2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
Three Critics, 22 nominations and over fifty predictions for 201


(022618) The 90th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC with Jimmy Kimmel again serving as this years host. Kimmel’s only the second person to achieve such a feat, after Billy Crystal in 1997 and 1998. As in past years we invited our critics to weigh in with their predictions for this years Oscar race and once again they rose to the task. Back again is reviewer emeritus "Good Old JR" Jim Rutkowski. He is again being joined by our newsman emeritus Larry "Bocepheus" Evans and the "Big Tuna" himself Vito Carli has returned again as well. Of the 22 principle categories this year (all listed below) none of our titanic trio of critics tackled every single nomination, but all were given the option. "None picked" means the reviewer chose to skip that category for whatever reason. In total there are a total of fifty predictions below by all three reviewers.

A word on the format: If you are reading this before March 4th the order of the nominations conforms to the order awards were announced at the 2017 Oscar telecast. If this years order deviates from last years, the appropriate structural change to this list will be made after this years telecast to conform with the 2018 broadcast. Beyond that (and the final tally) no edits will be made to this list. The linked film titles below are to reviews on this site of the film being cited. The links themselves do not correspond to the reviewers themselves but rather to the review located on this site.

Finally, after you read this years reviews be sure to check out this years Oscar Podcast featuring Good Old Jr, Bocepheus, Rod Flash and Comicbookman and they delve into even greater depth on this years potential winners....



Our Picks for the 90th Annual Academy Awards

Enjoy and good luck to all...

Here’s an idea for the producers of the 2018 Oscars telecast: Bring back the same briefcase-toting accountants whose poor envelope-handling skills so famously botched the best picture announcement last year. Better yet, feed them a steady diet of wine before and during the show. I figure those are the best chances of having something unpredictable happen when the 90th annual Academy Awards are handed out Sunday, March 4. We already know, for example, that returning host Jimmy Kimmel will impishly but charmingly walk a political tightrope during his monologue, insulting nearly everyone in the room but somehow making them smile about it. We also know that the women’s equality and empowerment movement that has dominated this awards season -- and “blacked out” red carpet after red carpet in the process -- will once more provide a poignant narrative through-line for the evening.

And, most importantly, we already know who is going to win all the major awards.

Granted, upsets do happen at the Oscars. As evidence, we need look no further than last year’s show, when perceived front-runner “La La Land” was accidentally announced as the year’s best picture winner, only to spur an embarrassing -- but, let’s be honest, completely awesome -- on-stage correction that “Moonlight” was the real winner. But the fact is, when you’re filling out your office Oscar pool this year, you can’t count on such things. The favorites in the top six categories appear to be so locked-in at this point of the 2018 award season, that -- barring another glorious envelope mix-up -- you’d be hard-pressed to find a realistic upset pick at the top of the ballot. That means if you’re going to win your pool, you just might have to do it in the other 18 Oscar categories -- you know, the ones for sound, screenwriting, visual effects and the like.

With that in mind, below you’ll find my annual predictions in most of the Oscar categories, developed after a close read of a raft of pre-Oscar awards, viewing of a vast majority of nominees -- and a little bit of help from my trusty Magic 8-Ball.
Welcome to our annual Oscar picks. First let’s go over the numbers. The Shape of Water got thirteen nominations, Dunkirk eight, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri got seven, Darkest Hour and Phantom Thread got six, Lady Bird and Blade Runner 2049 got five, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, Mudbound and Star Wars: The Last Jedi got four.
2017 was chock filled with films that had great contributions from female, minority, queer (does anyone still use that word?) and Trans people than ever. And surprisingly the Oscars have gone out of their way to be more diverse. So this year the movies, Ladybird, Get Out, Mudbound, A Fantastic Woman, Call Me By Your Name, and Strong Island got mostly deserved nominations. Some of them might actually win

Some complained that Wonder Woman should have gotten nominated. It should not have come as a big surprise that it wasn’t. While it was both a box office and critical triumph. Superhero films hardly ever get nominated (although Logan got an unexpected best screenplay nod), and the film was released too early in the year. Still with the nominations of Logan and Get Out the academy is at least masking strides toward recognizing that genre films actually exist.

