90th Annual Academy Awards: Predictions

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The 90th Annual Academy Awards will be airing on ABC tonight. As always, I’ll give you my predictions of what will win and what should win in the major categories of the evening. This will be a quicker-to-read-post than usual due to the fact that I’m still knee-deep in preparing for SXSW, which my coverage for that festival starts later this week (be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates from SXSW). But I will end this intro by saying that the Academy appears to have finally embraced the unexpected with this year’s nominations. Who would’ve thought back in February that Jordan Peele’s brilliant horror comedy Get Out would be a potential frontrunner for Best Picture? So, with that in mind, let’s jump into the predictions.

Let’s begin with screenplay. The nominations for Best Original Screenplay are:

“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

For this category, I’m going to say that Jordan Peele will win the award for his screenplay to Get Out. It won the WGA award, which is always an indicator of what will win in this particular category (the same goes for Adapted Screenplay), and the film’s analysis/critique of race in America is deeply topical in this current political climate, so this seems like the right choice for Peele to win this award. If I had it my way, I’d give the award to Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani for The Big Sick, one of my very favorite films of last year, or Greta Gerwig‘s screenplay for Lady Bird, which was such a beautiful little film. But Jordan Peele will win this award, and it’s the right call at the end of the day.

 

The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay are:

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

Of the screenplays nominated, I’ve only seen three of the films, and the three films that I have seen (The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game) were good films, but not deserving of an Academy Award. I have yet to see Call Me by Your Name (I hear it’s fantastic), but I’d put my money on James Ivory winning this award. He won the WGA for his adaptation of André Aciman‘s novel, and he has most of the momentum going to win this award. I love Aaron Sorkin and I’d love to see him win another Oscar, but Molly’s Game does not even come close to some of his very best work, like The Social Network or even his television work. James Ivory will win this award.
Let’s jump into acting. The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Laurie Metcalf gave one of the best performances I’ve seen in recent memory in any film in Lady Bird, but this is a cruel, cruel world and she won’t be taking home this award. The award will be going to Allison Janney for I, Tonya. Like a lot of films this past year I did not see I, Tonya (it’s been a rather hectic couple of months, so apologies for the lack of content recently), but the people who did see the film kept raving about Janney’s performance. I wish Metcalf would win this award (I’m scared that the best film of 2017, Lady Bird, will go home empty-handed this evening), but this is Janney’s prize to win for the evening.

 

The nominees for Best Supporting Actor are:

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”

That must be a pretty good feeling for Christopher Plummer to receive only his third Academy Award nomination for a film that he ended up joining at literally the last-minute thanks to Kevin Spacey. But Mr. Plummer will not win this award. The person who will win this award, and deserves to, is Sam Rockwell for his performance in Three Billboards. His performance is one of the very best parts of that film (we’ll get to the best part of that film in the next category), and the arc that his character has in that film is powerful as it is tragic. Rockwell is one of our best actors, and has been for over 20 years, so I’m happy that he’s finally getting his due by winning this trophy.
The nominees for Best Actress are:

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”

Frances McDormand last won the Oscar in this category in 1996 for her performance in Fargo, the Coen Brothers crime masterpiece. She will win the trophy for the second time for her performance in Three Billboards. She’s the emotional center of the film, a woman who’s in pain over the brutal murder of her daughter, and her anger against the police department not investigating the murder is a heartbreaking and timely anecdote to the current climate in this country. McDormand is incredible in the film, and deserves the trophy. End of story.

 

The nominees for Best Actor are:

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.”

Of the actor’s nominated, I’ve only seen one of the films, which was Daniel Kaluuya‘s performance in Get Out. He was fantastic in the film, but he won’t win the trophy. This award will most definitely go to Gary Oldman, for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. He’s won the Golden Globe, the SAG, you name it, for his performance in this film, so it’s a safe bet that he will win this award. While the idea of Daniel Day-Lewis winning an Oscar for his final performance in Phantom Thread could be a possibility, it’s safe to say that Oldman will win this award.

 

The nominees for Best Director are:

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

I have no problem with anyone nominated in this category, this is a great list of directors. I’d love for PTA to win an Oscar for Phantom Thread (a movie I have yet to see but I’ll probably love it and beat myself up for missing it during awards season when I do), but this award is going to Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water. Again, a film I’ve yet to see, but I hear it’s an amazing cinematic experience, and one of the reasons for it being so is del Toro’s work behind the camera. del Toro has always been a brilliant visual director, and from what I’ve heard about The Shape of Water, the film is his best work yet. Expect him to win the Oscar for this tonight.

 

And finally, Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Of the 9 films nominated, I’ve seen four of them. Three Billboards was great, Lady Bird was a masterpiece, Get Out was a blast, and Dunkirk was a thrilling WWII epic. The award for the evening will ultimately come down to two films, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards. The former is expected to have a big night, as it’s the most nominated film of the night with 13 nominations. But Three Billboards has momentum thanks to the “Time’s Up” movement, which will no doubt have a major influence on tonight’s ceremony as it has all awards season. And Get Out could pull an upset, as the film has been a great topic of discussion for the last year or so. But ultimately, at the end of the day, The Shape of Water will win Best Picture. It’s the safe pick, and depending on who you ask, the right one.

 

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy the Academy Awards tonight, and look out for my coverage on SXSW starting sometime this week. But look out for a post concerning another Oscar-nominated film sometime this week as well, one that has a connection right here in Austin, Texas.

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