[WATCH] Editors’ prediction slugfest: Could Meryl Streep’s Trump attack lead to her 4th Oscar?

Oscar voting ends today, which should put fear in the hearts of this year’s top contenders — fitting that it happens to be Friday the 13th. I joined Tom O’Neil, Chris Beachum and Marcus James Dixon to discuss the latest developments in the races for Best Actor and Best Actress. Are they a done deal? Not so fast.

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Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) appears to be the strong favorite in the race for Best Actor, especially after winning both Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Awards against his closest competitor, Denzel Washington (“Fences”), but Dixon is going out on a limb for Washington, who gives a showier performance, and bigger is always better at the Oscars, right?

Most of us agree that Best Actor is a two-way race, but Best Actress appears to be wide open. Emma Stone (“La La Land”) is still the favorite according to our racetrack odds; she headlines the Best Picture frontrunner, and she’s the kind of ingenue the academy loves to reward (just look at “Room” star Brie Larson last year). But as O’Neil notes, Natalie Portman (“Jackie”) could appeal precisely to those older members of the academy who remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy firsthand; will those voters be able to resist Portman’s profound transformation to the famous grieving widow?

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But not so fast — what about Meryl Streep? She’s gaining momentum for her performance as the title character in “Florence Foster Jenkins” thanks to nominations at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and BAFTAs. So she’s now a likely nominee, but her eloquent speech at the Golden Globes, appealing to empathy and taking aiming at President-elect Donald Trump for his mockery of those less powerful, was the watershed moment for politics and pop culture. The four of us agree that Streep is likely to eventually tie Katharine Hepburn‘s record of four Oscars. In such a wide-open race, why not now? The academy may wish to officially anoint her as Hollywood’s de facto ambassador to the world.

Predict the Oscar nominations now; change them till January 24

See O’Neil’s Oscar predictions right here, Beachum’s right here, mine right here, and Dixon’s right here. See how the editors’ rankings compare to the experts’ predictions right here.

Be sure to make your 2017 Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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