How Many Oscars Will La La Land Win?

February 22, 2017


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 Picture
Best Lead Actress
Best Director
Film Editing
Original Score
Original Song
Sound Mixing

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
Costume Design
Sound Editing
Production Design

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 Picture
Best Lead Actress
Costume Design
Film Editing
Production Design
Original Score
Original Song
Sound Mixing

La La Land will lose:

Best Lead Actor
Best Original Screenplay
Sound Editing

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?


Avatar for Best Picture?

January 5, 2010

Hypothetically speaking… let’s say that from now and when the Oscars are being voted upon, if Avatar surpasses Titanic as the highest grossing movie of all-time, do you think it will win Best Picture by default?

This will be a true test to see whether or not the Academy will vote for the huge blockbuster (Avatar) against smaller but better films (The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air).  But just by looking at the numbers, is it really fair to compare a juggernaut like Avatar that has grossed over $1 BILLION worldwide in only three weeks with one of the most brilliant war films, The Hurt Locker, that only grossed about $12.6 million (if it wins Best Picture, it’ll become the lowest grossing Best Picture winner of all-time).

I think it’s an interesting thought, nonetheless.  But all that glitz and glamour in Avatar doesn’t exist with the majority of the other soon-to-be Best Picture nominees.  Avatar is epic and one of the most expensive movies to make.  But is that what the Academy should award?

There was a great outcry when The Dark Knight got snubbed last year.  We all know Avatar will be nominated since there are 10 nominees this year… will the public be satisfied with only that?  Or will the same outcry be heard if Avatar loses to a movie that no one has seen?  Perhaps, this Academy vs. public is just a topic that will never end.

In my early opinion, I feel that Avatar has a very good shot at winning Best Picture, but I don’t think it’ll win the big award.  The Hurt Locker has a very good shot as well and in some people’s view it is the front-runner.  I think The Hurt Locker is simply too small to win.  Plus, I really believe that The Hurt Locker will get its recognition with the Best Director award going to Kathryn Bigelow, the film’s director.   In this case, it’ll be the first time a female director has ever won the award.  That is a huge accomplishment and will be enough for the Academy.  Which leaves Up in the Air, a small and intelligent but mainstream and timely film, to swoop in and win the Best Picture award.

What do you think?

Box Office Results: Is Avatar the biggest movie of all-time?

January 4, 2010

Studio Estimates for Jan. 1-3:

1.  Avatar – $68.3 million
2.  Sherlock Holmes – $38.4 million
3.  Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel – $36.6 million
4.  It’s Complicated – $18.7 million
5.  The Blind Side – $12.7 million

Happy New Year!  Sorry I didn’t get to post my box office predictions this past weekend… things were a bit hectic at the least.  Anyway, if you haven’t heard already the big news of the New Year is Avatar.  In its third weekend, Avatar grossed a whopping $68.3 million.  With that number, the huge blockbuster is breaking more records:  it now has the highest-grossing third weekend ever and the highest-grossing New Year’s weekend ever.

Also, in only three weeks of its release, Avatar has already climbed up to the 15th highest-grossing film of all time with about #352 million.  It also is now the 4th highest grossing worldwide film of all-time, recently passing The Dark Knight.  With over $1 billion already grossed, it’s only $800 million behind Titanic for that title.

Oh yeah, as for the rest of the box office, Sherlock Holmes was in the runner-up spot for the second straight week with $38.4 million.  Alvin and the Chipmunks tallied $36.6 million, good enough for the third spot.  And It’s Complicated ($18.7 million) and The Blind Side ($12.7 million) finished off the Top 5.

Check back next weekend when three films will try to bump Avatar off the top spot (which is highly unlikely):  Daybreakers, Leap Year, and Youth in Revolt.

The Dark Knight has fallen

August 17, 2008

It only took five weeks for The Dark Knight to be ousted from the #1 box office rank.  Taking in approximately $17 million this weekend, it was beaten by Tropic Thunder’s $26 million weekend gross.  I’m not surprised about this, though I am a bit disappointed in Thunder’s low total.  I just came back from the theaters and for an 11am showing, it was surprisingly crowded.  Anyway, here’s the rest of the estimated weekend box office:

1.  Tropic Thunder – $26 million
2.  The Dark Knight – $16.7 million
3.  Star Wars:  The Clone Wars – $15.5 million
4.  Mirrors – $11.1 million
5.  Pineapple Express – $10 million

NOTE:  The Dark Knight has now earned $471.5 million, passing Star Wars’ (1977) $460 domestic total, which puts it as the #2 highest grossing film in America of all-time (behind only to Titanic).

The New Dark Knight Buzz

August 8, 2008



So The Dark Knight had the biggest midnight gross ever.  So The Dark Knight had the biggest opening weekend of all-time.  So The Dark Knight was released in the greatest amount of theaters in history.  So The Dark Knight was the quickest movie to clear $400 million (in 18 days).  So it’s been #1 in the box office for three straight weeks.  So… what’s next?  The Dark Knight is in the rearview mirror of the one big ship that was told it could never sink… Titanic.  It’s almost certain it should pass the #2 slot, which is held by Star Wars that made $461 million, but the question is whether it can topple over the great Titanic? 
Titanic’s reign as the highest grossing film in America with $601 is spectacular.  Put these numbers into perspective:  The number two film on the domestic gross list is Star Wars at $140 million less… Titanic’s record has been around for over ten years, not even the new Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek, Lord of the Rings, or Spider-Man franchises could come close… Titanic’s opening weekend only made $29 million, its following weeks grossed a lot more… Titanic was in theaters for about 9 months (from December 21, 1997 – September 20, 1998).
So throwing in my two cents with this issue… I don’t think The Dark Knight will break Titanic’s record.  It should be the only film to bring in $500 domestically, but reaching $600 million is a whole new level.  Titanic had the amazing lasting power, of course from the teenage girls who couldn’t get enough of the romance with Leonardo DiCaprio, but also from the benefit of going through its run during the Academy Awards in February where it racked up 11 wins.  Everything went right for Titanic.  The Dark Knight has an uphill battle if it’s going to make a serious run at the record.  Fanboys are flocking to IMAX and theaters to watch the film more than once, but how much staying power does this dark film have?  We’ll find out in the weeks to come.

Titanic’s record will be broken one day, that is for sure… I’m just not sure whether it’ll be soon, or until the price for a ticket is $20.

NOTE:  Adjusted for inflation, Gone with the Wind holds the all-time record with accumulating $1.4 billion domestically.  Titanic ranks in at number 6, according to Box Office Mojo.

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