Experts’ Oscar predictions for Best Picture: ‘La La Land’ jumps ahead of ‘Manchester by the Sea’

Buoyed by a boffo showing at the Toronto filmfest, “La La Land” has moved ahead of “Manchester by the Sea” in the race for Best Picture according to the updated predictions of our 20 Oscar experts derived from major media outlets. Ten of them now back Damien Chazelle‘s romance musical (up from four a week ago) while six are still touting Kenneth Longergan‘s domestic drama (down by one pundit).

The rise of “La La Land” came at the expense of “Loving,” which had five votes last week but now has just one supporter. Two experts still favor the chances of “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” (it had three votes last week) while one still expects a win for “The Birth of a Nation.” Click here to see how our experts rank 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.

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Here’s how the Best Picture predictions break down by expert (see individual rankings right here) as well as the most up-to-date odds for each to win:

1. “La La Land” (11/2 odds)
Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior),  Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily)

2. “Manchester by the Sea” (6/1 odds)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere)

3. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” (15/2 odds)
Adnan Virk (ESPN), Susan Wloszczyna (

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

5. “Fences” (10/1 odds)

6. “The Birth of a Nation” (14/1odds)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)

7. “Moonlight” (14/1odds)

8. “Arrival” (20/1odds)

9. “Lion” (22/1odds)

10. “20th Century Women” (33/1 odds)

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The pundits now give the edge to Chazelle over Lonergan in a tight race for Best Director by just one vote – eight to seven.The other five experts favor the chances of Ang 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 “Loving” writer/director Jeff Nichols 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 three other top Oscar races, according to our experts’ predictions: actor (Casey Affleck), supporting actor (Lucas Hedges) and supporting actress (Michelle Williams). See complete rundown of odds in all top categories.

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“Fences” won the Tony Award for Best Play back in 1983 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.

While Washington is in second place in the Best Actor race (at 4/1 odds), we are predicting that Davis will prevail for Best Actress. Davis, a two-time Oscar also-ran (“Doubt,” 2008; “The Help,” 2011) has leading odds of 10/3, just ahead of “La La Land” leading lady Emma Stone and newcomer Ruth Negga (“Loving”) who are tied at 7/2. Negga’s co-star, Joel Edgerton, is in third place for Best Actor at 6/1 while Stone’s leading man  Ryan Gosling sits in fourth (9/1).

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