My Oscar Predictions (2018)

Let this be my public historical record so that I may be proven right afterwards or as a shining example of my hubris and lack of predictive powers. For the sake of brevity I’m not going to make a prediction on any of the shorts categories or the foreign language category because I did not see any of them. (As an aside, would it really be so hard to make all of the shorts available for purchase on iTunes before the ceremony? Surely that would inject more life into that portion of the ceremony.) For every category I’m going to list the movie I think should win and the movie I think actually will. For proof of my predictive powers, we shall assume that the movies that actually will win are the ones I am putting my (theoretical) money on.

BEST PICTURE

The Nominees:
Call Me By You Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
(WINNER)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should WinDunkirk
Will WinThe Shape of Water

If you have kept hearing how this race is the widest open one in ages, it’s because you should totally believe that prognosis. I cannot remember a race where it has been so hard to predict who will win and this is due to three things: (1) The two frontrunners The Shape of Water and Three Billboards have not run away with the competition yet, frequently trading major trade awards leading up to the Oscars. (2) Behind those frontrunners lies a slew of other great movies that have passionate followings who may be able to overtake the frontrunners. (3) This is the only major award that uses a ranked ballot system leaving the door very open for a movie in that second group to emerge as the consensus favourite. Of the nominees only The Post and Darkest Hour seem to fall in the category of “Happy to Be Here” nominees. All the rest have a shot. But by the slimmest of margins I think The Shape of Water has the edge.

My Ranking: (9) Three Billboards; (8) Darkest Hour; (7) The Post; (6) The Shape of Water; (5) Get Out; (4) Call Me By Your Name; (3) Phantom Thread; (2) Lady Bird; (1) Dunkirk

BEST DIRECTOR

The Nominees:
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (WINNER)
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out

Should Win: Christopher Nolan
Will Win: Guillermo del Toro

This race has been sewn up the moment that Martin McDonagh’s name did not appear on the list of nominees for Three Billboards. With Guillermo del Toro’s win in the Director’s Guild Awards, it is clearly his race to lose. But while del Toro’s love letter to classic cinema in The Shape of Water is good, it is also clear that the task to put together Dunkirk is a much more impressive feat. Of course both directors have equal claim of being slightly overdue for the award (somehow this is their first nomination!) so either way someone is going to be snubbed.

BEST ACTRESS

The Nominees:
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (WINNER)
Meryl Streep, The Post
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Should Win: Sally Hawkins
Will Win: Frances McDormand

If Frances McDormand does not win the Best Actress award it will be one of the shocks of the night as she has been a dominant frontrunner so far. And it is undeniable that for all the problems I have with Three Billboards, McDormand is not one of them. Still if I could have my way, the award would go to Sally Hawkins whose subtle and entirely physical performance in The Shape of Water is one of the great highlights of that movie. And if they decide to give it to Saoirse Ronan, I wouldn’t object too hard either.

BEST ACTOR

The Nominees:
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (WINNER)
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Should Win: Timothée Chalamet
Will Win: Gary Oldman

There is a clear narrative being built that Gary Oldman is due his award, and his performance as the enigmatic and iconic Churchill has done nothing but reinforce that narrative. But for my money the breakout performance of the year belongs to Timothée Chalamet who embodies perfectly the complex and confusing feelings of adolescent sexuality in Call Me By Your Name.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The Nominees:
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya (WINNER)
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Should Win: Laurie Metcalf
Will Win: Allison Janney

Like all the other acting races so far, Allison Janney has picked up all the major hardware so far in awards season and so should, barring any major shock, complete her victory lap on Sunday. Which will be a shame because Laurie Metcalf, whose performance as Lady Bird’s mother is so incredibly nuanced and measured that in any other year we would be talking about her presumptive victory lap instead of Janney for her obviously showy performance.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The Nominees:
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 (WINNER)

Should Win: Willem Dafoe
Will Win: Sam Rockwell

Finally we get to a semi-competitive race. Sam Rockwell is the presumed favourite, having picked up most of the major guild awards for a performance that I personally did not love (although I do love Sam Rockwell). Meanwhile Willem Dafoe’s fantastic performance in The Florida Project was what critics awarded, leaving him with a puncher’s chance in the race, and one I will be overjoyed to cheer should he win.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Nominees:
The Big Sick
Get Out (WINNER)
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should Win: Lady Bird
Will Win: Get Out

