Oscar nominees have powerful messages of love for the troubled present: Timson

The 89th Annual Academy Awards are to be held on February 26 that is this weekend. Let's look at recent history.

Following last year's diversity controversy, everyone wants to know who is responsible for picking the winners. There was outrage over a "Selma" being snubbed a few major categories in 2015. Denzel Washington, Ruth Negga, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali are all nominated for awards in their films, too, a significant increase in minority nominations from previous year.

#1 Led by Master Chef Wolfgang Puck, a culinary staff of 300 will prepare more than 50 imaginative dishes for the 1,600 invited guests to the Governors Ball, the Academy's official post-Oscars celebration. It has little chance of winning against such well known and well done entries as "La La Land", "Moonlight" and even "Lion".

Still, what should happen isn't necessarily what will. That's impressive. But we're going with Ali.

WHO WILL WIN: "La La Land". I'll catch Jimmy Kimmel's monologue and go online later to get a tally on who won what. It's also a technically impressive, attractive film about struggling artistry, which the Academy has repeatedly embraced (The Artist and Birdman). Director Barry Jenkins accomplishes something rare, creating a human movie that has a lot to do with race and sexuality, but carries universal messages and power.

There are nine - NINE - films vying for best picture and there are four I can see winning though this is so much apples and oranges I wish there was a clear banana to vote for. But it's better than half the movies here. Will win: Chazelle. Should win: Chazelle.

Betfair is giving 5/4 odds for La La Land to receive the most Oscars ever awarded to a movie - a total of 12 would beat Titanic, Ben Hur and Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King's joint record of 11.

It's the back-story of three African-American women who fought racism and sexism while helping launch Nasa's first successful space missions in the 1960s. Also, Denzel Washington's commitment to August Wilson's source material in "Fences" is admirable.

Both Washington and Davis are reprising their roles from the award-winning play in NY. "Jackie", starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy, and "Manchester by the Sea", starring Casey Affleck as a troubled loner, could each steal an Oscar from "La La Land". "It's an terrible feeling because I don't make that decision", said Wheeler.

Romantic Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone musical "La La Land", a heavy favorite to win, comes closest to entering blockbuster territory with a $340.5 million global box office haul, so far, with $134.6 million coming from domestic theaters.

Should win: Ruth Negga deserves this honor for her powerful performance in "Loving". That Amy Adams has not got a Best Actress nod for this film has irked many.

  • Salvatore Jensen