With the 90th Academy Awards taking place Sunday night, here is a rundown of who I think deserves to win each of the main awards, as well as whom I believe will and who has a fighting chance. A lot of the big categories seem to be locked up, but there are still some nail-biters to keep an eye on. I did a full rundown of the nominations back in January, and you can read that here.
By far the craziest category, there is so much that could happen here. Realistically, because of the preferential ballot used by the Academy, every film (besides “Darkest Hour” or “Phantom Thread”) has a chance at winning. As with every year there are three frontrunners, those being “Get Out,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “The Shape of Water.” The fact that “Get Out,” an indie horror film made by a rookie writer-director released in February, has a chance at Best Picture is insane and if it wins it will forever change the Oscars; if both “Water” or “Billboards” win it will be well-deserved, but will likely lead to internet backlash due to some (stupid) controversy. My heart says “Get Out,” my gut says “Three Billboards” and my mind says “The Shape of Water” so I’ll be just as surprised as everyone else when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway (once again) open the envelope on Sunday night.
COULD WIN: The Shape of Water
SHOULD WIN: Get Out
WILL WIN: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It’ll likely be Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water” because what he did on a $19.5 million budget (compared to Christopher Nolan’s $100 million “Dunkirk”) is incredible. He has won the DGA, Golden Globe and BAFTA, among others, but don’t count out Nolan. Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig both earned nominations for their first directorial efforts and that should be reward enough (especially because they both have a shot at Screenplay) and 8-time nominee Paul Thomas Anderson will have to wait another year to hear his name.
COULD WIN: Christopher Nolan
SHOULD WIN: Guillermo del Toro
WILL WIN: Guillermo del Toro
It’s going to be Gary Oldman for his fatsuit performance in “Darkest Hour” and I won’t be as upset as some other people; it’s a solid enough portrayal of Winston Churchill and Oldman is a career actor who has been incredibly humbled through the entire awards season. Fan-favorite Timothée Chalamet has a chance to pull an incredible upset for his work in “Call Me by Your Name” but for my money the performance that has stuck with me most is Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out.” I don’t think many people thought he had a chance at a nomination until the season really got underway and I think he had to do the most and stretch the acting chops across a variety of moods and genres.
COULD WIN: Timothée Chalamet
SHOULD WIN: Daniel Kaluuya
WILL WIN: Gary Oldman
Much like Best Actor, this is pretty locked up unless there is a last-minute change of heart among many Academy voters. Frances McDormand has swept most awards this season, despite her SAG acceptance speech all but giving permission for people to vote for other, younger actresses like Saoirse Ronan or Margot Robbie. For my money, Sally Hawkins gave the best performance of the year and the fact she had to perform sign language for the entire thing makes it all the better, conveying emotion purely with looks and body language.
COULD WIN: Sally Hawkins
SHOULD WIN: Sally Hawkins
WILL WIN: Frances McDormand
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
This should be Sam Rockwell’s award to lose, he’s won most everything leading up to it, but Supporting Actor is a category that never seems to want to play by the rules. Plus, there has been a recent groundswell movement among some that rewarding Rockwell for playing a racist jerk who gets redemption is offensive (or something; people are dumb). Look for Richard Jenkins (probably my favorite of this batch) or Williem Dafoe to perhaps pull an upset and something in my gut says Rockwell’s “Billboards’” co-star Woody Harrelson could shock the world.
COULD WIN: Williem Dafoe
SHOULD WIN: Richard Jenkins
WILL WIN: Sam Rockwell
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
It really is down to Laurie Metcalf for “Lady Bird” and “I, Tonya’s” Allison Janney. Both have won a few precursors (but Janney has the “important” ones) and both have campaigned hard (although Janney has gone harder, showing she wants this bad). Both of these wonderful ladies have fantastic TV careers and give powerhouse, notice-when-they’re-gone performances but I think Janney will pull it out.
COULD WIN: Laurie Metcalf
SHOULD WIN: Allison Janney
WILL WIN: Allison Janney
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
It should be “Call Me by Your Name” and the 89-year-old James Ivory would become the oldest Oscar winner ever (unless Agnes Varda wins Best Documentary, as she is 8 days older). Ivory has won most precursors, but last night my friend told me he has read a lot of “leaked” ballots saying they’re voting for Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly Game” which would be a shocker. As much as I love Sorkin, I hope that doesn’t happen because this wasn’t his best script; also look for “Mudbound” to maybe win because voters want to reward it somehow.
COULD WIN: Molly’s Game
SHOULD WIN: Call Me by Your Name
WILL WIN: Call Me by Your Name
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
I have no idea what’s going to happen here; I don’t think anyone does. “Get Out” has been the favorite since it was released a year ago but “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards” have just as much of a chance to win. If “The Shape of Water” ends up sweeping Actress and Best Picture then it could end up winning here, too, but I can’t see (nor do I want) that to happen.
COULD WIN: Lady Bird
SHOULD WIN: Get Out
WILL WIN: Get Out
A few things of note if I ran the Academy Awards. “The Boss Baby” would win Best Animated Feature (it’ll be “Coco”) because it is so far ahead of its time and brilliantly animated. James Franco would have earned his second-career Best Actor nomination (over the head-scratching Denzel Washington nod). Richard Deakins would finally win his long overdue first career for “Blade Runner 2049” (as he likely will). And finally, “Detroit” and “The Meyerowitz Stories” would have both gotten nominations for Best Picture, Screenplay and Supporting Actor, for Algee Smith and Adam Sandler (!!), respectively.
The 90th Academy Awards, again hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, air on March 4, 2018 at 8pm EST on ABC.
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