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2018 Oscar Predictions

It’s that time of year again! After weeding through the good, the bad, and the Oscar bait, the latest batch of Oscar winners are set to be announced this Sunday. We’ve got newer faces like Timothee Chalamet and Jordan Peele, as well as seasoned nominees like Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep. There’s plenty of excitement (and criticism) to go around. If you haven’t completely caught up this year’s nominees yet, there’s still time.

Four of our writers sat down and talked about their predictions and desires for the upcoming ceremony.

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

Snubbed: Blade Runner 2049 (Drew), Logan (Premal), Personal Shopper (Matt)
Should Win: Get Out (Drew), Three Billboards (Premal), The Shape of Water (Jeff), Call Me by Your Name (Matt)
Will Win: The Shape of Water (Drew, Jeff, Matt), Three Billboards (Premal)

2017 was a pretty good year in film, though you wouldn’t necessarily know that by looking at the nominees. There’s no clear strongest film among the nominees and there were a number of films more deserving to have their name in the competition. While we disagreed on the most deserving film, we had a near consensus on the one that will take home the Oscar: The Shape of Water. It’s a strange thing to say about a field that includes Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan. But Spielberg, despite his ten nominations, has only racked up one Best Picture win in his career.

The Shape of Water is current, it’s stylish, and its themes are very favorable to Oscar voters. The Oscars are likely looking to build on their momentum after Moonlight upset La La Land, who was projected to run away with the prize. Shape of Water is not a movie that typically gets Best Picture consideration but, given the controversy of Three Billboards, our general consensus is that it’ll take home Best Picture.

Best Director: Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, Paul Thomas Anderson, Guillermo Del Toro

Snubbed: Denis Villeneuve (Drew)
Should Win: Jordan Peele (Drew), Guillermo del Toro (Premal, Jeff), Paul Thomas Anderson (Matt)
Will Win: Guillermo del Toro

It’s been called a modern-day fable. Holyfield’s unanimous choice for best director, Guillermo Del Toro, calls The Shape of Water “a fairytale for troubled times.” Del Toro achieves a dream-like style of shooting in a realistic Cold-War-era backdrop. It appeals to the senses and is highlighted by the beautifully shot intimate scenes in water between main character, Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and the experimented-on amphibious creature she falls in love with. The audience comes to love the three closest to Elisa, Octavia Spencer’s Zelda, Richard Jenkins’ Giles, and the creature. Each of their bonds with Elisa is from a shared feeling of being ostracized. Del Toro does a masterful job of depicting the loyalties and complexities of each interaction as the audience feels that love shared even though its main character is a mute.

Best Actor: Timothee Chalamet, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Kaluuya, Gary Oldman, Denzel Washington

Snubbed: Tom Hanks (Jeff), Robert Pattinson (Matt)
Should Win: Timothee Chalamet (Drew, Premal, Matt), Gary Oldman (Jeff)
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis (Drew), Gary Oldman (Premal, Jeff), Timothee Chalamet (Matt)

Gary Oldman is the overwhelming favorite for Darkest Hour, and there’s little to quibble with about that choice. This is not a strong category, and Oldman deserves it both for this performance and his overall body of work. Daniel Day-Lewis could win whenever he chooses to do a movie. If you remind yourself halfway through Phantom Thread that this is the same guy who did Gangs of New York and Last of the Mohicans, you find yourself forgetting the plot of the movie and just appreciating his virtuosity. This isn’t quite his best work, but it’s plenty good. Oldman stretches a bit more in his performance, so he gets my vote.

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, Frances McDormand, Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep

Snubbed: Kristen Stewart (Matt)
Should Win: Saoirse Ronan (Drew), Frances McDormand (Premal, Matt), Sally Hawkins (Jeff)
Will Win: Meryl Streep (Drew), Frances McDormand (Premal, Matt), Sally Hawkins (Jeff)

McDormand is the favorite to win Best Actress thanks to her part as Mildred Hayes, an angry, grieving, mother seeking revenge and accountability for her daughter’s murder. Mildred posts three billboards outside town holding police chief, Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) responsible for not having found those responsible. McDormand does a masterful job depicting a grief that’s shifted into a tough, cold exterior that one would expect from a mother dealing with such a gruesome loss. Mildred maneuvers through a desire for revenge and violence with humor in her brash, sarcastic delivery. You may root for her. You may not. Either way, Mildred doesn’t care. Even though the plot or setting may not be relatable, Frances McDormand’s true triumph is in making her character completely believable.

Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, Woody Harrelson, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Plummer, Sam Rockwell

Snubbed: Armie Hammer (Matt), Michael Stuhlbarg (Jeff)
Should Win: Willem Dafoe (Drew, Matt), Sam Rockwell (Premal), Woody Harrelson (Jeff)
Will Win: Sam Rockwell (Drew, Matt, Premal), Woody Harrelson (Jeff)

This category is said to be a tossup between Sam Rockwell and Willem Dafoe. Rockwell was excellent, but his co-star, Woody Harrelson, was even better. Harrelson may be the rightful heir to Dennis Hopper as the guy you call when you’ve got a role where you want the audience to spend the whole movie wondering exactly how unhinged the character is. This is one of his saner characters, but he plays it beautifully. Richard Jenkins was marvelous in The Shape of Water, as well. Props as well to Michael Stuhlbarg, who isn’t nominated but is in no fewer than three of the movies that are nominated for Best Picture, which would shock me if it isn’t a record. He’s great in all of them and should’ve gotten a nod.