A big chance is also more direct to Netflix nominees including Mudbound, Heroin(e), the foreign-language film from Hungary, On Body and Soul, and two full length documentaries; and Strong Island.

To see more of my Vittorio Carli’s work go to Also look for my upcoming poetry book, Tape Worm Salad with Olive Oil for Extra Flavor coming in 2018.
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”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
And the winner will be: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Rockwell has taken home all the major pre-Oscar awards -- the Golden Globe, the Critics’ Choice Award, the BAFTA, the SAG -- and is thus a lock in this category. He’s also a tremendous actor who always takes interesting and challenging roles. In Three Billboards he's good in a not so good movie. If I was handing out little gold man, Dafoe is the best of the bunch.
My pick: There are some that think that Dafoe will win but my money is on Rockwell for his performance in Three Billboards. It’s nuanced and complicated at the same time. In the course of the film he goes from a buffoon to a man who has truly examined himself and found himself wanting.
Should Win: Willem Dafoe
Will Win: Sam Rockwell

Assuming there is a Three Billboards sweep, Sam Rockwell’s performance or (Woody Harrelson’s) has a more than good chance at winning unless they spilt the vote. Harrelson is a bigger marquee name but they were both excellent, and Rockwell had a bigger part so he gets a slight nod. I never saw All the Money in the World (I wish I saw more money), but it is one of the least nominated nominees, and I don’t think it will win in this one category. Richard Jenkins may not be big enough or likeable enough in his film to pull off a win. Dafoe is one of the finest, risk taking character actors around, and I have always admired his work immensely (he was a great Jesus and all his work with Lars Von Trier is always worth seeing). Plus his performance as a likeable sympathetic landlord in The Florida Experiment was terrific. Too bad the film did not make a better splash (it should have been nominated for best picture.)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten
And the winner will be: “Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
Gary Oldman’s transformation into Winston Churchill was remarkable largely because of his dialed-in performance, but also because of the spot-on makeup work.

My pick: None picked

Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle
And the winner will be: “Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges

My pick: My thought has always been than if all you have done for a film is recreate something easily done by looking at pictures from the time period then you don’t get a nomination. In this case the costumes for Beauty and the Beast added so much to the film so it’s my pick.

Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Documentary – Feature
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes
And the winner will be: None picked

My pick: None picked

Should win: Faces Places
Will Win: Icarus

Faces Places was a complete home run from Agnes Varda, one of the few surviving members of the French new wave. She may not live long enough to get another nod, and she has been around forever (I loved Vagabond). It was worth it just to see her film just to see jean-Luc Godard blow her off on screen. It is the best film here. Strong Island and Icarus were also both superb. Strong Island has more emotionally resonance, but Icarus which deals with the Russian doping scandal is more relevant because of the current ongoing Russian election medaling investigation. Last Men in Aleppo has great word of mouth and it also has a shot. Icarus, Last Men, and Strong Island are all on Netflix. For once this might be helpful because it’s difficult to find these films at the theatres.
Best Sound Editing
“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood
And the winner will be: “Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
Exactly the type of movie -- that is, it is a big, loud war movie -- that this category loves.
My pick: None picked
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Sound Mixing
“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick
And the winner will be: “Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
My pick: None picked
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
And the winner will be: “The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
My pick:  Blade Runner 2049 hands down. The film creates an even darker version of the world seen in the original.
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Foreign Language Film
“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)
And the winner will be: None picked

