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Just how many Oscars can “La La Land” potentially win?

As we approach the Academy Awards in just a few short days, the number one question on any serious pundit’s mind is this: just how well is La La Land going to do? Between now and Sunday night, it’s just a matter of figuring out if Damien Chazelle’s film is going to sweep or not. Now, it’s likely that it’ll come up short in at least one or two places, but this could very well end up a record tying or record setting night for the flick. It couldn’t happen to a better movie in my humble opinion, but keeping personal feelings out of it, let us look at La La Land’s chances going into Sunday evening.

There are a few categories I’ve split things into. There’s the near locks, the likely wins, the potential wins, and the longer shot win(s) that mean a borderline sweep is at hand. With 14 nominations, the absolute best that La La Land can do is 13, since it has two Best Original Song nominations. That’s not especially realistic, but that’s the “best” best day possible. Below you’ll see a bit on each category, all in the hope of trying to pin down just how well the film will likely end up doing. Obviously, my final predictions tomorrow will have an answer to that, but for now, follow along as I try to work it out in advance here.

First up, the near locks, which are Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song. Barring any huge upsets, these should all be going to La La Land. The two technical categories here are done deals, with the three major ones only in jeopardy if something extreme happens. Aside from that, Damien Chazelle takes Director, Emma Stone takes Actress, and the movie itself is crowned Best Picture. So, basically mark down five wins at least so far for the film. Things look just as promising when we hit the next category, as you’ll see right now.

Next up, we have the likely wins that the flick can’t bank on, but should still expect to probably win. The likely wins are Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. These likely are in La La Land’s corner, but there’s at least a chance that upsets go down. I’m not currently predicting any of these upsets, but at least here or there the film has seen a competitor take it down. Sound Mixing seems the safest bet of the lot, though I wouldn’t be bold enough to bet against any of these. Go in another direction at your own risk. After these tech categories, it gets a bit more interesting…

Now we have categories that could go in multiple different directions. Three way races in some cases, La La Land is probably not considered the most likely victor in them. The potential wins consist of Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Sound Editing.These are almost crapshoots, with La La Land being in prime competition for them, but not necessarily the frontrunner. Chazelle is in a battle to finish with Kenneth Lonergan for Original Screenplay, so you can flip a coin as to whether La La Land or Manchester by the Sea takes it. The other two categories would be an incredible show of force for the film. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if I think the movie can pull it off or not though. Gotta leave a little suspense, right?

Finally, the long shot that means a sweep is at hand is Best Actor, which frankly is just not going to happen. La La Land would be on pace to absolutely obliterate records if Ryan Gosling pulled the shocker in Actor. Predict this at your own peril. Now, to sum things up. How many wins are we looking at? Realistically, somewhere between eight and ten seems about right. That big number of 11 is not quite a pipe dream, but would require everything breaking its way. I’ve been contemplating going all in with that prediction, but that will be revealed tomorrow. For now, just know that it could potentially be a history making night for La La Land on Sunday…

Stay tuned for final predictions tomorrow and to see how many Academy Awards La La Land ultimately ends up winning on Sunday night during the Oscar telecast!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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