With the announcement of the nominees for the 89th Academy Awards, those in the entertainment industry press can spend the next month laying odds on who will win an Oscar. With that in mind, it this humble writer that will take a stab at handicapping the major categories over the next week or so.

Front runners

"La La Land"

The first financially successful musical Hollywood has seen in decades, with a record 14 nominations to boot. With noteworthy performances by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the light, airy experience mixes in with the added nostalgia of an old Hollywood musical.

This film is heavily favored.

Odds – 1-2.

"Manchester By The Sea"

A heavy viewing experience, the kind Academy voters usually go for, and similar to the likes of "Ordinary People," "Kramer vs. Kramer," "The English Patient," etc. While it will likely be edged out by "La La Land," the odds are good that it could potentially net Casey Affleck his first Oscar.

Odds – Even.



Powerful performances by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the August Wilson classic help, but the competition is just too stiff.

Odds – 3-1.

"Hacksaw Ridge"

Mel Gibson’s explosive World War II drama about Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss would normally be near the top spot, but Gibson’s recent history is sure to turn most voters off.

Odds- 4-1.

"Hidden Figures"

A nice story about the African-American women mathematicians who were an instrumental part of the early American space program. Props for telling a forgotten story well, but it doesn’t quite have the heft voters look for.

Odds – 5-1.

Dark Horses

"Hell Or High Water"

This film plays like a slightly different version of "No Country For Old Men." Not many people saw it, often a death knell for Oscar hopes.

Odds – 10-1.


The touching story of an Indian boy who seeks out his family 25 years after being adopted by an Australian couple. See "Hell Or High Water."

Odds 20 – 1.


A powerful story that showcases the life of a young black man as he struggles to succeed growing up in the rough part of Miami. It has all the elements of an Oscar winner, but once again, see "Lion" and "Hell Or High Water."

Odds 20 - 1.