Oscar Picks: 15 Dec 2017

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

Falling off: Darkest Hour
Rising star: The Florida Project

The skinny: I’m very confident in these eight films making the cut, even if Call Me by Your Name and Three Billboards have very vocal detractors (though likely far fewer than their equally vocal champions). The Florida Project is gaining momentum, even if I think it’s just a little too small for the Academy. Then again, Beasts of the Southern Wild picked up four nominations, so what do I know?

Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Falling off: Martin McDonagh
Rising star: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

The skinny: If the backlash to Three Billboards is strong enough, its most likely victim is Martin McDonagh (as director). He could be dropped in favor of Luca Guadagnino, a foreign director who’s long been respected by his peers. But it could also be Greta Gerwig. While directorial debuts getting nominated in this category are rare (which would also count against Jordan Peele), Gerwig is also a well-regarded actor, which has often caused the directorial branch to overlook that detail.

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Post
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Falling off: Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman
Rising star: Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

The skinny: Jake Gyllenhaal once again has found himself falling out of favor after winning acclaim early on. That means young Timothée Chalamet is likely to get called up to the big leagues. He’s having a hell of a year, thanks to also starring in Lady Bird, which helps his case (despite his age). Tom Hanks may finally be nominated for the first time in 17(!) years, though he could be swapped out for Denzel Washington, a bright spot in a not-so-good movie.

Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

Falling off: Jessica Chastain
Rising star: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
The skinny: Another late release means Jessica Chastain is likely going to be excluded yet again, even though she’s still the best actress on the planet right now. And we’ll see how loyal Academy voters are. They’re either going to pick Judi Dench (a 7-time nominee, including for also playing Queen Victoria) or 1-time nominee Sally Hawkins.

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name

Falling off: Ben Mendelson, Christopher Plummer, Mark Rylance
Rising star: Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes

The skinny: At this point, I’m only going to bet on Willem Dafoe. All these others make a strong argument, and Michael Stuhlbarg really stacks the deck considering he’s also in The Shape of Water and The Post, as well as starred in this season of Fargo. So I’m not going to be too surprised how this all turns out.

Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Falling off: Melissa Leo
Rising star: Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

The skinny: I’m pretty confident here, even if Melissa Leo is a former champ in this category. It’s a little surprising that four of these ladies all come from comedies, considering the Academy’s aversion to movies that make you laugh. If Phantom Thread plays well with the Academy, Vicky Krieps (as Daniel Day-Lewis’s muse) and/or Lesley Manville (as his icy sister) could make this category a little heavier.

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

Falling off: None
Rising star: I, Tonya

The skinny: This category just has not gotten any easier to predict. So, it’s possible that Phantom Thread misses here (just as The Master did), but that only opens up one spot for a slew of nominees. The most likely winner of that luck: I, Tonya.

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

Falling off: None
Rising star: Wonder

The skinny: Our slate is set, though Wonder is surging thanks to good reviews and impressive box office.

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
The LEGO Batman Movie
Loving Vincent

Falling off: Despicable Me 3
Rising star: Ferdinand

The skinny: Unless the animators truly hate the LEGO movies, I think we’re done here. However, a lesser title like Ferdinand or Captain Underpants could ride a wave of good reviews into the top five.

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