It’s the most wonderful timeeeeeeeeeeeeeee of the year. The Oscars. And what a year.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Could Win: The Shape of Water
Dark Horse: Get Out
Oh Dear God: Dunkirk
This Year is Hard: Lady Bird
This category is a hot mess, and for the first time utterly unpredictable. All five of these films genuinely have a shot at winning. Lady Bird has been universally acclaimed, and on everyone’s top ten list list of the year. It’s also had a great last minute surge. Then there is Dunkirk, the original front runner in this category. It’s a sweeping war film in a category that loves to honor great epics. Also in the running is horror film Get Out, a film so beloved and championed that it premiered over a year ago and yet is still in this conversation. It also just won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Picture. Next is The Shape of Water the film nominated for the most awards this year (13) and has been a presence at every major awards show. Last is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri the film that arguably became the front runner from Dunkirk and has won almost every major award in this category.
So what’s going to happen? I’m not sure. Ultimately my gut says Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, because a front runner is just such a tough title to shake. While Lady Bird has had a terrific last minute surge, ultimately it just had too much ground to cover. Dunkirk will still get a lot of votes from the Academy because it’s the type of classic film that voters love to and are used used to rewarding. That style of voting though has become smaller and smaller (as younger voters are really starting to become a presence in the Academy) and at this point they aren’t large enough to pull the upset. Get Out also has had an incredible push at the last minute, but I think voters are more likely to throw support behind it in the Best Original Screenplay category than here. Which leaves it between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards. Between those two the edge goes to Three billboards because The Shape of Water has a few negatives attached to it. Some people lamented that they simply didn’t get the film. Others had some issues with the nudity, gore, and creature/human sex scenes. Those things turned people off to it, which leaves us with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Will Win: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Could Win: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
While this may be one of the most crowded and deserving Best Actress category in a while, there isn’t actually a race. Any other year the Oscar could have easily gone to Sally Hawkins, Meryl Streep, Margot Robbie or Saoirse Ronan. But this year belongs to Frances McDormand. She plays a fierce and intimidating mother, just trying to figure out what happened to her murdered daughter. Her performance alone makes her an easy canidate, but as the 60 year old mother seeking revenge for the wrongs done against her daughter, she perfectly sums up the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaign in this post Harvey Weinstein world. If voters wanted something less dark and found the movie too difficult to watch then the upset would go to Ronan, and Oscar darling.
Will Win: Gary Oldman, The Darkest Hour
Could Win: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Gary Oldman has built a career off immersing himself in strange characters and becoming completely unrecognizable. Even for him, his performance as Winston Churchill is extraordinary. This award’s season he has remained impossible to beat. He’s won the SAG, Globes, Critics’ Choice and BAFTA and he’s poised for his first Oscar win. If his name isn’t called look to Oldman’s sexual harassment and assault charges getting the better of him, and Timothee Chalamet’s performance and cuteness finally wearing voters down.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Will Win: Allison Janey, I, Tonya
Could Win: Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird
This category is filled to the brim with talented women who all gave equally wonderful and diverse performances. For a while, it was difficult to predict what would happen. And then Allisan Janey just ended up winning everything (Golden Globes/Critics Choice/SAG) and now she’s the front runner. If an upset does occur, look to Laurie Metcalf for the win. Lady Bird is a very beloved film that doesn’t have a lot of chances of winning, and this might be the film’s best shot at being rewarded.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Will Win: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Could Win: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Willem Dafoe was once the front runner of this category, winning a combined 24 awards from various critic groups. Then Sam Rockwell won the Critic’s Choice, and then the Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA and suddenly he was the front runner and Dafoe was left in the cold. While there has been some last minute campaigning for Dafoe again, by capitalizing on being his film’s only nomination, and taking into account a potential voting split between Rockwell’s co-star Woody Harrelson (also nominated in this category), ultimately it’s just too hard to ignore all of those important awards win for Rockwell. It also helps that Rockwell appeared in a Best Picture nominee, meaning that people will not have gone out of their way to see his performance, unlike Dafoe.
Will Win: Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Could Win: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Christopher Nolan was the front runner in this category for his epic war film Dunkirk. It would also, surprisingly, be the five time Oscar nominee’s first win, and many felt it was finally his time to shine. But then The Shape of Water came out and the momentum shifted to Del Toro. His film is genre defying and magical in every sense of the word, and it has a deeply personal subject matter to the director. His passion and his appearances at Awards shows and red carpet events have won hearts and the approval of voters. However, if his film proves too graphic and weird for some of the older Academy members, look back to Nolan for his classic war film.
