Awards season has officially kicked off. The end of the year is traditionally when the big guns come out, in terms of awards bait. This years December limited releases have included Manchester By The Sea, La La Land, Fences, Nocturnal Animals, Silence, Patriots Day, Hidden Figures and A Monster Calls all of whom will be garnering serious consideration this awards season. All of the critics organizations have released their nominees and some have even picked some winners. The Golden Globes have just recently announced their 2016 awards nominees and they are still laughable, but everyone is patiently waiting for the grand daddy of them all, The Oscars. This years awards race has become much tighter than originally expected and is seemingly deeper than it has been in previous years. Once thought to be a an easy pick for contention, The Birth of a Nation has all but been eliminated from consideration likely due in no small part to director and star, Nate Parker’s rigid and turbulent past discretions being brought to light, just a month prior to the films release. Other films like American Honey, which scored big with Independent Spirit nominations, seems to be losing steam with the Academy. As far as acting is concerned, the Best Actor/Actress awards are wide open, with an array of incredible performances to choose from, the Academy will likely have it’s most difficult decision in years. This isn’t down to two candidates like it has been, but instead several have made a strong case for there gold statue.

So who are these frontrunners? Who are the potential dark horses and spoilers? Well with the first official Bro Knows Oscar Watch, we will give you are early predictions. The goal is to share too big hitters and top contenders and highlight who those sneaky films and performances might be to sneak in last second. So without further adieu here are our first predictions.

Best Picture

Top Contenders

La La Land

Manchester By The Sea


Second Tier




Long Shots

A Monster Calls

20th Century Women

Hell or High Water

Dark Horse

Patriots Day

Hacksaw Ridge


At this point, most of the films listed are likely to garner nominations given the format the Academy utilizes. The odds on favorite is definitely La La Land, given its degree of difficulty and nostalgic silver screen era tone, but Moonlight has really picked up some big time momentum late this year, and Manchester by The Sea continues to pick up steam at the box office. Fences will probably look to make a move right after the holidays when the film gets a wider release.

Best Director

Top Contenders

Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by The Sea)

Second Tier

Denzel Washington (Fences)

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Martin Scorsese (Silence)

Long Shots

Clint Eastwood (Sully)

Pablo Larrain (Jackie)

Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book)

Dark Horse

Andrea Arnold (American Honey)

Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann)

J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls)

With the remaining categories offering up just 5 spots, there are going to individuals who get slighted. The front runners will all likely pick up an easy nom, but the final 2 slots could easily go to any other name on this list. Scorsese is usually a safe bet, but with Silence being so spiritually polarizing, he could potentially be left wanting. Maren Ade may have an outside shot, if Toni Erdmann can catch some academy attention.

Best Actor

Top Contenders

Casey Affleck (Manchester by The Sea)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

Second Tier

Tom Hanks (Sully)

Andrew Garfield (Silence/Hacksaw Ridge)

Joel Edgerton (Loving)


Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Adam Driver (Paterson)

Michael Keaton (The Founder)

This is a much more narrowed race than Best Picture. It will pretty much come down to the top contenders on this list, although watch out for Michael Keaton to try and make a late run with The Founder. The favorite is Affleck right now, but Denzel and Gosling are closing the gap at a rapid pace.

Best Actress

Top Contenders

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Amy Adams (Arrival)

Ruth Negga (Loving)

Second Tier

Annette Bening (20th Century Women)

Emma Stone (La La Land)

Hailee Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen)


Kate Beckinsale (Love and Friendship)

Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloan)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

This is the closest race so far. Literally any of the potential nominees listed here have a shot at winning. Right now if there was a favorite it would likely fall on Portman, whose performance in Jackie was mesmerizing, and the fact that she is playing a pivotal historical figure only helps her chances. Ruth Negga still has a real shot at dethroning Portman, and Amy Adams could arguably be nominated for Nocturnal Animals as well as Arrival. Plus, you can never count out the Streeper!

Best Supporting Actor

Top Contenders

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Lucas Hedges (Manchester by The Sea)

Second Tier

Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Adam Driver (Silence)

Kyle Chandler (Manchester by The Sea)


Ralph Fiennes (A Bigger Splash)

Liam Neeson (Silence)

Alan Rickman (Eye In The Sky)

This category seems to be a bit top heavy. The top contenders are easily the three to beat and will grapple with each other for the award, but Michael Shannon is going to do his damndest to wiggle his way into the mix. This seems to be Ali’s award to lose right now, but Bridges and Hedges are making a serious case for themselves.

Best Supporting Actress

Top Contenders

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Viola Davis (Fences)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by The Sea)

Second Tier

Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women)

Felicity Jones (A Monster Calls)

Janelle Monae (Moonlight)


Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Helen Mirren (Eye In The Sky)

This is probably the closest thing to a run away we have so far. Naomie Harris seems like the no brainer pick in this category, but Viola Davis seems to be closing that gap. Michelle Williams certainly has her hat in the ring, but outside of that, everyone else is just filling a space.

Best Animated Feature

The likely list

Kubo and The Two Strings


Finding Dory


The Red Turtle

No need to delve too deep into this category. This is the thinnest selection in a long time for animated features. This is going to be a two headed race between Kubo and Moana, and right now Moana has all the momentum. Disney is tough to deny, and will likely get two nominations here, but Kubo will not be an easy out by any means.

That will do it for our early predictions for the Oscar race. When the nominations drop we will do a whole new predictions set to match the official selections. Until then, enjoy the speculation and pay attention to the myriad of other awards shows, which can be a bit of indicator when it comes time for the Academy to make their decisions.