Oscar Picks: Who Will Win at the 90th Annual Academy Awards (Sun. March 4)
It’s the time of year again and I thought it would be fun to make my Oscar picks. I’ve managed to see as many films as I possibly could in 2017 to lead up to this and while unfortunately I missed a few, I always find it fun to pick winners in each category to make Oscar night even more entertaining for myself.
The picks below are based on a number of things – what I feel is going to win, what I think should win, the buzz from previous awards, etc. It’s all in fun and in no way do I expect my ballot to be anywhere close to perfect. Check out my picks below and let me know if you agree! Who do you have?
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Three Billboards is strong, but without a nod to McDonagh in the Directing category, it’s hard for me to pick (though Affleck pulled it off in 2013 with Argo). Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fairy tale The Shape of Water is something to be remembered (and leads this year in nominations), but it’s extremely rare that a fantasy flick such as this goes on to win the big one – the last one was Lord of the Rings: Return of the King in 2003. Look for him to get his due in the Directing category (if Gerwig doesn’t surprise there too). My pick this year however is Lady Bird – not only because it is deserving, but I think it has what the Academy will vote for this year. A more than deserving female writer/director in Greta Gerwig (nominated in both categories), two incredibly strong female performances (both Ronan and Metcalf are also nominated), and a wonderful coming of age film that feels like it could be a John Hughes film. Lady Bird is such a clever and entertaining movie. There’s a reason why it’s the highest rated movie of 2017, and while it’s not my favorite of the bunch – it’s the film I expect to win.
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
This might be the most interesting and intriguing category of the Oscars this year. Every single director is a first time nominee in the category with the exception of Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread, in which it is his second nomination after 2008’s There Will Be Blood. It was Jordan Peele’s directorial debut with the early 2017’s Get Out and he did everything but disappoint with it. I think Get Out’s best shot is in the Original Screenplay category. With a win there, his chances could increase quite a bit here. First time nominee (shamefully), Christopher Nolan, elevated his masterful work behind the camera with Dunkirk over the summer, but I don’t believe this is the film that will bring home the gold. The two I think it comes down to is Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. I’m going with my gut and picking del Toro as I did love his direction of Shape, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Gerwig isn’t far behind given the current climate and more importantly her exceptional work writing and directing one of the year’s best films, Lady Bird. Plus, I’m looking for her film to surprise in the Best Picture category. The fact of the matter is, I’d be happy with any one of these five nominees winning, but my guess is going to be del Toro.
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”
With already having won the Golden Globe and SAG award for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Frances McDormand is clearly the frontrunner and the one to beat. Could her speech at the SAGs, however, influence the Academy voters to vote for the younger generation this year? If so, don’t count out Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird). With The Shape of Water leading in nominations with thirteen, Sally Hawkins could be a dark horse in the race with her mesmerizing mute performance (and my favorite of the bunch). The Oscar queen, Meryl Streep, is nominated for a remarkable 21st time, but she won’t find her fourth win with The Post this year.
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.”
If there is an upset in any acting category this year, I feel like this could be the one. Many believe this is Gary Oldman’s time to find Oscar gold for his transformative performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, but nothing is certain when you’re up against Daniel Day-Lewis for an Oscar, though he did miss capturing a SAG nomination which all-in-all may hurt his chances of winning here. Denzel is nominated for a remarkable 8th time, but I don’t find a third win likely for his performance in Roman J. Israel, Esq. (especially since he didn’t win for his incredible performance in last year’s Fences)
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
This is a tough one and easily my hardest pick of the acting categories, mostly because I’m picking against the momentum. Allison Janney is the clear frontrunner here for her total transformation into the hard-ass but often laugh-out-loud funny LaVona Harding in I, Tonya, and she deserves it. She’s so good. However, I’m sticking to my previous pick of Edwardsville, Illinois’ own Laurie Metcalf for her role as Marion McPherson in Lady Bird. Both her and Janney are first time nominees and it’s a shame they can’t both win. Both performances were incredible, and both in different ways. Janney’s performance was more comedic while Metcalf’s performance, on the other hand, expelled much more emotion and felt much more real to me.
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”
Much like the Lead Actress category, Sam Rockwell has the big wins behind him this awards season for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and appears to have enough steam behind him to be the frontrunner, let alone my favorite performance of the group. Both his and McDormand’s performances are what any viewer will remember from Three Billboards, so it’s evident to me that both of them will walk away winners. While Christopher Plummer’s last minute replacement of Kevin Spacey and filming every scene of All the Money in the World within a couple weeks time is a feat of its own, I don’t think it’s enough to secure the win (though a win would be a hell of a statement to spite Spacey, wouldn’t it?)
“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
The animated feature category can basically be called the Disney award anymore. A Disney film has won nine times in the last ten years and the one year that it didn’t (2011) was the year they released Cars 2 and weren’t nominated. Same could have been true this year as Cars 3 missed the mark, but the animated film everybody should remember from 2017 is Disney/Pixar’s Coco. Coco was one of my favorite movies of 2017 and I thought it even had a chance to make the rare appearance in the Best Picture category this year. It’s that good. It’s a beautiful film and easily the winner in animation this year.
