It’s that time of the year again, when we must set aside our personal opinions and favorites to try and guess which movies the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will deem the most culturally significant. A lot has changed since our initial Oscar predictions last December. Manchester By the Sea is no longer a Best Picture frontrunner, a race dominated by La La Land and Moonlight. The days of calling Natalie Portman a Best Actress shoo-in last fall feel like a distant dream, and Lion and Hacksaw Ridge might just lend this year’s Oscars some surprising upsets.

To ensure your Oscar ballot is as foolproof as possible, the ScreenCrush team has three different sets of predictions for the big night from each of our three editors. Will La La Land, which earned a record-tying total of 14 nominations, continue its sweep or can we bet on some surprises? Find out on Sunday when Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 89th Academy Awards, airing on ABC at 8:30PM ET / 5:30PM PT.

Matt SingerE. Oliver WhitneyBritt Hayes
Best PictureLa La LandLa La LandLa La Land
Best ActorDenzel WashingtonDenzel WashingtonCasey Affleck
Best ActressEmma StoneEmma StoneNatalie Portman
Best Supporting ActorMahershala AliMahershala AliDev Patel
Best Supporting ActressViola DavisViola DavisViola Davis
Best DirectorDamien ChazelleDamien ChazelleBarry Jenkins
Best Adapted ScreenplayMoonlightMoonlight Arrival
Best Original ScreenplayManchester By the SeaManchester By the Sea Hell or High Water
Best CinematographyLa La LandLa La LandSilence
Best Costume DesignLa La LandJackieJackie
Best Film EditingLa La LandLa La LandHacksaw Ridge
Best Makeup/ HairStar Trek BeyondStar Trek BeyondA Man Called Ove
Best Original ScoreLa La LandLa La LandLa La Land
Best Original Song“City of Stars,” La La Land “City of Stars,” La La Land “City of Stars,” La La Land
Best Production DesignArrivalFantastic BeastsFantastic Beasts
Best Sound EditingHacksaw RidgeHacksaw RidgeHacksaw Ridge
Best Sound MixingLa La Land La La LandHacksaw Ridge
Best Visual EffectsThe Jungle BookThe Jungle BookThe Jungle Book
Best Animated Film ZootopiaZootopiaMoana
Best Foreign Language FilmThe SalesmanToni ErdmannA Man Called Ove
Best Documentary FeatureO.J.: Made in AmericaO.J.: Made in AmericaO.J.: Made in America 
Best Documentary Short Joe’s ViolinThe White HelmetsWatani: My Homeland
Best Animated Short Film PiperPiperBlind Vaysha
Best Live-Action Short FilmSilent NightsEnnemis InterieursSilent Nights

Matt: When screenwriter William Goldman coined his famous phrase “Nobody knows anything,” he was talking about the film industry in general. But that slogan applies equally well to the Academy Awards. Even with an entire cottage industry now built around Oscar prognostication, there are still surprises every year. (Remember when, as almost everyone predicted, The Revenant won Best Picture? Good times.) Keep that in mind before you try to win your Oscar pool with my picks. My one bit of advice when filling out your ballot: Remove emotion from the equation. Just because you love Moonlight or Arrival doesn’t mean the notorious fuddy-duddies of the Academy will as well. Don’t vote with your heart; vote with your head, after you put yourself into that mindset. And this year, when in doubt, vote for La La Land.

E. Oliver: If the Oscars were up to me, Moonlight and Jackie would go home with the most statues. But this isn’t Oliver’s Oscars (sadly), and I have little faith that the very white and very male Academy membership will give awards to anything but La La Land. Chazelle’s musical is a charming homage to Hollywood, it’s not political, and is more digestible than MoonlightManchester By the Sea, and Hidden Figures, which grapple with heavier and more complex themes. Outside of my mostly cynical predictions above, I have some tiny bit of hope for a welcome upset or two — could La La Land take Best Picture while Barry Jenkins gets Best Director, or vice versa? Or, even more surprising, could Hidden Figures, both a box-office hit and SAG Best Ensemble winner (often an Oscar predictor), take Best Picture? I have no clue. In the worst case scenario, the Academy gives everything to Lion and Hacksaw Ridge so we can remember 2016 for the true garbage fire it was.

Britt: Trying to predict Oscar winners is difficult. The Academy has been consistently safe for decades, but every once in a while they throw in some curveballs — the obvious choice doesn’t always win. At the same time, my instinct is to choose who I want to win, and not who will win. While I’d love to see Isabelle Huppert take home an Oscar for the greatest performance of 2016, that might not happen; that she was nominated at all is satisfying in its own right. I’d also love to see Moonlight sweep the hell out of the Oscars, but I sense that there will ultimately be some sort of compromise in which Barry Jenkins is given the Best Director statue while La La Land takes home Best Picture. That seems about right, though I don’t personally endorse it — nothing against La La Land, but it’s exactly the sort of agreeably pleasant and nice movie that often seems to win Best Picture. As for the rest, correctly predicting the Oscars is really about nailing the technical, documentaries, and shorts categories. If you can get those right, you have a much higher chance of winning your Oscar pool. (I will probably not get these right.)

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