Much of my movie-watching in February was relegated to the Best Picture nominees. While I did watch all nine movies, I unfortunately missed out on some other films like The Florida Project, Mudbound, and The Big Sick. With that in mind, my Oscar picks are only limited to the nine Best Picture films. My predictions focus on how I think the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science will vote. Here are my 2018 Oscar Picks and Predictions:
Nominees: 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
I broke down all nine of the Best Picture nominees in this more comprehensive post, but Dunkirk was the movie that pulled more of my emotional triggers than any other film. By getting 13 nominations, it looks like The Shape Of Water will win Best Picture. I felt that the film was more style than substance. I understand why people are drawn to the movie, but I did not connect with the film in the same ways that I did with Dunkirk and Get Out. Both of those films had more substance that The Shape of Water.
My Oscar Pick: Dunkirk
Oscar Prediction: The Shape of Water
Nominees: 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.
Gary Oldman is the only choice for this category. For two hours I felt as if I was watching Winston Churchill. That transformation not only belongs to Oldman, but also Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, and Lucy Sibbick (who should also win for Makeup and Hair). Daniel Kaluuya and Timothée Chalamet were also amazing in their respective films, but it is hard to overlook a career performance from one of the greatest actors of our time.
My Oscar Pick: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
My Oscar Prediction: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Nominees: 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
This is the most loaded category of the non-technical awards. McDormand’s performance was a more brash and satisfying role, but I thought that Saorise Ronan had the tougher challenge. Being an angsty, yet likeable teenager requires more subtlety than portraying a mother who is out for vengeance. While I believe McDormand will win, I would not be shocked if Meryl Streep wins the Oscar either. The political discourse surrounding Streep and The Post may be too much for Hollywood to look past.
My Oscar Pick: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Oscar Predictions: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Nominees: 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
While I do not think that the movie itself developed Sam Rockwell’s Three Billboard’s character well, that should not take away from Rockwell’s performance as a terrible police officer. Rockwell was dynamic as someone who checked many negative boxes, but went through a semi-personal transformation. Of all of the primary nominations, Christopher Plummer’s gives Hollywood the most convenient opportunity to make a statement. In replacing Kevin Spacey, Plummer did pull off a terrific feat by acting in a movie that had already been completed. Through Plummer, the Academy has the best chance to making a voting decision that would be in solidarity with the #Metoo movement.
Oscar Picks: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Oscar Predictions: Christopher Plummer, All The Money In The World
Nominees: Mary J. Blige, Mudbound, Allison Janney, I, Tonya, Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread, Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird, Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
There are strong similarities between the Lead and Supporting Actress categories. Allison Janney played the abusive mother of Tonya Harding. Laurie Metcalf played the stressed and loving mother of Saoirse Ronan’s “Lady Bird”. I was listening to Oscar chat this weekend where someone thought that both roles were the same. There is a clear difference between the two. Janney’s role is crude and offensive, Metcalf’s character is a significantly better person. There is normal teenager-parent anxiety in the relationship between Metcalf and Ronan. It is much harder to play a tough mother who is holding her family together without coming off maliciously. Metcalf is one of two individuals who I am rooting hard for this year.
Oscar Picks: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Oscar Predictions: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Nominees: 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
Jordan Peele is the other person who I am cheering for this year. Get Out was one of the most original and provocative movies that I have ever seen. Being able to astutely tackle horror, comedy, and racism at the same time is a truly singular accomplishment that starts with great writing. Of all the films that were also Best Picture nominees, Get Out was the most singular creative accomplishment that involved a screenplay.
Oscar Picks: Jordan Peele, Get Out
Oscar Predictions: Jordan Peele, Get Out
Nominees: Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan, Get Out, Jordan Peele, Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig, Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson, The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro
While I would be elated for Peele to take home Best Director, Christopher Nolan also accomplished something singular with Dunkirk. Nolan turned a war movie into a visually stunning psychological thriller. Peele’s achievement was more closely aligned with the screenplay, whereas Nolan’s work resided in the director’s chair. Unfortunately, Guillermo del Toro is likely to trump both because The Shape of Water merges an imaginative story and cinematic visuals better than any other film.
Oscar Picks: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Oscar Predictions: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
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