2017 Oscars: The Nominees And Winner Predictions for Best Motion Picture

Published by Shah Shahid on

The Oscars can be considered the most prestigious Awards ceremony in Hollywood. The recognition bestowed by the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts Association, is the highlight of every year, summing up the best movies of the previous year in multiple categories. Honouring everything from technical direction, the look and feel of a film, the costume design and sounds, the Oscars are essentially the what any professional in the industry vies for in their career.

So let’s take a look at the nominees for Best Motion Picture at the 89th Academy Awards.

The Best Motion Picture category is basically considered to be the best movie of the year. This year we have 9 nominees, and each one is better than the other. It’s going to be a tough race this year, as all the films in contention deserve their spot and will give each other a run for their money. Let’s take a look at each of the nine movies nominated in the Best Motion Picture category, and make sure you stay till the end to hear about my predictions for who should, and will win.


The sci-fi drama is a strong contender for the award this year. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, ‘Arrival’ takes the premise of an alien invasion movie, and flips it on its head with a focus on more intellectual problem solving than brute force. Starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, the story is all about how a linguistics professor has to figure out how to communicate with an Alien species that loom over the world, to try to determine if they are friend or foe.

It’s a tense and nail biting film with an abstract quality to it that hooks the audience in from beginning to end. The very character driven film takes Adams’ character and builds the story around her, as well as the events in the movie themselves. While the final reveal is very counter programming in contrast to films with a similar premise, it may not be for everyone. Performances in the film leave a little to be desired, but nothing that detracts from the experience. Adams is stellar, and it’s surprising to see no nomination for her in the Best Actress category for this role.

Will It Or Won’t It?

I don’t think ‘Arrival’ has much chance of winning, given that it is a Science Fiction genre movie that usually isn’t rewarded by the Academy. Adding to that the fact that none of the on-camera performances were nominated either, it’s a strong indication that ‘Arrival’ may not take home the Oscar for Best Picture. 


‘Fences’ is what I consider to be Denzel Washington’s finest performance in years. And yes, I’m counting ‘Flight’ and the recent ‘The Magnificent Seven’ in that statement as well. I wasn’t a fan of ‘Flight’, and the remake of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ seemed to transplant the typical Washington performance into a Western setting.

Fences‘ is a remarkable performance by the veteran actor, as a middle class African-American man who feels put down by the system and is frustrated at his life. This is Denzel as his finest! A very mundane story adapted from a play, about the lives of a small African-American family during a time when the U.S. was changing, and race relations were changing along with them. The movie is all talk, but the performances enthral and make an otherwise ordinary story about real characters with real problems, come alive!

Will It Or Won’t It?

‘Fences‘ is the strongest dramatic film of all the nominees. Every scene of the movie features performances that mesmerize to the point where it’s difficult to blink at the fear that we’ll miss something. It’s more engaging than any action movie and more interesting than any genre film. The film has every chance to win all the awards in its category, if not for stiff competition. Given the Oscars’ controversy around preferential treatment to White talent, I would personally be surprised if ‘Fences’ did win. However, if it does, then there can be no dispute that it won on merit and not as a consolation to the current status of race relations in the U.S.

‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Mel Gibson’s personal history in Hollywood may sour people on this film, but it was nominated despite the controversy, so overcoming the personal scandal behind a masterful film, may not be that difficult of a hurdle for the film to cross.

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is a simple war movie, based on a true story, that sees one man’s convictions be tested in the setting of war. All about a man who refuses to take a life, but still want to serve in War as a medic, the movie is a great counterintuitive film to the typical war movie that we’re used to. With only 1 giant action set piece, most of the drama is entered around a character driven story that functions brilliantly to convey conviction and belief that have religious undertones, but still a universal message.

More of my thoughts on ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ can be found in my Movie Review.

Will It Or Won’t It?

As brilliant a movie that ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is, I don’t feel like it has a chance of winning Best Picture when stacked against the other nominees. While movies about war have traditionally done well at the Oscars, this year’s nominees feature other subject material that I think will be given preference over this one.

‘Hell Or High Water’

‘Hell Or High Water’ is one of the nominees for Best Picture this year that I have the least to say about. Not because the movie wasn’t good or interesting, but simply because nothing in the film seems worth discussing.

A neo-western film about two brothers robbing banks, ‘Hell Or High Water’ finds almost retired Texas Marshall Jeff Bridges, on one last case before he leaves it all behind. Hot on the brothers’ trail, the lawman finds their actions to be for a specific purpose that he just can’t put his finger on yet; while at the same time not wanting the chase to end, seeing how he doesn’t know how to be anything but an officer of the law. The movie boasts great performances by Jeff Bridges, nominated for a Best Supporting role award as well. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are great too in their roles and the story itself is very subdued.

Will It Or Won’t It?

I don’t think ‘Hell Or High Water’ has much of a chance at winning for Best Picture, simply because of it being moderately good film. The film doesn’t really portray its tense moments as well, and even when all hell breaks loose, it feels muddy and clunky. The ending feels unresolved and over all the movie itself feels very muddled. I’ll be very surprised of this one takes home the award.

