Here are the must-see movies most likely to win Oscars in 2017


La La Land LionsgateLionsgate

With film festivals like Telluride, Venice, and Toronto behind us, and the New York Film Festival underway in October, award season is becoming clearer. Which means it's (already) time for Oscar predictions.

The 2017 Academy Awards will be filled with familiar faces like Martin Scorsese and Meryl Streep and newcomers to the season like Mahershala Ali (Remy from "House of Cards") and Ruth Negga (Tulip from "Preacher").

At least, that's how things seem to stand at the moment.

Award-season bets are constantly changing, with "sure things" suddenly falling off the board once the movie starts making the rounds to voters. And underdogs can find their way in as we get to the Oscar voting deadline at the end of December.

Here's our first pass at the movies and talent that have a chance to take home Oscar gold:

Best Picture


In the running:

“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”
“La La Land”
“Manchester By The Sea”

If the Oscars were handed out today the winner would be: "La La Land." The movie is a love letter to the forgotten musical (remember, most of the Academy voters are on the older side), the creativity of the story by writer-director Damien Chazelle is incredible, and the performances by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are some of the best of the year.

Best Director

Vitto Zunino Coletto/Getty

In the running:

Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Garth Davis, “Lion”
Clint Eastwood, “Sully”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester By The Sea”
Nate Parker, “The Birth of a Nation”
Martin Scorsese, “Silence”
Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”

If the Oscars were handed out today the winner would be: Damien Chazelle for "La La Land." Like I mentioned in best picture, Chazelle weaves a powerful story about love and loss. His creative eye and strong storytelling will make him hard to beat. Plus the Academy loved his previous movie "Whiplash."

Best Actor


In the running:

Casey Affleck, “Manchester By The Sea”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Tom Hanks, “Sully”
Michael Keaton, “The Founder”
Matthew McConaughey, “Gold”
Nate Parker, “The Birth of a Nation”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

If the Oscars were handed out today the winner would be: Casey Affleck. His performance in "Manchester By the Sea" is emotionally charged while being very subdued. Affleck has shown he's capable of carrying a film in the past, but in this one he is the film.

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