Experts’ Oscars 2017 predictions for Best Picture: ‘La La Land’ still far in front, ‘Moonlight’ rising up ranks

La La Land” has solidified its lead in the Oscar race for Best Picture. Nineteen of our 24 Oscar experts derived from major media outlets continue to back Damien Chazelle‘s romance musical. Kenneth Longergan‘s domestic drama “Manchester by the Sea,” which led when we opened our predictions center in August, now has the votes of just four pundits. And Ang Lee‘s technically innovative war film “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is backed by only one of our two dozen Oscar prognosticators. Watch out for Barry Jenkin‘s critically acclaimed character study “Moonlight.” While the film, whcih opened on Oct. 21 to some of the best reviews of the year, does not have any first-place votes, it is now ranked high enough by individual experts to place third on our overall Oscar odds chart.

See how our experts rank Oscar contenders according to likelihood of winning in all top races. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see other categories. And see individual experts’ Oscar predictions as well.

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BEST PICTURE

1. “La La Land” (9/2 odds)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior),  Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Brian Truitt (USA Today), Adnan Virk (ESPN), Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogetEbert.com).

2. “Manchester by the Sea” (6/1 odds)
Tim Gray (Variety), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere)

3. “Moonlight” (9/1 odds)

4. “Fences” (10/1 odds)

5. “Loving” (10/1 odds)

6. “Lion” (16/1 odds)

7. “Silence” (16/1 odds)

8. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” (20/1 odds)
Michael Musto (Out.com), 

9. “Arrival” (25/1 odds)

10. “Sully” (28/1 odds)

Find out what will win at the Oscars this year

The pundits still give the edge to Chazelle over Lonergan for Best Director by a wide margin – 18 to four. The other two experts still favor the chances of Lee (“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”) for helming this drama set against the backdrop of the Iraq war; he won for “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) and “Life of Pi” (2012). Rounding out the race are “Moonlight” writer/director Jenkins and Denzel Washington, a two-time Oscar winner for acting [“Glory” (supporting, 1989) and “Training Day” (lead, 2001)] who directs and stars in “Fences.”

“Manchester by the Sea,” an intimate drama about a man who returns home after his brother’s death, still leads two other top Oscar races, according to our experts’ predictions: actor (Casey Affleck) and supporting actress (Michelle Williams). But Lucas Hedges has dropped back to second in supporting actor behind Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”).  See complete rundown of odds in all top categories.

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“Fences” won the Tony Award for Best Play and Pulitzer Prize back in 1987 and Washington picked up a Tony in 2010 for headlining the first Broadway revival of this August Wilson domestic drama. He reprises his role as an ex-baseball player struggling to provide for his family as does his Broadway co-star Viola Davis, who won a Tony for her performance as a wife whose loyalty is tested.

Washington is in second place in the Best Actor race (at 9/2 odds) while one-time Best Actress frontrunner Davis has slipped to fifth. However, on Oct. 23 it was confirmed that this two-time Oscar also-ran (“Doubt,” 2008; “The Help,” 2011) will be campaigned in supporting where she already ranks third.

While “La La Land” leading lady Emma Stone remains in first for Best Actress with odds of 23/10,  2010 Oscar champ Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) is now in second as “Jackie” continues to screen well. Newcomer Ruth Negga (“Loving”) and her co-star, Joel Edgerton are both in third while Stone’s leading man Ryan Gosling moves up a notch to fourth as does Annette Bening (“20th Century Women”). And two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks (“Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump”) breaks into the top five for “Sully.”

Predict the Oscar nominations now; change them till January 24

Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. How do you think “La La Land” will do with academy voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is 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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