Will Win: Blade Runner 2049
Could Win: The Shape of Water
Dark Horse: Mudbound
Roger Deakins has always been a bridesmaid but never a bride. Seriously though you maybe asking, how many times has the Academy nominated him for Best Achievement in Cinematography and never given him the award? FOURTEEN. He has been nominated FOURTEEN TIMES in this category and never won. (For some perspective, he was first nominated in 1995 for The Shawshank Redemption.) This year seems like it could finally be it. Besides the fact that he is clearly overdue, he recently won the ASC and BAFTA in this category which are excellent precursors for the Oscars. However this category is not a lock for him and if there is an upset, look to either The Shape of Water (A Best Picture nominee) or Mudbound (The first woman of color nominated in this category) to win.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Will Win: Phantom Thread
Could Win: Beauty and the Beast
Phantom Thread is a film about a dressmaker in period London and it has the word thread in it’s title. It’s like catnip for Costume designers. However, if there is an upset look to Beauty and the Beast a whimsical fairy tale beloved by all, unlike Thread, which left some voters (including Jennifer Lawrence) loudly decreeing that it was simply too boring to watch.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
Will Win: Icarus
Could Win: Faces Places
This category belongs to two incredible yet drastically different films, Icarus and Faces Places. One film is about the Russia doping crisis during the Olympics, the other is about an 89 year old film maker documenting a joyful artist as he paints people’s faces in dangerous places. Since the Academy has opened voting in this category to all members, the winner is typically a happier subject matter. Ordinarily I would be picking Faces Places. Yet I cannot deny the relevance that Icarus had this year during our winter Olympics. In fact voting opened up right at that the start of the winter games. That, paired with the film’s front runner status should be enough to scrape out a win. But if voters have had too much doom and gloom, look to Faces Places for the win.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
Will Win: Edith + Eddie
Could Win: Heroin(e)
I can’t believe I’m saying this but, I’m betting against the Netflix produced documentary about addiction in a small town, Heroin(e). Instead I’m betting on an interracial married couple named Edith and Eddie. They are America’s oldest interracial newlyweds at 96 and 95. Their story is powerful, beautiful, and so so relevant in today’s times. Their story is what we need, and voters should be able to see that. Unless Netflix wins.
BEST FILM EDITING:
Will Win: Dunkirk
Could Win: Baby Driver
Dunkirk is the type of film that typically wins this category. A gigantic epic war film with lots of moving parts. It also has an advantage here because of how tightly its wrapped in the Best Picture race and how many other nominations it received this year. However there has been a lot of growing support for Baby Driver an a typical film in this category. It’s the cooler choice here and it did just win the BAFTA for Best Editing. Ultimately this will be an old versus young vote in the Academy, and for this category Dunkirk will emerge victorious.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Will Win: A Fantastic Woman
Could Win: The Insult
It’s sometimes difficult for voters to know and see all the films nominated in this category, now that Best Foreign Picture is open to all voting members. Therefore being the front runner in this category is absolutely crucial. People without enough time to see everything vote for the one film they have heard of, and this year it’s A Fantastic Woman. It’s been in the conversation for months, has won virtually every major award in this category, and is about a transgender woman, played by a transgender woman, Daniele Vega. The Academy also already announced she will be presenting an award, making her the first transgender woman to present at the Oscars. However, there has been a last minute surge for The Insult a film that a lot of people think actually deserves to win, and isn’t the popular easy choice. If anyone can upset the front runner, it’s that.
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Will Win: The Darkest Hour
Could Win: Wonder
Every year there are only three nominees in this category as opposed to every other category which has five. The formula to the nominees and picking the eventual winner is simple. Pick two films that actually deserve the nomination, and then nominate the best hair and make up styling in a film likely to be nominated for Best Picture. The film in the Best Picture category always wins this category and this year that’s The Darkest Hour. If voters are looking something truly unique to reward though, then look to Wonder for the upset, which was able to transform the adorable Jacob Tremblay into a boy with some serious facial differences.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Will Win: The Shape of Water
Could Win: Phantom Thread
Even the Best Original Score category can have a front runner, and this year it’s The Shape of Water. It’s won almost every major award in this category up until this point, and it has the type of score the Academy likes to reward,old fashioned, romantic, beautiful music that just soars. However, if the Academy wants to do the right thing, it would pick my personal favorite, the music from Phantom Thread. The music truly made that film and elevated it in more ways than The Shape of Water’s music did for it. But expect it’s major presence in other categories to earn it’s victory here over my beloved Phantom Thread.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
Will Win: “Remember Me”, Coco
Could Win: “This is Me”, The Greatest Showman
