Final Oscar Predictions – Will ‘La La Land’ Tie or Break the 11 Win Record on Sunday? #Oscars



The Academy Awards ballots were handed in this past Tuesday, Feb. 21. We have stewed on this for months now, looking for alternatives in different sectors of the film year. Everything has pointed to “La La Land,” with a few subtle hints along the way that it COULD be something else. Pending the biggest shocker since “Crash” bested “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005, “La La Land” should be winning Best Picture accordingly. The big question is how many other awards can it win?

Before we get to that number, let’s go through the categories that it is predicted to NOT win (and where it isn’t nominated).

In one of the tightest Best Actor races, both Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Denzel Washington (“Fences”) have duked it out admirably all season. The former won virtually everything in his path except for the coveted SAG prize where he was bested by two-time Academy Award winner Washington, who had never won at SAG previously. Since I first saw “Fences,” I shared a prediction that Affleck would win everything up until SAG, where the tide would turn à la Jean Dujardin. Might as well ride that ship into pasture.

Supporting Actor is a firestorm of possibilities as Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) walks in the door with Critics’ Choice and SAG prizes. BAFTA threw some much needed love to Dev Patel (“Lion”). Perhaps foolishly, I’ve spoken at length about keeping a close eye on Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”). Believing that we are doomed to repeat history, the last time a Golden Globe winner for Supporting Actor won and failed to get Oscar nominated, his co-star from the same film won. As tempting as it is, though, I’m sticking with the passionate Ali to hold his Oscar on Sunday.

There’s not much conversation needed in Supporting Actress where Viola Davis (“Fences”) has won every award on the planet. She’s the surest thing walking into the night. One other thing would be “The Jungle Book” taking home Visual Effects, but “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” may tempt some voters to reward the resurrection of beloved characters and youth.

Going back to “La La Land” running the table, it’s in play for every award it’s up for. The tightest race is Original Screenplay, where it’s lost to “Manchester by the Sea” at BAFTA and “Moonlight” at WGA (though it’s nominated in Adapted at the Academy). Being so bullish on a musical not winning this category for months, in the end, I was drawn back to it to become the first winner since 1968’s “The Producers” by Mel Brooks. This will be one that I’ll kick myself for on Sunday.

Adapted Screenplay is a whole other animal. Any of the five can win…and I mean it. ANY. Safe bet is to go with “Moonlight” which won the Writers Guild of America award in Original Screenplay. That probably measured up to passion, but late “Hidden Figures” trajectory at the SAG Awards, and most recently, Costume Designers Guild Awards, makes me think we could have our “Gods and Monsters” Part 2 on our hands.

Animated Feature showed itself as a potential shocker when we saw “Kubo and the Two Strings” beat out “Zootopia” at BAFTA. Though the campaign from Laika and Focus Features was impressive, “Zootopia” has won too much to fall apart by the end. I wonder if “Moana” could become a “default” choice?

Makeup and Hairstyling seems like a passionless category. The blockbuster “Star Trek Beyond” should prevail, but “A Man Called Ove” is rumored to have very vocal admirers.

So where else will we see “La La Land” win?

Production Design has a fight between the musical and the BAFTA-awarded “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” With that, I’m going with “La La Land.”

Cinematography is usually tailor-made for a science fiction film like “Arrival.” However, the ASC awarded “Lion” and its DP Greig Fraser a few weeks back. Critics’ Choice and BAFTA went with Damien Chazelle’s musical. With that, I’m with “La La Land.”

Film Editing is a tad trickier. The ACE Eddies bestowed prizes on “Arrival” and “La La Land” before BAFTA said “Hacksaw Ridge” was the best editing of the year by John Gilbert. While it will hurt to see “Arrival” go home potentially empty-handed, with that, I’m still sticking with “La La Land.”

The Costume Designers have given award after award to “Jackie” for the past three months. That is, up until it lost the Costume Guild this past week to the surging “Hidden Figures.” “La La Land” won the contemporary category in a walk surely. With all that, I’m staying with the  film about the former first lady of the United States of America. I think “Jackie” manages to edge “La La Land” out.

