Remember how you screamed your voices out when Leonardo finally lifted the Oscar Statuette? Well, it’s been an entire year to that and another installment of the year’s most religiously anticipated film frenzy is here. It’s the Oscar season folks! So as the entire Hollywood fraternity preps for the D-Day, we prepare you for what and what not to expect from the 89th Academy Awards. Here’s our take on the most prominent and acclaimed films of 2016 which are expected to make the cut at this year’s Oscars.

La La Land

With a record-setting 14 nominations to its cap, Damien Chazelle’s musical blockbuster is not only leading the race for the Best Picture win, it is also leading every prediction list to win almost about everything at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday. The odds for La La Land picking the Best Actress trophy for Emma Stone, Best Director for Chazelle, and Best Original Score, are the highest among all the other nominated films. The only two contenders who can be expected to put a halt to Emma’s Oscar dream is Isabelle Huppert for the film Elle and Natalie Portman for Jackie. If La La Land manages to sweep 12 Oscars in total, the film will go down in history for the maximum Oscar win, thus surpassing the previous record held by Ben-Hur, Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King for bagging 11 Oscars, respectively.

Manchester by the Sea

Another film from last year which has been universally praised by critics, is Kenneth Lonergan’s intensely emotional drama film, Manchester by the Sea. Even though, it might not be a clear favorite for the Best Film win as compared to ‘La La Land’ and ‘Moonlight’, but the film’s lead, Casey Affleck, is expected to bag that Best Actor Oscar with a strong margin over Ryan Gosling in La La Land and Denzel Washington in Fences. This film is also a front-runner for the Best Original Screenplay. 

Moonlight

After the worldwide backlash over last year’s #OscarSoWhite controversy, the Academy has left no stone unturned in generously including color in this year’s nominations. Among the 3 films, starring black actors, which have been nominated at this year’s Oscars, the one that is making the most buzz is Barry’s Jenkins’ Moonlight, which narrates the story of a young black man as he tries to accept his own sexuality. The film has maximum odds in its favor to bag the Best Adapted Screenplay and the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Mahershala Ali. Not only can Moonlight threaten La La Land’s clean sweep in the Best Film category, it can also grab the Best Director statuette for Jenkins over Chazelle, if the jury takes the diversity issue too seriously.

Lion

Now we can’t deny that we always crave for an Indian connect at the Oscars, and this year that craving is gratified by Australian director, Garth Davis’s debut feature, Lion starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara. Based on a true story, the film follows the life of a young Indian-born Australian boy (played by Dev Patel) who takes an impossible journey to find his family in India. Though the films odds don’t look as generous as the other nominees, but after Dev Patel’s BAFTA win for the Best Supporting Actor, the Oscar hopes have also been reinforced.

Fences

If there’s one woman who has taken both Television and the big screen by storm, that is the unbeatable Viola Davis. Her powerful performance in the film Fences, has earned her a front row chair in the Best Supporting Actress category. Davis was even expected to make the road tougher for Emma Stone had her role been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. Fences is also competing to bag the Best Actor award for Denzel Washington even though the odds look more positive for Affleck and Gosling.

Arrival 

Even though movie buffs all over the globe are still not over Amy Adams’s snub in the Best Actress Category, this intriguing alien invasion flick has otherwise made its way in into almost every category in the Oscars. Despite its chances being slim in the lead nominations, Arrival has been lauded as one of the most impressive films of 2016. The film might have slightly better chances in the technical categories namely Best Production Design and Best Cinematography, though the cinematography and editing win looks pretty much sealed for La La Land.

Hidden Figures 

Along with Moonlight and Fences, that one film which has contributed to racial diversity in this year’s Oscars is Taraji P Henson and Octavia Spencer starrer- Hidden Figures. The film narrates a moving and untold story about three Afro-American women who played a pivotal part in NASA’s US space program. It has been nominated for 3 Oscars, namely Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Spencer and Best Adapted Screenplay. Even though Davis is the clear favorite for the Best Supporting Actress title (for Fences) especially after her Golden Globe win, but the chances of Spencer sealing an unexpected win can’t be totally ruled out as the Academy has a history of agreeing to disagree with the Golden Globes.

Zootopia

The Jungle Book might have made the most headlines last year due to its stellar star cast and the viewers’ overwhelming expectations from this childhood classic, but it failed to woo the critics and the Academy to be an incontestable favorite like Frozen or Up. At this year’s Oscar, the two films which will fight a very close fight for the Best Animated Feature Film award are Zootopia and Moana, both coming out of the Walt Disney Studios. Both Moana and Zootopia has received worldwide acclaims, but the odds in favor of Zootopia are tad higher as it is said to be more emotionally enriched.

So that was our picks for Oscars 2017. Share us yours!

The 89th Academy Awards, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, is scheduled to take place on February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST and will be telecasted live in India on February 27, from 5:30 a.m. IST.