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Oscars 2018: Who Will Win?



2018 Oscar Predictions

2018 Oscars Official Poster.png
In a lot of ways, this year's Oscar race has been really exciting. For example, there are a number of films that have a reasonable shot at winning Best Picture, making it a more open race than usual. But in other ways, this Oscar season has been predictable and a little boring. For example, the same four actors have won every televised precursor award and there is no reason to suspect they'll lose the big one.

As always, here are my predictions for which movies will take home which awards. Although I usually provide analysis to go along with my choices for the acting categories, there just is not that much for me to say about them this year because they all seem pretty much sewn up at this point. I will say this: if there is an upset in one of the acting categories, it will be in Best Actress. Frances McDormand seems poised to pick up her second win in that category, but when actresses win their second Best Actress prize, it is typically within a couple of years of their first win (Sally Field, Hillary Swank, Jodie Foster, etc.). If Frances wins, there will be a 21-year gap between her wins. That is unheard of unless you are a Katharine Hepburn or a Meryl Streep, which Frances is not. The largest gap (not including Hepburn and Streep) between Best Actress wins is 12 years (which separated the wins of both Ingrid Bergman and Vivien Leigh). Can Frances do it? Yeah, probably. Who's going to challenge her? Saorise Ronan? Doubtful.

As for Best Picture, that is a real race. Although it may seem like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the frontrunner, I assure you, it is not. The way Best Picture is voted on involves something called a preferential ballot. That means that voters rank the nominees from 1 to 9 (or however many slots they decide to fill). A film needs to reach a certain threshold of number one votes in order to win. This system is relatively new, and it's why I've incorrectly predicted the Best Picture winner every single year I have posted predictions on this site. No longer is the winner decided by a majority; placement on each ballot matters significantly. If after all the first place votes are tallied, no film has reached the required threshold, then everyone's second-place vote comes into play, and so on, until a film crosses that threshold.

Because there are five movies that could conceivably all win Best Picture (Billboards, Shape of Water, Dunkirk, Get Out and Lady Bird), instead of the usual two or three, it essentially comes down to the least objectionable film, or what film will be, at least, in the middle of everyone's ballot, if not the top. When you think of it like that, that eliminates Three Billboards and Shape of Water. Three Billboards probably would have won under the old voting system, but the film is simply too divisive to win on a preferential ballot. Also, Three Billboards did not earn a Best Director nomination, and it is incredibly rare for a film to Best Picture without one. The Shape of Water is this year's La La Land, meaning it will win several awards, but the small group of people who really didn't like it will keep it from winning Best Picture. Also, The Shape of Water did not receive a Best Ensemble SAG nomination and every Best Picture winner since the first year that award was given has at least gotten a nomination from SAG. So, what does that leave? Lady Bird, Get Out, and Dunkirk. Eliminate Lady Bird because it has no social or political relevance and due to its subject matter will be seen by some sectors of the Academy as slight and unworthy of the industry's top honor. That leaves Get Out and Dunkirk. Dunkirk is the film that is very likely to show up at least somewhere on everyone's ballot - it's a WWII which the Academy loves, and it's arty enough to be embraced the younger members of the group. But it also has not won a single precursor Best Picture award, nor did it receive a screenplay or any acting nominations, so I am hesitant to predict it. Get Out, on the other hand, feels like it could be the one. Passionately loved by many and at least admired by most, Get Out is also socially relevant, which was a huge factor in last year's La La Land vs. Moonlight debate. Still, Get Out is a horror movie and the Academy is not crazy about those (although from time to time one gets some recognition). And, sure, Get Out is nothing like your typical Best Picture winner, but, hey, neither was Moonlight


Best Picture: Get Out
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Best Actor: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour 
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Director: Guillmero del Toro, The Shape of Water
Best Original Screenplay: Get Out
Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name
Best Score: The Shape of Water
Best Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049
Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Best Film Editing: Dunkirk
Best Makeup and Hair: Darkest Hour
Best Production Design: The Shape of Water
Best Song: "This is Me" - The Greatest Showman
Best Sound Editing: Dunkirk
Best Sound Mixing: Dunkirk
Best Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049
Best Animated Feature: Coco
Best Documentary: Faces Places
Best Foreign Language Film: The Square
Best Animated Short: Garden Party
Best Documentary Short: Edith+Eddie
Best Live Action Short: DeKalb Elementary

The Oscars air this Sunday, March 4, on ABC. 

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