Jordan Peele’s incisive script would be the smart play for the win here especially since he picked up the award at the Writer’s Guild. And seeing as this might be the only realistic shot for Get Out to win an award (sans a Best Picture upset), the Academy might oblige and do it here. Of course if the Academy doesn’t do that then the clear choice would be to hand the Best Screenplay Oscar to Greta Gerwig whose smart, funny, and heartfelt writing truly helped Lady Bird come to life.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Nominees:
Call Me By Your Name (WINNER)
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly’s Game
Mudbound

Will and Should Win: Call Me By Your Name

Sure, a little part of me really wants Logan to pick up the shock win in this category, but the clear and obvious choice here is James Ivory’s immaculate work in adapting the intimate and sensual depiction of first love in Call Me By Your Name.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

The Nominees:
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco (WINNER)
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Will and Should Win: Coco

This is a no-brainer. A well-made and heartfelt Pixar movie is always going to have an incredible edge even if there were other strong candidates and the rest of this year’s slate is hardly going to put up much of a fight against Coco.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

The Nominees:
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Icarus 
(WINNER)
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Will and Should Win: Faces Places

Under normal circumstances I might argue that the favourites in this category are always going to be the most socially relevant ones, in this case Icarus and Last Men in Aleppo. However the possibility that the legendary Agnes Varda might become the oldest person ever to win an Oscar for her fantastic Faces Places might be too big an opportunity for the Academy to pass up. Nor should they.

Reaction: Lesson learned. Never bet against Netflix.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Nominees:
Blade Runner 2049 
(WINNER)
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

Will and Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

Look, I am generally against giving lifetime achievement awards for regular awards but the fact is that Roger Deakins has had 14 nominations for cinematography and still hasn’t won yet. The man is long overdue. And say what you will about Blade Runner 2049 (and I usually say really good things about it) but every frame of this picture is immaculately composed and aesthetically gorgeous. Just give the man his Oscar already.

BEST FILM EDITING

The Nominees:
Baby Driver
Dunkirk (WINNER)
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will and Should Win: Dunkirk

If Lee Smith does not pick up the Oscar for Dunkirk then I will be at a loss for words because without his immaculate editing the entire movie would fall apart. Unlike other films on this list, the movie demands perfection in editing because of its non-linear time structure. The fact that it flows so seamlessly means it has to be the best of the year.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Nominees:
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water (WINNER)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will and Should Win: The Shape of Water

First off, there is no way that they give the award to John Williams for The Last Jedi seeing as they already gave it to him for the original Star Wars. But off the four remaining scores I think Alexandre Desplat’s lush, old fashioned, and romantic score for The Shape of Water takes the prize not just because it is gorgeous but also seems more vital to the creation of the film’s world than the other scores. But if they decide to award it to Hans Zimmer for Dunkirk or Jonny Greenwood for Phantom Thread I wouldn’t complain too much either (although if The Shape of Water loses in this category it might not bode well for its prospects the rest of the night).

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

The Nominees:
“Mighty River” from Mudbound
Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name
Remember Me” from Coco (WINNER)
Stand Up For Something” from Marshall
This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman

Should Win: “Mysteries of Love”
Will Win: “Remember Me”

The category is going to come down to Remember Me” and “This Is Me”, both heralding from popular and populist movies making it extremely hard to predict. I’m going with “Remember Me” mostly because Coco, unlike The Greatest Showman, has more critical acclaim and strong awards buzz in the Best Animated Feature category which should just pip “This Is Me”. Of course in an ideal world, we would all just recognize the sheer genius of Sufjan Stevens and just hand the award to him for “Mystery of Love” (aAlso, when is Sufjan going to score a movie? Because that would be spectacular.)