My pick: None picked

Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked

For me this is often the best and most high quality category. The Square was on the most critics’ top 10 lists. A Fantastic Woman also got good reviews, and it’s a fine film (it’s currently playing at the Music Box). The response to The Insult (at Landmark) was more mixed. The Square won big at Cannes Film Festival so it may have the best shot. On Body and Soul is a terrific, involving film about a man and woman that dream they are romantically involved deer even though they never met. The film has about as much chance of winning as Eraserhead had to take best picture. It’s too odd. Of course I loved it. The Russian film, Loveless won’t come out in Chicago until March so I will withhold comment on the film.
Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water
And the winner will be: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
It's going to be Janney. But, listen: You’re not going to win your Oscar pool if you don’t pick an upset here or there. This could be a category in which you might think about doing so, as Metcalf and Janney took turns taking home the hardware in this category all award season. Here’s the thing, though: Most of Metcalf’s wins came from critics’ groups, the members of which don’t vote for the Oscars. Janney’s support, on the other hand, includes a SAG win, from a group made up of actors, who happen to make up the single largest voting bloc in the Academy. For that reason, Janney has to be seen as a favorite -- and a pretty solid one. But surprises do happen.

My pick: Allison Janney who turns in a performance that makes you feel nothing but loathing for her from the start of the film to the end. If Tonya Harding’s mother was even half this then it’s a wonder she didn’t go crazy.

Should win; Laurie Metcalf
Will win: Allison Janney (by a hair)

Mary J. Blige was excellent in Mudbound, but it would be unprecedented for a Netflix film to win in a major category. It might help that she is a double threat and that she is both a talented singer and actress. But then again the academy tends to underrate singers turned actors (in previous years Bjork got stiffed for Dancer in the Dark and Courtney Love for People vs Larry Flynt despite Golden Globe noms.) Alison Janney and Laura Metcalf have more of a chance (both of them were superb playing powerful, flawed moms.) Octavia Spencer was perfectly likeable in The Shape of Water, but I don’t quite think she is in the running. Her role is small compared to some of her competitors. Lesley Manville was fine as a saintly wife in Phantom Thread, but the she is too much of an unknown quantity foe voters (I never heard of her before this film. Also Day Lewis IS the reason that film exists. This should be called battle of the cinematic moms.
Best Animated Feature Film
“The Boss Baby,”
“The Breadwinner,”
“Loving Vincent,”
And the winner will be: “Coco
Pixar’s lovely and entirely embraceable flight of fancy built around Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations. It might feel a touch lightweight compared to some of the studio’s other Oscar-winning fare, but it hit all the right notes -- and, just as important, it won all the big pre-Oscar awards, including the Annie Award, the Critics’ Choice Award, the Golden Globe, and the Producers Guild Award. All of that adds up to an 18th Oscar win for the hit-makers at Pixar.

My pick:  I’m going with Coco.

