The best time of the year has arrived: Oscar season. With the nominations for the 2018 Academy Awards being announced tomorrow, I decided to share my own predictions for the six major categories — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress/Actor and Best Supporting Actress/Actor — and break down my thoughts about this year’s race.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“The Shape of Water”
“Call Me By Your Name”
Potential Spoilers: “Molly’s Game,” “The Florida Project,” “Mudbound”
As far as Oscar-caliber quality goes, there are many films that deserve to be on this list, but with a maximum of 10 nominations available, these films will likely make the cut. “Three Billboards,” which won a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast, feels like a sure bet and a frontrunner, while “The Shape of Water,” “Lady Bird” and “Get Out” have garnered similar recognition from the Producers Guild of America. I think the Academy is probably going to shoot for eight or nine films in this category, so “The Big Sick” and “Darkest Hour” might be edged out by “I, Tonya,” which has been gaining momentum. However, I wouldn’t count out “Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin’s debut, in this conversation either.
Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”)
Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”)
Jordan Peele (“Get Out”)
Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”)
Potential Spoilers: Steven Spielberg (“The Post”), Luca Guadagnino (“Call Me By Your Name”)
Talk about a competitive category. If any one of these seven names are left off the list, it would probably be considered a snub. Guillermo del Toro is the safest bet, having earned a Golden Globe for Best Director recently and a slew of other nominations in his favor. In looking at the Directors Guild of America nominations, these five directors seem to have the most momentum behind them. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I think that if anyone does get swapped out, it would be Greta Gerwig in favor of Steven Spielberg. However, with the “Time’s Up” and “Me Too” movement affecting Hollywood, Gerwig will most likely receive a well-deserved nomination in a category that rarely includes females in the mix.
Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”)
Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”)
Meryl Streep (“The Post”)
Potential Spoilers: Jessica Chastain (“Molly’s Game”), Judi Dench (“Victoria & Abdul”)
Out of all these categories, I feel the most confident about these predictions. There have been clear frontrunners with Frances McDormand — who just won a SAG award — Saoirse Ronan and Sally Hawkins. Margot Robbie was fantastic in “I, Tonya” and has received similar nominations, and Meryl Streep, who seems to get nominated for any movie she acts in, will probably receive her 21st Oscar nomination. If anyone does take Streep out of the running, it will be Jessica Chastain for her work in “Molly’s Game,” a performance that may not have as much traction, but is worthy all the same.
Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”)
Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”)
James Franco (“The Disaster Artist”)
Daniel Day-Lewis (“Phantom Thread”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”)
Potential Spoilers: Tom Hanks (“The Post”), Denzel Washington (“Roman J. Israel, Esq.”)
The Best Actor category seems to have solidified based on the SAG nominations and awards dished out recently. Gary Oldman is the clear frontrunner with a SAG and a Golden Globe under his belt, with Timothée Chalamet hot on his heels. While James Franco has received backlash for sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him, the voting process for this category was largely finished by the time these accusations surfaced, so he is probably still be in the running. Daniel Day-Lewis, who announced his retirement from acting, will likely be honored one last time by the Academy for his performance. I do think Daniel Kaluuya will edge out Tom Hanks, but it is possible that we may hear Hanks’ name announced instead.
Best Supporting Actress
Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)
Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)
Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”)
Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”)
Holly Hunter (“The Big Sick”)
Potential Spoilers: Huang Chau (“Downsizing”), Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”)
This category, at the beginning, looked to be a race between Allison Janney and Laurie Metcalf, both of whom were in contention for the SAG and Golden Globe, with Janney having pulled ahead for her recent wins for Best Supporting Actress. Octavia Spencer also feels like a safe bet for her work in “The Shape of Water.” While Mary J. Blige and Holly Hunter have both garnered SAG nominations, I think either one could be ousted by Huang Chau, who is the biggest threat to break into this race.
Best Supporting Actor
Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)
Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”)
Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Potential Spoilers: Michael Stuhlbarg (“Call Me By Your Name”), Steve Carell (“Battle of the Sexes”)
This award is Sam Rockwell’s to lose, who has a recent SAG win under his belt. Willem Dafoe has also been in this conversation for awhile, and Richard Jenkins’ charismatic performance will probably pay off with an Oscar nod as well. It was difficult for me not to put Michael Stuhlbarg ahead of Woody Harrelson simply because Stuhlbarg has appeared in three Oscar contenders this year — ”Call Me By Your Name,” “The Shape of Water” and “The Post” — but Harrelson has garnered more nominations that he has, so I think it will come down to the two of them for the last slot.