2017 Oscar Predictions

Film Title: Get Out

There are a lot of great nominees in this year’s crop, but the winners are shaping up to be a big disappointment. Below are my predictions for which contenders are more likely to win on Sunday, though I’m hoping (probably foolishly) that most of my predictions don’t come true.

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

And so, I’m putting all my hopeful eggs on this category’s proverbial basket, because I can’t help but hope that something surprising happens at the end of the night on March 4. Three Billboards has won the most awards so far this season, but I think it will be doomed by Oscar’s preferential ballot (which favors movies that are liked across the board over polarizing movies). Shape of Water seems like the most likely beneficiary from the ballot, though I have this gut feeling Get Out could surprise at the last minute. That would be crazy, since the movie is unlikely to win any other awards. Still, I’m going for the crazy prediction, hoping for at least one surprise this year.
Will Win: Get Out 
My Vote: Lady Bird  

Director

  • Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
  • Jordan Peele (Get Out)
  • Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
  • Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water)

This one’s pretty clearly Guillermo Del Toro’s for the taking. He would become the third Mexican director to win an Oscar in the last five years, and that’s quite alright. I’m surprised Christopher Nolan didn’t get more traction this season, since Best Director has become the “technical achievement” category, in which the person who directed the most technically challenging movie wins. Is directing an actor in fish-man suit considered a technical achievement?
Will Win: Guillermo Del Toro
My Vote: Greta Gerwig

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Timothee 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.)

The acting categories are a disaster this year. I already wrote about why I found them so disappointing, so I will instead point out that Gary Oldman seems like the one front-runner that could falter at any second. Given the actor’s controversial past, I was waiting for some sort of controversial allegation to surface during the season, but none did. With the ceremony less than a week away, it’s unlikely any revelation (if indeed there is anything to reveal) could derail his march to the podium.
Will Win: Gary Oldman
My Vote: Daniel Kaluuya

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)

With such a stacked category, I’m shocked that Frances McDormand has so easily run the table this season. Sally Hawkins is the best thing in the otherwise overhyped Shape of Water, Meryl is doing the best work she’s done in more than ten years, and Saoirse Ronan gives what is -for my money- the very best performance of the year in any category. Instead, McDormand -an actress I love- wins for a performance she could have given in her sleep. For a much better glimpse of she can do when playing an curmudgeon, check out the flawless HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge
Will Win: Frances McDormand
My Vote: Saoirse Ronan

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)

The supporting categories are especially heart-breaking this year, since just a couple months ago we seemed to have two incredibly deserving front-runners who stopped winning awards out of nowhere. Willem Dafoe steals the heart of anyone who watches The Florida Project, but the Academy seems to be more impressed by Sam Rockwell’s problematic cop.
Will Win: Sam Rockwell
My Vote: Willem Dafoe

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)

Same story here, as Allison Janney -an actress I otherwise love- keeps winning left and right for a cartoonish performance she could have given in her sleep. How this can happen when Laurie Metcalf’s sublime work is right there for the taking is beyond me. I’m holding on to the slightest hope that Metcalf can surprise on Sunday, given that this is the only category the widely beloved Lady Bird is capable of winning. Maybe voters will notice?
Will Win: Allison Janney
My Vote: Laurie Metcalf

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)

I wouldn’t be surprised if Get Out takes this one, considering I’m predicting it for Best Picture. But the cynical part of me thinks that a screenplay as aggressively horrendous and incompetent as Three Billboards can’t possibly lose this category. Remember, atrocities such as Birdman and Crash have won this category in the past.
Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
My Vote: Lady Bird 

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • Call Me by Your Name (James Ivory)
  • The Disaster Artist (Michael H. Weber, Scott Neustadter)
  • Logan (Scott Frank, James Mangold)
  • Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin)
  • Mudbound (Dee Rees, Virgil Williams)

For a moment, I thought The Disaster Artist had a shot at this slim category, but let’s just say that ship has sailed. James Ivory is likely to win the first Oscar of his career, at 89 years of age nonetheless.
Will Win: Call Me by Your Name 
My Vote: Mudbound 

Cinematography

  • Blade Runner 2049 (Roger Deakins)
  • Darkest Hour (Seamus McGarvey)
  • Dunkirk (Hoyte van Hoytema)
  • Mudbound (Rachel Morrison)
  • The Shape of Water (Dan Lausten)

Many a cinephile is obsessed with the fact that Roger Deakins still hasn’t won an Oscar despite being considered one of the best cinematographers in the field and fourteen previous nominations. Blade Runner 2049 is the best shot he’s had at the win in years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the fickle Academy ends up snubbing him again in favor of a buzzier movie.
Will Win: The Shape of Water
My Vote: Mudbound 

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)

