Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Academy Awards 2018 - Predictions



The time is upon us once again! That's right, it's Oscar night. Tomorrow. We have a terrific lineup of films this year, but as per usual there's the wide variety of disappointing misses: The Last Jedi probably should've crept its way into Cinematography and Production Design too; Twilight alumni Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart both should've made the Best Actor/Actress cut for their work in Good Time and Personal Shopper, respectively; maybe the tenth Best Picture slot could've been occupied by Mudbound or Blade Runner 2049, multi-nominees this year that both lack any big category. Regardless of snubs or mishaps, this is probably the strongest collection of films we've had in a very long time, and an exciting number of awards remain an open playing field even at this late stage. So, let's get cracking on what I think will win each award come the night, as well as what probably actually should win...

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

Will Win: This is the most open playing field we'd had in quite some time. Every award precursor sets the stage between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards, yet I still wouldn't be surprised by a shock win from Get Out or Lady Bird, or even Dunkirk at this stage. No matter what wins, an award season trend is shattered this year, but something just tells me that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is going to walk away triumphant on the night.

Should Win: In what can only be described as the lineup to end all lineups, this is a pretty tough one. I'm glad Get Out joins the short list of Oscar nominated horrors, Lady Bird may be one of the greatest directorial debuts of all time, Call Me By Your Name hit my heart and soul like a freight train and I genuinely believe Phantom Thread will be studied and discussed for years to come. This comes down to two films though. Dunkirk was my favourite film of 2017, The Shape of Water is set to be my favourite film of 2018. My head says the former deserves to win, my heart says the latter. I'm going with my heart: The Shape of Water.

See how I rank the nine Best Picture contenders here.


Best Director
Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk
Jordan Peele - Get Out
Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson - Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro - The Shape of Water

Will Win: Mid-2017, every critic and pundit around the world had Christopher Nolan's name on this statue - but times are a-changing. Based on every award show we've had so far, Guillermo del Toro is coming for glory here. 

Should Win: Much like the Best Picture race, this one comes down to a fight between Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk and Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water. While The Shape of Water may be my favourite film of the two, del Toro's direction in itself never surprised me. Christopher Nolan's interpretation and deconstruction of the war genre in Dunkirk is career defining - in a catalogue of masterworks it's still his best film to date. He deserves this one.


Best Actor
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.

Will Win: If anyone other than Gary Oldman takes this one then it's the upset of the night - that is, if upsets can be happy. They can be happy right?

Should Win: When the year's best male performance doesn't even make the cut - I'm so sorry, Robert Pattinson - this becomes a frustrating one. It's a showdown between Timothée Chalamet's devastating work in Call Me By Your Name and Daniel Day-Lewis' stunning swan song in Phantom Thread. Day-Lewis probably gives the objectively stronger performance, but no-one on that lineup made me feel more emotions than Timothée Chalamet


Best Actress
Sally Hawkins - The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie - I, Tonya
Saiorse Ronan - Lady Bird
Meryl Streep - The Post

Will Win: Again, this one seems fairly set in stone. This is a strong lineup of stunning performances, but Frances McDormand has this on a lockdown. 

Should Win: It's another insane lineup - so strong that Kristen Stewart and Vicky Krieps couldn't even make the cut - but my winner for this one is clear. What Sally Hawkins does with her character in The Shape of Water is simply career best work from one of the great actresses working today. It's a wordless, deeply moving performance that embodies everything great about the film, and the runaway winner in my soon to be disappointed eyes.


Best Supporting Actor
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

Will Win: Late last year we all debated the Rockwell / Dafoe argument, but this stage in the game the winner is clear: Sam Rockwell has the trophy in his hand already.

Should Win: There's just no stopping Sam Rockwell here. Even with all the controversy surrounding his performance, he has this one in the bag and deservedly so. It's about time the guy got some recognition, too.


Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige - Mudbound
Allison Janney - I, Tonya
Leslie Manville - Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf - Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer - The Shape of Water

Will Win: Most of the acting awards this year began as a two horse race but have since settled into being fairly obvious. In the Best Supporting Actress category we initially thought Laurie Metcalf stood a chance, but Allison Janney will almost definitely take this one. She's dominated everything thus far, I don't see her streak ending here.

Should Win: The stunningly heartfelt performance Laurie Metcalf gives in Lady Bird is going to lose this, and that just about breaks my heart. I'd give anything for her to win this.


Best Original Screenplay
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: All of these are worthy contenders but, while Three Billboards could cause a serious upset, Get Out seems fairly likely to walk away with a trophy here. I can't see the film winning much elsewhere, and this is the perfect place to reward Jordan Peele's glorious work on his debut feature.

Should Win: Personally I think the season's strongest original script belongs to Phantom Thread, but of the five nominees we do have, Get Out deserves to take this one home. Peele's steady unveiling of his real intentions is stunning, especially for a debut, and the way the film juggles horror, comedy and social commentary without dropping the ball for even a second is truly impressive.


Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly's Game
Mudbound

Will Win: With a lineup that ranges from total brilliance to mediocrity to downright poor, there's only one winner here: Call Me By Your Name. It's swept the category everywhere else so far, and it's looking like the film's only real shot for gold now.

