The Greatest Showman
Last Flag Flying
Murder on the Orient Express
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Falling off: Detroit; Downsizing; Goodbye, Christopher Robin
Rising star: Call Me by Your Name
The skinny: With Toronto and Telluride out of the way, the murky picture looks a little bit clearer. It’s hard to no for sure when old-school crowd-pleasers like The Greatest Showman and Murder on the Orient Express might not be deemed worthy and two of the most anticipated films (Phantom Thread and The Post) aren’t done yet and don’t even have a trailer. And then there’s the curious case of Call Me by Your Name. Early buzz pegged it as dominant in most categories, but it’s gotten a somewhat muted reception, especially by gay critics, some of whom view this very sensual story as too tame.
Joe Wright, Darkest Hour
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Steven Spielberg, The Post
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Falling off: Kathryn Bigelow, Alexander Payne
Rising star: Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049
The skinny: With Three Billboards taking the People’s Choice Award at Toronto (often a key indicator of Best Picture nominees and winners), it’s likely to become a more significant player (especially if it picks up some critics’ groups awards). And if they hold up, I’m still betting on Joe Wright and Christopher Nolan to finally get directing nods. Denis Villeneuve has been ascendant for several years, but he’s only getting in if Blade Runner 2049 is also a Best Picture nominee, which is a big ask.
Chadwick Boseman, Marshall
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Falling off: Denzel Washington
Rising star: James Franco, The Disaster Artist
The skinny: Muted reception for Roman J. Israel, Esq. means Denzel’s out (for now). But Marshall‘s launch has been odd to say the least, so Chadwick Bozeman is in the most danger of losing his spot. Does that mean they’d opt for something super-weird, like James Franco’s portrayal of Tommy Wiseau? Probably not, but he is a former nominee and host (which we don’t talk about).
Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul
Nicole Kidman, The Beguiled
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Falling off: Rooney Mara
Rising star: Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
The skinny: Mary Magdalene has been sent off to 2018, so Judi Dench is now definitely getting nominated for Victoria and Abdul, which has been the sleeper hit of the fall. If Annette Bening couldn’t get nominated for her stellar work in 20th Century Women last year (which managed an Original Screenplay nod), I don’t know how she can do it as the film’s only big aspect, but she’s consistently great, so if Academy voters forget about The Beguiled above the line, she’s got a shot.