I only saw half of the best animated films but of the ones I saw Coco was the best and it has the most cultural significance (at least Captain Underpants was not nominated.) Loving Vincent, the sumptuous Van Gogh film also worked well and it looked gorgeous, but it’s the underdog here. Ferdinand is a big dud.
Best Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049,”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,”
Kong: Skull Island,”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi,”
War for the Planet of the Apes,”
And the winner will be: “War for the Planet of the Apes
No doubt for me that the effects in War for the Planet of the Apes is the most seamless and convincing of this group.
My pick: All of the nominated films are worthy for different reasons but to me the winner is Blade Runner 2049. The film like the original creates a world we haven’t seen before but know is coming.
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Film Editing
“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory
And the winner will be: “Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
Conventional wisdom says your best picture pick should also be your pick for best editing. In this case, I’m going to stray from conventional wisdom. (Upset pick: “Baby Driver.”)
My pick: Only two of the nominees tell a linear story. My heart says Dunkirk but Baby Driver should win here since it’s the most kinetic nominee.
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Documentary – Short Subject
Edith and Eddie
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop
And the winner will be: None picked
My pick: None picked
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Live Action – Short Film
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote: All of Us
And the winner will be: None picked
My pick: None picked
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Adapted Screenplay
“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
And the winner will be: “Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
A film that has received universal acclaim but which will likely find itself shut out of Oscar’s main categories. Here’s a place for the Academy to recognize it.
My pick: This one is a coin flip. Sorkin delivers another amazing script in Molly’s Game; Ivory is the prestige pick; most never saw Mudbound and Disaster Artist has too much baggage right now. That would leave Logan but I don’t think the Academy will give the film that much love. So I am going with Sorkin.
All of the nominees were excellent. It was a surprise that the X-Men film, Logan was nominated but it’s the underdog. Academy voters usually see superhero and other “disreputable “genre films as a kind of cinematic vermin. Both Molly’s Game (Jessica Chastain also should have been nominated for best actress) and The Disaster Artist were terrific, but I think Call me By Your name will win. It was the most nominated of the contenders, and it has the most momentum. Also James Ivory is an old time film guy with lots of respect. It’s also decently done, and the people supporting it tend to love it.
Best Original Screenplay
“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
And the winner will be: “Get Out,” Jordan Peele
Which, as one of the buzziest films of the year, has already made a winner out of Jordan Peele. Now he’ll get an Oscar statuette to prove it.
My pick: This is a hard category. The Shape of Water is basically a retool of Creature from the Black Lagoon; Big Sick is a comedy with dramatic elements; I just can’t see the massive love for Lady Bird. That means its either Peele or McDonagh and so I am picking Peele since even though we knew he could write Get Out just blew me away.
Will and Should win: Get Out

Original screenplay: I am going with Get Out for both should and will win. The most adventurous genre breaking films sometimes get rewarded in lesser categories. The Big Sick is a marvelous little gem that has a remote shot, but Greta Gerwig could also win.
Best Cinematography
Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
And the winner will be: “Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
Thirteen times has Roger Deakins been nominated in this category. And 13 times he has lost. That finally changes this year with his 14th nomination.
My pick: Deakins for Blade Runner. It’s another brilliant job from him. The dark horse here is Laustsen but Deakins is the man to beat.

Should Win: “Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
Will Win: “The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

The Shape of Water will take it because it is the biggest profile nominee, and it is also gorgeous. But Roger Deakins is even worthier for his incredibly sumptuous Blade Runner follow-up (it actually visually rivals the original classic in some aspects). I would be a little surprised but not terribly disappointed if Mudbound won. Rachel Morrison did good work in it and she also shot Black Panther. Both Dunkirk and Darkest Hour should not have been nominated. Wind River which had some of the year’s best cinematography got robbed here
Best Original Score
Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell
And the winner will be: “The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
Alexandre Desplat is expected to win for a score that helped del Toro's film sweep audiences away on ripples of ravishing romance. SPOILER: Phantom Thread. If it was my choice to award an Oscar in this category, it would go to Jonny Greenwood, the lead guitarist of Radiohead who gave Paul Thomas Anderson's film its orchestral dissonance and beating heart. Though Greenwood has composed indelible scores for Anderson's There Will Be Blood, The Master and Inherent Vice, this nomination is, shockingly, his first.
My pick: The trick to a great score is supposedly that you barely notice it’s there. All of these nominees are great but Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water added so much to the story that it’s the winner for me.
I’ve heard and respect all these names, but Jonnny Greenwood, from Radiohead is a composing/guitar playing deity. Burn the Witch. I also think his work was used better in the film than the competition. Since Mary J. Blige also acts in Mudbound this might give her an advantage in the best song category.
Best Original Song
“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
And the winner will be: “Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Remember Me,”  was written by the same people who wrote “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” another Oscar-winning song.
My pick: The idea of the Best Song should be one you are humming out of the theater and all the way home. None of these songs are like that but Remember Me is the winner.
Sufjan Stevens song is the only one that made me recall actual scenes from the movie. I’ll go with it for should and will win. Common’s song was good too and it does not hurt that he is also a credible actor (he was an army official in Megan Leavey.) I’m still going with Sufjan. You can listen to his masterpiece, Come On Feel the Illinoise (correct spelling) right here:
Best Director
Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
And the winner will be: “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
Not only is he recognized as one of Hollywood’s genuine nice guys, but among the raft of pre-Oscar awards he’s taken home this year is the Director’s Guild Award, the winner of which has gone on to win the best director Oscar all but five times since 1980. That all combines to make del Toro pretty much a shoo-in to win his first directing Oscar.
My pick: Since Guillermo del Toro has already gotten the Directors Guild of America award he’s obviously getting this one unless the Academy decides to break tradition. And if that happens then Nolan will get the nod.
Should win: Gerwig or Peele
Will Win: Anyone except Nolan has a shot (with a slight nod to Peele and Gerwig.)

