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Predictions Friday – A Week Away From Knowing Our Frontrunner

The Golden Globes Awards ceremony on January 7th will set up a situation where we still probably do not know what our ultimate Oscar winners will be, but at least we’ll know what some the voters out there think is the frontrunner. There are some rough races coming up, but these 90 or so HFPA voters will thrust the direction of the race in one direction or another. Either the Globe winners will feel right or they won’t. To complicate matters further, there are two strong films that might win Best Picture in the Musical/Comedy category and neither have Best Director nominations at the Globes. Missing a Best Director nod is not a deal breaker to win in that category; Les Mis won without Tom Hooper and The Kids Are All Right won without Lisa Cholodenko. Those Globe years, like this year, did not have a Best Director from the Comedy/Musical category at all nominated. And, as we all already know, it’s very rare to win Best Picture without a Globe directing nomination.

That said, in terms of Globe Musical/Comedy we expect the race will be down to Lady Bird vs. Get Out, with The Disaster Artist giving both of them a little trouble. As of now, I personally do not claim to know which film is going to win. I also don’t know what film is going to win in the screenplay category, which is equally competitive. I don’t think these Globe wins will necessarily predict what wins the Oscar, but they will shift the race in a different direction. That much we know for sure.

Either way, we’re still unclear as to which movie stands the best chance t0 be crowned Best Picture. We don’t really know who wins Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress either, maybe not even Best Actor and Supporting Actor. It’s potentially a wide open race across the board with lots and lots of competition both for nominations and wins.

The reason for this is, I believe, the combination of it not being all that great a year overall for traditional “Oscar movies” — coupled with our pangs of self-doubt from reading the race wrong last year. So look at this list as a snapshot before we knew what we think we know before we know for sure. We won’t really know for sure until all of the guilds ring in: producers, writers, editors, actors, directors, and the crafts. THEN maybe we will know.

Best Picture

It feels like it’s down to the following:

1) From a stats perspective, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has the edge. It has Globe nominations for Director, Screenplay, and acting. It has SAG ensemble. It will likely have PGA. We’re still waiting on whether it cracks the DGA five but I suspect it could or will. If it doesn’t, it’s very likely out. It could be the movie that just wins it all — PGA/SAG/DGA — and that will be that.

2) Get Out keeps winning Best Picture with the regional critics awards. It has a shimmer about it when it does win. There is a sense of general goodwill when it wins. No one resents it. No one hates it. Everyone is cheering it on. If it does win, will Picture and Director split, or will Jordan Peele make Oscar history by becoming the first black director to win? It obviously needs a DGA nomination. Can it win the PGA? Might it win the Globe?

3) Lady Bird remains a threat for a number of reasons, not the least of which is how beloved it is across the board. If there was one movie I’ve heard about since Telluride more than any other it’s this one. Only one film by a woman has ever won Best Picture, and that was eight years ago. Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele keep splitting up director and screenplay so it’s likely she will win something — Lady Bird isn’t going home empty handed and in a race like this one, where all of the heat is in Original Screenplay, you have to follow that screenplay win to find Best Picture.

If you go by the SAG ensemble stat and everything we know so far, these are your only three possibilities to win. Mudbound and The Big Sick, the other two nominees, would need a DGA nomination to win. It seems that it would take a miracle at this point to get either of them in at this point. If you take out the SAG stat, then you have:

4) The Shape of Water — also sitting pretty for a potential win in the major categories. The SAG ensemble stat really only applies to Best Picture. Directors have won recently without those, including Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Ang Lee, and Damien Chazelle. That means Guillermo del Toro could and might win Best Director with some other film taking Best Picture.

5) Dunkirk — sure to get a DGA nod and could actually win it. Might clean up at the Oscars with crafts.

6) The Florida Project — it has a place close to many people’s hearts and continues to resonate. Can it get a DGA or Oscar nomination for Best Director? It might.

7) Call Me By Your Name — its following is strong and vital and remains well intact but it would need a DGA nomination, like these others, to get in.

8) Phantom Thread — no film has shot to number one like a bullet than this one. I will not be surprised to see it show up on the Best Picture lineup, and even Paul Thomas Anderson showing up in Best Director.

9) The Post took a ding from not getting a single SAG nomination and for a cast like this, with these stars, the total shutout by SAG has seemed to thwart the anticipatory momentum it had been building. But never count out Spielberg with the DGA — he currently holds the record, I believe, for nominations.

