With 2/13 odds from our 28 movie Experts, Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) is predicted to win Best Director at Sunday’s Academy Awards. Chazelle is also nominated this year for Best Original Screenplay for the film, and two years ago he was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Whiplash” (2014). At age 32 he would be the youngest Oscar winner for Best Director in history, and all signs point to success: he won the Golden Globe, the BAFTA Award, the Critics’ Choice Award and the Directors Guild Award for his efforts behind the camera.
Twenty-six of our 28 Experts are predicting a Chazelle victory: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Erik Davis (Fandango), Eric Deggans (NPR), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Tim Gray (Variety), Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Michael Musto (Out.com), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDb), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Brian Truitt (USA Today), Adnan Virk (ESPN), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere), Glenn Whipp (LA Times) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).
In second place is Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) with 10/1 odds; the two Experts picking him to win are Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes) and Kevin Polowy (Yahoo). Like Chazelle, Jenkins is a first-time nominee for directing, and he also has an additional nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. In addition to Oscar he has been nominated at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and the Directors Guild Awards, and he won various regional critics awards, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.
Much further behind are Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”) with 50/1 odds, Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”) with 66/1 odds and Mel Gibson (“Hacksaw Ridge”) with 80/1 odds. Lonergan is a first-time directing nominee, but he earned two previous writing nominations, for “You Can Count on Me” (2000) and “Gangs of New York” (2002) in addition to his current Best Original Screenplay nom for “Manchester.” Gibson is the only past winner in this contest, having claimed Best Picture and Best Director for “Braveheart” (1995). And Villeneuve is nominated for the very first time.
According to our overall combined odds featuring the predictions of all Experts, Editors, Top 24 Users (those who did the best at their winner picks last year), All-Star Top 24 (who got the best predictions scores when you combine the last two years’ results), and All Users, the rankings are the same. The favored pick of over 3,100 people is Chazelle with 1/10 odds over Jenkins with 16/1 odds. Lonergan follows with 50/1 odds, and then Villeneuve at 66/1 and Gibson at 80/1.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.