The Sound categories are crazy weird. Musicals win Sound Mixing and that’s always the safe bet. This is proven by past winners like “Ray” and “Les Miserables.” But a musical has never been nominated in Sound Editing. How does an Academy member interpret that? Could “La La Land” be an easy check off in both categories?  BAFTA threw a wrench with “Arrival” taking the prize but “Hacksaw Ridge” did well with its own guild awards. With that, I’m going with “Hacksaw Ridge.” When in doubt, choose the war film.

Original Score and Song aren’t worth too much breath. Both made for “La La Land” and “City of Stars,” respectively.

Documentary Feature has felt like “O.J.: Made in America” to many but I’ve had my doubts for some time. A few Academy members expressed their disapproval of the film competing because it was on TV.  Netflix also mounted a perfect campaign for “13th” with TV spots and advertisements any place an Academy member would look. My suspicion is that Ava DuVernay will win her first Academy Award (and hopefully not her last).

Foreign Language Film is also open to any three of “A Man Called Ove,” “The Salesman” and “Toni Erdmann.” With the Muslim Ban and Asghar Farhadi not attending the ceremony, I think some voters may have been persuaded to not only watch the film but vote for it. Farhadi should become a two-time winner on Sunday.

The shorts are always a crap shoot, and usually the thing that makes you either win or lose your Oscar office pools. Simply put, I’m going with “Pearl,” “Joe’s Violin” and “Ennemis Interieurs.” All with no certainty at all.

And of course, the Director Oscar will go to Damien Chazelle, who will be the youngest winner in the Academy’s history.

So the final tally for “La La Land” will be…10. Tying the record with “West Side Story” as the most awarded musical in the Academy’s history but one short of tying “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” as the most awarded film ever.

You can check out all the final predictions via the sidebar and visit each page for commentary on each race.

Make sure to enter our Oscar contest via our CIRCUIT CENTER and join us on our MESSAGE BOARDS on Sunday for our LIVE Blogging of the 89th Academy Awards.





  • BEST PICTURE – “La La Land”
  • BEST DIRECTOR – Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
  • BEST ACTOR – Denzel Washington, “Fences”
  • BEST ACTRESS – Emma Stone, “La La Land”
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Viola Davis, “Fences”
  • BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
  • BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney, “Moonlight”
  • BEST FILM EDITING – “La La Land”
  • BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING – “Star Trek Beyond”
  • BEST SOUND MIXING – “La La Land”
  • BEST SOUND EDITING – “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – “The Jungle Book”
  • BEST ORIGINAL SONG – “City of Stars” from “La La Land”
  • BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – “Ennemis Interieurs”

  • TheLillypop

    idk man. AFI or not, if Happy Feet has way less awards than Kubo and yet managed to beat Cars which has even more wins and nominations than Zootopia, then anything could happen. A Moana upset is also very possible.

  • tia maria

    I don’t see La La Land winning 10,maybe 7 or 8 at most.

    • TheLillypop

      I think so as well

    • Michael Eduard Gschwandtner

      Score, Song, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Directing, Production Design, Editing and Picture are almost certain. Makes it 8.
      Stone is very likely. 9 by then.
      And Costume Design and Screenplay are at least possible. The question is if LaLaLand can win 10 times or even 11, but it would be at least 9 I think.

      • tia maria

        I don’t see it winning screenplay against Manchester by the Sea, there is a good chance that it loses song and sound mixing. Not so sure about it winning Costume Design either.

        • Alec Glass

          I agree w/ you about costume design, and I do think Manchester will edge it out for screenplay (though I do think i tis possible there), but sound mixing are song are hardly likely for it to lose. So I would say 9 is by far most likely but it could potentially lose something like editing or production design, maybe both, but I would say 7 or 8 at least rather than most

    • Winning 7 or 8 would be the best thing that ever happened to it.

      • I’m sure the team responsible for the film doesn’t see it that way.

  • Phill Milner

    If Chazelle wins Screenplay and Affleck loses actor, I’ve lost all faith in Oscars.

  • michaeldal65

    La La can forget the Costume Design nod (it was only included to push this inane film to record-tying bunch of nominations), if the voters have any intelligence Hacksaw will take out Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, Moonlight or Arrival own the Cinematography, Fantastic Beasts or Arrival for Art Direction, and the Original Screenplay (since there was nothing remotely original about La La) belongs to Manchester… or, an outside bet, Hell Or High Water.