Should Win: Logan's inclusion here may be the single greatest thing to happen at any awards ceremony ever, but even still it can't hold a candle to James Ivory's emotionally explosive screenplay for Call Me By Your Name. It may have taken me two watches to fully appreciate the film, but when I got there, boy did I get there.


Best Animated Feature
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Will Win: Coco. It may be the only real lock of the night. 

Should Win: It's only a lock because it deserves it. Coco is one of the Pixar greats, and its glory here will be earned.


Best Original Score
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: The Shape of Water is looking most likely at this stage. It's a truly beautiful soundtrack that fits the tone of the film gorgeously - it'll probably win here, and I'm okay with that. 

Should Win: The Last Jedi serves up some of John Williams' best work to date, Hans Zimmer gave me an irrational fear of ticking noises with his Dunkirk score, Alexandre Desplat moved me deeply with his soundtrack for The Shape of Water, but the way Phantom Thread's music so vividly accompanies its story and its characters is nothing short of inspired. It deserves to walk away with this one.


Best Original Song
"Mighty River" - Mudbound
"Mystery of Love" - Call Me By Your Name
"Remember Me" - Coco
"Stand Up for Something" - Marshall
"This Is Me" - The Greatest Showman

Will Win: Truthfully, anything could happen here. "Mystery of Love" is objectively the best song on the lineup but the Academy tend to favour songs that come from films about music, leading to a fight between Coco and The Greatest Showman. "This Is Me" has had the bigger marketing push though - maybe that early Golden Globe win was a bigger signifier than we all thought.

Should Win: These are all good songs, but Coco's emphasis on music and the power it comes with helps push "Remember Me" to the front lines here. Call Me By Your Name's "Mystery of Love" is a very tight second, though.


Best Sound Editing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Will Win: Baby Driver poses a threat, as does The Shape of Water, but Dunkirk seems most likely to triumph here. 

Should Win: If you think anything other than Dunkirk had the best sound editing of 2017, you're in denial. 


Best Sound Mixing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Will Win: While the Sound Editing category poses some kind of competition, Dunkirk has the Sound Mixing category on a lockdown. Nothing can nor should stand in its way here. Plus, this is the first time in years that the Sound Editing and Mixing nominees lineup identically, meaning it's fairly likely we'll have the same winners in both too.

Should Win: If you think anything other than Dunkirk had the best sound mixing of 2017, you are still in denial.


Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

Will Win: Blade Runner 2049 could sneak its way in here, but I feel fairly confident in saying this is The Shape of Water's to lose. It strikes the perfect balance between otherworldly and deeply human that the Oscars tend to like here.

Should Win: There's some great work in all of these films, particularly Blade Runner 2049, but The Shape of Water comes alive with its sets. Elisa's living room, illuminated in a dingy yet somehow inviting green glow through that huge arched window, is an environment that may stay with me forever. 


Best Cinematography
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

Will Win: I don't want to jinx it, but this...this could finally be the year that Roger Deakins wins the prize. Blade Runner 2049 has won most of the cinematography precursors, it really could go all the way with an Oscar win here.

Should Win: There's really only one winner. After years of nominations but never a win, Roger Deakins once more deserves to take home the trophy. Blade Runner 2049 may just be the single greatest looking film ever made. 


Best Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

Will Win: This is one of the few categories this year that has only ever had one winner all along: Phantom Thread

Should Win: Well, Phantom Thread. There's not much else to be said really. One of the easiest picks of the night.


Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder

Will Win: A period drama that makes a standard actor look nothing like himself and identical to a famous political figure from history? Just give it to Darkest Hour already.

Should Win: Darkest Hour seems to be the frontrunner, but after this award went to Suicide Squad last year anything could happen. I'd personally give it to Wonder, a deeply moving film that relies on its makeup work. That, and it'd just be nice for a film as warm and well-intentioned as Wonder to win an Oscar.


Best Film Editing
Baby Driver
Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: It's a showdown between Dunkirk and Baby Driver. The two seem to be sharing all the editing wins so far but this award traditionally tends to go to war films when it comes to the Oscars, so Dunkirk is probably the most likely to win here.

Should Win: It's basically editing for style versus editing for substance. Give me substance any day: Dunkirk's cross editing of the three timelines is mindblowingly complex yet executed with simple precision. 


Best 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

Will Win: It's a fairly wide open category this one, but Blade Runner 2049 has taken a lot of the precursor awards and seems set to carry on here.

Should Win: The criminally under-nominated War for the Planet of the Apes really deserves to take this one home. I didn't think the visual effects could improve after Dawn, but here we are.



Will Win Tally:
The Shape of Water - 3
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - 3
Dunkirk - 3
Blade Runner 2049 - 2
Darkest Hour - 2
Coco - 1
I, Tonya - 1
Call Me By Your Name - 1
Phantom Thread - 1
Get Out - 1
The Greatest Showman - 1


Should Win Tally:
Dunkirk - 4
The Shape of Water - 3
Phantom Thread - 2
Call Me By Your Name - 2
Coco - 2
Get Out - 1
Lady Bird - 1
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - 1
Wonder - 1
War for the Planet of the Apes - 1
Blade Runner 2049 - 1

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