For me this is the most significant category, since the actual voters are themselves directors. The directors often have better taste than the general Oscar voters, and this category usually has it least some sane choices for nominations even if the winners are sometimes ludicrous (Kevin Costner over Scorsese? Really?) Christopher Nolan probably won’t take this award this time (he should have gotten one for Inception). Jordan (Get Out) Peele and Greta (Lady Bird) Gerwig each have a good chance, but Lady Bird is a little more likely to win in an acting category, and Get Out is more likely to get honored for its writing. Del Torro and Anderson have a shot but their works are arty and esoteric. Remember for some Oscar voters, Ordinary People is edgy.
Best Actor
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.”
And the winner will be: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Oldman delivers an Oscar performance on a silver platter. He disappears beneath the prosthetics snd gives a lovely performance. Nuanced and substantial.
My pick: Here’s where you have to consider the mentality of the voters. Chalamet and Kaluuya are first timers so they aren’t going to win here. Washington has given us a lot of great performances but this one while good doesn’t make my cut. So it’s between the Brits. Day Lewis has won multiple times and says he’s retiring so this could be a great parting gift but my gut tells me Oldman is going home with the statue.
Should Win: Gary Oldman
Will win: Gary Oldman

Tomothee Chalamet gave a convincing performance in Call Me by Your Name, but he (and the film) has little star power. Also there is some controversy due to the apparent age disparity of the actors playing the lovers even though the age of consent in Italy is lower (Of course this did not hurt Polanski). But these are different times and the voters are more likely to punish real or fictional sexual indiscretions. Denzel Washington is always superb, but Roman J. Israel was not a particularly important or well-reviewed film. Gary Oldman is probably my preferred choice here and also the probable winner. He’s extraordinarily good and if you watch his performance here back to back with Sid and Nancy he’s unrecognizable. Oldman is the one actor here who totally remade himself in the role. Daniel Day Lewis has a shot because this may be his last film and everyone respects him, but his character in The Phantom Thread might not be likeable enough though. Daniel Kaluuya is fine, but he’s a bit too new, unknown and obscure. He won’t win unless there is a Get Out sweep which is unlikely but not impossible. Of the nominees, Daniel Day Lewis and Washington are the best actors overall if you look at their whole careers, but Oldman did the exact kind of role Oscar voters typically love and it may be his quintessential performance. The most edgy and challenging male performance I saw was James Franco in The Disaster Artist, but I don’t think the sexual harassment allegations helped him.
Best Actress
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”
And the winner will be: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Like the best actor race, this one is pretty locked up at this point, although the field here is stronger so there’s probably at least a possibility of a surprise, however infinitesimal. Speaking purely objectively, however, McDormand, like Oldman, has taken home all the major pre-Oscar awards, which suggests the type of universal industry support that is all but impossible to overcome.
My pick: This isn’t even hard. McDormand is the clear winner with a performance that took my breath away.
Should win McDormand or perhaps Saorsie Ronan (Except for Streep they are all worthy)
Will Win: Frances McDormand
Margo Robie was impressive in I Tonya, but it is still early in her career and she will have other chances (The academy often rewards legacies over individual performances or films which is why Scorsese won for The Departed). Sally Hawkins is always extraordinary, but she actually gave a better performance in Sadie this year. She still might win. Saoirse was brilliant in Lady Bird (she was even a little better in her previously nominated film, Brooklyn). Meryl Streep gave a bland, milquetoast performance in The Post, and she does not deserve a win this time (unless they reward her for last year’s anti Trump speech), and I don’t think she should have been nominated. At this point she would get nominated for sleepwalking. But Frances McDormand gave a once in a lifetime performance, and her work had the most dramatic weight of all the nominees. I think she will get it this time. Where is Kristin Stewart (Personal Shopper), Cynthia Nixon (A Quiet Passion) and Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game?) In all fairness this is the most overcrowded category and it was one of the better years for female performances. Gail Gadot will also have to wait.
Best Picture
“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
The Shape of Water
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

