Oscar Predictions 2018

IT'S ALMOST OSCAR SUNDAY!

The Oscars.jpg

I love the Oscars, they are an unabashed celebration of film and the craft that goes into making it. While I may disagree with what the Academy chooses to award, I still find the love and excitement for cinema to be intoxicating. I also love the Oscars because is some small way it allows me to validate the egregious amount of time I've spent in the past year watching movies. I get to show off some of what I have learned and saw through cinema to whoever decides to watch the Oscars with me. But this time I decided I'm going to share my predictions of who will win, who could win, and who I think should win each prize with all of you! So without further ado, I present my 90th Oscar Predictions. (Presented in the order at which they will be awarded during the ceremony)


Actor in a Supporting Role:

Sam Rockwell.jpg

Will Win: Sam Rockwell ("Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri")

Could Win: Willem Dafoe ("The Florida Project")

Should Win: Willem Dafoe ("The Florida Project")

Unfortunately, all the acting categories this year are a lock. Even more unfortunate is the fact that I don't think a single person who will win deserves the statue. Rockwell is great, but Dafoe is so kind and lovable in his role as the hotel manager that he balances the entire movie. There are points where he flips a switch and becomes a stern force that nobody can seem to topple, but he does all that without ever losing sight that this person has to feel incredibly real. Rockwell will get it, but Dafoe deserves it.


Costume Design:

Phantom Thread Costume.png

Will Win: "Phantom Thread"

Could Win: "Shape of Water"

Should Win: "Phatom Thread"

Unless some sort of insane love for "Shape of Water" emerges and causes it to sweep every technical category, I think it is safe to say that the gorgeous costuming of "Phantom Thread" will win. It only takes one look at one of the dozens of gorgeous dresses to affirm that it is the best candidate by a mile. It's about a dress maker for god's sake, how could it not win?


Makeup and Hairstyling:

Will Win: "Darkest Hour"

Could Win: Nothing Else

Should Win: "Darkest Hour"

While "Shape of Water" should have been nominated. Of the three candidates, the radical change of Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill is by far the most impressive. He looks unrecognizable and a spitting image of Churchill and that's all you can ask for in terms of this award.


Documentary Feature:

Will Win: "Faces Places"

Could Win: "Icarus"

Should Win: "Faces Places"

There is no other documentary that came out this year that was as charming and heartwarming as "Faces Places." While the Academy usually awards the most important film in this category, like "Icarus" which could sneak in there. I feel that "Faces Places" is too well-crafted and well-loved to ignore. Even if it's subject matter is one that is incredibly vital and important to society right now. Also having the incredibly well liked and admired Agnes Varda on the creative team doesn't hurt.


Sound Editing:

Will Win: "Dunkirk"

Could Win: "Baby Driver"

Should Win: "Dunkirk"

While "Baby Driver" is just as (if not more impressive) than "Dunkirk" it won't win out. "Dunkirk" is a more prestigious and loved film among Academy voters, it also helps that it has some of the most insane and well-crafted sound I've ever heard. Not only that but the sound adds so much to the film's visceral nature and makes everything come to life in a way few films have ever achieved.


Sound Mixing:

Will Win: "Dunkirk"

Could Win: "Baby Driver"

Should Win: "Dunkirk"

Similar sentiments to the last category. "Baby Driver" is an insane technical achievement, but so is "Dunkirk." The biggest difference is that "Dunkirk" achieves artistic heights that "Baby Driver" does not.


Actress in a Supporting Role:

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Will Win: Allison Janney ("I, Tonya")

Could Win: Laurie Metcalf ("Lady Bird")

Should Win: Lesley Manville ("Phantom Thread")

Again, the acting Oscars are all but locked up for the four nominees, including Allison Janney. While Laurie Metcalf's incredible portrayal of a very real mother from "Lady Bird" may sneak in there it's doubtful. Janney's foulmouthed mother in "I, Tonya" is a bolt of energy and helps drive the film forward (Metcalf is better).  But the best performance in this category is by far Manville as the quiet and incredibly powerful sister in "Phantom Thread." She owns the screen with only her presence and body language, her quietness is everything as it shows her calm but also projects how she still has a cool and calculating nature that you don't want to mess with.


Foreign Language Film:

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Will Win: "A Fantastic Woman"

Could Win: "The Square"

Should Win: "A Fantastic Woman"

This is a place where the Academy should and, hopefully, will award a movie that is unique, sensitive, and groundbreaking in its representation. "The Square" did win the Palme d' or and it is incredibly well made, so it could play spoiler. But I would count on "A Fantastic Woman" sensitive and tender demeanor walking away with the statue.