Best Supporting Actress: Mary J. Blige, Allison Janney, Lesley Manville, Laurie Metcalf, Octavia Spencer

Snubbed: Holly Hunter (Matt)
Should Win: Allison Janney (Drew, Matt, Jeff), Laurie Metcalf (Premal)
Will Win: Allison Janney

When you’re watching I, Tonya, it’s truly difficult to believe that the mother is a real person. Everyone knows the Tonya Harding story going in, but LaVona Fay Golden can’t be a real person, right? After the movie ends, there are video clips of the real life inspirations to the film. Everyone from Harding to the rotund Shawn Eckhardt (that man needs a movie all to himself). But when the real Golden appeared on screen, I nearly lost it. Alison Janney captured that woman perfectly, bird and all! You hated Harding’s mother throughout the film because she was a despicable human being. Janney sunk into that role and crushed it. She was without question the best supporting actress.

Best Original Screenplay: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Snubbed: The Florida Project (Drew), Phantom Thread (Matt)
Should Win: The Big Sick (Drew, Matt), Get Out (Premal)
Will Win: The Shape of Water (Drew), Three Billboards (Premal), Lady Bird (Matt)

One of the stronger categories this year, The Big Sick, Get Out, and Lady Bird are all very deserving of a win. While the category is lacking in Phantom Thread, it’s got a very strong trio of nominees. I think Lady Bird takes home the prize but I could see any of them winning. While that’s good for Big Sick and Get Out, I’m lukewarm on The Shape of Water and baffled at the presence of Three Billboards. Upon examining the script, the flaws of Three Billboards obvious whereas the Phantom Thread script breeds new appreciation for the film. I won’t rule out any film on this list but it would be a disappointment not to see one of the three smaller films get a win.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game, Mudbound

Snubbed: The Lost City of Z (Matt)
Should Win: The Disaster Artist (Drew), Call Me by Your Name (Premal, Matt)
Will Win: The Disaster Artist (Drew), Call Me by Your Name (Premal, Matt)

Best Animated Feature Film: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent

Should Win: Coco
Will Win: Coco

Best Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman, The Insult, Loveless, On Body and Soul, The Square

Should Win: The Square (Matt)
Will Win: A Fantastic Woman (Matt)

Best Documentary – Feature: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Faces Places, Icarus, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island

Should Win: Faces Places (Matt)
Will Win: Faces Places (Matt)

Best Documentary – Short Subject: Edith + Eddie, Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, Heroin(e), Knife Skills, Traffic Stop

Should Win: Edith + Eddie
Will Win: Edith + Eddie

Best Live Action Short Film: DeKalb Elementary, The Eleven O’Clock, My Nephew Emmett, The Silent Child, Watu Wote/All of Us

Should Win: DeKalb Elementary
Will Win: DeKalb Elementary

Best Animated Short Film: Dear Basketball, Garden Party, Lou, Negative Space, Revolting Rhymes

Should Win: Dear Basketball
Will Win: Dear Basketball

Best Original Score: Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Snubbed: Blade Runner 2049 (Drew)
Should Win: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Drew), The Shape of Water (Premal), Phantom Thread (Matt)
Will Win: Phantom Thread (Drew), The Shape of Water (Premal), Dunkirk (Matt)

Best Original Song: Mighty River, Mystery of Love, Remember Me, Stand Up for Something, This is Me

Should Win: This Is Me (Premal, Drew), Mystery of Love (Matt)
Will Win: This is Me

Best Sound Editing: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Should Win: Baby Driver (Drew, Matt), Dunkirk (Premal)
Will Win: Baby Driver (Drew, Matt), Dunkirk (Premal)

Best Sound Mixing: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Should Win: Baby Driver
Will Win: Baby Driver (Drew), Dunkirk (Matt, Premal)

Best Production Design: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water

Should Win: Blade Runner 2049
Will Win: The Shape of Water

Best Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Mudbound, The Shape of Water

Snubbed: Good Time (Matt)
Should Win: Blade Runner 2049 (Drew, Matt), Dunkirk (Premal)
Will Win: Dunkirk (Drew), Blake Runner 2049 (Matt, Premal)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour, Victoria & Abdul, Wonder

Should Win: Darkest Hour
Will Win: Darkest Hour

Best Costume Design: Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Victoria & Abdul

Should Win: The Shape of Water (Premal, Drew), Phantom Thread (Matt)
Will Win: Phantom Thread

Best Film Editing: Baby Driver, Dunkirk, I Tonya, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Should Win: Baby Driver (Drew, Matt), Dunkirk (Premal)
Will Win: Baby Driver (Drew), Dunkirk (Premal, Matt)

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

Should Win: Blade Runner 2049
Will Win: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Drew), Blade Runner 2049 (Premal, Matt)

The 90th Academy Awards will air Sunday, March 4th at 8:00 EST on ABC.

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