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

La La Land,” which won the top prize from the New York Film Critics Circle on Dec. 1, is still far ahead in the Oscar race for Best Picture. Twenty-four of our 28 Oscar experts derived from major media outlets now back Damien Chazelle‘s romance musical, which opens this coming Friday (Dec. 9). But watch out for “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkin‘s critically acclaimed character study that just won over the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Sunday (Dec. 4).

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While “Moonlight” does not yet have the backing of any experts for the win, it is now solidly in third place on our Oscar odds chart, having broken a tie with Denzel Washington‘s “Fences.” That latter film has the backing of one expert while Kenneth Longergan‘s domestic drama “Manchester by the Sea,” which led when we opened our predictions center in August, has the votes of three pundits.

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)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Erik Davis (Fandango), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), 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)

3. “Moonlight” (15/2 odds)

4. “Fences” (9/1 odds)
Anne Thompson (Indiewire)

5. “Silence” (14/1 odds)

6. “Loving” (16/1 odds)

7. “Lion” (16/1 odds)

9. “Arrival” (18/1 odds)

8. “Jackie” (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 – 23 to five. And “Moonlight” writer/director Jenkins is in third place. Lonergan and Jenkins are locked in a battle for Original Screenplay. Rounding out the helmer’s race are 2006 champ Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”) for his passion project “Silence” and Washington for “Fences,” his third film as director.

Washington is rising fast on our Best Actor chart and is now in second place to long-time leader Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) who won over the Gotham critics and was runner-up to Adam Driver (“Paterson”) with the west coast crowd. And while “La La Land” leading lady Emma Stone remains in first for Best Actress,  2010 Oscar champ Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) is coming on strong as “Jackie” just opened to outstanding reviews.

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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