‘Hidden Figures’

One of the better movies among the nominations is the feminist powered biographical story about how three African-American women contributed to the United States Space program in the early 1960’s. ‘Hidden Figures’ is an incredible racial story that doesn’t create antagonists of its characters, but instead provides a realistic depiction of the time and its circumstances.

The film sees great performances from its main characters, and is able to tell a fun and interesting story in an engaging manner. Quite a feat when you consider that most of the dramatic movement in the plot occurs through math, mathematics and other mumbo jumbo that is basically gibberish to the rest of us.

For more of my thoughts on ‘Hidden Figures’, check out my Movie Review.

Will It Or Won’t It?

‘Hidden Figures’ is definitely in my top 3 movies of the nominees that I would love to see win an Oscar for Best Picture. However, realistically speaking, I doubt the movie will be on the radar of the Academy members, over the other nominees. The film is not the type of film that is usually rewarded by the committee, but here’s hoping that I’m unbelievably wrong.

‘La La Land’

This! This movie is the darling of the 2017 Oscars, tying up the record for most Oscar nominations ever. ‘La La Land’ has been the awards circuit darling winning almost everything, and is quite literally the talk of the town.

The Hollywood story about an aspiring actress and a struggling Jazz musician, told in a way that harkens back to the glory days of the Hollywood industry is exactly the type of thing that the Academy goes ga-ga over. As evident by ‘Birdman‘ a few years ago, the Oscars love movies about Hollywood, and ‘La La Land’ is as Hollywood as it gets.

But don’t get me wrong. The hype around ‘La La Land’ is not without merit. The film is an amazing masterpiece of songs and themes that invoke strong reactions from the audience. Dealing with themes of love, career, ambition and dreams, ‘La La Land’ is everything that everyone is making it out to be.

Will It Or Won’t It?

Personally, as much as I am head over heels in love over ‘La La Land’, I definitely think there are other films in the nominations this year that deserve the win more than this. While an amazingly well told movie, I find it more important to recognize and reward films that deal with important subject matter, told in engaging and entertaining ways. With that measure, ‘La La Land’ is pretty superfluous. However, given the trends, I believe ‘La La Land’ will win best picture this year at the 2017 Oscars.


For me, ‘Lion’ is the best movie of 2016 amongst all other nominees in this category. The very true story of a 5 year old boy’s journey to find his home, even after being adopted across continents is gut wrenching and heartbreaking. The film is an emotional tour de force of raw emotions that tells an incredibly story with a break out star in its lead child actor Sunny Pawar.

‘Lion’ is a culmination of fine performances, incredible writing, and a well executed direction that capture images and emotions across continents.

For more of my thoughts on ‘Lion’, please check out my Movie Review.

Will It Or Won’t It?

I would love to see ‘Lion’ win for Best Picture, as in my mind, it’s the only contender. However, its chances don’t fare too well against the other more likely candidates. But its definitely worthy of the win.


Another strong emotionally driven film is ‘Moonlight’ that deals with the sexual identity of a young boy through three specific aspects of his life. The film is an innovative drama, executed with unique perspective and completely unconventional in its tone and storytelling style.

The character piece works as a story from beginning to end, but also as a highlight reel of the life of one character, and the influences that shape their life, and lead them to be who they are. It’s an analysis of pivotal moments of a boy’s life and how they impact him. ‘Moonlight‘ is almost like the ‘Boyhood’ of this year’s Oscars, and one of three films nominated featuring an all African American cast, and lead characters.

For more of my thoughts on ‘Moonlight’, please feel free to read my Movie Review.

Will It Or Won’t It?

‘Moonlight’ could easily be the dark horse winner of the Best Picture award, but I wouldn’t place the popular vote on is shoulders.

‘Manchester By The Sea’

The depressing but powerful ‘Manchester By The Sea’ has been set to be the popular choice for all the awards this season, given Casey Affleck’s brilliant performance. The terribly realistic story sees a brother having to return to his troubled past in order to take care responsibility for his nephew after his brother’s death. The movie is all about dealing with one’s tragic past, facing reality and being able to move on with life after a terrible incident put it into shambles.

‘Manchester By The Sea’ is just the kind of slow moving yet emotionally powerful film that the Academy usually votes for. The film, while featuring an interesting internal struggle, is usually not the type of movie that mainstream audiences prefer, and that exclusivity usually increase its odds of winning the award.

Will It Or Won’t It?

After ‘La La Land’, I would definitely say that the next in line would be ‘Manchester By The Sea’ to win the Best Picture award at the 2017 Oscars. 

Based on all these choices, and the different ways in which these 9 nominees are excellent movies, it’s extremely difficult to choose which movie is better in comparison to another. Each movie deal with different topics and subject matter, and are insanely good in their own ways using themselves as a measuring stick. But in a world of ranking and hot lists, we must choose. So I’ll boil down my Best Picture Award winning picks into three different categories.

Most Deserving Movie to win Best Picture: ‘Fences’.

Most Likely Movie to win Best Picture: ‘La La Land’.

Movie I’d personally love to see win Best Picture: ‘Lion’. 

So there you have it. The nominees for Best Motion Picture at the 89th Academy Awards, and my predictions for the winner of the award. Do leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts and if you disagree with any of my choices and why.

Follow me on Twitter @theshahshahid for my Live tweeting the 2017 Oscars!

Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


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