This has become a surprisingly difficult category to predict. The front runner has been “Remember Me” from Coco though “This is Me” is giving it a serious run for its money. Coco does have a lot of things going for it. It’s a genuinely beautiful song in the most likely winner for Best Animated Feature. It’s sang multiple times in the film ensuring that it’s REMEMBERED and stuck in your song. It’s also sung in both English and Spanish bringing creating a cool cultural moment. And it has a sweet poignancy knowing at one point a character sings this song to his dying grandmother. But yet, “This is Me” is just so damn catchy and it refuses to go away.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Will Win: The Shape of Water
Could Win: Blade Runner 2049
Guillermo Del Toro seemingly created an entirely new world in our own. His film was beautiful, luscious, historical and filled with fantasy. With it’s potential to win Best Picture and wins in this category at both the BAFTA and Art Directors Guild Awards, it seems like the safe bet. But if voters are looking for something completely different, look to the futuristic film Blade Runner 2049 for the upset.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM:
Will Win: Dear Basketball
Could Win: Garden Party
Dark Horse: Lou
This is a ridiculously difficult category to pick. This category is almost always a upset and can make or break your Oscar pool. This year though I’m betting on a proven champion, Kobe Bryant. Yes, you read that correctly. Dear Basketball is an ode to himself and his love of basketball. It’s lovingly animated by the legend Glen Keane and has the champ himself Bryant as the writer, producer and star. This film is also a great option for those who have Pixar/Disney fatigue. And at the Oscars lunch in, it was this film that received the larges applause and had actors lining up to take their picture with the champ. Still, there has been a last great surge for the beautiful Garden Party and one can never count Pixar out of an animation category. Because nothing in this category is a slam dunk, even when you have Kobe Bryant.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:
Will Win: Coco
Could Win: Loving Vincent
Disney/Pixar has done it again. Every time I go see one of their films I think they can’t possibly top themselves. Then they inevitably do. Coco is no exception. The film has a beautiful pure story, paired with stunning animation, a ridiculously catchy song, and life lessons for young and old. It’s pretty perfect. Though if voters are tired of the powerhouse Disney/Pixar and their commercialized stronghold on this category, look to Loving Vincent for the upset. It’s a film about the life of Vincent Van Gough hand drawn completely in the style of his paintings.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM:
Will Win: Dekalb Elementary
Could Win: The Silent Child
If you notice, most of the winners I’ve chosen are based on relevance. While the others I’ve mentioned are, of course, all timely, they aren’t quite like Dekalb Elementary. They don’t have the sense of urgency this film does. The movie deals with a planned school shooting, and voting was open during and the aftermath of Parkland High school massacre. This is the film that needs to win. However, if it had too much of a trigger warning for some people to watch, look to The Silent Child a film about a silent child learning to communicate for the first time, for the upset.
BEST SOUND EDITING:
Will Win: Dunkirk
Could Win: Baby Driver
If you are #TeamDunkirk this is the time to show you’re love. This is a category it can and should win. War films also do very well in this category. If there is an upset look to Baby Driver for the win.
BEST SOUND MIXING:
Will Win: Dunkirk
Could Win: Baby Driver
These two sound categories don’t necessarily have to go together, but voters tend to vote to tie them together. Therefore look it’s Dunkirk‘s to lose and Baby Driver with the upset.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Will Win: War For the Planet of the Apes
Could Win: Blade Runner 2049
The Visual Effects Society gave their top honors to War For the Planet of the Apes, making this the safer choice out of those nominated. The Franchise has also surprisingly never won an Oscar, and now seems like a good time to fix all of its shut outs. However since its never won an Award in this category before, it might prove too ominous. Look to Blade Runner 2049 for the upset as it won the BAFTA in this category and love from the cinematography category might spill over to here.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Will Win: Call Me By Your Name
Could Win: Mudbound
Dark Horse: Molly’s Game
Call Me By Your Name has a lot of things going for it. A well liked film with a strong fan base, this category is the film’s best chance at winning a category, prompting voters to put all their support into it’s win here. It’s also the only Best Picture nominee in this category, giving the film some additional clout. It’s also also written by James Ivory, a three time nominee in this category but never a winner. The Academy won’t want to disappoint the 89 year old now. Yet there are two worthy contenders in the wings. Mudbound has the first woman of color ever nominated in this category, and Molly’s Game has the glory and power of the name Aaron Sorkin attached to it. If anyone can win on sheer name power in a writing category, it’s him.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Will Win: Get Out
Could Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This is another tough category to predict. Some of the most beloved films this year are once again facing off in this category but with surprisingly different results. For those that want to honor Get Out but were hesitant to give it Best Picture over Three Billboards, they can reward it in this category. A lot of voters also want to show some love for Jordan Peele who wrote, produced and directed this film. This is their best chance to get Mr. Peele up onstage. He also won top honors at the Writers Guild Awards. If voters do vote for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri for Best Picture though, they might just spread the love into every category it’s nominated for.
Thanks for reading y’all. As always, sound off in the comments section below.