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And the predicted nomination goes to...

Industry watchers try to pick nominees for this year's Oscars, which will be announced today

All eyes will be on Hollywood as the list of nominees for this year's Oscars is unveiled with critical darlings La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea set to fare well.

Beyond the suspense surrounding the batch of nominees, the announcement is also expected to address the long-running #OscarsSoWhite controversy that cast a shadow over last year's awards ceremony because of its lack of diversity.

The nominated films, actors and film-makers will be unveiled at a pre-dawn announcement today, which for the first time will be streamed online.

Industry watchers are predicting that Damien Chazelle's whimsical and romantic musical La La Land - buoyed by a record seven Golden Globe awards earlier this month - will also triumph at the Feb 26 Oscars with possible golden statuettes for best movie, best actor and other categories.

But the movie starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling is facing stiff competition from Moonlight - the coming-of-age tale of a black man in Miami - and Manchester By The Sea, which is about a loner played by Casey Affleck.

Both films also received nods at the Golden Globes, though fewer than La La Land's seven.

Other front runners for best picture are Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi thriller Arrival; Mel Gibson's WWII movie Hacksaw Ridge; Garth Davis' family drama Lion; and Theodore Melfi's biographical comedy-drama Hidden Figures.

In the lead actor category, Affleck, Gosling and Denzel Washington, who plays a black father trying to raise his family in the screen adaptation of the Broadway hit Fences, are leading the pack.

Other contenders are Andrew Garfield, who plays an army medic in Hacksaw Ridge, and Viggo Mortensen, who plays a father trying to raise his six kids in isolation in Captain Fantastic.

And the predicted nomination goes to...
Predicted Best Actor Nominees: Andrew Garfield PHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS

The field is also crowded in the best actress race.

Stone is expected to vie for an Oscar opposite Natalie Portman, who plays a grieving widow in Jackie; Isabelle Huppert, for her performance in the rape-revenge thriller Elle; Amy Adams, who plays a linguist in Arrival; and Meryl Streep, who stars in the comedy biopic Florence Foster Jenkins.

Huppert - often described as France's equivalent of Streep - scooped the best actress award at the Golden Globes for her performance in Elle, which also won for best foreign film.

Predicted Best Actor Nominees: Denzel WashingtonPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS

Industry pundits say the 63-year-old could very well walk away with an Oscar next month, becoming one of the rare actresses to win for a foreign language performance.

French actress Marion Cotillard won the award in 2008 for her performance in La Vie En Rose, a biopic about the life of legendary singer Edith Piaf.

Predicted Best Actor Nominees: Ryan GoslingPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS

"After a surprising Golden Globe win earlier this month, we not only expect Huppert to receive an Oscar nomination on Tuesday but to be a strong contender to even win in February," said Mr Chris Beachum, managing director of awards prediction website Gold Derby.


As for diversity, the word on everyone's mind this year, Mr Beachum said he expects the upcoming nominations to reflect efforts by the 6,000-plus members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be more inclusive.

Last year, the Academy came under scathing criticism for its overwhelming bias towards white nominees - and vowed afterwards to double by 2020 the number of women and people from minority backgrounds among its voting members.

Predicted Best Actor Nominees: Casey AffleckPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS

"With films such as Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion and Moonlight all set for major nominations, it seems like diversity will thankfully win the day for this year's Oscar nominations," Mr Beachum said.

But the woman behind the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, Ms April Reign, said although Hollywood has made progress, it was still too early to cancel the hashtag.

Predicted Best Actor Nominees: Viggo MortensenPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS

"One year does not fix a problem that has been going on for over 80," she told National Public Radio in a recent interview.

"There has been an increase in the number of films that reflect the black experience.

"However with respect to people of colour overall, with respect to marginalised communities - which is what #OscarsSoWhite is all about - it's still been a relatively poor year."


Predicted Best Actress Nominees: Isabelle HuppertPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS
Predicted Best Actress Nominees: Meryl StreepPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS
Predicted Best Actress Nominees: Emma StonePHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS
Predicted Best Actress Nominees: Natalie PortmanPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS
Predicted Best Actress Nominees: Amy AdamsPHOTOS: GOLDEN VILLAGE, AFP, REUTERS