FINAL Oscar Predictions 2018

Awards season is finally coming to a close this weekend with the 90th Annual Academy Awards. The voting has now concluded and we’ll know in just a few short days the winners of Hollywood’s biggest prize. Figured this would be one last time to put in my predictions for what will end up winning this year as well as discuss what should win in each category. Some of these are fairly easy to predict, but a couple of the major awards are more difficult to narrow down including Best Picture. “The Shape of Water” is going into the show with the most nominations, but can it go all the way? Can a genre film like “Get Out” win the big award? Will the backlash against “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” hurt its chances in some pivotal categories? Let’s dig in!

Before getting started, let’s get some of the smaller categories out of the way. I either haven’t seen any of the nominees or haven’t seen enough of them to form a strong enough opinion on what should win so I’ll just give my predictions for Documentary Feature, Foreign Language Film, and all three short film categories.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
WILL WIN: “Icarus”
COULD WIN: “Faces Places”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
WILL WIN: “A Fantastic Woman”
COULD WIN: “The Square”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM:
WILL WIN: “Dear Basketball”
COULD WIN: “Garden Party”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM:
WILL WIN: “Edith+Eddie”
COULD WIN: “Heroin(e)”

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM:
WILL WIN: “DeKalb Elementary”
COULD WIN: “The Silent Child”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
“Kong: Skull Island”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
“War for the Planet of the Apes”

This is a clear two horse race between “Blade Runner 2049” and “War for the Planet of the Apes.” The current era of “Planet of the Apes” films have all been nominated in this category thanks to the outstanding advancements in motion capture technology, but “Rise” lost in 2011 to “Hugo” and “Dawn” lost in 2014 to “Interstellar.” It’s entirely possible that Academy voters can decide that it’s time to award this franchise that has been so beloved and it’s four wins at the Visual Effects Society Awards certainly bode well, however the BAFTA Award for Visual Effects this year went to “Blade Runner” and similarly to the Oscars, they didn’t award the “Apes” franchise once. It’s going to be a close one for sure and both films have exceptional visual effects, but I’m leaning towards “Blade Runner” taking the prize even though “War” deserves it more.

WILL WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”
COULD WIN: “War for the Planet of the Apes”
SHOULD WIN: “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST SOUND EDITING:
“Baby Driver”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

When it comes to the Sound Editing category, the Oscars tend to go for either the film that has the loudest sound or is a Best Picture nominee. When a film is both, that’s even better with previous examples being “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “American Sniper,” “Gravity,” and “Inception.” One of the more impressive elements of “Dunkirk” has been the pulse-pounding sound design, adding to a completely immersive theater experience. It’s possible that “Blade Runner 2049” or “Baby Driver” could upset in this category, but it’s unlikely.

WILL WIN: “Dunkirk”
COULD WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”
SHOULD WIN: “Dunkirk”

BEST SOUND MIXING:
“Baby Driver”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Oddly enough, this is the first time that the sound editing and sound mixing categories have matched perfectly since they both started having five nominees. So far in the current decade, the winners have differed only three times. Films that have a musical element tend to do well in this category although shockingly last year’s “La La Land” lost to “Hacksaw Ridge.” There’s a very real possibility that the meticulous mixing of music throughout “Baby Driver” could give it the edge in this category like it should, but “Dunkirk” feels like the safest bet.

WILL WIN: “Dunkirk”
COULD WIN: “Baby Driver”
SHOULD WIN: “Baby Driver”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
“Beauty and the Beast”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”

Based on a solid track record between the BAFTA winners for Production Design and winners at the Art Directors Guild Awards, that gives a strong edge to “The Shape of Water” which took both prizes. However, the ADG have three categories split between contemporary film, fantasy/sci-fi, and period pieces. This year, “Blade Runner 2049” took the award in the fantasy/sci-fi category and the production design is one of the strongest visual elements of the film. There has been precedent for a non-Best Picture nominee to take this award away from a supposed frontrunner like “Inception” losing to “Alice in Wonderland” and “Gravity” losing to “The Great Gatsby.” That being said, “The Shape of Water” has such a vibrant look that things should work in it’s favor.

WILL WIN: “The Shape of Water”
COULD WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”
SHOULD WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
“Dunkirk”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”

Finally Jonny Greenwood gets his first Oscar nomination for his beautiful score for “Phantom Thread.” Unfortunately, he’ll have to wait to get the win because Alexandre Desplat is near locked to earn his second Academy Award for “The Shape of Water.” His enchanting music becomes a character, brilliantly evoking the feeling of love throughout the film. After winning the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Critics Choice Award in this category, don’t expect things to change for the Academy.

