Will Win - La La Land
Could Win - Moonlight or Hidden Figures
Should Win - La La Land
Commentary - So many folks are hating on La La Land, which proves two things: 1) people hate winners 2) exuberance brings out the worst in people. That last statement may seem off, but let's face it, films like The Artist and The King's Speech are considered lightweight and forgettable simply because they happen to have joy at their center. They find other excuses not to like them, but at the core of their hatred is cynicism. Well I think this is going to be another rough year for the cynics because I think that La La Land is going to have a hell of a night. And guess what, despite the haters, it actually deserves it. It is a great film achievement, an exuberant film that lights up the screen in a way that I haven't seen in a long time. Moonlight is also fantastic, as is Hidden Figures, and both are the spoilers. But honestly, I don't see it going any other way.
Will Win - Damien Chazelle "La La Land"
Could Win - Barry Jenkins "La La Land"
Should Win - Damien Chazelle "La La Land"
Commentary - The preferential ballot can cause uneasiness in Best Picture, which is why I have kept Moonlight and Hidden Figures on my radar. But this race feels like it is over for me. I know that Barry Jenkins is going to get a lot of love, but in the end if anyone other than Chazelle wins, I will be shocked. For the record, he will be the youngest director to ever win this award, and the first American to win since Kathryn Bigelow. If Jenkins wins, he will be the first American to win since Bigelow as well, and the first African American director. Either way history will be made, and either way the Academy cannot go wrong.