Predictions // 90th ACADEMY AWARDS



(Last Updated: March 2, 2018)


The 90th Academy Awards take place this Sunday, March 4, with the Spirit Awards taking over Santa Monica on Saturday. The former is, obviously, the biggest night in Hollywood and will finally close out one of the most unpredictable awards season in recent memory. The latter is traditionally a more relaxed evening celebrating the best in independent film on the shores of Santa Monica.


In years past, the Spirit Awards winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture, with Moonlight and Spotlight as two recent examples. This year, Lady Bird is expected to win, which would give it a last minute boost for prognosticators (Oscar voting is already over, so there's no use in expecting its win to change things the night before), but this year is not like other years.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri took the reigns in awards season after its big win at the Toronto International Film Festival at the start of the season, but its frontrunner status has consistently been challenged by Get Out's impressive run with critics and a few industry groups. The aforementioned Lady Bird has crept in here and there with wins. And, The Shape of Water has its own collection of Best Film prizes, plus Guillermo del Toro is a shoe-in for Best Director. But, Three Billboards has taken the top awards: Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA.


Last year we all knew it would be either La La Land or Moonlight. This year is a mixed bag.


Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Allison Janney are also expected to win after victorious trips to the podiums at several important precursor awards shows.


While in a normal year, all of these important wins would solidify the race, this season's race isn't the same. Saoirse Ronan or Sally Hawkins could still sneak in as Best Actress. Timothee Chalamet could upset in Best Actor. Even "smaller" categories aren't safe with Dunkirk expected to either win many technical awards or none at all.


Take a look at the final predictions below and tune in to the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday, March 4, at 8pm/EST on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel returns to host.


All nominees are listed below. Predicted winners are in bold.


BEST PICTURE

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Marco Morabito, producers

DARKEST HOUR

Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten, Douglas Urbanski, producers

DUNKIRK

Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan, producers

GET OUT

Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Jordan Peele, producers

LADY BIRD

Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Evelyn O'Neill, producers

PHANTOM THREAD

JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison, Daniel Lupi, producers

THE POST

Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger, producers

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale, producers

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Martin McDonagh, producers


SCOOP: The safest bet would be Three Billboards, but The Shape of Water seems to be resonating with a broader audience, which means The Academy's vast membership could be more inclined. The one caveat is the BAFTA win for Three Billboards, which could represent a portion of the voting contingent, but with the preferential ballot system, The Shape of Water seems to be the one film that could benefit. Other possibilities are last ditch voting sprees for Lady Bird or Get Out, both of which could end up with enough second or third place votes to boost to the top. This is a head-scratcher of a year, so anything is possible!


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


SCOOP: One of the safest bets for your Oscar party ballot, Guillermo del Toro will win the Directing prize for The Shape of Water. The only possible upset is Christopher Nolan, who earned his first ever Oscar nomination for directing for Dunkirk. Some are thinking Greta Gerwig's significant inclusion here could mean something, but del Toro's film is the flashier one, which sends him to the top of the list.


BEST ACTOR

Timothee Chalamet

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Daniel Day-Lewis

PHANTOM THREAD

Daniel Kaluuya

GET OUT

Gary Oldman

DARKEST HOUR

Denzel Washington

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.


SCOOP: Gary Oldman has been able to withstand starring in a very Oscar-bait film (not as flashy or relevant as other films in the race) and potential controversy around his past (he's been accused of physical abuse against his wife). His turn as Winston Churchill is impressive and, with Oldman having only been nominated once before and never won throughout his career, this win would mark a signifier of his craft. Timothee Chalamet is the only threat here. As a newcomer, it's rare for an actor to get nominated, much less win.


BEST ACTRESS

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


SCOOP: This crop of nominees is incredibly strong, but Frances McDormand has been dominating the awards season for, arguably, the best part of Three Billboards. Sally Hawkins is the biggest threat, for an incredible and speechless performance in The Shape of Water. There is an undercurrent belief that Saoirse Ronan could creep in as a surprise win, after this being her third Oscar nomination despite being so young.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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


SCOOP: With Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg being left out for Call Me By Your Name, and being regarded as the biggest threats here to Sam Rockwell's awards season run, this award is now Rockwell's to lose. The only surprise would be Willem Dafoe winning for the only nomination The Florida Project earned. His votes could directly be related to the film's lack of mentions anywhere else.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Mary J. Blige

MUDBOUND

Allison Janney

I, TONYA

Lesley Manville

PHANTOM THREAD

Laurie Metcalf

LADY BIRD

Octavia Spencer

THE SHAPE OF WATER


SCOOP: One of the more exciting races, this one comes down to Allison Janney and Laurie Metcalf. It should go to Metcalf for Lady Bird, but Janney's performance in I, Tonya is flashier and she has some of the important precursors under her belt.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

THE BIG SICK

Written: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani

GET OUT

Written: Jordan Peele

LADY BIRD

Written: Greta Gerwig

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor

Story: Guillermo del Toro

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Written: Martin McDonagh


SCOOP: This is another one of the trickier categories. If Three Billboards wins here on Sunday night, it would be a given that the film is going to go on to Best Picture gold. But, with Get Out's impressive awards season run, this is the category in which it has its biggest shot to be honored. The biggest upset would be Greta Gerwig's fantastic screenplay for Lady Bird.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Screenplay: James Ivory

