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Oscar Predictions 2018

After last year's game-changing win by Moonlight, the Oscars are wide open.

By Max Weiss | March 1, 2018, 9:30 am

-Fox Searchlight
MaxSpace

Oscar Predictions 2018

After last year's game-changing win by Moonlight, the Oscars are wide open.

By Max Weiss | March 1, 2018, 9:30 am

-Fox Searchlight

Moonlight changed everything. Predicting the best picture at the Oscars used to be a fairly straightforward task. You looked for several things: A film that is epic in scale. One that is literary or historic—bonus for lots of human suffering. A film that is socially aware, but never in a truly provocative way. The film should be smart, but accessibly so—surrealism and ambiguity are big no-nos. It should have impressive, even splashy production values. Bonus points if it stars beloved actors or established directors. And if it celebrates Hollywood and the joys of movie making, all the better. Also, and not to put too fine a point on it, it should generally be heteronormative and the cast should be mostly white.

From there, you take the film that ticks the most of those boxes and—ta da! You’ve built yourself an Oscar winner!

But Moonlight didn’t really tick any of those boxes—not only did it feature a black, gay hero, it was relatively low-budget, and directed by a man who was certainly a rising star, but hardly a household name. What’s more, it was moody, evocative, subtle. Subtle things never win Oscars! It was my favorite film of 2016 (along with Manchester By the Sea), but I never thought it was going to win best picture. I had La La Land, all the way. (And so did Faye Dunaway, apparently.)

So why did Moonlight win? Did the Academy suddenly develop more sophisticated taste? Perhaps. Most likely it was attributable to the influx of new Academy members—a much younger, more diverse, and presumably more open-minded group. This new group throws everything out of whack, gloriously I might add. So I’m going to have to recalibrate my Oscar radar. And maybe the notion of an “Oscar film”—that specific type of sturdy, middlebrow film that the Academy always goes for—is gone forever. Suddenly, predicting Oscars feels like a free-for-all. Whee!

With that being said, here are my best guesses for a few of the major categories. But seriously, you’re on your own here, people. I’m winging it!    

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  

Who should win: Call Me By Your Name or Phantom Thread

Who could win: Get Out; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

WHO WILL WIN: THE SHAPE OF WATER
 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

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

Who should win: Frances McDormand

Who could win: Honestly I don’t see any real threats to McDormand here

WHO WILL WIN: FRANCES MCDORMAND
 

Best Actor in a Leading Role

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

Who should win: Timotheé Chalamet

Who could win: Timotheé Chalamet; Daniel Day-Lewis

WHO WILL WIN: GARY OLDMAN

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Who should win: Laurie Metcalf or Lesley Manville

Who could win: Laurie Metcalf; Lesley Manville

WHO WILL WIN: ALLISON JANNEY

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

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  

Who should win: Willem Dafoe

Who could win: Willem Dafoe

WHO WILL WIN: SAM ROCKWELL

Best Animated Feature

Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent
The Breadwinner
The Boss Baby
 

Who should win: The Boss Baby (Just kidding—Coco)

Who could win: I don’t see any real challengers here

WHO WILL WIN: COCO 

Best Cinematography

Roger A. Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
Bruno Delbonnel, Darkest Hour
Dan Laustsen, The Shape of Water
Rachel Morrison, Mudbound
Hoyte Van Hoytema, Dunkirk  

Who should win: Rachel Morrison

Who could win: Dan Laustsen; Hoyte Van Hoytema

WHO WILL WIN: ROGER A. DEAKINS

Best Director

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

Who should win: Paul Thomas Anderson

Who could win: Christopher Nolan

WHO WILL WIN: GUILLERMO DEL TORO

Best Documentary Feature

Faces Places
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island
Abacus: Small Enough To Jail
Icarus  

Who should win: Faces Places

Who could win: Icarus; Last Men in Aleppo

WHO WILL WIN: FACES PLACES 

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman
Loveless
On Body and Soul
The Insult
The Square
 

Who should win: Loveless

Who could win: The Square

WHO WILL WIN: A FANTASTIC WOMAN 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
Scott Frank and James Mangold and Michael Green, Logan
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
Dee Rees, Virgin Williams, Mudbound  

Who should win: James Ivory

Who could win: Hmmm . . . not seeing any real challengers here

WHO WILL WIN: JAMES IVORY 

Best Original Screenplay

Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Emily V. Gordon Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  

Who should win: Jordan Peele

Who could win: This category is pretty wide open, I could almost see anyone taking it. But Martin McDonagh poses the biggest threat.

WHO WILL WIN: JORDAN PEELE

The Oscars air Sunday, March 4 at 8 p.m. on ABC




Meet The Author

Max Weiss is the editor-in-chief of Baltimore and a film and pop culture critic.



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