This has to go to Phantom Thread, right? I mean, the movie is literally about a fashion designer. Now, some people tell me that the fishman suit in Shape of Water counts as a costume, but even then, a bunch of rubber isn’t nearly as jaw-dropping as the gowns in Phantom Thread!
Will Win: Phantom Thread
My Vote: Phantom Thread 

Film Editing

  • Baby Driver (Paul Machliss)
  • Dunkirk (Lee Smith)
  • I, Tonya (Tatiana S. Riegel)
  • The Shape of Water (Sidney Wolinsky)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Jon Gregory)

At first glance, I’d say Dunkirk takes this in a cake-walk, but the movie has performed really weakly this award season. But then again, can you really picture Baby Driver winning an Oscar? Some things just make too much sense.
Will Win: Dunkirk
My Vote: Dunkirk 

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria and Abdul 
  • Wonder 

Maybe the easiest category to predict this year? I mean, one of this pictures is nominated for Best Picture and the others seem to barely exist in the eyes of the Academy.
Will Win: Darkest Hour
My Vote: I’ve only seen Darkest Hour 

Music (Original Score)

  • Dunkirk (Hans Zimmer)
  • Phantom Thread (Jonny Greenwood)
  • The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (John Williams)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Carter Burwell)

This seems like an easy win for Shape of Water, and a second Oscar for prolific composer Alexandre Desplat. I really don’t think any of the others nominees has a legit shot at the win.
Will Win: The Shape of Water 
My VotePhantom Thread

Music (Original Song)

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

Now, this one’s tricky. I long assumes the emotional impact of “Remember Me” (and Coco) will give that movie the edge, but The Greatest Showman is making bank at the box office, “This is Me” already won the Golden Globe, and award-giving bodies love composers Pasek and Paul (including the Oscars, which awarded them for La La Land last year). It’s a rousing inspirational song in a big production number, and feel like part of the zeitgeist in a way “Remember Me” doesn’t.
Will Win: “This is Me” 
My Vote: “Mystery of Love”

Production Design

  • Beauty and the Beast (Sarah Greenwood)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (Dennis Gassner)
  • Darkest Hour (Sarah Greenwood)
  • Dunkirk (Nathan Crowley)
  • The Shape of Water (Paul Austenberry)

I’m thinking Shape of Water takes this one.
Will Win: The Shape of Water
My Vote: Blade Runner 2049 

Sound Mixing

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

Best Sound usually translates to most sound for the Academy, so Dunkirk seems like a slam-dunk.
Will Win: Dunkirk
My Vote: Star Wars: The Last Jedi  

Sound Editing

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

Is there any movie that could challenge Dunkirk in either of these categories? I don’t think so.
Will Win: Dunkirk 
My Vote: Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

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 

A lot of people are predicting War for the Planet of the Apes, but that franchise has never been that popular with the Academy, and the Oscars tend to prefer classier movies in this category. Blade Runner 2049 is easily the most “serious” of these nominees, and I think will take the win.
Will Win: Blade Runner 2049
My Vote: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Animated Feature

  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner 
  • Coco
  • Ferdinand 
  • Loving Vincent  

Forget about Best Makeup, this is the biggest lock of the night.
Will Win: Coco 
My Vote: The Breadwinner 

Foreign Language Film

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

This is the category that is truly driving me crazy. I can see any of these movies taking the award. I think a lot depends on whether voters actually watch the movies before voting. The Square has the biggest profile, so I’ll give it the edge even though it’d probably have no shot if they’d actually watch it. 
Will Win:
 The Square
My Vote: I’ve only seen Fantastic Woman and The Square 

Documentary Feature

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

Faces, Places isn’t the most “serious” movie in this bunch, but it does seem to have the highest profile, which tends to help in this category as of late. This is practically the one thing I have to look forward to among this list of likely winners, so I really hope we get an Agnes Varda speech on Sunday.
Will Win: Faces, Places
My Vote: Faces, Places 

Animated Short

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

Academy Award winner Kobe Bryant? There are surely enough Lakers fans in the Academy to make that a reality, but will other voters be bothered by the fact that Kobe’s love letter to basketball is really a love letter to himself? There’s also the fact that a Kobe Bryant win would surely raise eyebrows by people who remember his problematic past. I’ve been going back and forth on this one, ultimately settling for the hyper-realist frogs of Garden Party. 
Will Win: Garden Party 

Documentary Short

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

Edith + Eddie is a story about the legal injustices faced by senior citizen, which could resonate with the Academy’s older contingent. But then you have Heroin(e), about three women fighting the opioid epidemic in West Virginia, which is both very timely and very well made. That one’s backed by Netflix, so voters might have actually seen it.
Will Win: Heroin(e)

Live Action Short

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

DeKalb Elementary, about a school worker desperately trying to prevent a shooting, seems like the most prescient and politically relevant of the nominees. I’d give it the edge.
Will Win: DeKalb Elementary

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