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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 19, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 03
2018 Academy Award nominations predictions
Arts & Entertainment
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2018 Academy Award nominations predictions

Expecting big things for Lady Bird, Get Out, Shape of Water and Three Billboards

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

It can safely be said that predicting the nominees, let alone the eventual winners, of the 90th annual Academy Awards, is as difficult this year as it has ever been. There are no clear frontrunners like Moonlight and La La Land from last year or Spotlight, The Big Sick and The Revenant in 2016. This isn't like 2013 where it became a foregone conclusion that Argo was going to sweep (especially after the uproar caused by Ben Affleck's supposed Best Director snub) or 2009 where Slumdog Millionaire steamrolled its way through awards season like an untouchable juggernaut. No, it's all up in the air this year, and anyone telling you they know what's going to happen, which films are going to get nominated and which title is eventually going to come out victorious, I'll bet they've also got a bridge in Brooklyn they'd like to sell you for pennies on the dollar.

This doesn't feel like hyperbole. When nominations are announced Tuesday morning it will surprise no one if Steven Spielberg's The Post, Luca Guadagnino's Call Me by Your Name, Jordan Peele's Get Out, Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri and Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water end up with a number of key nods in many of the top categories. Same time, it would also not come as a great shock if one or more of them ends up being all but shut out. There are so many ways things could go, and by my count we've got 15 films that could realistically compete for a Best Picture nomination and with another five or six outliers with an outside chance to sneak into the field; and with the possibility of only ten nominees it's a guarantee some in Hollywood will be waking up Tuesday to disappointing news.

But it's not just Best Picture that's a mess. If last year's Best Actress race was the most competitive in recent history (Amy Adams, a presupposed frontrunner for her performance in Arrival, didn't receive a nomination), that looks relatively pedestrian and straightforward in comparison to the bloodbath this year's contenders find themselves submerged within. In any other awards season, Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Diane Kruger (In the Fade), Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul), Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World), Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game, The Zookeeper's Wife), Gemma Arterton (Their Finest), Jennifer Lawrence (mother!), Kristin Stewart (Personal Shopper) and Anne Hathaway (Colossal) would have been right in the middle of any best actress discussion? But this time around they're all on the outside looking in, the chances any of these ladies sneak their way into a nomination virtually nil.

The Best Actor race is a little more predictable, Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread) and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) almost assured of nominations, while it's fairly likely the trio of Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), James Franco (The Disaster Artist) and Tom Hanks (The Post) will compete for the final two spots. But there are contenders out there who could surprise, big names like Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman), Robert Pattinson (Good Time) and Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.) all in the hunt to burst their way into the conversation.

Best Director could also be interesting what with first-timers Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig pushing hard to make the cut. The recent Director's Guild of America (DGA) nominations helped each filmmaker's case, and while it is all but certain Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan and Martin McDonagh are going to round out the category, with the likes of Luca Guadagnino, Steven Spielberg, Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and especially Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) out there Best Director could look nothing like what most Oscar prognosticators assume it will be right at this moment.

Things to know about the four films considered to be the frontrunners for multiple Oscar nominations:

o Get Out is a Producers Guild of America (PGA) nominee for Outstanding Producer, has a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast and has won a number of awards from critics groups throughout the United States.

o Lady Bird won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy, is a PGA nominee for Outstanding Producer, has a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast and has won a number of awards from critics groups throughout the United States.

o The Shape of Water won the Broadcast Film Critics Association award for Best Picture, is a BAFTA nominee for Best Film, is a PGA nominee for Outstanding Producer and has won a number of awards from critics groups throughout the United States.

o Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri won the Golden Globe for Best Drama, is a BAFTA nominee for Best Film, has a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast, is a PGA nominee for Outstanding Producer and has won a number of awards from critics groups throughout the United States.

With all that in mind, here are my predictions for the 90th annual Academy Awards along with a general reminder to take them with a grain of salt as reading the collective minds of Oscar voters isn't anywhere near as simple or as easy as some might lead you to believe:

BEST PICTURE
Contenders: Battle of the Sexes, The Big Sick, Blade Runner 2049, Call Me by Your Name, Coco, Darkest Hour, Detroit, The Disaster Artist, Dunkirk, The Florida Project, Get Out, I, Tonya, Lady Bird, Logan, Molly's Game, Mudbound, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman

Thoughts: There can be no fewer than five and no more than ten nominees here. The secret is that a film must receive 5% of the first place votes submitted by Academy membership. Since this rule went into effect in 2012, there have never been fewer than eight and no more than nine nominees. With so many strong contenders, this feels like a year where we could go back to a full ten nominees. At least, that's what I'm predicting.

Prediction: The Big Sick, Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, The Florida Project, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Movie I Wish Had a Shot (but sadly doesn't): Their Finest

BEST DIRECTOR
Contenders: Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World), Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049), Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name), Joe Wright (Darkest Hour), Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Sean Baker (The Florida Project), Jordan Peele (Get Out), Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Dee Rees (Mudbound), Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Steven Spielberg (The Post), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri), Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman)

Thoughts: It's very easy to assume this category is going to look exactly as the DGA nominations. But that's actually pretty rare, and my gut tells me McDonagh or del Toro is going to get left out in the cold for either Anderson or Spielberg.

