2018 Oscar Predictions

Photo Courtesy of Oscars.org.

Photo Courtesy of Oscars.org.

Best Picture:
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: The Shape of Water
Should Win: Lady Bird
Could Win: Three Billboards
Really Should Win: The Florida Project

For a while, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri seemed to be a lock, but a backlash regarding whether the film is overrated has put The Shape of Water firmly in lead. An upset from Three Billboards is still quite possible, though. Of the nominees, Lady Bird is the strongest, a great high school movie for the ages, and Dunkirk is a close second, but plenty of war epics have won in the past. All of these movies are excellent but truly, the best movie wasn’t even nominated. The Florida Project was the film of the year, an intimate look at a mother and daughter living in a cheap motel.

Lead Actor:
Timothée Chalamet
Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Kaluuya
Gary Oldman
Denzel Washington

Will Win: Gary Oldman
Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Could Win: Timothée Chalamet

This will be Gary Oldman’s award for Darkest Hour, which is fine because he is one of the best actors of his generation. That being said, Daniel Day-Lewis is the best actor of his generation. With rumors of retirement, it would be great to see Day-Lewis win a fourth Oscar for Phantom Thread, but it’s unlikely. The only possible spoiler is Chalamet for Call Me by Your Name, but even that seems pretty impossible.

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

Will Win: Frances McDormand
Should Win: Saoirse Ronan
Could Win: Sally Hawkins

Frances McDormand is another sure thing, locking in her second Oscar win for Three Billboards as a furious bereaved parent. Sally Hawkins, who perfectly played a mute woman in The Shape of Water, leaving her entire performance to what wasn’t said, would be the dark horse, but don’t count on it. Saoirse Ronan should win because her performance as a confident, often ridiculous teenager in Lady Bird was phenomenal; she could have easily phoned it in or chewed the scenery, but gave a predictably perfect performance. Margot Robbie was also great in I, Tonya, so a win from her would be wonderful too.

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

Will Win: Sam Rockwell
Should Win: Willem Dafoe
Could Win: Willem Dafoe

This is one of the closer races, but Sam Rockwell’s racist cop in Three Billboards seems to be a safe bet. Rockwell is one of the most underrated actors working today, so it’s hard to root against him. However, Willem Dafoe gave the performance of the year in The Florida Project, a subtle depiction of a weary motel manager struggling to keep everything afloat. It’s unlike anything he’s ever done, and hopefully it will be recognized.

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

Will Win: Allison Janney
Should Win: Laurie Metcalf
Could Win: Laurie Metcalf

Expect Allison Janney to win for her performance as Tonya Harding’s awful mother in I, Tonya. The deserving winner is between Janney and Laurie Metcalf as a struggling mother in Lady Bird. Metcalf has the slight edge in that race, but in the actual one, expect Janney to win. That’s fine because she is one of the most reliable actresses in movies and TV, always managing to steal the show no matter how minor the role.

Christopher Nolan
Jordan Peele
Greta Gerwig
Paul Thomas Anderson
Guillermo del Toro

Will Win: Guillermo del Toro
Should Win: Christopher Nolan or Guillermo del Toro
Could Win: Christopher Nolan

Guillermo del Toro will finally be getting his due as one of the most innovative, brilliant directors in Hollywood for The Shape of Water. You can’t really complain about that. However, a win from Christopher Nolan would be just as satisfying, as he, too, is one of the true geniuses working in film today. Dunkirk and The Shape of Water are both spectacles, and while a Nolan win seems less than likely at this point, in either scenario, the winner will go to someone who’s been crafting gold for more than a decade.

Adapted Screenplay:
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game

Will Win: Call Me by Your Name
Should Win: Call Me by Your Name
Could Win: Mudbound

Call Me by Your Name’s quiet, reflective script by the 89 year-old James Ivory seems to be in the clear now. This is a relief, because he turned the Andre Aciman novel about a teenager and a grad student falling in love into a highlight of the year. Mudbound might run away with the award, as Dee Rees and Virgil Williams made one of the bleakest, devastating films of recent memory [about a black WWII veteran returning to the South]. Mudbound was a great film, and Rees and Williams are behind that, but Ivory’s screenplay is the instant classic.

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

Will Win: Get Out
Should Win: Lady Bird
Could Win: Lady Bird

Up until a week ago, Martin McDonagh was expected to win for Three Billboards. But, the movie has met some resistance recently, so now this seems like a neck and neck race between Jordan Peele for Get Out and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird. Both crafted great screenplays, and while Lady Bird is probably the stronger of the two, Get Out was extremely ambitious, balancing satire, horror, and comedy and pulling it off. Plus, it would be pretty cool to see Jordan Peele get an Oscar, just like it would be to see Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani win one for The Big Sick.

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

Will Win: The Shape of Water
Should Win: Phantom Thread
Could Win: Dunkirk

Alexandre Desplat’s Django-esque, French-inspired score made The Shape of Water have a dream-like quality, and it was quite beautiful. However, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood really delivered something grand with his score for Phantom Thread, a simple piano soundtrack, sprinkled throughout the film. It was truly magical and gave the film a true intimacy. Hans Zimmer is one of the most reliable composers in Hollywood and his Dunkirk score was a good fit for the movie. He could win, but it would be a surprise.

Original Song:
“Mighty River,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Will Win: “Remember Me”
Should Win: “Mystery of Love”
Could Win: “Mighty River”

Sufjan Stevens really added something to Call Me by Your Name, his hushed, angelic voice really floating above the two protagonists’ world. This award should have been an obvious choice, but it seems as though Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are one of the safest bets on the night, for their song from Coco. That’s a disappointment, as Stevens really changed an entire movie with just one song. Mary J. Blige [nominated for 2 Oscars this year] might win for her song in Mudbound, but don’t hold your breath.