In what’s shaping up to be the most unpredictable Oscar race in recent memory, once the lights go down in the historical Dolby Theater in L.A., pundits will still be updating their ballots - but nobody will forget last year when Warren Beatty accidently proclaimed the best picture winner “La La Land” when in fact “Moonlight” was the eventual winner. While I don’t think we’ll get that kind of unpredictability again this year, I still think the Best Picture category is a little too close to call, but in that regard I’ll give my suggestions - and we will see how they turn out on Sunday March 4th.I went 14/24 at last year’s ceremony.
Best Picture Prediction: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
While “The Shape of Water” is running a close second (it has the most nominations) - “Billboards” has been gaining so much momentum in the weeks since nominations were announced. However, was the omission of director Martin McDonagh in the Best Directing category a sign for “Water” to push through? or can the hopeful longshot (and my dark horse) “Lady Bird” sneak in for a grueling upset? There’s no clear winner here: but “Three Billboards” has the slight edge.
Best Director prediction: Guillermo Del Toro for “The Shape of Water”
Del Toro looks well poised to take home his first Oscar as a director for his work on the magical “The Shape Of Water” - not only has he won every preceding award that merits my prediction, it would be a nice consolation if his film were to miss out in the Best Picture field. But, I wouldn’t be upset to see Christopher Nolan take him gold for his work on the breathtaking “Dunkirk” in his first nomination ever. I wouldn’t bet against Del Toro in this category, it’s his to lose.
Best Actress Prediction: Frances McDormand for “Three Billboards”
McDormand is looking to take home her second Oscar this Sunday (her first was for “Fargo”) playing a crass, stubborn, and vulgar mother who desperately is searching for truth and justice to her daughter's murder. Her performance has been the one resonating with voters and viewers throughout the entire season. But don’t count out Sally Hawkins for playing a mute cleaning lady in “The Shape Of Water” - she says more with her eyes than she ever could with words.
Best Actor Prediction: Gary Oldman for “The Darkest Hour”
In the only “sure” thing category this year - you’d be hard pressed to find anyone betting against Gary Oldman for playing WWII icon Winston Churchill. I’m not even going to suggest a possible upset - but it would be nice to see Daniel Kaluuya win for “Get Out” but that’s very wishful thinking..
Best Supporting Actress Prediction: Allison Janney for “I, Tonya”
For most of this season I had been on the Laurie Metcalf wagon for her turn as a loving mother figure in the sensational “Lady Bird” ..but then I saw Janney as an abusive and alcoholic raging mother to future Olympic gold medalist Tonya Harding and my view shifted. Janney completely disappears in this role, that is at times hard to watch, but also so mesmerizing. Metcalf could still pull the upset, my money is with Janney.
Best Supporting Actor Prediction: Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
This was another category where I had pegged Willem Dafoe to take home the trophy for his role as an overworked hotel manager in “The Florida Project.” But the tides have shifted in favor of Sam Rockwell playing a racist cop who goes through quite a character shift in “Billboards.” I’ve always been a fan of Rockwell, so to see him getting the recognition he deserves is rewarding. This is another “sure thing” category, it’s Rockwell’s to lose.
Some other “sure things” you can mark on your ballot - “Coco” will most assuredly take home Best Animated Feature, and Roger Deakins should (finally!) score that Oscar for his cinematography on the beautiful “Blade Runner: 2049.” In the technical categories, I’d look for “Dunkirk” or “2049” to dominate - and I’m giving “Get Out” and “Call Me By Your Name” the edge in the Best Original and Adapted Screenplay categories respectively.
THE OSCARS will air Sunday March 4th at 8 p.m. on ABC and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
My full ballot of predictions can be found below:
Best Picture: THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Best Director: Guillermo Del Toro for THE SHAPE OF WATER
Best Actor: Gary Oldman for THE DARKEST HOUR
Best Actress: Frances McDormand for THREE BILLBOARDS
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell for THREE BILLBOARDS
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney for I, TONYA
Best Animated Feature: COCO
Best Cinematography: BLADE RUNNER 2049
Best Costume Design: PHANTOM THREAD
Best Documentary Feature: FACES PLACES
Best Documentary Short: HEROIN(E)
Best Film Editing: DUNKIRK
Best Foreign Language Film: THE SQUARE (Sweden)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: THE DARKEST HOUR
Best Original Score: THE SHAPE OF WATER
Best Original Song: “This Is Me” from THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Best Production Design: THE SHAPE OF WATER
Best Animated Short Film: DEAR BASKETBALL
Best Live Action Short Film: THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK
Best Sound Editing: DUNKIRK
Best Sound Mixing: DUNKIRK
Best Visual Effects: WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Best Adapted Screenplay: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Best Original Screenplay: GET OUT