I’m calling my picks for the three awards everyone cares the most about–best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects
I think it will probably go to Dunkirk for sound editing, and Baby Driver will win for Sound Mixing. Blade Runner 2049 would be the dark horse candidate for either of those.
As for Visual Effects, of late the Oscar has been going to effects-laden films that are still more or less “serious”, non-genre pictures, or to those that are going for verisimilitude via motion capture &c. In this case I think it will probably go to War for the Planet of the Apes. I’m surprised none of the films in this series have won in this category before. Both Kong and Guardians 2 are not particularly good movies, and the CGI in both of them doesn’t really seem to go beyond the level of cartoon blobs floating around vaguely interacting with stuff.
Blade Runner is visually very impressive with lots of seamless effects in addition to lots of more spectacular ones, but as far as I can tell nothing in it is particularly innovative. Same goes for Star Wars. It just didn’t really seem envelope-pushing at all to me, and in a lot of ways was sort of regressive for its visual effects. I still can’t believe they thought that Yoda puppet was a good idea.