The Academy Awards is almost around the corner and it seems that "La La Land" remains the one to beat for the Best Picture honor. The musical drama is widely tipped to snag that recognition at the Dolby Theatre on February 26, 2017. However, African-American drama "Moonlight" might make a surprise win if Academy voters show their serious side with this year's nominations.
Followers of the annual film awards are now weighing in the chances if the Barry Jenkins indie could beat awards darling "La La Land?" According to Indiewire's Anne Thompson, "Moonlight" is positioned as the only film that poses a threat to Damien Chazelle's well-loved musical.
"Moonlight" received eight nominations from the Oscars including two supporting actors, writing, directing, cinematography, and editing. "La La Land" has 14 acting, creative and technical nods. While the latter has an advantage in terms of the number of nominations, the former has one element in its favor - diversity - which resonates with U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration ban.
The Oscar Awards are often seen as "political awards" due to the campaigns mounted by film studios to influence the voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Millions are spent by these studios to promote their nominees to Academy members.
The Oscars have been witness to major upsets in the Best Picture category. These controversial Best Picture picks are still widely discussed on Internet forums and at film schools. In 2006, "Crash" beat the heavy favorite "Brokeback Mountain" while in 1976 the Sylvester Stallone-starred "Rocky" edged out critics' darlings "Taxi Driver," "Network," and "All the President's Men". In 1942, Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" lost the Best Picture Oscar to "How Green Was My Valley".
Most industry experts and prognosticators are probably betting on "La La Land". But as they always say, nothing in Hollywood goes according to the script. In three weeks, Oscar buffs might witness another Best Picture upset. Fingers crossed!