Hollywood’s awards season hits full swing next month and three films have emerged as favourites for honours in the race to the Oscars.
Musical La La Land had been hailed as a shoo-in for recognition at the Academy Awards on February 26, with critics raving about Damien Chazelle’s colourful ode to Los Angeles.
But as nominees for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards were revealed, two powerful dramas – Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea – have joined La La Land as strong contenders for the top awards.
Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea – which stars Casey Affleck as an uncle forced to take care of his teenage nephew after a family tragedy – leads the way with four nominations at the SAG Awards on January 29.
Meanwhile, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, about a gay black man coming of age in Miami, scored six nominations for the Golden Globes on January 8 – one less than La La Land – with a nod for its British star Naomie Harris.
La La Land’s leading stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone also face tough competition for acting gongs.
Natalie Portman’s portrayal of former US first lady Jackie Kennedy in the biographical drama Jackie has won major plaudits. She is hoping to repeat her 2011 Oscar success when she won for Black Swan.
Five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who plays a linguistics expert in sci-fi drama Arrival and stars in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, is also a strong contender for awards.
Ryan and Ben face a battle for best actor awards from British-American star Andrew Garfield.
The former Spider-Man actor has been widely praised for his portrayal of Second World War hero Desmond Doss in Mel Gibson’s drama Hacksaw Ridge.
Mel himself has earned a Golden Globe nod for best director, marking a remarkable turnaround for the Braveheart star who has been marred in controversy since his anti-Semitic rant after a drink-driving arrest in 2006.
Among the British stars in the hunt for awards is Hugh Grant for his performance opposite Meryl Streep in the comedy Florence Foster Jenkins.
Dev Patel’s portrayal in Lion of a young Australian man searching for his family in India has also earned Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations.
Meanwhile, Lily Collins – the daughter of musician Phil Collins – could also be recognised for her performance in Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply.
Academy Award organisers will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the “OscarsSoWhite” controversy when nominations are revealed on January 24.
There were no nominees in the acting categories from an ethnic minority at the 2016 ceremony, prompting Will Smith and director Spike Lee to boycott the show. The Academy has since more than doubled its intake of new members in the hope of reflecting more diverse talent.
Moonlight, Hidden Figures – which tells the true story of three black women who helped Nasa send their first astronauts into space – and Denzel Washington’s Fences are set to be in contention this year.
As well as the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, the Bafta Awards in the UK on February 12 and the Independent Spirit Awards on February 25 will provide strong indications for who will fare well at the Oscars.
One ceremony that stars will be hoping to avoid recognition is the Golden Raspberry Awards. The Razzies, which honour the year’s worst efforts in the film world, traditionally take place the night before the Oscars.