2018 Oscar Predictions: Caleb’s Picks

Original post can be found at The Cinematropolis 2018 Oscar Predictions

It’s that time of the year again when film lovers from across the globe gather around their TV screens to watch the Academy Awards. For cinephiles and film nerds this is as close as we get to watching our teams go to the Super Bowl or World Series. The 2018 Oscar nominations continue to highlight the shift taking place within the academy with more genre and social issues-driven films about race, gender inequality, and representation featuring more diverse casts and crews being selected. This is evident in the lineup of the Best Picture nominees featuring a wide array of great films, all expressing unique stories and perspectives of people from very different walks of life. And what a year for film 2017 was! But what fun is the big show if we don’t make our own predictions against our friends and colleagues?

I’ve put together my personal list of predictions for the big show that I hope will help give you insight for you to take away for your own lists. These predictions do not reflect the views or opinions of the entire Cinematropolis staff or writing team. Without further ado, take a look at my 2018 Oscar predictions!

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

My favorite: The Shape of Water

Predicted winner: The Shape of Water

This is one of the strongest lineups I can recall seeing in my time covering film. Each of these movies has something meaningful to say and add to the cultural conversation and all of them are exceptionally well made. Given its 13 nominations, powerful commentary about marginalized groups of people and the power of empathy, and somewhat wide appeal, I believe The Shape of Water will take home Best Picture. Its biggest competition seems to be Three Billboards, but I’m hopeful that the Academy won’t let their love affair with outstanding performances be the deciding factor for the film.

 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • 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.

My favorite: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Predicted winner: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman is one of the most recognized, yet underappreciated character actors working today. There’s no denying he’s due for an Oscar, but something about his performance as Winston Churchhill feels overly contrived. Oldman is a lock for the win, but if I had my way, I’d give it to Timothée Chalamet for delivering a moving, heartfelt and transparent performance.

 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • 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

My favorite: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Predicted winner: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

This is another extremely competitive category, but there’s no stopping Three Billboards when it comes to acting. Given his win at the Golden Globes and SAG awards, there’s almost no way Sam Rockwell won’t take the gold. There’s no denying his range, but I think Willem Dafoe is the most deserving of these actors given his understated performance in the underrated The Florida Project.

 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • 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

My favorite: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Predicted winner: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  

Frances McDormand has had Best Leading Actress in the bag the entire awards season. She’s great and is very deserving, but I’d love to see Sally Hawkins shock everyone with a win for her outstanding performance as a mute janitor who is in love with the amphibian man.

 

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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

My favorite: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Predicted winner: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Allison Janney has also long been the frontrunner in this category but like Oldman’s turn as Churchhill, Janney’s performance as LaVona Fay Golden is very much, “give me my overdue award now” acting. It’s very enjoyable and plays to the whims of Academy voters, but I personally prefer the more down to earth and subdued performance of Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird.

 

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

My favorite: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

Predicted winner: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

If you would have asked me even two or three years ago if I would pick any director other Christopher Nolan for Best Director, I would have called you mad. But in light of #Oscarsowhite, Moonlight‘s Best Picture win, and #METoo there’s been a lot of big changes going on within the academy. It feels like we’re entering into an era where the new guard embraces more genre and social issues-driven films. Any of these five directors is extremely deserving, but my pick has to be Guillermo Del Toro, who has been writing/directing/producing and elevating genre films for decades. It just so happens that the DGA agrees which all but cements his win.

 

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • The Boss Baby, Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
  • The Breadwinner, Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
  • Coco, Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
  • Ferdinand, Carlos Saldanha
  • Loving Vincent, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

My favorite: Coco

Predicted winner: Coco

Pixar has dominated the animated feature film category for decades and 2018 will be no exception. Coco is also an impeccable film that, in this humble critic’s opinion, rests in the upper echelons Pixar’s greatest classics. It’s an all but guaranteed win and my personal pick. I do want to give a shout out to the underseen visual achievement in animation, Loving Vincent, a film about an investigation into the last days of Vincent van Gogh’s life. Every single frame of the movie was painted in the style of the famed artist’s work.

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  • Faces Places
  • Icarus
  • Last Men In Aleppo
  • Strong Island

My favorite: Last Men in Aleppo

Predicted winner: Icarus

The Olympics are currently in the news which dramatically raises the likelihood of Icarus taking home the coveted statue.

 

DOCUMENTARY SHORT

  • Edith+Eddie
  • Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
  • Heroin(e)
  • Knife Skills
  • Traffic Stop

My favorite: Traffic Stop

Predicted winner: Traffic Stop

No comment.

