Oscar Predictions: How Wrong Can I Be?

Oscar Predictions: How Wrong Can I Be?

So, the Oscar are this Sunday and I, of course, feel the need to try to predict the future. I’m notoriously bad at it, I’m afraid, letting my personal feelings about films cloud my judgment where the general population’s opinions are concerned. It’s vanity, pride, and hope, all balled up into one overly-invested moviegoer. Regardless, I’ve done my best to set aside personal biases and have done my best to try to predict the Oscars in nine categories. Let’s see how many I can get wrong this year!

Best Supporting Actress

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

In many ways, I feel this is the toughest category to predict. The award seems to be a dead heat between Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird, and Allison Janney in I, Tonya. I’m a huge fan of Metcalf in just about anything, but I don’t feel that she has achieved anything new or startling here. She has given performances on the stage that would blow your mind. Janney’s character is more colorful, both funny and merciless. But, Janney isn’t exactly doing anything out of the ordinary either. Still, I think she will edge out Metcalf. 

Who Deserves to Win? Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Who Will Win? Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Dark Horse? Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird [as I said, it is a close race.]

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

I’ve made no bones about my distaste for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a movie that left me cold and mostly unimpressed. I felt like I had seen the story before and done better. I realize I’m the minority on this; I’ve conceded that. The one thing about the film that DID grab my attention, time and again, was Sam Rockwell’s performance as an angry and disillusioned cop ready to blow like a powder keg. As long as Woody Harrelson’s nomination doesn’t cancel out some of the votes, Rockwell should be going home with the prize. 

Who Deserves to Win? Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Who Will Win? Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Dark Horse? I think Rockwell is a lock. 

Best Original Screenplay

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

The Oscar for Best Original Screenplay usually goes to a film that surprised us. Get Out certainly fits the bill, with its twists and turns, not to mention its surprise ending. There has also been much ado made over the screenplay for Lady Bird, a film I can’t quite figure out why audiences are gushing over. In my opinion, The Shape of Water is the most compelling of all the films in this category, and I’d like to see it win. It won’t. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will. 

What Deserves to Win? - Anything but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
What Will Win? - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Dark Horse? – Get Out

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

This will be the one place in the whole evening where James Ivory’s Call Me By Your Name will take home the prize. The film has been a critic’s darling, and whether you are uncomfortable by the subject matter or not, it’s a compelling, literate, quiet film that unfolds subtly and distinctly. 

What Deserves to Win? Call Me By Your Name
What Will Win? Call Me By Your Name
Dark Horse? Virgil Williams and Dee Rees’s screenplay for Mudbound is both viscerally felt and emotionally charged.   

Best Original Song

The Nominees
“Mighty River” from Mudbound, Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name, Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from Coco, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

The musical theatre world (and most lovers of musicals) are enthralled with The Greatest Showman. Even if the film is an inaccurate, banal, cardboard cutout “telling” of the life of P.T. Barnum, one cannot ignore its immense popularity. “This Is Me”, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who are Broadway’s hottest item with Dear Evan Hansen), has become an anthem of sorts for all who have felt marginalized, abused, or overlooked. ‘This Is Me” will win, though I am more moved by “Mighty River” from Mudboundand “Remember Me” from Coco, songs that speak more specifically to their subject matter. Ok – trigger hate mail. 

What Deserves to Win? “Mighty River” from Mudbound
What Will Win? “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman
Dark Horse? “Remember Me” from Coco

Best Director

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

Directing is about shaping a film, finding a world, filtering it through your imagination, and creating a cohesive vision that supports the story and the characters. Guillermo del Toro’s breathtaking vision for The Shape of Water led to an execution of duty that will most assuredly result in him going home with a statuette. 

What Deserves to Win? Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water
What Will Win? Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water
Dark Horse? Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk. Nolan made a film that was both visually engrossing and that kept us on edge for every minute of screen time. 

Best Actor

The Nominees
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.”

Timothée Chalamet gave a film performance of depth and complexity that most twenty-two-years-olds don’t have the life-experience to master. This is, however, his first lead role and although he is the raison-d’etre elevating Call Me By Your Name to a “must-see” film, he will not be given the award this early in his career. Watch for his star to grow, however. This year, it is time for (the long overdue) Gary Oldman to go home with the prize for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.  No other actor is so chameleon-like, dropping every ounce of his own persona to fully transform into a character. 

Who Deserves to Win? Gary Oldman
Who Will Win? Gary Oldman (and it’s about time)
Dark Horse? Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated for Phantom Thread. His prowess as one of Hollywood’s most revered actors could overshadow Oldman in a surprise win. 

Best Actress

The Nominees
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

It’s hard for me to believe that anyone in this category would be the favorite to win over Sally Hawkins's mesmerizing performance in The Shape of Water, a non-spoken turn that runs the gamut of emotions, fresh and vital. However, Oscar seems to be leaning toward Frances McDormand’s detached, calculated performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Who Deserves to Win? Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Who Will Win? Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Dark Horse? Margot Robbie was a delicious surprise in I, Tonya, eliciting sympathy for one of the most notorious athletes in Olympics history. 

Best Picture

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

Having seen every film in this category, my love is reserved for The Shape of Water, a film that managed to break outside the box of storytelling, was filled with visual splendor, and that was augmented by a universally stellar cast. My opinions aside, Oscar will most likely go to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The small but edgy film has cleaned up, garnering many accolades this awards season. 

Who Deserves to Win? The Shape of Water
Who Will Win? Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Dark Horse? Dunkirk may surprise us. Oscar tends toward favoring war pictures, and this one was relentlessly intense. There is always a chance it could sneak in and take the top prize.

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