THE DISASTER ARTIST

Screenplay: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber

LOGAN

Screenplay: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green

Story: James Mangold

MOLLY'S GAME

Written for screen: Aaron Sorkin

MUDBOUND

Screenplay: Virgil Williams, Dee Rees


SCOOP: Like directing, this category has been a lock for much of the awards season. While some expected Call Me By Your Name to earn a few more accolades, this will be the one category it definitely ends victoriously. There isn't even an expected upset.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

THE BOSS BABY

Tom McGrath, Ramsey Naito

THE BREADWINNER

Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo

COCO

Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson

FERDINAND

Carlos Saldanha

LOVING VINCENT

Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Ivan Mactaggart


SCOOP: Much can be said about Loving Vincent's eye-opening style, but Coco was a critical and commercial success, on top of being one of Pixar's most beautifully made masterpieces. It's Coco's to lose.


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL

Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman

FACES PLACES

Agnes Varda, JR, Rosalie Varda

ICARUS

Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan

LAST MEN IN ALEPPO

Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jespersen

STRONG ISLAND

Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes


SCOOP: This category is a little tough, as the supposed frontrunner, Jane, didn't end up with a nomination. Faces Places' JR has been lighting up any and every event over the past month and Agnes Varda received an honorary Oscar in November, which means her and her accomplishments are fresh on people's minds. Last Men in Aleppo is the expected upset, which would give Netflix its second straight win in the Documentary category.


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

A FANTASTIC WOMAN

Chile

THE INSULT

Lebanon

LOVELESS

Russia

ON BODY AND SOUL

Hungary

THE SQUARE

Sweden


SCOOP: The Square won the Palme d'Or last year, but that doesn't always mean Oscar gold. A Fantastic Woman has made the rounds of every important pre-Oscar event and the film has received glowing reviews. It would be a shock if it didn't take the gold.


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

DUNKIRK

Hans Zimmer

PHANTOM THREAD

Jonny Greenwood

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Alexandre Desplat

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

John Williams

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Carter Burwell


SCOOP: Some are giving this one to Hans Zimmer, but his bombastic score may not be elegant enough to take the win. Alexandre Desplat's score for The Shape of Water is very cinematic and plays to the old Hollywood tropes. Jonny Greenwood's score for Phantom Thread could sneak in, but Desplat has the precursor awards.


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

"Mystery of Love"

Music and Lyric by Sufjan Stevens

COCO

"Remember Me"

Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

"This Is Me"

Music and Lyric by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

MARSHALL

"Stand Up for Something"

Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Lonnie R. Lynn, Diane Warren

MUDBOUND

"Mighty River"

Music and Lyric by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq, Taura Stinson


SCOOP: The Academy ran a Twitter poll asking followers which performance they were most excited to see and Sufjan Stevens won hands down. But, his style of songwriting may not fit with many older Academy members. "Remember Me" from Coco is the safest bet, but "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman could become a reward win for the film's impressive box office turn and the fact that the song has reached some outstanding milestones on the music charts.


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Production Design: Sarah Greenwood

Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Production Design: Dennis Gassner

Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola

DARKEST HOUR

Production Design: Sarah Greenwood

Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

DUNKIRK

Production Design: Nathan Crowley

Set Decoration: Gary Fettis

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry

Set Decoration: Shane Vieau, Jeff Melvin


SCOOP: Beauty and the Beast didn't fare as well as many hoped with nominations, but it shows up in a few categories mostly due to its scope. In Production Design, the Disney live-action film definitely has a lot to show for its nomination. But, much of that seems to be digital, which still counts. The Shape of Water, however, utilizes many practical sets and fits into the legion of beautifully-built del Toro pictures before it. Darkest Hour could be the upset here, as its beautiful sets are complimentary to the stunning cinematography. If this were an Oscar-bait season, it could triumph here.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Roger Deakins

DARKEST HOUR

Bruno Delbonnel

DUNKIRK

Hoyte van Hoytema

MUDBOUND

Rachel Morrison

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Dan Lausten


SCOOP: Roger Deakins has been nominated an incredible amount of times, but never won. This year seems to be the year of Deakins, though Blade Runner 2049 isn't his most stunning work. His win here, which is expected, would possibly be seen as a combined win for Blade Runner and a career achievement. Rachel Morrison made history as the first female to ever be nominated in the category. That good will could spill over into a surprise win. Though, the biggest possible upset is Hoyte van Hoytema's unbelievable work for Dunkirk.


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Jacqueline Durran

DARKEST HOUR

Jacqueline Durran

PHANTOM THREAD

Mark Bridges

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Luis Sequeira

VICTORIA AND ABDUL

Consolata Boyle


SCOOP: Beauty and the Beast gets another mention here, deservedly, but Phantom Thread could see its only win here. With fashion as the centerpiece of Paul Thomas Anderson's drama, it makes complete sense (and the fashion is to die for). The Shape of Water could sneak in with a win. The red coat alone has become iconic. And, if many see the fish man's suit as a costume, it could earn kudos from voters.


