‘Manchester by the Sea’ is the Oscar frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay with 2-to-7 odds from Experts

With 2/7 odds from our 29 movie Experts, “Manchester by the Sea” is predicted to win Best Original Screenplay at Sunday’s Academy Awards. “Manchester” writer/director Kenneth Lonergan remains the favorite here after recent victories at the BAFTA Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards (where the film actually tied with “La La Land”). The 2017 Oscars air live Sunday on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

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Twenty-four of our 29 Experts are predicting a “Manchester” victory for Best Original Screenplay: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Eric Deggans (NPR), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Matthew Jacobs (HuffPo), Dave Karger (IMDb), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Michael Musto (Out.com), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDb), 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 “La La Land” with 9/2 odds based on the support of the remaining five experts: Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Erik Davis (Fandango), Tim Gray (Variety), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly) and Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly). Written by the film’s director Damien Chazelle, this script won the top prizes at the Golden Globes and it also tied with “Manchester” at the Critics’ Choice Awards.

Oscar Best Picture Gallery: History of Every Academy Award-Winning Movie

In third place with 50/1 odds is “Hell or High Water.” This is writer Taylor Sheridan‘s first career Oscar nomination, following recent bids at the Writers Guild, BAFTA, Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice.

There is a two-way tie for last place with 80/1 apiece between the screenplays for “The Lobster” (Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou) and “20th Century Women” (Mike Mills). These are the sole nominations for both films this year, putting them at a disadvantage as the other three nominees all have multiple bids including Best Picture.

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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 highest scores when you combine the last two years’ Oscars) and All Users, the rankings are nearly the same. The favored pick of more than 2,000 people is “Manchester by the Sea” with 4/7 odds over “La La Land” in second place with 21/10 odds. “Hell or High Water” follows with 50/1 odds, and then “The Lobster” at 66/1 and “20th Century Women” at 80/1.

Last year’s Oscar champ for Best Original Screenplay was “Spotlight,” written by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer. What will join it in the Oscar winner’s circle this year?

Predict the Oscar winners now; change them till February 26

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 2017 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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