Usually there is some kind of discussion about what film will win Best Picture on the night of the Oscars. It actually makes it a lot more fun when you don’t know or at least when there are two films in the running. Last year, it was anyone’s guess between The Revenant, Spotlight, and The Big Short. The year before that it was down to Boyhood vs. Birdman. The year before that was Gravity vs. 12 Years a Slave. And before that was Argo vs. Lincoln. I guess it has been 5 years since we had a guaranteed Best Picture winner (when The Artist won). Coincidence that both The Artist and La La Land have to do with the movie business?
That being said, no one is wondering what film will win Best Picture this year, but an interesting turn of events happened the day the Oscar nominations were announced. La La Land tied the all-time Oscar record for the most nominations (14)! Only two other films have done that before: All About Eve and Titanic. Now we have something to talk about! The discussion shifted from “Who will win Best Picture?” to “How many awards will La La Land win?”
This is significant because since the Oscars changed to having more than 5 Best Picture nominations, there hasn’t been this type of momentum for any one film. Here are the Best Picture winners since the change and how many total awards they won:
2016: Spotlight (won 2 awards)
2015: Birdman (won 4 awards)
2014: 12 Years a Slave (won 3 awards)
2013: Argo (won 3 awards)
2012: The Artist (won 5 awards)
2011: The King’s Speech (won 4 awards)
2010: The Hurt Locker (won 6 awards)
As you can see, no Best Picture winner has won more than 6 total awards since the change, and the average awards won by a BP winner in the past 4 years is just 3 awards! Why is that? The short and sweet answer is that there has been a split between what film is considered Best Picture and what film is the Best Technical Film. This year it’s different and it’s a reason why even though La La Land is locked to win Best Picture, it’s still worth watching.
The big number to keep in mind here is the number: 11. There have only been 3 films to win 11 Academy Awards in one night: Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Can La La Land win 11? Can La La Land win even more, becoming the biggest Oscar winner of all-time?!
According to my count, the answer is no. But it will come close. For starters, although La La Land has 14 nominations, it can only win 13 awards because it is nominated twice in the Best Original Song category. Will this split voters and lead the way for a Lin-Manuel Miranda EGOT? Maybe?
Here are the awards that I feel La La Land are LOCKED to win:
Best Lead Actress
So La La Land is definite to win at least 8 awards. It will likely win more, but I really feel that these 8 categories are in the bag for La La Land. That being said, here are the categories in question:
Best Lead Actor
Best Original Screenplay
Let’s break them down one-by-one:
Best Lead Actor is a race between Denzel Washington and Casey Affleck. It is probably La La Land’s weakest chance to win out of every nomination. Bet against La La Land here.
Best Original Screenplay – La La Land very well could win this award. Its main contender is Manchester by the Sea and many consider Manchester the favorite here, but both La La and Manchester lost to Moonlight at the WGA. The funny thing is that while all three of those films mentioned were in the same category at the WGA, Moonlight was moved to Adapted Screenplay for the Oscars, leaving this match-up between Manchester vs. La La Land. Intriguing! To make matters even more deadlocked is that both Manchester and La La Land tied for Best Original Screenplay at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards! Will voters check the box next to La La Land like the rest of the categories? Or will voters side with Manchester trying to give them one award for the night?
Best Costume Design usually goes to a period piece. Sure, the costumes in La La Land are elegant, colorful, and flashy, but it’s not your traditional winner in this category. Past winners include: The Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina, The Young Victoria, and The Duchess. But to be fair, The Artist did beat out Jane Eyre during the 84th Academy Awards. Will La La Land have the same fate? Jackie is La La Land’s biggest opponent in this category.
Best Sound Editing almost always goes to a war film or an action film. Past winners include: Mad Max Fury Road, American Sniper, Gravity, Zero Dark Thirty, Inception, The Hurt Locker, and The Dark Knight. This will put Hacksaw Ridge at a huge advantage over La La Land here. Do not confuse this with Best Sound Mixing, because that category usually goes to the musicals. Past winners include: Whiplash, Les Miserables, Dreamgirls, Ray, and Chicago. None of these films won Sound Editing. To bring this point even higher, West Side Story won 10 Oscars from 11 nominations. The only award it didn’t win was for Sound Editing.
Best Production Design – While La La Land is favorite to win this award, there is a lot of love for Arrival to come through here. Arrival was suppsoed to be this Oscars’ technical darling like in the way Mad Max was last year and Gravity was a few years ago. But La La Land has been stomping on everyone’s dreams like the happy-go-lucky kid at the beach knocking over your sand castle. Will the voters rally behind Arrival to give it one award? Or is the La La Land train too powerful to stop?
My Final Tally:
La La Land will win: 10 awards
Best Lead Actress
La La Land will lose:
Best Lead Actor
Best Original Screenplay
Still, not too shabby if you asked me. If this happens, La La Land will tie West Side Story for 10 Oscar awards. Coincidence that they’re both movie-musicals?