my picks turned out, and if you think I’m wrong in any categories, compare your picks in the comments below!

Update: So, in the end, I managed 17 out of 24, which is one more than last year. I didn’t predict the Moonlight Best Picture upset (or the surrounding debacle), and the short film categories threw me for a loop (although my back-ups tended to be spot on). And with that I’m hanging up my prognosticating boots for another year. I’m gonna go watch some more movies!