Upsets happen all the time at the Oscars where things seldom go according to script. Last year Sly Stallone (“Creed”) looked like a shoo-in to win Best Supporting Actor, but then – yeowsa – Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) delivered a knock-out punch even though Rylance previously had lost the Golden Globe and SAG Award and he hadn’t actively campaigned.
Oh, yeah, and you might recall that “The Revenant” had the best odds to win Best Picture, but then “Spotlight” staged a coup. So … what jawdroppers could happen on Feb. 26?
“La La Land” looks good to bag Best Picture, but some dreamers hope to see an upset by “Moonlight.” Just like last year, the supporting actor race could rock the Oscars: Dev Patel (“Lion”) and Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”) both have a shot at toppling frontrunner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”).
Emma Stone has strong odds to win Best Actress (1/3) because she’s the heart and soul of the movie widely believed will sweep the Oscars, perhaps even tying the record held by “Titantic,” “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” and “Ben-Hur” (11 awards). Best Pictures usually win an acting award, so Stone is the logical honoree, but she’s vulnerable. Voters often want performances to have brooding gravitas and art-house pretension. It also helps if actors go through a radical physical transformation like Helen Mirren (“The Queen”) becoming Elizabeth II or Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”) as Maggie Thatcher. It’s interesting to note that Streep’s victory in 2011 was an upset over frontrunner Viola Davis (“The Help”). Thus Natalie Portman (“Jackie”) or Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”) could prevail.
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