2018 Oscars Predictions: Who Will Win, and Who SHOULD Win

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Oscars 2018 Predictions
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English author Sir Terry Pratchett once said, “stories of imagination tend to upset those without one,” which makes sense because we’re all suckers for a good yarn spin.

But sometimes that preference for the grand tale overshadows the obvious worth of something else. That’s especially true for the Academy Awards where voters may fall in love with a particular narrative—whether it be awarding a candidate on their first nomination or dogearring someone who is “due”— while ignoring a more deserving candidate.

That’s why we’re here, to lay out who will win in the eight major categories based on awards season track record and industry chatter and who should win based on quality and impact.

Best Original Screenplay

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

Who Will Win: Get Out. The Academy has long ignored the horror genre save for a Silence of the Lambs every now and then, but Jordan Peele’s social thriller captured the public consciousness in a way few films do every year. Voters will be hard-pressed to ignore Get Out‘s cultural penetration.

Who Should Win: Get Out. Putting aside the fact that Peele’s debut became one of the most profitable films of 2017 ($255 million worldwide off a $4.5 million budget), his script is one of the most layered and nuanced of the season. Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris attempting to escape his hypnotic captors by clogging his ears with small bits of cotton? That is some next level symbolism.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game

Who Will Win: Call Me by Your Name. The 89-year-old James Ivory managed to adapt André Aciman’s acclaimed novel by ensuring that the subtle intimacy translated from the page to the screen in what was one of 2017’s best films.

Who Should Win: Call Me by Your Name. I mean, did you see Michael Stuhlbarg’s monologue? Perfection.

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards)
Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards)
Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water)
Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World)

Who Will Win: Sam Rockwell. It’s hard to find the humanity in a racist and violent police officer who abuses his power in this day and age, but Rockwell does his best to do so and present it to audiences. He’s the heavy favorite thanks to wins at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and SAG Awards.

Who Should Win: Willem Dafoe. We have no problem with Rockwell taking home the award, but Dafoe was equally as good in the under-acclaimed The Florida Project as a grouchy motel manager with a heart of gold. The veteran character actor turns in some of his best work here.

Best Supporting Actress

Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)
Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)
Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Who Will Win: Allison Janney. The veteran has all but sewn up this award with wins at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, BAFTAs and SAG Awards. No doubt she turned heads as the nightmarish mother in I, Tonya, even if we didn’t quite get the film’s treatment of domestic abuse as comedy.

Who Should Win: Laurie Metcalf. Allison Janney is a national treasure, but Metcalf gives a perfect performance in a role that required much more emotional dexterity. The tension and deep connection of a volatile but powerful mother-daughter relationship is at the very center of Lady Bird‘s brilliance.

Best Actor

Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel Esq.)

Who Will Win: Gary Oldman. The veteran actor is a lock to take home his first Academy Award after dominating the awards circuit. This is about as safe of a bet as there is in this year’s contests.

Who Should Win: Gary Oldman. Or Timothée Chalamet. Honestly, both are more than deserving. Oldman delivered a towering and forceful performance that unified a mediocre movie while Chalamet rips your heart out in Call Me by Your Name. You can’t go wrong with either.

Best Actress

Frances McDormand (Three Billboards)
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Meryl Streep (The Post)

Who Will Win: Frances McDormand. The Three Billboards star is set to join a stacked list of just 14 women who have taken home multiple Best Actress statues. After cleaning up at the Critics’ Choice Awards, SAG Awards, BAFTAs and Golden Globes, McDormand is as safe of a bet as Oldman.

Who Should Win: Frances McDormand. Sally Hawkins was transformative, Saoirse Ronan was delightful, Margot Robbie was remarkably authentic and Meryl Streep is always brilliant. This was an exceptionally crowded year for leading female roles. But none were as fierce or dominating as McDormand’s turn.

Best Director

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

Who Will Win: Guillermo del Toro. The Shape of Water director is currently enjoying a stellar awards run with top honors at the BAFTAs, Director’s Guild of America Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards and the Golden Globes. This is del Toro’s first Best Director Oscar nomination, giving him a good narrative as well.

Who Should Win: Christopher Nolan. With all due respect to del Toro, no film was as viscerally affecting last year as Dunkirk. With sparse dialogue and very little character development, Dunkirk still managed to be an emotionally resonant story with some of the finest technical filmmaking to ever grace the silver screen.

Best Picture

The Shape of Water
Lady Bird
Get Out
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Post

Who Will Win: The Shape of Water. Del Toro’s sci-fi romance fantasy leads all contestants with 13 total nominations in what is generally considered to be a down year for movies. This is really a two-picture race between Shape of Water—which picked up honors with the directors, producers and editors guilds—and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri—which won at the BAFTAs, SAG Awards and Golden Globes.

But neither has historical precedent on their side. Over the last 25 years, every Best Picture winner except Braveheart has also been nominated for a SAG Ensemble award, which The Shape of Water did not receive. In the last 85 years, only two films (Driving Miss Daisy, Argo) have won Best Picture without also being nominated for Best Director, which Martin McDonagh did not receive for Three Billboards. Theoretically, these two trends open the door for Get Out and Lady Bird to sneak into the top spot, though that is highly unlikely.

Who Should Win: Whoever you want. The race is so wide open and this year is such a fluky one for cinema that there really are no wrong answers. Personally, we’d go with either Dunkirk, the most memorable film of 2017, or Call Me by Your Name, the most personal.

2018 Oscars Predictions: Who Will Win, and Who SHOULD Win