2017 Oscar Predictions, Part Three: Screenplays, Editing, Foreign, Animated and Documentary

Okay, moving on! Today we get to some slightly bigger categories, like the screenplays, plus foreign, animated and documentary films. 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

 Kenneth Lonergan's script for 'Manchester By the Sea' has the edge in original

Kenneth Lonergan's script for 'Manchester By the Sea' has the edge in original

  • 20th Century Women
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • The Lobster
  • Manchester By the Sea

I think this belongs to Manchester By the Sea, but that’s just going off the bulk of the critics awards. The truth is Moonlight competed in original in several of the big precursors and won (like the WGA), while the Golden Globe actually went to La La Land. So with Moonlight over in Adapted, this is kind of a shot in the dark. But Manchester was highly praised for its screenplay, it won the BAFTA, and I don’t think the Academy will go with La La Land in this category, so…I’m sticking with that.

Winner: Manchester By the Sea

Alternate: La La Land

Dark Horse: Hell or High Water (also won quite a few critics prizes for this)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

 'Moonlight' has a lock on adapted screenplay

'Moonlight' has a lock on adapted screenplay

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

Now this is Moonlight’s all the way. It won the USC Scripter award, which has guaranteed adapted screenplay for several years now, and the WGA, even if it was in original there. Lion won the BAFTA though, so if anything could beat it, it’d be that, but I don’t think it will.

Winner: Moonlight

Alternate: Lion

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

 'Zootopia' remains the strong frontrunner in animated

'Zootopia' remains the strong frontrunner in animated

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Courgette
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Zootopia swept the Annies, won the Golden Globe and most of the precursors, although Kubo and the Two Strings made a strong showing with critics, and just won the BAFTA, surprisingly. But with the enormous box office success of Zootopia plus the fact that the content of the film makes it one of the strongest anti-Trump statements AMPAS can make, I think it will win for sure.

Winner: Zootopia

Alternate: Kubo and the Two Strings

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

 'The Salesman' rides momentum

'The Salesman' rides momentum

  • Land of Mine
  • A Man Called Ove
  • The Salesman
  • Tanna
  • Toni Erdmann

This category got kind of upended after the muslim ban situation, when it looked like director Asghar Farhadi would be banned from entering the country for the ceremony. That immediately launched his film The Salesman into top contention to win this award, and rightfully so, to be honest. Farhadi will not be attending in protest now, but I still think his film will win. Toni Erdmann had won the majority of precursors here, but in truth Farhadi’s film is more accessible narratively, and with him being a past winner for 2011’s A Separation, I don’t see how he doesn’t win this, with the chance to make such a huge statement by giving it to him.

Winner: The Salesman

Alternate: Toni Erdmann

BEST DOCUMENTARY

 'OJ' still has the edge

'OJ' still has the edge

  • 13th
  • Fire at Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • OJ: Made in America

OJ: Made in America is the frontrunner, having won almost all precursor awards, including the DGA and PGA documentary prize. But somehow I feel like this category isn’t necessarily sealed. This film is still facing the longstanding controversy over whether it should actually count as a movie or a television series, despite the fact that it was released in theaters briefly to qualify it for Oscar consideration. And Ava Duvernay has engaged in an enormous campaign for her film 13th, which just won the BAFTA. Meanwhile, I Am Not Your Negro has acquired major buzz and acclaim after being recently released in theaters. So, I’ll stick with OJ, but I’m feeling a little shaky about it.

Winner: OJ: Made in America

Alternate: 13th

Dark Horse: I Am Not Your Negro

BEST EDITING

 'Arrival's best chance to win is in editing

'Arrival's best chance to win is in editing

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Moonlight

This is where I’m going to take a risk. Best Picture frontrunners are always formidable here, but for some reason I feel like La La Land won’t necessarily win this one. Hacksaw Ridge could be the likely alternative (and it won the BAFTA), but I also think Arrival is possible, since it won the ACE Eddie for drama feature, and it’s unlikely to win anywhere else (and they do like the movie, having given it eight nominations). I’m taking a huge risk and going with Arrival for this one. But I really think all three movies are in the running here.

Winner: Arrival

Alternate: La La Land

Dark Horse: Hacksaw Ridge