'La La Land's Oscar Chances Are Looking Good

by Kayleigh Hughes

Probably the most talked about film in the Oscar races this year is La La Land. It stars two beloved and talented actors, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and they sing, dance, and play music across a romantic but not saccharine Hollywood backdrop. It also comes from the acclaimed director of Whiplash, Damien Chazelle, who wrote and directed La La Land. Whiplash won a number of awards, and La La Land has already started picking some up, including a good number of Golden Globes. But naturally, the most coveted awards will always be the Academy Awards. So, just what are La La Land's Oscar chances this year?

La La Land has been an absolute darling with critics and audiences, and everyone involved with the film is playing the Oscar game hard, showing up on the right public platforms at the right times, saying the right things, wearing the right things (yes, even that matters.) Additionally, as an original movie musical with two strong leads, La La Land is simply eligible for many more awards than any of the other big films this year. I'm predicting that the film will be nominated in a whopping 13 categories, and could win as many as eight golden statues.

Best Picture

Let's start off with the big one. A Best Picture Oscar nomination for La La Land is a guaranteed lock, but whether it will take home the trophy is another thing entirely. Generally, the Golden Globes can offer a bit of insight, except that the way that that awards show is structured, with both "drama" and "musical or comedy" best picture awards, means both La La Land and its closest competitor Moonlight took home Best Picture statues at the Globes. It's going to be a tight race, and I think whoever wins The Academy Award for Best Director is going home with Picture too.

Prediction: La La Land will win.

Best Director

A definite nomination here. Once again, the winner of this race, I think, comes down to either La La Land's director Damien Chazelle or Moonlight's Barry Jenkins. As stunning as Moonlight was and as talented as Jenkins is, I think the Academy loves the old school, Old Hollywood idealism of Chazelle, who also directed Oscar darling Whiplash.

Prediction: La La Land.

Best Actor In A Leading Role

Ryan Gosling's sure to get a nod here. The others who will probably end up in this category are tough competition, though, including Casey Affleck (despite those sexual harassment allegations) for Manchester by the Sea and Denzel Washington for Fences. I think those two will be duking it out, and Affleck already has an edge with the Golden Globes win.

Prediction: La La Land won't win this category. It'll probably be Affleck.

Best Actress In A Leading Role

This is going to be another tough field. Emma Stone has been heavily praised for her work in La La Land and will surely be nominated, but it's harder to say if she'll win. Many are hoping it will finally be Amy Adams' year, and Natalie Portman totally carried Jackie, but it was the lesser-known star of Elle, Isabelle Huppert, who walked home with the Golden Globe and is a fierce contender.

Prediction: I don't think Stone will win for La La Land, though it'll be close. Huppert's momentum suggests it could be her, but it could just as likely be Portman.

Best Original Screenplay

Again, definitely a nomination for La La Land. This field is even more crowded than Director, with many of the same contenders. Manchester By The Sea's writer and director Kenneth Lonergan will be fighting against Chazelle and Jenkins.

Prediction: I think it'll be Lonergan. The epic, detailed Manchester by the Sea screenplay has gotten a lot of play in interviews and I think this will be a place to recognize Lonergan, since he's likely losing a lot of other awards.

Film Editing

Because La La Land was so detailed, precise, and well-made on every level, and focused as much on music and dance as on acting, I think it will be showing up as a nominee for many of the more technical categories. It will likely be competing against Moonlight and Arrival.

Prediction: This is one I think La La Land will take. All those dreamy, exacting dance sequences.


Basically, see above for the Film Editing Category, except the other most promising contender is probably Silence.

Prediction: La La Land will win. (Note that I don't personally favor the cinematography style of the film, but I predict it will win.)

Costume Design

Striking the balance between contemporary and classic, throwback and forward-thinking, was surely a challenge when it came to La La Land's costume design, and it'll definitely get a nomination. The big competitors here are likely Jackie and the (really not very good as a movie) Florence Foster Jenkins.

Prediction: I think maybe this will be a place where Oscar voters give the other films a break from the mostly-sweep of La La Land. I'm going to say Jackie will win.

Production Design

The grounded but also smartly surreal elements of La La Land have been heavily praised and it will definitely get a nomination here I think. The exacting details of Jackie will give it a nod, and Fantastic Beasts will probably be recognized, too.

Prediction: La La Land will win.

Original Score

I mean, come on. Of course La La Land is getting nominated for this one.

Prediction: La La Land wins without question.

Best Song

This one is slightly more competitive and fun than the hands-down win of Best Score, because there have been some amazing songs in movies this year including "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, "Runnin'" from Hidden Figures, and the grating but popular "Can't Stop The Feeling" in Trolls. The talk is that La La Land may end up with two songs in this category, though, and again, it's a critically beloved musical from Chazelle.

Prediction: Another win for La La Land.

Sound Editing

La La Land may get a nod here, but sound editing usually celebrates big booms and bangs and stuff, so it'll be a lot of war movies like Hacksaw Ridge, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and maybe Arrival.

Prediction: Definitely not a win for La La Land. I'd like to see it go to Rogue One. That sound editing was so crisp.

Sound Mixing

This one is more of a La La Land category, and it will also probably get a nomination, competing with a lot of the same films as in editing.

Prediction: I'm going to go with no win for La La Land here, and predict a win for the war sounds of Hacksaw Ridge.