Experts’ Oscars 2017 predictions for Best Picture: ‘La La Land’ still ahead but ‘Fences’ climbing fast

La La Land” is still far ahead in the Oscar race for Best Picture. Twenty-two of our 27 Oscar experts derived from major media outlets now back Damien Chazelle‘s romance musical, which doesn’t hit theaters till Dec. 9. Kenneth Longergan‘s domestic drama “Manchester by the Sea,” which led when we opened our predictions center in August, has the votes of just four pundits. It opened last Friday (Nov. 18) to some of the best reviews of the year and just reaped five bids at the Indie Spirit Awards. And one expert predicts a win for Jeff Nichols‘ true-life “Loving.”

But watch out for “Fences,” which continues to screen well in advance of its Christmas opening. Denzel Washington, a two-time Oscar winner for acting [“Glory” (supporting, 1989) and “Training Day” (lead, 2001)], directs and stars in this prestige project. “Fences” is now tied for third on our Oscar odds chart with “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkin‘s critically acclaimed character study that earned a leading six Indie Spirit nominations.

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Washington won a Tony Award in 2010 for headlining the first Broadway revival of this August Wilson 1987 Pulitzer Prize champ. He reprises his role as an ex-baseball player struggling to provide for his family as does his Broadway co-star Viola Davis, who took home a Tony for her performance as a wife whose loyalty is tested. Washington is in second place in Best Actor (at 14/5 odds) behind Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) who remains out front with 2/1 odds. And one-time Best Actress frontrunner Davis, who had slipped to sixth in that race, is now in first for Best Supporting Actress, ahead of Affleck’s co-star Michelle Williams. Wilson, who died in 2005, is the leading contender for his adapted screenplay.

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.

Find out what will win at the Oscars this year

BEST PICTURE

1. “La La Land” (9/2 odds)
Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Erik Davis (Fandango), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Dave Karger (IMDB), 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), Jeff Sneider (Mashable), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Brian Truitt (USA Today), Adnan Virk (ESPN),Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere), Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogetEbert.com).

2. “Manchester by the Sea” (13/2 odds)
Tim Gray (Variety), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Michael Musto (Out.com), Anne Thompson (Indiewire)

3. “Moonlight” (9/1 odds)

4. “Fences” (9/1 odds)

5. “Loving” (12/1 odds)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby)

6. “Silence” (14/1 odds)

7. “Lion” (14/1 odds)

8. “Jackie” (16/1 odds)

9. “Arrival” (20/1 odds)

10. “Sully” (28/1 odds)

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The pundits still give the edge to Chazelle over Lonergan for Best Director by a wide margin – 22 to four. Washington has the vote of one expert. Rounding out the race are 2006 champ Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”) for his passion project “Silence” and “Moonlight” writer/director Jenkins. Lonergan and Jenkins are locked in a battle for Original Screenplay.

While “La La Land” leading lady Emma Stone remains in first for Best Actress with odds of 21/10,  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 remain in third while Stone’s leading man Ryan Gosling moves up a notch to fourth as does Annette Bening (“20th Century Women”). Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks (“Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump”) rounds out the top five for “Sully” as does five-time Oscar also-ran Amy Adams (“Arrival”).

See complete rundown of odds in all top categories.

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 fare 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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