Oscar Predictions
Shape of Water

BY Steve Warren

After last year's fiasco in naming the wrong film Best Movie, the 90th Academy Awards will look to turn the page and focus on the balance between art and politics.

Last year's Moonlight win let the Academy check the Race and Sexual Orientation boxes. Will they want to check the Feminism box this year, or consider that done by the nominations for cinematographer Rachel Morrison (the first woman in her category) and director Greta Gerwig (the fifth woman in hers, but also nominated for Original Screenplay)?

The nominations show some influence of the Black Lives Matter, #metoo and #timesup movements, plus the Academy's effort to recruit younger and more diverse members.

Will Guillermo del Toro's Mexican status work against him? It might if Congress voted for the Oscars; but while the legislature might condemn him as a "rapist-murderer-drug dealer," Hollywood liberals are more likely to anoint him as writer-producer-director of the year's most-nominated (13) film, The Shape of Water.

Early front-runners where Get Out, Sally Hawkins, Willem Dafoe and Laurie Metcalf, but at press time odds have shifted to The Shape of Water, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney. After James Franco won a Golden Globe a few allegations of sexual impropriety cost him an Oscar nomination. The only constant has been Gary Oldman for Best Actor.

BEST PICTURE:
The Shape of Water

Picture and Director split again last year, but I'll predict twin Oscars on one mantle this year:
BEST DIRECTOR:
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

I'd be a fool to ignore the recent precursors in the acting categories:
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

Since one of the most-laureled documentaries, Jane, didn't get an Oscar nomination, I'll bet on the other, made by 89-year-old Agnes Varda:
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
Faces Places

They could have engraved this statuette months in advance:
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:
Coco

I've only seen two of the foreign language nominees, The Insult and The Square, and I liked them both; but I guess I'll go with the consensus among my fellow prophets:
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

Here's a tough one. Roger Deakins has his 14th nomination (with no wins) in 24 years, for Blade Runner 2049. He's got to win sometime, but I don't think this is his year.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk

This year the Original Screenplay slate is stronger than the Adapted. The award could be a consolation prize for Greta Gerwig or Jordan Peele for their otherwise Oscarless multiple nominees.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
James Ivory, Call Me by Your Name

While I'd like to root for Baby Driver, with its high-speed tour of Atlanta, the American Cinema Editors picked Dunkirk (drama) and I, Tonya (comedy); and I have to go along:
BEST FILM EDITING:
Dunkirk

The smart money is on "Remember Me" from Coco, but I'll put my dumb money on an anthem from a movie that's shown surprising strength and longevity at the boxoffice:
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
"This Is Me," The Greatest Showman

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Blade Runner 2049

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Phantom Thread

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Darkest Hour

BEST SOUND EDITING:
Baby Driver

BEST SOUND MIXING:
Dunkirk

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
War for the Planet of the Apes

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM:
Revolting Rhymes

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM:
My Nephew Emmett

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