WILL WIN: “The Shape of Water”
COULD WIN: “Phantom Thread”
SHOULD WIN: “The Shape of Water” or “Phantom Thread”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
“Mighty River,” “Mudbound”
“Mystery of Love,” “Call Me By Your Name”
“Remember Me,” “Coco”
“Stand Up For Something,” “Marshall”
“This Is Me,” “The Greatest Showman”

In the weeks leading up to nomination day, “Remember Me” seemed like the clear frontrunner to win this one. However, “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack has been a smash hit as the film continued to stick around at the box office for over two months despite mixed reviews. The Academy tends to lean towards the most popular song out of the nominees and considering it came from the duo behind the songs for “La La Land,” one of which won last year with another being nominated, Golden Globe winner “This Is Me” gets the edge.

WILL WIN: “This Is Me,” “The Greatest Showman”
COULD WIN: “Remember Me,” “Coco”
SHOULD WIN: “Remember Me,” “Coco”

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
“Darkest Hour”
“Victoria & Abdul”
“Wonder”

There isn’t much analysis to offer to this category at all. Everybody knows that “Darkest Hour” has this in the bag. A lot of what made Gary Oldman’s Winston Churchill so memorable was the outstanding makeup. No contest here.

WILL WIN: “Darkest Hour”
COULD WIN: “Wonder”
SHOULD WIN: “Darkest Hour”

BEST FILM EDITING:
“Baby Driver”
“Dunkirk”
“I, Tonya”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

The structure of “Dunkirk” is one of the elements that helps it stand out as a war film. At the Critics Choice Awards, it tied the editing award with “Baby Driver” while the ACE Eddie Awards gave it the drama award and “I, Tonya” won the comedy award. The big curveball came from the BAFTA Awards where “Dunkirk” lost to “Baby Driver.” For now, it seems like Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic has a slight lead, but it’s possible for Edgar Wright’s high energy action comedy to upset with even an outside shot to the Tonya Harding biopic. Personally, I’m rooting for “Baby Driver” as it’s another shining example of the breathtaking editing that Edgar Wright gets from his films on a consistent basis.

WILL WIN: “Dunkirk”
COULD WIN: “Baby Driver”
SHOULD WIN: “Baby Driver”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
“Beauty and the Beast”
“Darkest Hour”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
“Victoria & Abdul”

“Phantom Thread” should easily have this in the bag considering it’s a Best Picture nominee and centers around a dressmaker. However, the Costume Designers Guild gave its award for a period film to “The Shape of Water.” The other possible upset in this category could have been “Beauty and the Beast,” but that film lost the sci-fi/fantasy award to “Wonder Woman” which didn’t even earn a nomination here. The guild does have a spotty track record when it comes to matching with the eventual Oscar winner, but it’s at least worth considering that there could be an upset here especially with “The Shape of Water” being such a strong contender across the board.

WILL WIN: “Phantom Thread”
COULD WIN: “The Shape of Water”
SHOULD WIN: “Phantom Thread”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Mudbound”
“The Shape of Water”

Roger Deakins has been long overdue for an Oscar win with “Blade Runner 2049” being his 14th nomination. This whole season, it’s seemed like there’s been a strong push for him to finally win which would be completely deserved as his work on “Blade Runner” is mind-blowing. He won the American Society of Cinematographers award, the Critics Choice Award, and the BAFTA award so it should seem locked in, right? Not exactly. An interesting statistic to keep in mind is that every film since 2007 that won Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards either won Best Director or was a close contender to win. The one exception was when “Inception” won the award in 2010 and Christopher Nolan didn’t even get nominated, but that at least was a Best Picture nominee which cannot be said for “Blade Runner.” I don’t suspect this will amount to much, but the possibility of “The Shape of Water” causing an upset is possible.

WILL WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”
COULD WIN: “The Shape of Water”
SHOULD WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:
“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“Ferdinand”
“Loving Vincent”

It’s “Coco.” Don’t even entertain another possibility.

WILL WIN: “Coco”
COULD WIN: “The Breadwinner”
SHOULD WIN: “Coco”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
“The Big Sick”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

In what is possibly the strongest category at the Oscars this year, all of the nominees in the Original Screenplay category are brilliantly written. Films like “Phantom Thread” and “I, Tonya” couldn’t even fit in this category despite being equally deserving of nominations. It seems like a three film race between “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” and “Three Billboards.” Martin McDonagh won the BAFTA and Golden Globe awards while Jordan Peele won the Writers Guild of America award and Critics Choice Award. Don’t discount Greta Gerwig causing an upset here, though, because voters might not want her coming-of-age masterpiece to go home empty handed.

