Each year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gets together to celebrate the actors, actresses, directors, and costume designers who wooed us with their cinematic skills. It's long, and it's political. But unlike the State of the Union, we Americans will pay attention to the 90th Academy Awards. We'll watch to see who will take home a vaunted golden statuette. Have you made your predictions, yet? If not, read on for who we think will—or should—win big this year.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Who we think should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Who we think will win: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Everybody wants as much Timothée Chalamet content as they can mainline without straight-up ODing. Unfortunately, the Once and Future Boy King didn’t get quite the makeover that Gary “Why Can’t I Say the Jews Run Hollywood?” Oldman did for Darkest Hour. There are two other reasons why Oldman will win: A trophy for an actor portraying an allegedly sensible global leader is a not-so-subtle dig at our current leadership, and Oscar voters love prosthetics.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Who we think should win: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Who we think will win: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The only thing that unites us in 2018 are the characters we can collectively shake our heads at. Dafoe is sublime as Bobby Hicks in The Florida Project. But he lacks the brazenness that made Sam Rockwell’s racist cop someone we can all claim to have nothing in common with.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Who we think should win: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Who we think will win: Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Despite the fireworks of Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Margot Robbie in I, Tonya, there's a quiet power to the under-appreciated Sally Hawkins. Her acting in The Shape of Water speaks volumes without actually saying anything at all. Don't count Saoirse Ronan out, either: The Lady Bird star is in it for the long haul.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Who we think should win: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Who we think will win: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf's Marion McPherson is the most convincing on-screen mother since Anthony Perkins in Psycho—Sophie from Sophie’s Choice and Bambi’s mom (RIP) notwithstanding. But the golden statuette will undoubtedly go to Allison Janney, who gave us the least-convincing on-screen mom since Jennifer Lawrence in mother! Janney had to wear a fake parakeet to the Golden Globes just to remind everyone that she did, indeed, play a character in a movie.
Best Animated Feature Film
Who we think should win: Coco
Who we think will win: Coco
Sorry, haters: The Boss Baby deserves its Oscar nomination. But Coco deserves an Oscar to go with the more than $700 million it made at the box office.
Who we think should win: Roger A. Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
Who we think will win: Bruno Delbonnel, Darkest Hour
The great Roger A. Deakins has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards (if you count the time he was nominated for two different movies in 2008). And even if you didn’t love Blade Runner 2049, you’d be hard-pressed to admit that it isn’t one of the best-looking pictures of the year. Still, Bruno Delbonnel did the impossible with Darkest Hour by making Winston Churchill look human.
Best Costume Design
Who we think should win: Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread
Who we think will win: Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread
I’m just gonna come right out and say that the historical-to-the-stitch costumes in Phantom Thread are so exquisite, they belong in a museum. And I'm sure they'll end up there some day.
Who we think should win: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Who we think will win: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
With both Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson in tow, it’s effectively a competition over who the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hates least. If only Scorsese had made a film in 2017… But hey, Guillermo del Toro has made the same movie about a hundred times at this point, so he must know what he’s doing.
Who we think should win: Strong Island, Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes
Who we think will win: Icarus, Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan
Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes’s Strong Island is an achievement in both the realms of autobiographical and true-crime documentary filmmaking. But I still think we’re a year or two away from Netflix winning anything at the Academy Awards. Instead, we’ll continue unintentionally defibrillating the Red Menace, especially during the Russia probe.
Best Film Editing
Who we think should win: Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver
Who we think will win: Tatiana S. Riegel, I, Tonya
Did 2017 have a tighter sequence than Baby Driver’s intro? No, but I, Tonya cut back and forth between people sitting down and people doing stuff, and that’s what people think editing is anyway. Kudos to Dunkirk’s Lee Smith for pulling together an entire movie with barely a script, though.
Best Foreign Language Film
Who we think should win: Loveless, Russia
Who we think will win: The Insult, Lebanon
There were a lot of great foreign nominees this year! Except for The Square, which was about as effective a takedown of the art world as saying you hate Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Who we think should win: Darkest Hour, Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, and Lucy Sibbick
Who we think will win: Darkest Hour
It was pretty disappointing that filmmakers opted for full prosthetic makeup on Jacob Tremblay in Wonder, rather than casting an actor with Treacher Collins syndrome. Lest we forget: Hollywood isn’t actually woke, it’s just really good at acting.
Best Original Score
Who we think should win: Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
Who we think will win: Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
Anyone who has seen Phantom Thread can recall the theme song from memory, and wouldn’t it be nice if Jonny Greenwood’s tireless film-scoring efforts were finally rewarded? This category might boast the biggest names in its field, though, with Hans Zimmer squaring off against Alexandre Desplat, Carter Burwell, and John “I Did Star Wars” Williams. Alas, if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it’s probably The Shape of Water.
Best Original Song
Who we think should win: “Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name; music and lyrics by Sufjan Stevens
Who we think will win: “Remember Me,” from Coco; music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
I might be crazy for not going with Mary J. Blige on this one, but “Mighty River” is just a bit too, well, obvious. Sufjan’s “Mystery of Love,” on the other hand, is palpably full of tenderness. But Coco’s “Remember Me” is one you'll be singing with the kids.
Best Production Design
Who we think should win: Blade Runner 2049, Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola
Who we think will win: The Shape of Water, Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeffrey A. Melvin
Thirty years after the events that took place in the original Blade Runner, the world is an even scarier, stickier, stinkier place to be an android. The production design team behind Blade Runner 2049 recreated a landscape of the future that both nods to where it came from and where it’s going. Guillermo del Toro's knack for knick-knacks has got its own museum exhibition in LA, though.
Best Visual Effects
Who we think should win: War for the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, and Joel Whist
Who we think will win: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan, and Chris Corbould
You try populating a post-apocalyptic prison with a thousand expressive, humanoid monkeys. Then again, you try recreating Carrie Fisher.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Who we think should win: Call Me by Your Name, screenplay by James Ivory
Who we think will win: Call Me by Your Name, screenplay by James Ivory
I’m going with CMBYN simply on the basis that, at some point in the production process, someone turned the general vibe of “and then he fucks a peach” into screenplay format.
Best Original Screenplay
Who we think should win: Lady Bird, written by Greta Gerwig
Who we think will win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, written by Martin McDonagh
White people across America clenched in their khakis at Frances McDormand’s litany of quips and curses, basically an Englishman’s best caricature of what a fed-up cornfed American sounds like. But although McDonagh is also an award-winning wordsmith for the theater, I’d put my money on Gerwig being the only writer listed whose work withstands even the next few years.
Who we think should win: Get Out, Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers
Who we think will win: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers
Get Out kickstarted a much-needed conversation about race and turned an estimated $4.5 million budget into $255 million worldwide, but the overwhelmingly white voting members of the Academy didn’t see it.
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