BEST SOUND EDITING

The Nominees:
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
(WINNER)
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Will and Should WinDunkirk

BEST SOUND MIXING

The Nominees:
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk (WINNER)
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Will and Should Win: Dunkirk

Ah yes, the awards that cause the greatest confusion among Oscar viewers. Here’s a brief primer: Sound Editing is about the creation of sound or sound design, Sound Mixing is about how all the various sounds created mix together. In any case it’s rare that these awards get split up to different movies (the nominees are identical this year). And while I am secretly pulling for a Baby Driver upset, it is undeniable that the clear favourite for both of these categories is Dunkirk.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Nominees:
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour

Dunkirk
The Shape of Water (WINNER)

Will and Should Win: The Shape of Water

This is another highly competitive genre that by process of elimination I’m giving to The Shape of Water due to its status as the most nominated picture. Beauty and the Beast won’t win due to the fact that it isn’t a good movie. I believe that Darkest Hour and Dunkirk will split their votes due to the fact that both of them are set during the exact same period. This leaves Blade Runner 2049 but since it doesn’t have a play in the major categories the edge goes to The Shape of Water. Almost all of del Toro’s movies are masterpieces of design, and The Shape of Water is no different so it would definitely be a worthy winner.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

The Nominees:
Darkest Hour (WINNER)
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder

Will and Should Win: Darkest Hour

The first thing anybody says about Darkest Hour is just how unrecognizable Gary Oldman is as Winston Churchill which should tell you all you need to know or who is taking home this statuette.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

The Nominees:
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
(WINNER)
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

Will and Should Win: Phantom Thread

Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, and Victoria & Abdul are all period pieces so they can never be truly counted out in a category that usually favours period looks. Meanwhile The Shape of Water‘s nomination is a clear indication of the film’s widespread appeal among all the different branches of the Academy. But the smart money goes to Phantom Thread which is literally a movie about the life and work of a premier dressmaker with stunning dresses and gowns to back up his prestigious status.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

The Nominees:
Blade Runner 2049 (WINNER)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Should WinWar for the Planet of the Apes
Will WinBlade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049‘s reputation as the most expensive art film ever made should be enough to get this one over the line with the Academy that has tended to give the award to any film that isn’t a genre film (Among the films that have won this decade: Gravity, Ex Machina, Interstellar, Life of Pi, Hugo). This is unfortunate because Weta Studio’s work on the new Planet of the Apes movies has been exemplary, culminating in War which is their best work of all. Of course a tiny part of me is worried that they’re going to award it to Kong: Skull Island making it this year’s Suicide Squad.


BONUS: MY CRAPSHOOT CATEGORIES

Up to this point I’d like to think that the predictions I have made are somewhat informed predictions. However, these last categories are ones I am going to predict based on entirely arbitrary criteria simply because I have not seen any of them. But I need to fill out my Oscar bracket one way or the other, so a crapshoot it is.

BEST FOREIGN FILM

The Nominees:
A Fantastic Woman (WINNER)
The Insult
Loveless
On Body and Soul
The Square

Will Win: A Fantastic Woman

I’m going to go with the fact that A Fantastic Woman, about a trans nightclub singer and waiter, has been the presumptive favourite with some corners calling that star Daniela Vega should’ve been nominated for Best Actress. In a category where not much is usually known about the nominees, any press counts.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

The Nominees:
Dear Basketball (WINNER)
Garden Party
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Will Win: Dear Basketball

While Pixar is almost always a decent bet in this category with Lou this year, let us not forget that the Academy is in Los Angeles and Los Angeles has and always will be Lakers-town (sorry Clippers fans). The chance to get Kobe Bryant up on stage to accept an award is just going to be too big for the Academy to pass up.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

The Nominees:
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child (WINNER)
Watu Wote/All of Us

Will Win: DeKalb Elementary

With the Parkland school shootings two weeks ago, DeKalb Elementary tragically became the most timely of the nominees. Seeing as it happened right smack in the middle of the voting period, it will probably come out on top.

Reaction: And the Oscar pool bracket-buster category strikes again. Of course hearing the acceptance speech makes me much more interested in watching The Silent Child.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

The Nominees:
Edith+Eddie
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (WINNER)
Heroin(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Will Win: Heroin(e)

I am basing this prediction solely on the fact that unlike the rest of the nominees Heroin(e) has all the muscle of the Netflix machine behind it as it searches for awards wins to give it some legitimacy as a film producer. Having powerful backers seems like a decided advantage in these obscure categories.

Reaction: Remember how I said these were my crapshoot categories?

FINAL TALLY: 21/24 Correct. Not a bad night indeed. Just enough to make me overconfident and drunk with hubris for next year’s ceremonies.

 


Author’s note: With the end of Oscar season, I’m going to take a much needed break from blogging for the next week. See you soon after that!

3 thoughts on “My Oscar Predictions (2018)

  1. Pingback: 2018 Oscars Debrief – Homebody Movies

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