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • A Fantastic Woman, Chile
  • The Insult, Lebanon
  • Loveless, Russia
  • On Body and Soul, Hungary
  • The Square, Sweden

My favorite: The Square

Predicted winner: The Square

Sadly, I’ve only seen one of the nominees, The Square. I’m going all in for it.

 

WRITING (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

My favorite: Logan

Predicted winner: Call Me by Your Name

The screenplay categories are always competitive and 2018 is no exception. My personal favorite is Logan, a film featuring comic book superheroes that transcends the overplayed superhero blockbuster genre. In the same way, Christopher Nolan made a crime thriller starring Batman in The Dark Knight, James Mangold made a western road trip film starring Wolverine. It was a deeply moving and well-executed film that frankly, deserves more representation among the other categories. But it won’t win. James Ivory’s excellent adaptation of the heartfelt Call Me by Your Name is the most likely winner, but I do think it’s anyone’s game.

 

WRITING (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

My favorite: Tie. Get Out/The Big Sick/The Shape of Water

Predicted winner: Get Out

Do I really have to pick one from this list? Just one? Ok, well then I’ll go with The Shape of Getting Out of the Big Sick. I love four of these five films, but in the end, only one is going to win and I think it will be Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Even though I don’t think it takes Best Picture or Director, I do think Get Out is such an important and effective film with a brilliant script that it will take home the original screenplay award.

 

ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Mighty River,” Mudbound
  • “Mystery of Love,” Call Me by Your Name
  • “Remember Me,” Coco
  • “Stand Up for Something,” Marshall
  • “This is Me,” The Greatest Showman

My favorite: “Mystery of Love,” Call Me by Your Name

Predicted winner: “Remember Me,” Coco

“Remember Me” is undeniably the one song we’ve been singing and hearing on Spotify since November, but if I had my choice, I’d choose the mood-setting “Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name instead.

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • The Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water

My favorite: Blade Runner 2049

Predicted winner: The Shape of Water

Give Blade Runner 2049 all of the awards!

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins
  • Darkest Hour, Bruno Delbonnel
  • Dunkirk, Hoyte van Hoytema
  • Mudbound, Rachel Morrison
  • The Shape of Water, Dan Laustsen

My favorite: Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins

Predicted winner: Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins

Roger Deakins has been nominated thirteen times in previous Academy Awards, receiving two nominations in 2007. He has yet to win for Best Cinematography, but I do believe his time has finally arrived.

 

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

My favorite: Phantom Thread

Predicted winner: Phantom Thread

One of these films is about a couturier who seductively creates fashionable clothes. A no-brainer.

 

SOUND EDITING

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

My favorite: Dunkirk

Predicted winner: Dunkirk

Dunkirk is an intense and effective WWII movie filled with iconic moments and memorable sequences. I don’t foresee it taking home any of the more prestigious awards, but I do think it has its technical awards locked down.

 

SOUND MIXING

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

My favorite: Tie. Blade Runner 2049 / Baby Driver

Predicted winner: Dunkirk

 

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

  • Dunkirk
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

My favorite: The Shape of Water

Predicted winner: The Shape of Water

Alexandre Desplat’s score blends the sound of multiple widely different genres together to create something special.

 

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

  • Dear Basketball
  • Garden Party
  • Negative Space
  • Lou
  • Revolting Rhymes

My favorite: Negative Space

Predicted winner: Dear Basketball

This is always one of my favorite categories. Kobe Bryant’s Dear Basketball checks all of the boxes the Academy usually looks for and also has his own brand and John Williams on his side. Personally, I’m a sucker for stop motion so my favorite is Negative Space.

 

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

  • DeKalb Elementary
  • The Eleven O’Clock
  • The Silent Child
  • All of Us
  • My Nephew Emmett

My favorite: DeKalb Elementary

Predicted winner: DeKalb Elementary

The short film about a school shooting in an elementary school is timely and also ties into an issue I’m especially passionate about. I believe the continuing conversation about gun violence in America and deep emotional core will push this one to victory.

 

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

My favorite: Tie. Blade Runner 2049War for the Planet of the Apes 

Predicted winner: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Both Blade Runner 2049 and War for the Planet of the Apes pushed the envelope in their own ways, but ultimately I think the overwhelming popularity of Star Wars will sway Academy voters who are usually less interested in genre blockbuster fare.

 

FILM EDITING

  • Baby Driver
  • Dunkirk
  • I, Tonya
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

My favorite: Baby Driver

Predicted winner: Dunkirk

My bet is that Dunkirk probably has this one in the bag, but I think the meticulous film and sound editing in Baby Driver merit a win somewhere. I still can’t forget the incredible opening chase.

 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Wonder

My favorite: Darkest Hour

Predicted winner: Darkest Hour

Have you seen Gary Oldman’s body suit?

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