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


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.