10) Darkest Hour — not a favorite with critics but it’s still Academy fare up one side and down the other.

How I think Best Picture WILL go

Get Out
Lady Bird
Three Billboards
The Shape of Water
Dunkirk
The Post
Call Me By Your Name
The Big Sick
The Florida Project
Phantom Thread

Best Actress

We’re still locked in what appears to be a showdown between the young and the seasoned. There is a picture floating around with Brie Larson hugging Saoirse Ronan. I remember there being a photo floating around last year with Emma Stone hugging Brie Larson and before that a photo of Jennifer Lawrence hugging Emma Stone. Make of that what you will but I would not count out Ronan for the win, for a variety of reasons: because Lady Bird is beloved, because Ronan has already turned in great performances throughout her young career. Obviously, Frances McDormand is also a major threat, although she’s already won an Oscar and isn’t going to have the same sort of intense red carpet presence that Ronan will. Ditto Sally Hawkins whose performance is so good it’s otherworldly. The scene in The Shape of Water when she must convince Richard Jenkins to help her jailbreak the creature is brilliant. Hard to argue against Ronan or McDormand either, both women turn in exceptional performances.

For a while there it looked like Margot Robbie might have a shot at a win, but the heat for I, Tonya seems to have, at least for the moment, cooled down a bit. But it could easily come roaring back, depending on how things shake down with the upcoming awards. Robbie goes up against Ronan at the Globes and Ronan probably wins there. Her speech, in her full Irish brogue, will be charming AF and that will be that. But if Robbie wins, she could start to build momentum for a win.

The question with Best Actress is the fifth slot, which will either mirror the SAG nominations and Judi Dench gets in, or it’s Meryl Streep for The Post for another record nomination or Jessica Chastain for Molly’s Game. Given The Post’s Best Picture heat, give Meryl the edge.

We seem pretty sure we’re looking at:

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Meryl Streep, The Post
But watch out for Jessica Chastain for Molly’s Game or Judi Dench for Victoria and Abdul or even a surprise nomination for Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread.

Best Actor still seems to be down to Timothee Chalamet vs. Gary Oldman. On that front, SAG will have to decide. Both actors do not have any other nominations from their films at the SAG. In general, the SAG Best Actor win often goes hand in hand with an ensemble nomination, or at least with one other nomination. But there are exceptions, usually where a veteran who is overdue is concerned, like Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart or Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant. However, there is one other strong possibility for a win here that could play out at the Globes (or the SAGs or the Oscars) and that’s Daniel Kaluuya winning for Get Out. That’s the only Best Actor nominee with a corresponding ensemble nom. So you know, there’s that. Best Actor—Musical/Comedy at the Globes is likely to be James Franco, but SAG might just up and go for Kaluuya. You never know. Right now, I’ll still predict Oldman for the win going on the extraordinary nature of his performance and the fact that he’s never won.

Best Actor
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Alt. Tom Hanks, The Post

Best Supporting Actress
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Alison Janney, I, Tonya
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Alt. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

Best Supporting Actor
Here is where you could an early clue that a beloved movie is poised to make a bigger mark, like if Woody Harrelson gets in, if Michael Stuhblarg gets in, etc.
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards

Best Director
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peel, Get Out
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards
Alt. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name, Sean Baker, the Florida Project

Original Screenplay
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards
The Post

Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Mudbound
Wonder
Wonderstruck

Editing
Get Out
Dunkirk
Baby Driver
The Post
The Shape of Water

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

Production Design
The Shape of Water
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Post

Sound Mixing
Dunkirk
Baby Driver
The Shape of Water
Wonder Woman
War for the Planet of the Apes

Sound Editing
Dunkirk
Coco
Baby Driver
The Shape of Water
Wonder Woman

Costume Design
Phantom Thread
Beauty and the Beast
The Shape of Water
The Post
The Greatest Showman

Original Score
The Shape of Water
The Post
Three Billboards
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread

Foreign Language Feature
Foxtrot
Loveless
The Square
A Fantastic Woman
The Wound

Documentary Feature
Jane
Faces Places
City of Ghosts
Ex Libris
LA92

Animated feature
Coco
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent
Birdboy
LEGO Batman Movie

Visual Effects
War for the Planet of the Apes
Dunkirk
Shape of Water
Okja
Blade Runner 2049