When The Birth of a Nation premiered at the Sundance film festival in January, it immediately became the Best Picture frontrunner. We were in the middle of the Oscars so white controversy that the Sundance crowd was looking for that one movie that could fix it. Some said that Nate Parker was guaranteed a Best Director nomination and The Birth of a Nation had what takes to go all the way. Everything quickly went south when It became public that Parker was accused of rape when he was a student at Penn State. Worse yet, the alleged victim committed suicide in 2012. Parker and the film were finished. The Birth of a Nation was released 2 weeks ago to mediocre reviews. 

Once Birth of a nation fell out, everyone was looking for the next frontrunner when along came La La Land. A Musical with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Two of the biggest names in Hollywood right now. A Best Picture winner is built by the categories that it can win. Acting nominations, check. Directing, check. Cinematography, check. Story about Hollywood, check. Screenplay, check. Well reviewed, check. It is still early and there is plenty of time for La La Land to be taken down by films like Manchester by the Sea, Fences, Loving or Moonlight. There is also time for a dark horse to come out of nowhere and take over the hole thing. 

Best guess for Best Picture nominees right now:

Best Picture Frontrunner
La La Land
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
20th Century Women
Manchester by the Sea

Additional Contenders
Hell or High Water
Rules Don’t Apply
Florence Foster Jenkins

Long Shots
The Birth of a Nation
Eye in the Sky
The Founder
Hacksaw Ridge
Maggie’s Plan
Nocturnal Animals
Queen of Katwe
Patriot’s Day