Now that the major film festivals have come to an end, it’s time to update you on the odds for the 89th Academy Award for Best Picture. There’s still some time until February 26, when the ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, but the films are already out, so let’s break out the odds!
By now, the vast majority of Academy Award prospects have already been released. Sundance, Cannes and the fall festivals showcased a wide array of films vying for the most prestigious award in cinema.
Last year’s Academy Awards was marred by it’s lack of racial diversity, spurring the #OscarsSoWhite campaign. Many of this year’s Oscar hopefuls have tried to address the fraught state of race relations in the US as a result.
Moonlight, written and directed by Barry Jenkins, is a coming-of-age story of a gay black man growing up in a crime-ridden and opportunity-deprived neighbourhood in Miami, Florida. The film shines a spotlight on the lives of people too often ignored by society.
Birth of a Nation also shines a light on the racial complexities within America, but from a more historical perspective. The film is based on the life of Nat Turner, the leader of an 1831 slave rebellion. However, the film’s success has been overshadowed by rape allegations against director Nate Parker.
And then there is Loving, written and directed by Jeff Nichols, a story about interracial love in a time when such was forbidden by law. The film centers around Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the famous Supreme Court decision that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
But the favorite for Best Picture is La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The musical comedy-drama was met with universal praise when it debuted at the Venice Film Festival in August. La La Land is Chazelle’s follow-up to Whiplash, which was nominated for Best Picture in 2014.
There are probably only two films with Oscar ambitions that have not been released yet — Ben Affleck’s Life By Night and Martin Scorsese’s Silence. Both are scheduled to be released in late December and we’ll be sure to update you on the odds after their release.
La La Land: 10/11
Birth of a Nation: 6/1
Manchester By The Sea: 9/1
Nocturnal Animals: 10/1
Billy Lynns Long Halftime Walk: 15/1
Photo credit: “Best Actress Academy Awards” by Cliff, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.
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