The 2016 Best Picture Oscar Predictions Highlight A Strong Dramatic Field

Voting for the 2017 Oscar nominations is officially closed, which means that there's little we can do but anxiously await the announcement of the nominees on Jan. 24. Well, that and make predictions. And when it comes to predicting Oscar nominees, some categories are easier than others. You'd think that the 2016 Best Picture Oscar predictions would be simple, as the biggest and/or most acclaimed films are likely to end up there. But while the nomination process for other categories is the pretty straightforward "preferential ballot," ever since the Academy expanded the Best Picture category to have anywhere from five to 10 nominees, things have gotten complicated.

According to Gold Derby, films have to get a certain percentage of votes (based on certain rules about how those votes count) to get a nod, which means no one really knows yet how many nominees will be in the Best Picture category. However, I think many people have a good idea of who most of the nominees will be, and I'm willing to make my guesses. Below are my 2016 Best Picture Oscar predictions, ranked from most to least guaranteed to get a nomination.

'La La Land'

Summit Entertainment

I think that the only thing left in the world that could genuinely surprise me is if La La Land somehow didn't receive a Best Picture nomination. Damien Chazelle's movie musical masterpiece is grand, well-crafted, well-acted (and danced and sung), and it's in love with Hollywood. Hollywood loves it back. It already has a Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy.

'Moonlight'

A24

Equally guaranteed to receive a Best Picture nomination is Moonlight, which matched La La Land's Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, with the Golden Globe for Best Drama. The two will be vying for the ultimate Oscar Best Picture win, and I think it will be close. I'm rooting for the brilliant, unique, and artful Moonlight.

'Arrival'

A24

This incredibly well-made sci-fi drama avoids most cliches and dives right into examinations of the human condition. It was also hugely successful at the boxx office. Amy Adams is a powerhouse lead, and while she likely won't get a Best Actress statue for her work, she'll definitely get a nomination and Arrival as a whole will definitely get a Best Picture nomination.

'Manchester By The Sea'

Roadside Attractions/Amazon

The gritty precision of this film's script and direction, enhanced by a lauded performance from Casey Affleck, means it's basically a guaranteed nomination.

'Lion'

The Weinstein Company

An inspiring, sweeping true story handled smartly, with well-managed but not overwhelming sentimentality, Lion will likely get recognition in the Best Picture category. It has excellent reviews.

'Fences'

Paramount Pictures

This adaptation of a 1983 play of the same name by August Wilson has been getting great critical reception, has a fantastic script, and has Oscar-worthy performances by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.

'Hidden Figures'

20th Century Fox

Hidden Figures features incredible, Oscar-worthy performances from Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae. It's a brave and smartly made film, highlighting the lives of some of the women that were erased from the American history that they themselves made possible. It has also been dominating at the box office. It deserves a Best Picture nomination.

'Hacksaw Ridge'

Summit Entertainment

This grand World War II movie may earn Andrew Garfield a Best Actor nomination, and its elaborate setpieces along with being a historical drama means it could get a Best Picture nomination, but it may well get left off if not enough Academy members vote highly enough for it.

I've got my fingers crossed for some surprises, but these are the films that I'm expecting to get Best Picture nominations.