Why 2 Oscar experts predicted ‘Moonlight’ upset for Best Picture

Out of the 30 notable Oscar experts polled by Gold Derby, only two correctly predicted that “Moonlight” would win Best Picture over frontrunner “La La Land”: Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) and Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes). How did they know?

“I had a sneaking suspicion we might see a split this year between the two films,” Atchity tells  Gold Derby. “I thought the preferential voting was going to help ‘Moonlight’ and hurt ‘La La Land.’ There had been that rumbling backlash for ‘La La Land’ that I think played out in a preferential system, and we hadn’t seen that for ‘Moonlight.'”

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Stone believes that the omission of “La La Land” from the nominees for Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards was our early clue that it was vulnerable. “The film lacked the SAG ensemble stat (so did ‘Gravity,’ so did ‘The Revenant’) which meant it did not have the full support of the actors. That hurts it for Best Picture. I ran a few Facebook polls this year and ‘Moonlight’ kept coming out on top. Another poll I ran ‘Moonlight’ again came out on top. What I found with the preferential ballot was that people kept putting ‘Moonlight’ ahead on their ballots. So fans of ‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘Hell or High Water,’ ‘Fences,’ ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ all ranked ‘Moonlight’ higher than ‘La La Land,’ which tended to be a favorite among women voters. And as we know, the Academy is made up more of men. There was an urgency to push ‘Moonlight’ up the ballot and that is ultimately why it defeated ‘La La Land,’ which is a number one movie above all things.”

See our experts’ predictions here. See the leaderboard that lists all experts’ final scores.



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