2017 Oscars: 6 Surprisingly Close Races to Watch

Our writers weigh in on Academy Award categories that could be ripe for upsets – including Best Picture

For weeks now, Oscar pundits and awards-circuit journalists have been saying virtually the same thing: La La Land should dominate the night; Zootopia has all but picked up its statuette and put it on a mantel; the impeccably written Manchester by the Sea will almost assuredly go home with the Best Original Screenplay award. When narratives like this cement themselves around the Academy Awards, as they do almost every year, it’s tough to shake off what seems like an inevitability. But as anyone who’s been covering the show for a minute or three knows, there is no such thing as a completely sure thing.

Some of these “it’s a lock” races may, in fact, be a closer-run contest than you think – and yes, that includes the Best Pic slot, City-of-Angels–loving musical or not. With that in mind, we’ve asked a number of film writers to weigh in on six Oscars categories that have the potential for major upsets come this Sunday evening. You may want to reconsider these half dozen “sure things,” folks, before you turn in those last-minute office pools.

Best Song

There are years when this category registers as little more than a blip on the radar (see: Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith’s snoozy “Writing’s on the Wall,” which tookthe statuette in 2016). But given that musical fantasia La La Land has not one but two of its tunes from Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s soundtrack up for the award – the moving “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” and the inescapable “City of Stars” – people are paying a bit more attention. In any other year either would be a shoe-in … except for the fact that Lin-Manuel “I Wrote Hamilton” Miranda also has a horse in this race.

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