God, I am both so ready and so unready for this season to end. On the one hand, this has been one of the most unpredictable races in years, completely unpredictable and unique. No matter what film wins, history will be made. However, on the other hand, it’s been months of controversy, nightmares, and uncertainty in my prediction abilities. It will be so refreshing to see the race end. However, end it will this Sunday, and as far as we can tell, it comes down to two film: Get Out and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
When I predicted that Get Out would win almost two weeks ago, it was the edgy, outsider pick based on facts. Since then, everyone started to pick it, it struggled at a couple of awards, and it incurred the wrath of the older members of the Academy – “Didn’t we just do this last year? And besides, horror isn’t Oscar-y. That’s why I didn’t even watch it.” That’s a lot to take in, not to mention the fact that no film has won Best Picture with only four nominations since 1933. The far safer pick would be Three Billboards, which won the Globes, the BAFTAS, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. On paper, it’s the safer option right now – and it already has two locks in the acting categories. However, I can’t overlook that backlash that’s built up against it, and that lack of a director nod is stunning – unlike Argo, this film doesn’t have the historic preseason run. And yet, it’s entirely possible that Three Billboards COULD take it – if it starts out with 40% of the vote, it could win; that’s entirely possible given the fact that most “everyday” people seem to really like the film (almost everyone in my immediate circle has texted me to mention they like it; it’s mostly the critics and intellectuals that have raised the somewhat deserved critiques). But I can’t get over Get Out’s several major factors – it has the Directing nod, it has a Screenplay nod, it was nominated by all of the major guilds, it received a mention from the Globes, the Gothams, and the Indie Spirit Awards, indicating widespread acclaim…it just seems a lot more logical than Three Billboards. So who will win? Will it be the intelligent, rascally underdog? Or will it be the coarse, introspective juggernaut? Or will a third party arise from the ranks of The Shape of Water (a massive spoiler, like Gandalf on the hill with the Rohhirrim) or Dunkirk (still the most logical with the “Last Film Out” Theory). For that, I’m going to have to look at the possible spoilers in the other categories.
For example, if Dunkirk wins Best Editing over Baby Driver (the spoiler favorite), it could make a play for Best Picture. It still likely won’t win, but it’ll definitely be in the competition. If The Shape of Water manages to flip either sound category, Cinematography, and/or Costume Design, it could be looking at a sweep for the first time since The Hurt Locker. If Get Out wins Best Screenplay, it MIGHT take Best Picture – it’s not a decisive victory, but it’s enough to make a case. And if Three Billboards wins Editing, Screenplay, or both, it WILL take Best Picture. It’s a done deal at that point. Which of these theories will pan out? If you are trying to win your Oscar pool, go with Three Billboards or The Shape of Water. However, if you want to play the Vegas odds, and you have a gut feeling that something different is going to happen on Sunday, then join me and pick Get Out. I don’t feel good about it. I’m wholly expecting to get Best Picture wrong a second year in a row (third if you go beyond the site – I missed Spotlight as well…I hate this f*cking preferential ballot). But I’d rather be the genius who read the tarot cards and got it right than the shmuck who played it safe. Call me Steve Carell in The Big Short.
As for the rest of the awards, the bulk of them seem pretty cut and dry, bar a few upsets. The Acting categories are all locked up, with Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Allison Janney. The opportunity to award aged legends will also give two great artists and their equally great films a chance in Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Documentary, as James Ivory and Agnès Varda should both for their films (Call Me By Your Name and Faces Places, respectively). Meanwhile, Guillermo del Toro’s visionary film might lose Best Picture, but it won’t go home empty handed – it will win Best Director, Best Production Design, and Best Score with relative ease. And the tech categories should reward the visionary works of Edgar Wright and Denis Villeneuve, as I believe Baby Driver will win Best Editing, and maybe even Best Sound Mixing (if it wins Best Sound Editing too, which is a possibility, then Dunkirk is REALLY in trouble), and Blade Runner 2049 should finally earn Roger Deakins an Oscar, and may even upset the Planet of the Apes series in Best Visual Effects (I’m willing to call that upset). And “This Is Me,” Coco and Phantom Thread should win Best Song, Best Animated Feature, and Best Costume Design with ease. As for the shorts, I see no reason in changing things up, as The Eleven O’Clock should just nudge out DeKalb Elementary, Heroin(e) should beat out Knife Skills and Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405, and Garden Party should shock the world by beating Lou.
You can see my full list of predictions below. The Academy Awards will be held Sunday at 8:00. I’ll be announcing them live, so make sure you’re watching. Hopefully they get Best Picture right this year (can you imagine in such a crazy year? Ugh). I will see you then, and feel free to make your predictions in the comments.
Best Picture: Get Out
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water
Best Actor: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Best Actress: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Best Original Screenplay: Get Out
Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name
Best Animated Feature: Coco
Best Foreign Language Film: The Square
Best Documentary Feature: Faces Places
Best Documentary Short: Heroin(e)
Best Live Action Short: The Eleven O’Clock
Best Animated Short: Garden Party
Best Original Score: The Shape of Water
Best Original Song: “This Is Me” – The Greatest Showman
Best Sound Editing: Dunkirk
Best Sound Mixing: Baby Driver
Best Production Design: The Shape of Water
Best Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049
Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour
Best Film Editing: Baby Driver
Best Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049