Animated Short Film:

Will Win: "Dear Basketball"

Could Win: "Garden Party

Should Win: "Garden Party"

Oh god. Dear Basketball will win this award. The self-serving love letter from Kobe Bryant to Kobe Bryant narrated by Kobe Bryant has too much star power and recognition not to (John Williams wrote the score and the animator is of Golden Age Disney fame). While it is beautifully animated it's so damn pompous and ridiculous that I found it hard to watch. Garden Party on the other hand is hilarious and the best animation I've seen this year in this crop of nominees. It very much deserves to win and might just pull a sneaky upset (seriously though go watch Garden Party, it's fantastic).


Animated Feature Film:

Will Win: "Coco"

Could Win: Nothing else

Should Win: "The Breadwinner"

This is a lock. There is no other film that can or will play upset here. "Coco" is fantastic, but I prefer the much more interesting, charming, and real "The Breadwinner." While I may have shed a few tears during "Coco" I balled during the immensely emotional climax to "The Breadwinner." This movie should be seen as it was one of the best movies that came out last year *period*. (ITS ON NETFLIX NOW!)


Production Design:

Shape of Water Prod Des.jpg

Will Win: "Shape of Water"

Could Win: "Blade Runner 2049"

Should Win: "Blade Runner 2049"

This one is pretty safe bet as well. "Shape of Water" has gorgeous and amazing production design (the apartments and the facility!) and a lot of love behind it (especially technically). I wont be to upset if it wins. But I can't not help feel a bit miffed that the incredibly astounding technical achievements of "Blade Runner 2049" may go unrecognized in this category. The design is so detailed and brilliant that I can't help but root for it (still both are more than deserving).


Visual Effects:

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Will Win: "War for the Planet of the Apes"

Could Win: "Blade Runner 2049"

Should Win: "War for the Planet of the Apes"

Honestly, "Blade Runner 2049" has a really good shot at winning here. It's a large, incredibly technical prestige picture which usually tends to get this award. But I'm hopeful that the Academy will not be able to ignore the best VFX work I have ever seen. War is simply the absolute pinnacle of what Visual Effects can and should be. There's not a single shot or time where you don't believe Caesar or the other Apes aren't fully real and realized. Every muscle and twitch that Serkis has is translated perfectly. This should and hopefully will walk away with the Oscar.


Film Editing:

Will Win: "Dunkirk"

Could Win: "Baby Driver"

Should Win: "Dunkirk"

This is much the same argument as in the sound categories. But "Dunkirk" is just the best edited film that came out last year. The way it plays with time and stitches three timelines effortlessly together is staggering and not something that can be overlooked. 


Live Action Short Film:

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Will Win: "DeKalb Elementary"

Could Win: "The Eleventh Hour"

Should Win: "DeKalb Elementary"

Unfortunately, "DeKalb Elementary" became the most timely and powerful of all the nominees recently due to the horrendous Parkland shooting. It is a well made piece that has a few problems but the subject and tone are urgent and important (for good reason). While the more light hearted "The Eleventh Hour" could pull some votes, I find it unlikely that the Academy doesn't award "DeKalb Elementary" in the wake of recent events.


Documentary Short Subject:

Will Win: "Heroin(e)"

Could Win: "Traffic Stop"

Should Win: "Heroin(e)"

These shorts are usually pretty depressing, but this year is a bit different. While most of these are still pretty depressing they at least have a glimmer of hope. Like the one that will win. This will win because it's very well-made and also because it has the most visibility of all the other shorts. It's on Netflix and anybody can watch it in HD at anytime which helps with the votes more than you'd think. Still it is also the most deserving of all the nominees.


Cinematography:

Will Win: "Blade Runner 2049"

Could Win: "Dunkirk"

Should Win: "Blade Runner 2049"

There were many beautiful movies this year. But nothing even comes close to touching Deakins' work on "Blade Runner 2049." This movie is so damn beautiful in very way and it will win the Oscar or I will start a riot.


Original Score:

Shape of Water Music.jpg

Will Win: "Shape of Water

Could Win: "Dunkirk"

Should Win: "Phantom Thread"

This is a category that enrages me a bit. The reason being is that "Phantom Thread" has the best music of the year and it isn't even close. While the heavy hitters in Hans Zimmer and Alexander Desplat have the best shots of winning (for "Dunkirk" and "Shape of Water" respectively), none match the artistry and texture of Johnny Greenwood's insanely great score. But the Academy will reward Desplat's good and enjoyable work from "Shape of Water" because of its visiblity. 


