90th Academy Awards: Predictions, Round I

Image courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

This year’s crop of Oscar nominees contains the usual mixture of truly excellent work (Phantom Thread, Call Me by Your Name) and blatant awards-season bait (Darkest Hour, The Post). Here, a few preliminary predictions regarding the major categories:

Picture

Nominee TFW Rating (out of 4)
Call Me by Your Name ****
Darkest Hour *
Dunkirk ***
Get Out ****
Lady Bird ****
Phantom Thread ****
The Post ** ½
The Shape of Water *** ½
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ***

Will Win: For a while, it seemed like this was going to be a close race between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. But Billboards’ Martin McDonagh was shut out of the Best Director category – a snub that would appear to give Shape the advantage.

Should Win: Barring a major upset, neither Call Me by Your Name nor Phantom Thread is going to take home the big prize. But none of the other nominees come even close to matching their intellectual, artistic, and thematic audacity.

Snubbed: Many good films were snubbed. But among the more flagrant omissions: A Ghost Story, The Florida Project, A Quiet Passion, and Lady Macbeth.

Director

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

Will Win: Guillermo del Toro, seeing as he won at both the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards.

Should Win: Paul Thomas Anderson, who provided a masterful, remarkably self-aware portrait of obsession in Phantom Thread.

Snubbed: Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name), Terence Davies (A Quiet Passion), Sean Baker (The Florida Project).

Actor

Name Movie
Timothée 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.

Will Win: In light of his clean sweep of the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Gary Oldman is the clear frontrunner in this race.

Should Win: Any of the other nominees would make a far better choice than Oldman, whose performance was the kind of physically demanding (yet emotionally empty) performance that Oscar loves to recognize. Chalamet and Day-Lewis in particular were both exceptional.

Snubbed: Robert Pattinson (the one good thing about Good Time); Adam Sandler (surprisingly good in The Meyerowitz Stories); Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne (all from Last Flag Flying). 

Actress 

Name Movie
Sally Hawkins The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand Three Billboards
Margot Robbie I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan Lady Bird
Meryl Streep The Post

Will Win: Some 20 years after her first win for Fargo, Frances McDormand looks set to take home another statuette.

Should Win: Sally Hawkins, whose twin performances in The Shape of Water and Maudie were both master classes in the art of gesture.

Snubbed: Sally Hawkins (Maudie), Rooney Mara (A Ghost Story), Cynthia Nixon (A Quiet Passion).

Supporting Actor 

Name Movie
Willem Dafoe The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson Three Billboards
Richard Jenkins The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell Three Billboards

Will Win: Sam Rockwell. If film critics had a say in this race, Willem Dafoe would be a shoo-in. But Rockwell has taken all the awards (Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild) that matter.

Should Win: Dafoe. But let it be noted that the year’s best supporting performance – Armie Hammer in Call Me by Your Name – wasn’t even nominated.

Snubbed: Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name), Tracy Letts (Lady Bird), Bob Odenkirk (The Post).

Supporting Actress

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

Will Win: Allison Janney. As with the Supporting Actor race, this category features a split between the critics (most of whom have gone for Laurie Metcalf) and the big awards organizations (most of which have gone for Janney). As of now, Janney appears to be ahead.

Should Win: Janney and Metcalf were both marvelous to watch. But in Phantom Thread, Lesley Manville was absolutely menacing as Daniel Day-Lewis’ loyal, protective sister.

Snubbed: Elizabeth Marvel (The Meyerowitz Stories), Tilda Swinton (Okja).