How Predictable Will Best Picture At The Oscars Be This Year?

Sebastien Balembois, Reporter

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Sebastien Balembois




How Predictable Will Best Picture At The Oscars Be This Year?


The 89th Annual Academy Awards are approaching. Over the years, a wide variety of movies have won Best Picture; some have been unpredictable and others were very much expected to win.


For example, not many people expected “Birdman” (2014) to beat out other nominees from the same year, such as “Boyhood,” “Theory of Everything,” or “The Imitation Game.” Similarly, moviegoers did not expect  “Spotlight” (2015) to beat both “The Revenant” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” On the other hand, everyone knew that “Titanic” and “Gladiator” would win because of their high production values,very heavy marketing and advertising, as well as big name actors and directors.  We’re all wondering how predictable the winner this year will be.


The nominations were announced Jan 24 and as expected, “La La Land” has garnered the largest amount of nominations. The film is about an aspiring actress and dedicated jazz musician who are struggling to make ends meet in Los Angeles. The film leads all others with an insane 14 nominations. It is tied with “Titanic” and “All About Eve” for the most overall nominations in Academy Award history.


Also, the Oscars nominated far more racially diverse films than in previous years. For example, “Moonlight” is a movie about a young black man’s struggle to find himself told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain and beauty of falling in love while grappling with his own sexuality. “Fences” and “Hidden Figures” are the two other films with predominantly black casts. All three movies were nominated for Best Picture along with “La La Land,” “Arrival,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Lion.”


Most people think that “La La Land” will take home the prize because “Titanic” and “All About Eve” also had the same amount of nominations and took home the big trophy at the end of the night. However, in the last few years, sleepers such as “Birdman” and “Spotlight” have won Best Picture over more hyped films such as “Boyhood,” “Selma,” “The Revenant,” or “Mad Max: Fury Road.”


Recent history leans toward a win from a less popular film but that doesn’t mean much when you look at the amount of nominations “La La Land” got… The Academy really likes it. Still, the Oscars in recent years have been more “whitewashed” and many people both in the black community and worldwide have complained about the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards. However, this year, with an abundance of “black” films being nominated, don’t be completely sold on “La La Land” winning.


The beautiful coming of age film “Moonlight” will give “La La Land” a run for its money. After last year’s outrage over the lack of films with black actors or directors being nominated, it would be expected that the Academy would be desperately looking for black movies to nominate. Fortunately, quality movies came to the Academy  and a movie with an all black cast, “Moonlight,” is the biggest threat to “La La Land” to win the award this year.


However, the other two black films, “Fences” and “Hidden Figures,” nominated in this category also have realistic chances of winning given the unpredictability of the Oscars. Those two movies, as well as “Manchester by the Sea,” “Lion,” “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Hell or High Water” also have a shot at winning Best Picture.


However, in a year where “La La Land” gets nominated 14 times, you can be pretty sure the Academy will go the safe route and give it the Oscar. Regardless, “Moonlight” should win Best Picture this year due to its unmatched beauty and power.