The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards have been announced and it's no surprise which movie leads the way. Max Liu discusses the betting for La La Land and the other top nominees...
"La La Land is a worthy favourite for Best Picture at 1/10 and could pull off the double by landing Best Director for Damien Chazelle..."
Will La La Land sweep the board at the 89th Academy Awards? That's the question on Hollywood's lips after Damien Chazelle's musical received 14 Oscar nominations - the joint record, previously achieved by All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997). Moonlight and Arrival also feature prominently, receiving eight nominations each.
La La Land is favourite on Betfair to triumph in several categories, including Best Director, where Chazelle is 1/10, and Best Picture at the same odds. But it will be a surprise if it wins all 14 (as a guide, Titanic won 11) so there should still be value out there for bettors.
A cinematic joy to light up dark times
Let's make no bones about it, La La Land is an exquisite piece of cinema which will have even the most musical-averse punter whistling its songs (two of them are nominated for Best Song) for days afterwards.
Yes, it's a love letter to Hollywood, and some people have criticised it for that, but Hollywood reflects the times, either by tackling the issues of the day directly, as Moonlight does, or by providing escapism in darker moments, a la La La Land.
Chazelle's musical is a worthy favourite for Best Picture at 1/10 and could pull off the double by landing Best Director, although competition is stiff (see below). La La Land is truly gorgeous-looking so Linus Sandgren's cinematography will be a shoo-in with the Academy.
Emma Stone, who brings grace and depth to her role as Mia, is surely unbeatable for Best Actress at 18/25. Some critics had tipped Natalie Portman, at 11/8, to take this one for her performance in Jackie. However, after Portman was defeated at the Golden Globes by Isabelle Huppert, who's 4/1 to win here for Elle, the pendulum appears to have swung in Stone's favour.
One final point about Best Actress; all hail magnificent Meryl Streep who receives a record-breaking 20th nomination for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins. At 50/1, Hollywood's leading lady is, if anything, underrated.
Where other films can triumph
Moonlight won best drama at the Globes and La La Land took best musical/comedy. At the Oscars the two face off for Best Picture. I expect the musical to win but could we see an upset in Best Director, where Barry Jenkins is 5/1 for Moonlight?
I like the price. That said, Titanic and All About Eve (the other films to have received 14 nominations) both did the Best Picture/Director double, so it's a risk to oppose Chazelle here, especially as he pipped Jenkins at the Globes.
Jolly is not a word you'd apply to Manchester by the Sea (six nominations) but that's what 1/4 Casey Affleck is for Best Actor. I see no reason to oppose him, even if La La Land's Ryan Gosling is available at 8/1, with Denzel Washington, who directs as well as plays the lead actor in Fences, Affleck's nearest rival at 4/1.
In the Best Supporting categories, British talent is well-represented with Naomie Harris 10/1 and Dev Patel 16/1 in the Actress category. Harris gives a powerful performance in Moonlight but it will be a surprise if she beats Viola Davis who's 1/18 favourite for Fences.
Patel, meanwhile, is part of a strong field for Actors for his turn in Lion. It's lead by Mahershala Ali, at 1/5, who represents another leading chance for Moonlight.
The 89th Academy Awards ceremony takes place on February 26 but keep your eyes on the Oscars buzz and the betting in the meantime. Nominees often gain and lose momentum between now and the big night, meaning eagle-eyed bettors have the chance to find value among the glitz.
Oscars 2017 - Betfair odds
Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea 1/4
Denzel Washington – Fences 4/1
Ryan Gosling – La La Land 8/1
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge 25/1
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic 66/1
Emma Stone – La La Land 8/11
Natalie Portman – Jackie 11/8
Isabelle Huppert – Elle 4/1
Ruth Negga – Loving 20/1
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins 50/1
Damien Chazelle – La La Land 1/10
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By The Sea 7/1
Barry Kenkins – Moonlight 5/1
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival 16/1
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge 16/1
La La Land 1/10
Manchester By The Sea 7/1
Hacksaw Ridge 20/1
Hidden Figures 25/1
Hell Or High Water 25/1
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight 1/5
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animal 11/2
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By The Sea 7/1
Jeff Bridges – Hell Or High Water 14/1
Dev Patel – Lion 16/1
Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis – Fences 1/18
Michelle Williams – Manchester By The Sea 6/1
Naomie Harris – Moonlight 10/1
Nicole Kidman – Lion 20/1
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures 100/1