    • Phill Milner

      I think Cinematography and Stone are the two awards it really does deserve, but agree on everything else.

    • “it was only included to push this inane film to record-tying bunch of nominations”


      The costuming branch couldn’t possibly have a clue the film was a lock in 13 other categories when voting. Mary Zophres is a great costume designer who’s been doing fine work for well over a decade. This is only her second nomination. It’s not like it’s a regular Colleen Atwood/Sandy Powell kind of thing.

      • michaeldal65

        I’m sure she’s a great costume designer but the La La outfits looked to be from Target. Silence, as plodding as it was, was more creative in that area. You don’t honestly think all the La La nominations are a coincidence surely?

  • Calvin Damon

    I really don’t get your Jean Dujardin comparison. Along with the SAG, he also won the Comedy/Musical Globe and the BAFTA. He even won some smaller stuff like the Cannes film festival Best Actor award, the Independent Spirit Award, and Gold Derby, as well as a few of the smaller critic’s circle awards. Denzel has SAG and a few smaller critic’s circle awards. Hell, he wasn’t even nominated for the BAFTA. Dujardin was also in the frontrunning film while Denzel is not. Manchester By the Sea isn’t the frontrunner either, but it’s much closer than Fences. Also, I think that loss at the Costume Designer’s Guild added to the waning buzz of Jackie overall and the seemingly unstoppable hype train that is La La Land is gonna see Jackie lose costume design in the end. I would not be surprised in the slightest if it still won though

    • N.J.

      My thoughts exactly.

  • Julie

    I have La La Land winning 9–losing song (Audition), actor, screenplay, sound editing, and costumes.

    • Atif Mir Hussain

      Agreed! Good job Julie

    • Michael Eduard Gschwandtner

      Agreed except for costumes…on my list LaLaLand makes the 10.

      • Julie

        You could be right. I keep going back and forth but am sticking with Jackie because last minute changes rarely work well for me except with the shorts.

  • Julie

    Interesting—I only have 5 different predictions than the cumulative Awards Circuit. (Actor, two shorts, doc, and original screenplay) I need to revisit my shorts predictions.

    • “Manchester” in Screenplay?

      • Julie

        Yes. Manchester for original, Moonlight for Adapted.

  • Serge

    The Oscars will provide a few surprises. They could choose La La Land, but I think they will go with Moonlight. The directing Oscar will go to Chazelle, but don’t be surprised if it goes to Mel Gibson. Why? The Academy is filled with white men who like him and he deserves it. The Best Actor Oscar will go to Casey. Washington won’t win that one. The Best Actress Oscar will go to Emma Stone. I just do not see the Academy showering La La Land with Oscars.

    • Looking for the surprise myself.

    • michaeldal65

      Are you being sarcastic when you say Gibson deserves it? Hacksaw Ridge deserves its Sound awards but nothing more.

      I’m hoping for major surprises. Moonlight and Arrival to sweep. Easily the two best films…in the race.

      • Julie

        Gibson did a good job, and the level of difficulty was quite high. Hacksaw isn’t my favorite type of film, I prefer other genres, but he did well.

      • Serge

        I am not being sarcastic. Hacksaw Ridge deserves more than Sound awards. It deserves the Best Editing Oscar too. Given that it has a high rating from critics, it’s been nominated for a number of awards, it resonated with audiences, i would say I’m not alone when I say that it’s a great film. It suffers from a weak screenplay, I’ll give you that, but it makes up for it with a few brilliant scenes. As for directing, Mel definitely deserves it. When you think of the budget restrictions, the small battlefield and the tight schedule, it’s amazing what he has done with it. I believe that had he had more time and money, he would have made an even better film. It’s not as masterful as Braveheart or Apocalypto, but it definitely stands on its own as a beautifully crafted film with its heart in the right place.

    • Patrick Downing

      Gibson is still despised. He still is whining about unfair treatment.

  • Luke McGowan

    We’ve been predicting sweepers every year since I arrived on this sight and it never happens. I am betting Denzel but praying to be wrong. If Manchester wins Screenplay Casey comes with it, if La La Land wins then Denzel is a better bet. I just hope La La Land doesn’t win Editing, it was sooooooo badly paced at the end