“La La Land” just won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Of the previous 38 TIFF champs, 14 reaped Best Picture bids at the Oscars and five of them won the top Academy Award: “Chariots of Fire” (1981), “American Beauty” (1999), “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), “The King’s Speech” (2010) and “12 Years a Slave” (2013).
A majority of our 22 Oscar experts derived from major media outlets are predicting that “La La Land” will be the sixth TIFF pick to win Best Picture. Thirteen of them now back Damien Chazelle‘s romance musical (up from 10 a week ago) while four are still touting Kenneth Longergan‘s domestic drama “Manchester by the Sea” (down by two pundits).
The rise of “La La Land” has also come at the expense of “Loving,” which had five votes two weeks ago but now has just one supporter. Three 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)
Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), 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), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere)
2. “Manchester by the Sea” (13/2 odds)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB),
3. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” (15/2 odds)
Tim Gray (Variety), 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. “The Birth of a Nation” (14/1odds)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)
8. “Lion” (18/1odds)
9. “Arrival” (22/1odds)
10. “20th Century Women” (33/1 odds)
The pundits now give the edge to Chazelle over Lonergan for Best Director by wide margin – 13 to four (last week it was eight to seven).The other five 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 “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.
“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 4/1 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. “La La Land” leading lady Emma Stone has moved into first at 27/10 while newcomer Ruth Negga (“Loving”) is at 11/2. Negga’s co-star, Joel Edgerton, is in third place for Best Actor at 11/2 as well while Stone’s leading man Ryan Gosling sits in fourth (9/1).
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Correction: The original version of this post referenced the Tony Award win for “Fences” as taking place in 1987; that was the year that the play was written.