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Can less credible film awards sway Oscar voters?

Casey Affleck stars in the drama,
Casey Affleck stars in the drama, "Manchester By The Sea."
Amazon Studios
Casey Affleck stars in the drama,
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in the movie musical, "La La Land."
Dale Robinette
Casey Affleck stars in the drama,
Alex R. Hibbert (left) and Mahershala Ali star in the drama, "Moonlight."
David Bornfriend/A24

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Southern California might be in the midst of an epic drought, but when it comes to movie awards, we are getting soaked by a deluge of ceremonies and nominations.

Several ragtag journalist organizations have just either handed out trophies (the Broadcast Film Critics Association) or announced nominees (the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — that’s the dubious outfit behind the Golden Globes).

But the film award selections that actually matter begin with this week’s nominations from the Screen Actors Guild. That said, there are now some discernible frontrunners, and some films that could be fading fast.

For more on this we called up Kyle Buchanan. He’s a senior editor at, and my co-host on The Awards Show Show podcast.

Interview Highlights:

What's on the mind of Oscar voters:

There are a whole lot of messages that Oscar voters could or might care to send this year, not just to the nation in the wake of a Trump election, but to the industry in the wake of two years of #OscarsSoWhite — the controversy over 20 all white acting nominees, which we had both of the last two years. This year is likely to be very different. There are a whole lot of actors of color [who] are almost certainly going to be in the mix. I think that gives [voters] almost a little bit of cover to perhaps go for "La La Land," which isn't necessarily sending any sort of political message and is kind of in line with what a traditional [Motion Picture] Academy vote might look like. 

On why "La La Land" could have a winning advantage:

I think you could go either way. Certainly the Academy prefers their films to have a little big of heft and a little bit of weight to them. However, I think "La La Land"'s advantage is not just the tone of it, it's the fact that the finale is incredible. Damien Chazelle directed "La La Land" and who also directed "Whiplash." If you saw "Whiplash" and you remember that bravura 10 minute sequence at the end, "La La Land' offers something that might even top it. That sends you out of the theater on a major high that I think Oscar voters won't forget.  

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