And the winner will be: "The Shape of Water"
As award season has dragged on, it’s become clear that this has become a two-movie race, between Guillermo Del Toro’s fantasy romance and Martin McDonough’s entirely unromantic “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” While both are very much still in the picture, observant Oscar-watchers undoubtedly noticed that McDonogh wasn’t nominated for best director -- which is no small thing. Only twice in Oscar’s history has the Academy given its top award to a film that wasn’t nominated for best director: “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1990 and “Argo” in 2013. Of course, there’s a chance that “Three Billboards” could still pull of an upset here; since the Academy expanded the field in this category to include as many as 10 nominees, historical precedent hasn’t been as ironclad as it once was. But if you’re playing the odds, you’ve got to favor “The Shape of Water.”
My pick: So here we have 10 films each with their own merits. The smaller films win and the perception the Academy is obtuse continues. So that lets out Call Me, Lady Bird and Phantom Thread. That leaves us with seven films all of which could win. I enjoyed Darkest Hour but don’t see it as the best film of the year. The Post is great but I don’t see it winning. That leaves us with four films all of which made my top ten list for the year. Dunkirk isn’t going to win which leaves us with a drama, a horror film with a social message and a science fiction film. The Academy usually ignores genre films but if del Toro wins Best Director then he should win here but the best bet is Three Billboards and that’s who I am picking.
Should Win: Get Out
Will Win: Three Billboards (the Post is my 2nd choice)

The Shape of Water is by far the most visually impressive and dazzling of the best picture nominees, but I don’t think its interspecies romance story (imagine a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon story in which the gill man’s crush is reciprocated) will win over enough voters. Look for it to win some technical categories (perhaps best cinematography, visual effects or set design). Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has outstanding acting and characters, but its open ended ending might not thrill everyone. It still has a good shot (perhaps the best shot) at winning. Get Out was extraordinarily memorable, and in my opinion it is the best of the nominees. But the last time that a horror film won best picture was Silence of the Lambs (the superior Psycho was not even nominated.) Phantom Thread has one of the best performances. But it might be too cerebral, icy, esoteric and melancholy to win (Day Lewis may take best actor though). The Post is just the kind of no risk, conventional film filled with noble characters that Oscar voters tend to love, and it also has plenty of star power. But it’s the weakest and most conventional of the nominees, but I think it still has a pretty good shot. Lady Bird is fresh, lively, and refreshing, and it could win if a strong female/feminist Oscar contingent pushes for it, and it also is also quite worthy. It’s also about time a woman won that award again (Jane Campion where are you?). Call Me by Your Name and Darkest Hour could pull an upset, but they may not have the momentum. Dunkirk was somewhat overrated, and it probably came out too early in the year to make a big impact with voters. Christopher Nolan is a great director but this is not his best work. Florida Project which was my fav American film of the year got screwed. Personal Shopper which got no nominations for anything and some of the best foreign film nominees were also better than most of this list.


JR's total: 19 predictions out of 23 categories. 18 right/1 wrong
BO's total: 17 predictions out of 23 categories.  11 right/5 wrong
Vito's total: 14 predictions out of 23 categories. 9 right/4 wrong

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