Much as I admired La La Land I never like to see one film sweeping the boards at the Oscar ceremonies – as Damien Chazelle’s film seems set to do this year – any more than I like to see the Lotto being won by one person instead of a syndicate.
At the time of writing it’s 1/6 to win Best Film and Chazelle an equally unbackable 1/10 to emerge as Best Director. Ryan Gosling isn’t the favourite to win Best Actor though, Casey Affleck being favourite for his blistering performance in Manchester By the Sea at 8/11. Denzel Washington runs him a close second at 11/8 for Fences.
It’s reassuring to know someone is going to break the stranglehold La La Land is almost certainly going to exert on the ceremonies. It’s the part Affleck was born to play. Maybe if he wins he’ll have the clout to command the kind of bigger budget productions his brother Ben walks into without a by-your-leave.
This is the only close race of the night. There isn’t any contest in the secondary categories unless there’s a huge upset. Mahershala Ali is 1/10 to win Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight. Viola Davis is 1/25 for Best Supporting Actress in Fences. Supporting? This is category fraud. She’s the main actress in Fences.
Michelle Williams is second favourite for Manchester By the Sea. This is also strange. Yes it was a fantastic performance but she was hardly in it for longer than 10 minutes.
Emma Stone is 1/5 to win Best Actress for, what else, La La Land. Natalie Portman is closest to her at 4/1 for Jackie. Meryl Streep is 66/1 for Florence Foster Jenkins. This seems anomalous considering she was so endearing in it.
But Streep has won often in the past. That’s one reason for the long odds: she’s become a victim of her greatness.
I would also like the great Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga to be better-priced than 50/1 – for Loving – in this category. Isabelle Huppert (the French Streep?) is 10/1 for Elle.
She won Best Actress in the Golden Globes, sometimes a precursor of the Oscars. A repeat here is highly unlikely.
I already said how much I liked Portman’s depiction of Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie. It lifted me off my feet. I was walking on air for days afterwards.
Stone didn’t have quite the same effect on me despite her consummate acting skills – combined with singing and dancing ones.
I won’t grudge the statuette to her but I’ll still be sorry for Portman.
The fact that this lady is already the beneficiary of an Oscar – for Black Swan – might be another damning factor for her.
Whatever happens, 2017 has already been a banner year thus far. I’ve already seen half a dozen zingers and it’s still only February. Some years I wouldn’t have seen that much quality in the whole 12 months. So as they say, it’s all good.