“La La Land” continues to widen its lead in the Oscar race for Best Picture. Fifteen of our 23 Oscar experts derived from major media outlets are still backing Damien Chazelle‘s romance musical (that’s up from 13 two weeks ago). The rise of “La La Land” in recent weeks has come at the expense of two films: Kenneth Longergan‘s domestic drama “Manchester by the Sea” and Jeff Nichols‘ docudrama “Loving.” The former, a one-time frontrunner, is down to just two pundits while the latter has only one vote.
Four experts still favor the chances of “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” 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.
1. “La La Land” (5/1 odds)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere)
2. “Manchester by the Sea” (7/1 odds)
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB),
3. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” (7/1 odds)
Tim Gray (Variety), Michael Musto (Out.com), Adnan Virk (ESPN), Susan Wloszczyna (RogetEbert.com)
4. “Loving” (9/1 odds)
Anne Thompson (Indiewire)
5. “Fences” (10/1 odds)
6. “Moonlight” (12/1odds)
7. “Lion” (14/1 odds)
8. “The Birth of a Nation” (16/1odds)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)
9. “Arrival” (25/1odds)
10. “Sully” (40/1 odds)
The pundits now give the edge to Chazelle over Lonergan for Best Director by wide margin – 16 to three (last week it was 15 to three).The other four experts still 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 “Moonlight” writer/director Barry Jenkins 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.
“Fences” won the Tony Award for Best Play and Pulitzer Prize back in 1987 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.
Washington is in second place in the Best Actor race (at 9/2 odds) as is one-time frontrunner Davis for Best Actress. Davis, a two-time Oscar also-ran (“Doubt,” 2008; “The Help,” 2011) now has odds of 7/2 while “La La Land” leading lady Emma Stone is in first at 5/2. Newcomer Ruth Negga (“Loving”) is third at 11/2 as is her co-star, Joel Edgerton, for Best Actor at 6/1 as well while Stone’s leading man Ryan Gosling sits in fourth (15/2).
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