OSCARS: Is ‘La La Land’ Positioned to Be the New ‘Titanic’ After the Golden Globes?

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The Golden Globes shook things up a bit last night. To some, it may have solidified their thoughts that “La La Land” will be our first sweeper since “Titanic” in 1998, winning a buttload of awards that will likely include Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay. It would be the first musical original screenplay nominee since “Fame” in 1980. Perhaps you’re all right, besides, I’ve gone on record saying I believed that “Manchester by the Sea” was the new frontrunner for the Oscars due to many contributing factors. Truth is, it’s a race and no film is all out in the lead at the moment.

“La La Land” has now swept the Critics’ Choice and the Golden Globes, two organizations run by journalists. Oscar voters are not journalists. People seem to think I’m putting too much stock in the Cast Ensemble snub at SAG, but until proven otherwise, it’s a factor.

Moonlight” won Best Picture (Drama) at the Globes, its only win of the night, mirroring the same win tally as “12 Years a Slave” a few years ago. When a genre is a naturally polarizing factor among movie-goers, what is their “go-to” next film in the lineup? Is it the movie that tells the story of an African-American male coming to terms with his sexuality, or is it the story of a Caucasian male coming to terms with his own tragedies and attempting to overcome them? With Oscar, one feels very familiar and typically in line with what they tend to like and enjoy. We just have to see if they agree.

In the race for Best Actor, Casey Affleck beat out Denzel Washington (“Fences“) and is just peaking at the moment. Washington’s last chance to turn it around is at the SAG Awards, where he’s never won a competitive award before. Much like past SAG winners such as Sean Penn (“Milk”) or Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), this is where they turned it around in their Oscar runs against formidable competitors. The big talk is what Ryan Gosling offers to the equation. In a world where “La La Land” makes a sweep, could Gosling muscle past those two juggernauts of performances and win for a musical? It was interesting watching Twitter converse with itself yesterday as it brought up Gosling winning for “La La Land” when he’s also delivered “Half Nelson,” “Lars and the Real Girl” and “Drive” in his career.

On the Best Actress front, we have a real race. Emma Stone has a much harder time making her case because there isn’t a consensus on who has been the best. Natalie Portman from “Jackie” and Isabelle Huppert from “Elle” are in a dead heat for highest precursor tally, with the latter leading (for the moment). Portman has won the Critics’ Choice. Stone has the Globe in Comedy or Musical. Huppert shockingly won on the Drama side without a SAG nomination. As said in the prediction article, no person has won the Best Actress (Drama) Globe and missed out on an Oscar nomination (with Kate Winslet for “Revolutionary Road” and Shirley MacLaine for “Madame Sousatzka” not really counting).

Add that with Meryl Streep‘s fiery and passionate speech at the Globes, and we may have just locked in our Best Actress five. This is all assuming Amy Adams, who hasn’t missed a major precursor nomination yet, is as locked in as she seems. Where is there room for someone else and for whom? Ruth Negga and Annette Bening are making their cases and Emily Blunt is a surprise SAG nominee.

Speaking of shockers, the multiple thuds heard at about 8:10 P.M. EST last night were jaws hitting the floor across the country as Aaron Taylor-Johnson won Best Supporting Actor for “Nocturnal Animals” over Mahershala Ali and Jeff Bridges. Hell, people were even predicting a Dev Patel upset. The last time a Best Supporting Actor winner from the Globes missed an Oscar nomination was Richard Benjamin in “The Sunshine Boys” in 1975. Coincidentally, his co-star George Burns won the Academy Award.

What does that mean for Taylor-Johnson’s co-star Michael Shannon? Could he find his way into the mix without a SAG nod to help out? People thought Sylvester Stallone was going to do it last year but came up short to Mark Rylance. Only two actors have won the Academy Award without a SAG nomination (Marcia Gay Harden for “Pollock” and Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained”). Safe bets are still on Mahershala Ali from “Moonlight” making the run.

Supporting Actress is locked and loaded for Viola Davis. She really doesn’t seem to have a real competitor. Minus her giving a gracious and lovely speech, the Globes also offered her an opportunity to introduce Meryl Streep for the Cecil B. Demille award, which was even more screen time for Oscars to remember. It’s terrific to watch.

Best Director is also a race but seems more and more likely for Damien Chazelle, who will become the youngest Director winner in Oscar history. Can Barry Jenkins punch his way through or can Kenneth Lonergan’s passionate base get to other voters? There’s a compelling case made for Mel Gibson to snag Oscar No. 2 for “Hacksaw Ridge.” When he won Picture and Director for “Braveheart” in 1995, he did it without the help of SAG (the first year for the awards). He also won when all the major guilds gave it to Ron Howard and “Apollo 13.” What if Gibson did it once again with “Hacksaw Ridge?” Let it sit.