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer
This is another one where it’s hard to vote against Pixar. Lou is a delightfully clever tale of a bunch of Lost and FOUnd items trying to find their place back in the hands of their owners, while teaching a schoolyard bully a lesson. I believe it’s likely the one to beat. I wouldn’t count out Dear Basketball though, a touching pencil-drawn animation by Glen Keane to a letter of the same name penned (and narrated) by NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant detailing his passion for the game of basketball since childhood and through retirement.
“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
The buzz around Call Me By Your Name is so big that it’s hard not to pick it here. I, unfortunately, never got a chance to see while it was in theaters but I think this is the only spot it can (and likely will get recognized). Having seen the other four, my guess would be Mudbound is next in line. Aaron Sorkin is always great and I found Molly’s Game to be an enthralling tale about the underground poker world, but I’m not certain of it’s chances with no other nominations tied to the film. Comedies such as The Disaster Artist rarely seem to get the nomination in this category (let alone a win), so I wouldn’t hold my breath here. While Logan is was a fantastic script, I think it’s more of an appreciation nomination because superheroes don’t seem to fly at the Oscars (and to nerd out even more, it’s barely and adaptation of Old Man Logan anyway).
“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
Another one of those categories that seems impossible to pick this year as it could rightfully go to any of these five nominees. The Big Sick, with it’s lone nomination, was marveled during its theater run. Get Out has maintained a steady critical praise throughout the entirety of 2017 and was a fresh social commentary masked as a horror/thriller. Is it possible that Jordan Peele can win here? I’d like to think so, but I just don’t know. If he does, look for a boost in the Directing category and Best Picture too. Lady Bird is a critical darling and Gerwig may get the honors here, but it has to beat out the the critical giants that are The Shape of Water (which leads this year in nominations) and Three Billboards, which I think is where McDonagh has the best shot of winning since he was missed in the directing category. I’m going the safest route and picking Three Billboards, but Get Out and Lady Bird could both surprise here.
“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
Blade Runner 2049 is the most beautiful looking movie of the year. If it’s not Deakins walking away with this after receiving his FOURTEENTH nomination and no win, I don’t know what to say. Maybe The Shape of Water, if not.
“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory
Baby Driver was my favorite movie of the year, so I might be a little biased, but one of the reasons I adored this movie was its editing. The title sequence of him picking up and delivering coffee had Edgar Wright stamped all over it and was incredibly fascinating to watch and the rest of the movie followed suit, which brings me to my next two categories…
“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood
Not only was the film editing fantastic in Baby Driver, but so was the sound editing. Syncing up the sounds of the film (gunshots, car engines, etc) to the wonderful music choices made the action in this film so much more impressive and entertaining to watch.
“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick
And finally, we have Sound Mixing, which I’m picking Baby Driver for the trifecta. If it walks away with even one Oscar, I’ll be happy enough – but the possibility of three is enthralling. If it’s not Baby Driver, look to Dunkirk or Shape of Water in any of these three categories.
“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
I think Shape of Water might pull away with this one, though the worlds built in Blade Runner 2049 and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast are both something to marvel at, as well.
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell
The easy pick here is Alexandre Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water, but I’m going to go with the only score that I remember vividly (besides Star Wars, of course) and that’s Jonny Greenwood’s score for Phantom Thread. While the movie is fascinating enough, my immediate attention to the film’s haunting score stuck with me throughout the entirety of this film through typing this piece. I’m taking a gamble here, but I think Greenwood is deserving of the win.
“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
One of the first things I said about Coco after seeing it was how fitting that the main song of the the film is called “Remember Me” because the film itself is unforgettable. I’ve seen it three times since it’s been released and I’ve listened to the soundtrack even more because the music elevates the film to being as great as it is. What I love most about “Remember Me” is how different it feels depending on who’s singing it. It can be a fun catchy pop-song or a heartfelt tear-jerking ballad. Although it missed the Golden Globe to “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, it’s still my pick for the win here.
Makeup and Hair
“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten
It was just his acting abilities that allowed Gary Oldman to get lost in his performance, the make-up job allowed him to completely transform into Winston Churchill . Expect a win for Darkest Hour.
“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
A period film that’s about making dresses. Phantom Thread might almost be a lock.
“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist
With both previous Apes film having lost to Hugo and Interstellar, if anything this will be the time where the franchise shines bright. If not, bet on Blade Runner 2049.
The following four categories are all shots in the dark.
Best Documentary Feature:
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes
Best Documentary Short Subject:
“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
Best Live Action Short Film:
“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen
Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)
Best Picture: “Lady Bird”
Director: “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
Lead Actress: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Lead Actor: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Animated Feature: “Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
Animated Short: “Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
Adapted Screenplay: “Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
Original Screenplay: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
Cinematography: “Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
Film Editing: “Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
Sound Editing: “Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
Sound Mixing: “Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
Production Design: “The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
Original Score: “Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
Original Song: “Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
Makeup and Hair: “Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
Costume Design: “Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
Visual Effects: “War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist
Best Documentary Feature: “Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
Best Documentary Short Subject: “Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
Best Live Action Short Film: “The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
Best Foreign Language Film: “A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
What are your picks? Comment below or share with your choices! And watch the 90th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 4 on ABC at 7PM CST.