BEST FILM EDITING

BABY DRIVER

Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos

DUNKIRK

Lee Smith

I, TONYA

Tatiana S. Riegel

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Sidney Wolinsky

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Jon Gregory


SCOOP: I, Tonya was a surprise nominee here, though its unique style of storytelling makes its nomination deserved. The Shape of Water earned the most nominations this year, but some of those mentions do not necessarily mean it is the clear winner. Baby Driver has an impressive reputation for its use of music and action, the editing of which gives it a boost. Three Billboards' nomination is a head scratcher, as one of the most common critiques for the film is its rough structure. Its appearance here could mean it has a huge following. Baby Driver should win, but The Shape of Water could sneak in.


BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

DARKEST HOUR

Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick

VICTORIA AND ABDUL

Daniel Phillips, Lou Sheppard

WONDER

Arjen Tuiten


SCOOP: Wonder has a pretty well-known makeup achievement on its hands, but Darkest Hour's transformation of Gary Oldman to Winston Churchill is the makeup story of the year. There's no way it doesn't win, unless some voters give votes to the other two contenders, thinking Darkest Hour already has it in the bag.


BEST SOUND MIXING

BABY DRIVER

Justin Slater, Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Mac Ruth

DUNKIRK

Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern, Glen Gauthier

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Stuart Wilson


SCOOP: Sound Mixing is how the film uses all of its sounds and the one movie that does this the most effectively, is Dunkirk. Its war sounds are essential to the film's entire approach. Baby Driver could sneak in, as some voters may be confused with what Mixing is. While it is an achievement to using the film's sounds and music, its the film's editing that's the true star. Star Wars is always a safe bet and Blade Runner 2049 falls into that same stance, as well. But, this is one of the categories that should definitely be a Dunkirk win.


BEST SOUND EDITING

BABY DRIVER

Julian Slater

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Mark A. Mangini, Theo Green

DUNKIRK

Richard King, Alex Gibson

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Matthew Wood, Ren Klyce


SCOOP: Sound Editing used to be called Sound Effects Editing, which helps show the difference between the two sound categories. This year's nominees are the same in both categories, which somewhat makes sense (an argument could be said that Baby Driver doesn't really belong here). But, like Sound Mixing, all of the sounds in Dunkirk are important to the film's structure. It should easily win here, though don't be surprised with a The Shape of Water shock (the sounds the monster makes are interesting).


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

BLADE RUNNER 2049

John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick

KONG: SKULL ISLAND

Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

Joe Leteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joel Whist


SCOOP: Some are saying this could be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's win, but not a single Apes film has ever won here, despite always being notably impressive. Its win here could be a nod, a la Lord of the Rings, to the entire series' effects.


BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATED

DEAR BASKETBALL

Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant

GARDEN PARTY

Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon

LOU

Dave Mullins, Dana Murray

NEGATIVE SPACE

Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata

REVOLTING RHYMES

Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer


SCOOP: Some are giving Dear Basketball the vote, as that would mean a Kobe Bryant Oscar speech, but the film is divisive (coming across as a self-congratulatory short by the basketball star). The animation is beautiful, by Glen Keane, known for his work on Disney features like The Little Mermaid, and the music is by John Williams. Those credits alone could elevate it. But, Garden Party has the most groundbreaking animation. Its story is a little strange, but the detail in each and every frame is eye-popping and gorgeous. Lou could sneak in, but the short isn't the most impressive from the Disney/Pixar team. And, Revolting Rhymes has an all-star voice cast, which could help its chances. The safe vote is Garden Party.


BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION

DEKALB ELEMENTARY

Reed Van Dyk

THE ELEVEN O'CLOCK

Derin Seale, Josh Lawson

MY NEPHEW EMMET

Kevin Wilson, Jr.

THE SILENT CHILD

Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton

WATU WOTE/ALL OF US

Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen


SCOOP: This is a crop of important, if divisive, list of nominees. With the current political climate being enraptured by the Parkland school shooting (which occurred just a week before final voting), Dekalb Elementary would seem like the safest bet. Its true story of an attempted school shooting is effective storytelling on a shoestring budget, which is one of the highlights of these short film categories. It's also the live action short with the best performances.


BEST SHORT FILM, DOCUMENTARY

EDITH + EDDIE

Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright

HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405

Frank Stiefel

HEROIN(E)

Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon

KNIFE SKILLS

Thomas Lennon

TRAFFIC STOP

Kate Davis, David Heilbroner


SCOOP: Netflix is banking on its Heroin(e), which is a steady, heartbreaking story of the opioid crisis. Edith + Eddie is intriguing and sad, but feels a little one-sided and incomplete. The safest bet here is Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, an enriching story of an artist and her mental illness. It has heart. It has an indelible structure. And, its main character is so interesting and delightful, the film sticks with you long after the credits. Plus, if Academy members haven't seen the films, but just make a one-off vote (not that they should do that), the 405's mention in the title could give the film a Hollywood-connected boost.

© 2018 by Scottie Knollin.

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