WILL WIN: “Get Out”
COULD WIN: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
SHOULD WIN: “Get Out”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
“Call Me By Your Name”
“The Disaster Artist”
“Logan”
“Molly’s Game”
“Mudbound”

Another category where the winner is locked and loaded. James Ivory’s powerful screenplay for “Call Me By Your Name” has swept this entire awards season. There were a handful of early critic groups that went in favor for “The Disaster Artist” but it’s highly doubtful that it will garner many votes at all following the James Franco scandal.

WILL WIN: “Call Me By Your Name”
COULD WIN: “Mudbound”
SHOULD WIN: “Call Me By Your Name”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Disappointingly, the four acting races seem locked in with the frontrunners in each category winning the Screen Actors Guild Award, Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award, and BAFTA Award. It’s highly doubtful that we’ll see an upset in any of them, but the choices from the early critic groups shouldn’t go entirely unnoticed. Similar with the screenplay category, it’s possible that voters might be swayed to give Laurie Metcalf the Oscar as a way to award “Lady Bird.” That being said, Allison Janney has done a fantastic job campaigning all season long and she’s a beloved actress with the showier role.

WILL WIN: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
COULD WIN: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
SHOULD WIN: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Sam Rockwell is a truly remarkable actor who has been deserving of many Oscar nominations in his career. His performance in “Three Billboards,” despite the character being a racist cop with a controversial arc, is a huge testament to his talent. He’s going to win without question, but there’s no way that anyone should beat Willem Dafoe’s soulful performance in “The Florida Project,” a performance that earned nearly every critic award early on in the season for a film grossly overlooked by the Academy in many of the major categories.

WILL WIN: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
COULD WIN: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
SHOULD WIN: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”

BEST ACTRESS:
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Frances McDormand’s tremendous performance hits hard in the midst of the Time’s Up movement. Considering how strong the Best Actress category is this year with any of the nominees (well, maybe not Streep) being worthy winners, McDormand is far ahead of the pack. The strength of “The Shape of Water” could cause Sally Hawkins to upset if the film does a hardcore sweep, but that isn’t expected to happen.

WILL WIN: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
COULD WIN: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
SHOULD WIN: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

BEST ACTOR:
Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

The Academy sure loves their showy performances with an actor going through a transformation to play a historical figure. Gary Oldman had this Oscar locked up as soon as the first picture of him as Churchill was released. The simple fact that “Darkest Hour” was able to snag so many additional nominations across the board shows how much the voters loved his performance. However, Timothee Chalamet is far more deserving in what is undoubtedly the best performance from any actor or actress in 2017.

WILL WIN: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
COULD WIN: Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
SHOULD WIN: Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”

BEST DIRECTOR:
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

Usually, the Best Director category has at least one questionable nominee with a major contender being left off the list. Just look back at 2012 where Ben Affleck didn’t get nominated despite winning every major Best Director award that season and his film, “Argo,” winning Best Picture. This year’s lineup, however, features five outstanding nominees that all deserve their spots. Guillermo del Toro has been the favorite throughout the season and the Oscars have been going with the most visually extravagant directing job in the past several years. Christopher Nolan has been long overdue for his first nomination and his directing of “Dunkirk” is breathtaking to say the least, but don’t expect him to win just yet. His time will come, though.

WILL WIN: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
COULD WIN: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
SHOULD WIN: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

BEST PICTURE:
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

The Best Picture race is really exciting this year. “Get Out,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Three Billboards” all have a strong shot at taking the prize while “Lady Bird” is a dark horse pick that could sneak in there as a film that could perform exceptionally well on a preferential ballot. Even “Dunkirk” could perform well with voters, but it seems like the buzz hasn’t been able to keep up the momentum that it had when it opened over the summer. I already wrote a piece a couple days ago making the case that “Get Out” deserves to win Best Picture and Universal has done an amazing job keeping Jordan Peele’s groundbreaking film in the conversation with a stellar awards campaign. “Three Billboards” faced some backlash following its Golden Globes Best Picture win but not quite on the level of the late breaking backlash against last year’s seemingly unstoppable heavyweight, “La La Land.” The film that I suspect will have the strongest chance at getting top placements from voters is “The Shape of Water,” a film so full of passion and love that it’s near irresistible. Seriously, though, if “Get Out” is able to pull it off, that would be the highlight of the night.

WILL WIN: “The Shape of Water”
COULD WIN: “Get Out” or “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
SHOULD WIN: “Get Out”

What do you think will win the Oscars this year? Do you think “Get Out” has a chance at winning Best Picture? What films do you hope surprise and win some of these awards? Leave your predictions down below in the comments section.

If you want to stay updated with all my reviews of films as soon as I see them, follow me on my Letterboxd.

Thanks for reading!

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