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Predictions Into Oscar Statues For La La Land?

With just a couple of nights left to the Oscar ceremony, predictions on who's going to win Best Picture nomination this year become abundant and impatient. Those who have already seen the nominated movies, have their own opinions, too. But is there a way to predict how Academy voters are to make their choices?

As the well-known The New Yorker critic Richard Brody states, " In my predictions, I’ll balance punditry with pessimism—I’ve learned to assume that my favorite films won’t win. All along, I’ve been pretty sure that “La La Land” would be a lock for Best Picture; Hollywood loves nothing more than to see itself as a place where young people can fulfill their wildest dreams of stardom, and do so without any artistic compromise. But I think that “Moonlight” will win big, if not for the right reason. The right reason is simple: it’s by far the best picture on the list and the best movie that the industry produced all year. The reason it will win, though, is that the new American political regime is overtly racist, homophobic, and plutocratic, and many Hollywood people, like many people everywhere, are justly disgusted and angry. “Moonlight” is a fine and fierce work of art, but its very subject, a poor, black, gay young man, is, in its every detail, an affront to the Administration’s benighted sensibilities. If the voting had happened before the shock of the new post-Inauguration reality, “La La Land” would win, but the voting period runs from February 13th through today, while the outrages, in word and deed, spew daily from Washington throughout the nation and the world. “Moonlight” is a great movie, not a political screed, but current events transform its symbolic significance."

Entertainment weekly is certain of La La Land's victory: " One could argue that La La Land was crowned the Best Picture winner back in September when Tom Hanks told a crowd at the Telluride Film Festival that the movie was “brand new” and something “that you can’t imagine.” Since then, the $30 million musical has raked in more than $125 million in North American theaters and danced its way into almost every chamber of the Academy’s heart, scoring trophies from the Directors Guild and the Producers Guild. There is some red on the La La Land ledger - it failed to land a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Ensemble, a nominal requirement for best picture winners over the last two decades, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has some issues with it - but that probably won’t stop its waltz to the podium."

The Guardian also bets in favour of La La Land: "Damien Chazelle’s heartbroken contemporary musical is unbeatable, with a record-equalling 14 nominations, a global box-office haul of more than £270m and a trophy cabinet already stacked with key precursor awards, from the New York Critics Circle to the Producers Guild of America to its whopping haul at the Golden Globes. The only question is how emphatically it’s going to sweep the Oscars. La La Land is so far in the lead, it’s hard to tell what’s even running second. Moonlight was shaping up as a spoiler, but has lost momentum to uplifting crowdpleaser Hidden Figures, the surprise victor at the Screen Actors Guild awards."

Yet another The New Yorker critic Michael Schulman stands by his colleague, though is not convinced by his arguments: "My colleague Richard Brody predicts that political sentiment will push “Moonlight” over the edge. If that happens, I’ll cheer. But it probably won’t. “La La Land” is this year’s singing, dancing steamroller. If your heart belongs to “Moonlight,” take solace in the fact that a movie made for five million dollars has brought in nearly forty million dollars worldwide and was nominated for eight Oscars, and that the real triumph was that it got made at all."

What are your bets? The winner will take it all on February 26.

Happy Oscars!

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