Sunday, March 4, 2018

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Super Last-Minute Oscar Predictions

Best Picture
It's the most up-in-the-air category this season, making for one of the most exciting Best Picture races in history. Best Picture is decided by a preferential ballot system that I am not going to explain but recommend you look up, which for many means that the least divisive nominee with the most fans wins - thus, The Shape of Water, which few dislike and which won the big prize at the PGA Awards and DGA Awards. But each Oscar year tends to follow a pattern, meaning your Best Picture winner is most likely whoever's won the most going in - thus, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, which triumphed at the SAG Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTA Awards. But also, the past four winners first triumphed in the Best Film category at the Independent Spirit Awards - thus, Get Out, which just became the latest to win that honor on the eve of the Academy Awards.

(twists and turns, after the jump....)

But lately, Best Picture has been the place to award the most politically and socially plugged-in movie, the film that speaks to Our Time - thus, Get Out, dealing with race and appropriation in modern America; or Three Billboards, with its very real female-focused fury and lamentation of hatred; or The Shape of Water, which sees the future as belonging to the disabled, the gays, the non-whites, the misfits and others. Some even make the case for Lady Bird because it's about a teenage girl coming into her own and was written and directed by a woman, and wouldn't that be great after the revelations about Hollywood this past year (the better narrative for that film, imo, is that it's genuinely the best of the nine - heartfelt, real, complex in surprising ways).

So, yes, a very wide-open year. Still, having seen all the nominees in theaters, I can tell you that the only ones that got loud, universally positive reactions from the audience - often applauding during the movie - are Three Billboards and Get Out. I've also been saying since September that Three Billboards would get it, and considering its awards run, I see no reason to change that now.

What Will Win: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
What Should Win: Lady Bird

Best Director
This is easier, thank God. Guillermo del Toro has been sweeping all year long, he'll repeat that win here, and since Pan's Labyrinth won Best Picture at the inaugural Hollmann Awards, I got to say it's about damn time. Sorry, my beloved PTA - this year, the nomination is your prize.

Who Will Win: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Who Should Win: Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Best Actor
People expressing surprise at the ease with which Gary Oldman dominated this season should maybe chill? Yes, it would be wonderful if the Oscars honored quieter performances like Timothée Chalamet's or Daniel Kaluuya's, and what a treat it would be if bizarro movies like Phantom Thread and Roman J. Israel, Esq. got the attention they deserved. But Oldman is not just a veteran overdue for a win; he's actually, typically, pretty great as Winston Churchill. It's loud and showy, but in a way that fits the actual man and, more importantly, the tone of the film! An unembarrassing choice, even if it wouldn't be mine.

Who Will Win: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Who Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

Best Actress
As I mentioned before, a friend of mine called Frances McDormand in her movie "an avatar for the cauterizing power of rage," something that felt especially necessary this past year. Still, kind of a shame that not one major awards body could find room for Sally Hawkins or Margot Robbie or Saoirse Ronan - though I'm sure their day will come.

Who Will Win: Frances McDormand, Three Billboard outside Ebbing, Missouri
Who Should Win: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor
People love Sam Rockwell. Audiences, critics, co-stars, filmmakers - we all adore him. It's nice he's finally getting his, isn't it? Yes, that's nice.

Who Will Win: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Who Should Win: Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Best Supporting Actress
People love Allison Janney. Audiences, critics, co-stars, filmmakers - we all adore her. It's nice she's finally getting hers, isn't it? Yes, that's nice.

Who Will Win: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Who Should Win: Leslie Manville, Phantom Thread

Best Original Screenplay
Almost as wide open as Best Picture. Get Out won the WGA Award for this category, but Three Billboards wasn't eligible for that (got to be a member to qualify), and since it was nominated all over the place except for Best Director, one has to assume that for many, the strength is in the performances and the writing. And then there's Lady Bird, which surely has to win somewhere, right? I'm actually using that logic, but instead of Lady Bird, I'm going with the WGA Award winner.

What Will Win: Get Out - Jordan Peele
What Should Win: Lady Bird - Greta Gerwig

 Best Adapted Screenplay
Not as competitive a category as usual, it'd be wise to place your bets on the only Best Picture nominee in the category. That means Call Me By Your Name, which also won the WGA Award. Besides which, it's a great way to honor the never-awarded, 89-year-old James Ivory, previously nominated thrice as Best Director for A Room with a View, Howards End and The Remains of the Day.

What Will Win: Call Me By Your Name - James Ivory
What Should Win: Mudbound - Dee Rees / Virgil Williams

And as for the rest...

Best Score
What Will Win: The Shape of Water
What Should Win: Phantom Thread

Best Original Song
What Will Win: "Remember Me" from Coco
What Should Win: "Mighty River" from Mudbound

Best Cinematography
What Will Win: Dunkirk
What Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

Best Production Design
What Will Win: The Shape of Water
What Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

Best Film Editing
What Will Win: Dunkirk
What Should Win: I, Tonya

Best Costume Design
What Will Win: Phantom Thread
What Should Win: Phantom Thread

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
What Will Win: Darkest Hour
What Should Win: Darkest Hour

Best Sound Editing
What Will Win: Dunkirk
What Should Win: Dunkirk

Best Sound Mixing
What Will Win: Dunkirk
What Should Win: Dunkirk

Best Visual Effects
What Will Win: Blade Runner 2049
What Should Win: War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Foreign Language Film
What Will Win: The Insult

Best Live Action Short
What Will Win: "DeKalb Elementary"

Best Animated Feature
What Will Win: Coco

Best Animated Short
What Will Win: "Dear Basketball"

Best Documentary
What Will Win: Icarus

Best Documentary Short
What Will Win: "Heroin(e)"

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