Prediction: Anderson, del Toro, Gerwig, Nolan, Peele

Director I Wish Had a Shot (but sadly doesn't): Darren Aronofsky (mother!)

BEST ACTOR
Contenders: Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes), Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Robert Pattinson (Good Time), Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman), Christian Bale (Hostiles), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Tom Hanks (The Post), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), James McAvoy (Split), Andy Serkis (War for the Planet of the Apes), Jeremy Renner (Wind River)

Thoughts: There were more performances in 2017 deserving of recognition than this, but these are the only ones that have been consistently talked about as far as Oscar consideration is concerned. Don't expect a lot in the way of surprises here.

Prediction: Chalamet, Day-Lewis, Franco, Kaluuya, Oldman

Actor I Wish Had a Shot (but sadly doesn't): Charlie Hunnam (The Lost City of Z)

BEST ACTRESS
Contenders: Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes), Anne Hathaway (Colossal), Daniela Vega (A Fantastic Woman), Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Diane Kruger (In the Fade), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth), Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game), Jennifer Lawrence (mother!), Kristin Stewart (Personal Shopper), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Meryl Streep (The Post), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri), Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)

Thoughts: I could have listed another dozen women here, but the reality an Oscar voter's thought process can only ponder so many names before it explodes. Needless to say, something entirely unexpected is going to happen here. Guaranteed.

Prediction: Hawkins, McDormand, Robbie, Ronan, Streep

Actress I Wish Had a Shot (but sadly doesn't): Garance Marillier (Raw)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Contenders: Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), Ray Romano (The Big Sick), Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name), Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me by Your Name), Ben Mendelsohn (Darkest Hour), Will Poulter (Detroit), Dave Franco (The Disaster Artist), Mark Rylance (Dunkirk), Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Patrick Stewart (Logan), Robert Pattinson (The Lost City of Z), Idris Elba (Molly's Game), Bob Odenkirk (The Post), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri), Chris Pine (Wonder Woman)

Thoughts: The big question as far as this category is concerned is whether or not films like Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water or Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri get more than one nomination in the category, killing the chances for any of the outlier contenders. In fact, it's possible those are the only three films featured in the category, all five slots filled with members from each motion picture's respective male supporting cast. It's not what I'm predicting, but if it happens I won't be even slightly surprised.

Prediction: Dafoe, Hammer, Jenkins, Rockwell, Stuhlbarg

Actor I Wish Had a Shot (but sadly doesn't): Daniel Craig (Logan Lucky)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Contenders: Andrea Riseborough (Battle of the Sexes), Holly Hunter (The Big Sick), Kristin Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour), Hong Chau (Downsizing), Bria Vinaite (The Florida Project), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Nicole Kidman (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Michelle Pfeiffer (mother!), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Cathy Moriarty (Patti Cake$), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Thoughts: This is actually an interesting category. While Janney and Metcalf are the runaway frontrunners to win the Oscar, the makeup of the remainder of the quintet is entirely up in the air, making predicting the nominees close to impossible.

Prediction: Haddish, Hunter, Janney, Manville, Metcalf

Actress I Wish Had a Shot (but sadly doesn't): Sylvia Hoeks (Blade Runner 2049)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Contenders: Simon Beaufoy (Battle of the Sexes), Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (The Big Sick), Adrian Molina (Coco), Anthony McCarten (Darkest Hour), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Sean Baker (The Florida Project), Jordan Peele (Get Out), David Lowery (A Ghost Story), Steven Rogers (I, Tonya), Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Darren Aronofsky (mother!), Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Liz Hannah and Josh Singer (The Post), Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri), Taylor Sheridan (Wind River)

Thoughts: There's almost always an out-of-left-field surprise in this category, some completely unheard of choice that has every pundit scratching their heads wondering what happened. I have this sneaking suspicion this year won't be any different.

Prediction: The Big Sick, Get Out, I, Tonya, Lady Bird, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Original Script I Wish Had a Shot (but sadly doesn't): Hirokazu Koreeda (After the Storm)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Contenders: David Scarpa (All the Money in the World), Sofia Coppola (The Beguiled), Hampton Fancher and Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049), James Ivory (Call Me by Your Name), Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Disaster Artist), Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman (IT), Scott Frank and James Mangold (Logan), James Gray (The Lost City of Z), Aaron Sorkin (Molly's Game), Virgil Williams and Dee Rees (Mudbound), Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes), Stephen Chbosky, Steve Conrad and Jack Thorne (Wonder), Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman), Brian Selznick (Wonderstruck)

Thoughts: Basically my thoughts here are exactly the same as what I wrote for Original Screenplay. However, one interesting item of note is whether or not Netflix will finally breakthrough with Academy voters with any of their releases. While I'm guessing they will not, it seems to me this category is likely the streaming service's best chance to do so, Dee Rees's Mudbound a stellar achievement that simply does not deserve to be entirely forgotten.

Prediction: Call Me by Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly's Game, Wonder

Adapted Script I Wish Had a Shot (but sadly doesn't): Richard Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan (Last Flag Flying)

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