Next up are BAFTA and PGA nods (Jan. 10), adding MHG and VES to the mix on the same day. DGA nods will be announced Jan. 12, one day before AMPAS voting closes.

Oscar Predictions have been updated. You can see them via the sidebar or go to the individual pages by clicking on the corresponding categories to get full commentary.

CHECK OUT OTHER CATEGORIES:

PICTURE |DIRECTOR | LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS |SUPPORTING ACTOR |SUPPORTING ACTRESS |ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY |ADAPTED SCREENPLAY |ANIMATED FEATURE |PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | FOREIGN LANGUAGE | LIVE ACTION SHORT | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT

About Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of AwardsCircuit.com. Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He's also an active member of New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association.Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include the New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Tee

    Do you think a BP/Director split is likely considering the intense match-ups between La La Land, Manchester, and Moonlight?

    • It could. I feel pretty good about Damien Chazelle in Director at the moment. Need more guilds to solidify the race.

      • adam

        Hollywood loves Hollywood, so Best Pic and Best Director are definitely going to La La Land. Manchester (overrated, pretentious, a bit boring) and Moonlight (brilliant) will win in their respective Screenplay categories. Viola Davis can collect hers now, and we’re now down to 2-man versus battles in the other acting categories: Affleck vs. Washington, Bridges vs. Ali, and Portman vs. Stone. I will literally shit if Isabelle Huppert wins.

  • Pablo

    Really? Titanic? Really?! I’m not saying it can win or anything like that, but comparing to the juggernaut know as Titanic I think its a bit too much.

  • Calvin Damon

    First big sweeper since Titanic? What about LOTR: ROTK? It didn’t get as many nominations as Titanic, but it tied it for wins and won every single one of its nominations. It literally swept all 11 of its nominations. I’d call Slumdog Millionaire a sweeper as well with 8 wins out of its 10 nominations

    • Calvin Damon

      I think a nomination count of Titanic and a win count of Slumdog is a little more realistic, considering it takes score, song, sound mixing, editing, picture, director, production design, and either costume design, actress, or original screenplay

  • Knox Van Horn

    I have to say, I thin it’s time to put La La Land as the solid frontrunner. The the lock, necessarily, but 7 globes is a record and there is literally no reason to think it isn’t the frontrunner besides the SAG Ensemble miss. Also confused how you have Portman still winning. If anything, last night strengthened Emma Stone’s candidacy, because Portman, her main competitor, didn’t win for drama. Still, we’ll see.

  • Adam Lawrence

    I think early sweeps are how backlashes start. Everyone who hasn’t seen La La Land now gets to see it and say, “SEVEN globes? It’s good, but is it THAT good?” And with just enough flaws to pick away at (Gosling, really bad sound mixing, awkward dancing, kind of a cliched artist-romance foundation, etc) I don’t think people will lock it in as their favorite of the year. It may pick up steam and momentum and go all the way, I’m thinking it may have just peaked a bit too early and the passion for Moonlight will pull it up from behind. But we’ll have to see!

    (I also still think Silence is in the mix, maybe not for a win, but depending on DGA, maybe for director. It’s just now going wide so if voters see it, and respect Scorsese enough, it could be a spoiler for some noms. Not counting Shutter Island, his films do better with noms than even pros predict. 11 noms for Hugo w/5 wins, 11 noms for Aviator w/5 wins. People thought DiCaprio would miss for Wolf, plus even Jonah Hill got in. Departed got his expected Directing win, but also editing and adapted screenplay which were no locks.)

    • michaeldal65

      I like your thinking Adam. LA LA LAND may well suffer a backlash. An above comment describes Gosling’s work as off the charts. I just can’t agree. Stone is outstanding and a serious threat to all her competitors but the rest is a derivative excursion. Rather twee actually.

      If SILENCE gets in anywhere, it may be in the supporting actor category (Ogata) and for cinematography. Anything else in the higher categories would be just a sentimental vote at this point. But then, Oscar often recognises passion projects no matter the quality. Just look at ALBERT NOBBS and MONEYBALL.

  • Tee

    An interesting note I discovered; only three films that won BP C/M went on to win Best Picture in the last thirty years (Chicago, The Artist, and Driving Miss Daisy), while only Birdman has been a nominee that went on to win. Could this factor into the race, or is it just one fact among many that holds little weight so far?

    • Paul

      Shakespeare In Love.

  • Sethcohen26

    Ryan gosling should win for best actor. He sings, dances, plays the piano and acts and I assume more liked in Hollywood. It’s such an incredible performance all around.