Thus far, the majority of awards season has been spent focusing on what’s happening aside from the actual awards; from wearing all black on the red carpet to the fallout from the ongoing Hollywood sexual assault scandal, the spotlight (for once) hasn’t solely been on the celebrities or their movies.
Maybe that’s why this year’s Oscars are shaping up to be a tad dull — at least ceremony-wise. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri has won Best Picture at pretty much every awards ceremony so far this year, so it’s almost a shoo-in to win the coveted Academy Award as well.
It’s not like there wasn’t a wide swath of great cinema in 2017, either: from Mudbound to Lady Bird to The Shape of Water to Get Out, there were multiple excellent films in many genres. Hopefully, the Oscars choose to honour the deserving movies and actors instead of just following other awards’ leads.
(One tip for when you’re picking winners: don’t go with your personal feelings, because you’ll almost always be wrong. Do it objectively.)
Here are my picks for winners in the major categories, each with a short explanation below the choice. (Here is the full list of nominees.)
** DISCLAIMER: Obviously, these are not iron-clad predictions. Don’t email with rage if you lose your office pool because of me. Feel free, however, to disparage me on Twitter if you must. **
Call Me By Your Name
The Shape of Water
WINNER: Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
Why: The momentum of this movie is incontestable — it won Best Picture at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the AFI Awards and more, as well as the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival — so expect it to win Best Picture at the Oscars. A close second is The Shape of Water, which has lagged behind as of late.
Others are far more deserving of the award, especially the groundbreaking genre-bender Get Out or the visually astounding Dunkirk, but when these victory campaigns get traction, it’s tough to reverse them.
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
WINNER: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post
Why: Despite fantastic performances turned in by all the actors in the category, McDormand has the edge. Her raw depiction of a mother who lost her daughter to a brutal rape and murder is gripping, and again, she has the momentum. Hawkins and Ronan are tied for second with their heartfelt and sincere performances, and the ubiquitous Streep might as well build herself a home in this category. The outlier is Robbie, whose film has fallen out of public favour. Too bad, because her depiction of Tonya Harding is spot-on.
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
WINNER: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Why: As much as we wish relative newcomer Kaluuya will take home the Best Actor award, it’s most likely going to veteran Oldman. While he’s been nominated for an Oscar twice, he’s never won, and his performance as Winston Churchill is stupendous. Day-Lewis is a close second, but the man already has three Oscars to his name. Chalamet is the “it” guy of the moment, but like Kaluuya is new to the game, and usually the Academy likes to see a solid body of work before awarding someone. (Usually. See: Leonardo DiCaprio.)
Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
WINNER: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Leslie Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Why: As usual, this category is stacked. First-time nominee Blige (who’s also starring in her first feature film) would be a heartwarming winner but it’s not going to happen. The Academy seems to have an aversion to any and all Netflix content; even the Mudbound nominations are surprising. It’s down to Janney vs. Metcalf, so it all depends on whether Academy voters prefer a visceral, gritty performance or a heartfelt, more emotional one. The edge goes to fan-favourite Janney, who took home the Golden Globe in this category.
WATCH BELOW: Allison Janney backstage at the Golden Globes
Best Supporting Actor
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
WINNER: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Why: Another acclaimed actor who’s never won an Oscar, Rockwell is tops here. His Billboards costar Harrelson, while great in his own right, simply wasn’t in the movie long enough to warrant a victory. A dark horse is Dafoe, who turned in a brilliant performance in the under-the-radar Florida Project. Plummer would be nice, but nope — the nomination feels like a thank-you for replacing Kevin Spacey on such short notice.
Dunkirk, Christoper Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Ladybird, Greta Gerwig
Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
WINNER: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro
Why: It’s due time that del Toro win his first Oscar. It’s also worth noting that he took home the Director’s Guild Award this year: the winner of this award has gone on to win the Best Director Oscar all but five times since 1980. While Gerwig and Peele are heralded as the newcomers of filmmaking, they’ll have to wait their turn for this coveted award.
Foreign Language Film
WINNER: A Fantastic Woman
On Body and Soul
Why: As engaging as it is timely, A Fantastic Woman (Chile) stars Daniela Vega as a transgender woman just starting her transition. Both harrowing and truthful, the movie touches on burgeoning issues in modern society, which makes it a standout. There is potential for an upset by runner-up The Square, which took home the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
WINNER: Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Why: This one is a shoo-in, especially considering that this lovely movie will probably be shut out of all the other categories. It’s not that the film isn’t deserving, but in its other nominated categories, it’s up against superior or more buzzy titles/people. After sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against James Franco, The Disaster Artist has fallen out of favour, so don’t expect it to win any awards. In a parallel universe, the gripping Logan would take home this prize, but alas, anything based on X-Men lore doesn’t usually fare well in Oscars country.
The Big Sick
WINNER: Get Out
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Why: Another great movie that’ll most likely be shut out of all of its other nominated categories, this is where Get Out can shine. Truly original and a fresh, satirical take on the horror genre (but it’s not really a horror in the typical sense), Get Out has been on critics’ lists for over a year now. It may face a challenge from Three Billboards or Lady Bird, but considering this is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, he deserves all the kudos.
Animated Feature Film
The Boss Baby
Why: Unquestionably, this award is going to Coco. Easily the most palatable and mainstream of the nominees, the Disney movie was well-reviewed, well-received and enjoyed by both kids and adults. The runner-up is the silly-yet-enjoyable Boss Baby, but you can’t really see that movie winning an Oscar, can you?
The 90th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast live on March 4, 2018 starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.