Original Song:

Will Win: "Remember Me" ("Coco")

Could Win: "This is Me" ("The Greatest Showman")

Should Win: "Mystery of Love" ("Call Me by Your Name")

The hauntingly beautiful and unique "Mystery of Love" is easily the best song of the current crop of nominees. It will fall short to the much more popular "Remember Me" or "This is Me." These songs are far more catchy and audience friendly than "Mystery of Love," they were also in movies that each made a ton of money (which always helps *cough* "American Sniper" *cough*). I think the better of the two will prevail and "Coco's" catchy and emotional "Remember Me" will walk away with the statue.


Original Screenplay:

Best Original.jpg

Will Win: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Could Win: "Get Out"

Should Win: "Get Out"

This is the most important category of the night in terms of deciding how much the Academy has actually changed. I am still cynical that it has made great strides instead of baby steps which is why "Three Billboards" will win. McDounagh is a incredibly admired Hollywood and I still fear that a large part of Oscar voters won't be able to access and appreciate "Get Out" as much as they should (just look at the anonymous Oscar voter articles from this year). While I would like nothing more than to see the inventive, hilarious, and terrifyingly original "Get Out" walk away with the Oscar I just don't trust the Academy to award a horror movie that actually has a nuanced and searing perspective on race in America.


Adapted Screenplay:

Will Win: "Call Me by Your Name"

Could Win: "Mudbound"

Should Win: "Call Me by Your Name"

This race isn't even close. The Academy will reward longtime writer/producer James Ivory for his subtle and brilliant work on "Call Me by Your Name." He also very much deserves it as not much comes close to having the impact of just one of the monologues in his script, let alone the entire movie.


Directing:

Will Win: Guillermo Del Toro ("Shape of Water")

Could Win: Christopher Nolan ("Dunkirk")

Should Win: Christopher Nolan ("Dunkirk")

You'd find it difficult to find a person who likes Guillermo Del Toro more than I. I have loved pretty much every movie he has ever made, including "Shape of Water." While I appreciate the engrossing artistry he brings to the film I can't deny that it does have a few problems. This is not the case with "Dunkirk." It's damn near perfect and Nolan shows how much a force he is one the screen with this film. It's almost a talent showcase for him, he uses the medium and pushes it to its absolute max. He easily made the best directed film of the year and I think that he shouldn't go unnoticed for his masterpiece. But if and when Guillermo wins you can still find me celebrating his deserved and earned victory.


Actor in a Leading Role:

Will Win: Gary Oldman ("The Darkest Hour")

Could Win: Tiomthèe Chalamet ("Call Me by Your Name")

Should Win: Tiomthèe Chalamet ("Call Me by Your Name")

Oldman delivers a strong and rousing performance. He has speeches and quiet moments of vulnerability and of course a transformation (the Academy loves those). But he can't compete with the quiet turmoil and passion of Chalamet. He imbues Elio with a knowledge and sensitivity that far exceeds his years, no only that but the range of emotion that he shows is so vast. He goes from a burning want and desire (which he expresses through pretty much just his face) to a sorrow that so deeply affected me I couldn't stop thinking about his performance. He perfectly inhabits passion and love at the same time as regret and melancholy. A performance this deep and and pitch-perfect deserves to win. But hey, Oldman but on a fat suit and some facial prosthetics so he has to win! My hope is that in some way Chalamet is able to sneak in with this win here, but that is a pipe dream at this point. Oldman will win the Oscar.


Actress in a Leading Role:

Best Actress.jpg

Will Win: Frances McDormand ("Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri")

Could Win: Saoirse Ronan ("Lady Bird")

Should Win: Meryl Streep ("The Post")

I will not deny that McDormand has a very powerful and emotional performance. But I didn't find it nearly as nuanced or enjoyable as Streep. Streep actually puts in some of the best work of her career in "The Post." She builds a character with every gesture and glance with such grace and power that is rarely ever seen on screen. The problem is that Streep is more of a afterthought to the Oscar voter at this point, while she gets nominated she rarely wins. We have become too accustomed to her excellence and take it for granted. Thus McDormand's performance as the angry and vengeful mother will nab her a second win.


Best Picture:

Will Win: "Shape of Water"

Could Win: "Dunkirk"

Should Win: "Dunkirk"

I think the love for "Shape of Water" is too real and visible to lose. While I like this movie I think it has problems and isn't nearly at the level of some of the other noms. But people in the industry are absolutely in love with this film and it seems to be a juggernaut with the most nominations of any movie. But the preferential ballot could help "Dunkirk" as "Shape of Water" has proved to be a bit polarizing while you'd be hard-pressed to find people who don't admire and appreciate "Dunkirk" in some form. Alas, it's a long shot and my bet is that "Shape of Water's" touching love story about outsiders will connect enough with voters in a way that feels important and result in the film taking home the big prize at the end of the night.