Oscars 2017 Nominees: Best Picture Odds Favor ‘La La Land’ Over ‘Moonlight’

With a total of nine movies among the Oscars 2017 nominees for the Best Picture category, only one great film will receive the golden statue. They include the musical La La Land starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, as well as the drama Moonlight. Also among the favorite contenders are Manchester by the Sea starring Casey Affleck, and recently-surging feel good film Hidden Figures featuring Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson. Which of the nine nominees has the best chance at the win when the Academy Awards take place, though?

As The Oscars website states, the big movie awards show will arrive on Sunday, February 26, with a variety of different categories to honor the top achievements in film over the past season. The biggest categories on the night tend to involve the actors and actresses, director, and of course, Best Picture. Four of the nine films nominated for the category have good potential to win, with each of those movies winning at least one top movie award at other shows.

The musical La La Land has 14 nominations at this year’s Oscars including Best Picture. [Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

Every year, the Golden Globes have two big movie winners in different categories, providing a glimpse of the early Oscar nominees and contenders. This year’s winners were La La Land for the musical/comedy genre and Moonlight for the drama category. It should be noted that Manchester By the Sea was also amongst Golden Globes nominees, but Hidden Figures wasn’t. However, the latter of these films has come up strong at the latest awards show.

For the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in late January, Collider reported that Hidden Figures came up with the win for Best Ensemble, but the website notes that it probably won’t dethrone La La Land at the Oscars. The frontrunner movie, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, is a musical romantic comedy-drama. It tells the love story of an aspiring actress, Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), and musician Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling) who meet in Los Angeles.

La La Land picked up an average rating of 8.7 out of 10 from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and a 93 out of 100 on Metacritic, showing just how much critical acclaim it has garnered. Stone and Gosling have each picked up Golden Globe awards for their acting, while Chazelle grabbed Best Director. The movie actually took home all seven of the awards it had been up for at the Globes and leads all Oscar nominees this year with a total 14 nominations. The nominations alone has it sitting in the record books for a tie with the juggernaut Titanic and the 1950s film All About Eve.

While nine films may be up for the biggest trophy of the night, it seems four really stand out as potential winners. Over at the Paddy Power sportsbook, odds are offered for each of the categories at this year’s Academy Awards. On the Best Picture category, La La Land continues to lead the field as the favorite, with odds of 1 to 7, while Moonlight is the second favorite at 13 to 2 odds. Hidden Figures and Manchester By the Sea are in a tie for third on the odds. These two films have odds of 12 to 1 to win, as of this report.

Oscar Best Picture Winner Odds

  • La La Land 1/7
  • Moonlight 13/2
  • Manchester by the Sea 12/1
  • Hidden Figures 12/1
  • Lion 60/1
  • Fences 66/1
  • Hacksaw Ridge 66/1
  • Arrival 100/1
  • Hell or High Water 100/1

As mentioned, Moonlight certainly has a shot at upsetting the favorite. With a win at the Golden Globes in the drama category, this movie which was based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, has potential to win Best Picture due to its strong themes. The movie about a man’s struggle with his sexual identity was directed by Barry Jenkins and received four stars by RoberEbert.com critic Brian Tallerico.

Moonlight won in the Best Drama category at the 74th annual Golden Globes. [Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

Moonlight carries a total of eight nominations into the Oscar awards show with Best Director (Jenkins), Best Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris), and Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) also among its potential wins. The film is “certified fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of nine out of 10 or 98 percent by movie critics. As NY Times critic A.O. Scott noted, “perhaps the most beautiful thing about ‘Moonlight’ is its open-endedness, its resistance to easy summary or categorization.”

The fourth potential contender is Manchester By the Sea. The film, an Amazon original, stars Casey Affleck as an uncle looking after his nephew after the boy’s father has died. It has yet to capture the similar awards the movies have won. Even if the movie fails to win the biggest award on the night, it has already made history as the first-ever film released by a digital streaming company to receive a nomination for Best Picture.

While the film didn’t capture the top movie award at Golden Globes or SAG, it did win the Best Film category for the Satellite Awards given out by the International Press Academy. Affleck has also received Best Actor wins at several events including the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) and Critics’ Choice Awards.

In 2016, the drama Spotlight captured the win on Oscar night, but it hadn’t necessarily been a strong favorite heading towards the event. Leo DiCaprio and Revenant were gaining momentum, causing many viewers to predict a win for the man vs. nature survival movie instead. However, the religious-themed movie examining controversies within the Catholic church took the prize. That gives some fans hope that Hidden Figures, a movie telling the true story of female African American mathematicians, might do the same based on the fact both films won at the SAG Awards.

Don’t be mistaken, all nine of the movies deserve the nomination in this year’s Best Picture category, but unfortunately only one wins. So which of the top four contenders will take the big prize? When it comes down to the latest Oscar predictions, NOLA website speculates that La La Land should, in fact, take home nine wins of its 14 nominations, including Best Picture, based on the “singing praises” the movie continues to receive.

[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

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