Oscar predictions for the 90th annual Academy Awards

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By: Jon Reccia, Staff Writer

We are a month and a half through 2018 and abysmal movies like Fifty Shades Darker, Winchester and The Cloverfield Paradox have us wishing to go back to a sweeter time.
Specifically, 2017.
As opposed to the flubs from this year, 2017 was one of the deepest years for film in recent memory.
High profile films like Get Out, Baby Driver and Dunkirk exceeded expectations and grossed hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office apiece.
Powerful performances shined in Phantom Thread, Good Time and The Florida Project, showing off some of the best working actors and actresses in Hollywood.
Fan favorites like Coco, Lady Bird and I, Tonya reminded us why we still go to the movies.
Masterclass filmmaking was also put on display in films like Call me by Your Name, The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, sparking debate on which film will take this year’s top prize.
In one way or another, most of the movies listed above received nominations for the 90th annual Academy Awards on March 5.
I have predictions about who will take home Oscars in the most high profile categories.

Best Picture:

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

After last year’s snafu, where La La Land was originally named Best Picture, only to find out Moonlight really won, no one will be able to take their eyes off of this year’s big announcement.
In most years, a film or two tend to set themselves apart from the pack making the winner more easily predictable. This is not one of those years.
It seems as though 5 or 6 of the nominated films listed above can feasibly make a run at the top award.
Jordan Peele’s debut feature, Get Out, is a satirical, terrifying and thought provoking film that blends social critique with an entertaining plot, making it one of the most popular films of the year amongst fans.
Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name, coming-of-age films that hit audiences right in the feels, made us want to hug our mothers and spend a summer in an Italian villa.
The Shape of Water is a visual masterpiece, and Sally Hawkins shines in a career defining performance.
Daniel Day-Lewis stole the show yet again in Phantom Thread, and Christopher Nolan crafted Dunkirk, a war-filled epic that will go down in history.
While these all have a fighting chance, I have my pick, and it’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Everyone involved in this movie brought everything they had to the table.
All of the performances are terrific, Martin Mcdonough’s filmmaking is on a different level and the script is intricate and divisive enough to pique the interest of the academy. For these reasons, I believe it will walk away with best picture.

Director:

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

The best director nominees feature a fascinating group of filmmakers.
Newcomers Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele have made strides to become the next big things in the filmmaking world while Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson added to their stellar bodies of work.
However, long- standing visionary and fan favorite Guillermo del Toro pieced together a magical film that might be his best yet.
I expect him to win this one after years of dedicated contribution.

Lead Actress:

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

Moving on to the acting awards, there is a wide range of performances up for recognition.
Saoirse Ronan’s relatable coming of age struggles, Margot Robbie’s shocking portrayal of Tonya Harding and Sally Hawkins’ gripping romance story between a woman who has been mute since childhood and a fish man are not to go without praise.
In addition, Frances McDormand gave us an unorthodox performance in a tale of revenge and political statements.
Hawkins has a chance to pull off the upset, but after recognition by the Golden Globe and S.A.G. awards, I expect McDormand to take it home.

Lead 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.

Similar to the directing nominees, this category fronts some new faces and legends of their craft. In what has been said to be Daniel Day-Lewis’ final film, he gave us a wonderful cap-off to a career that many will call one of the greatest of all time.
Timothée Chalamet, 22, had a breakout year with a supporting role in Lady Bird and the leading role Call Me by Your Name, in which he plays an Italian teenager who builds a relationship over the course of a summer that will change his life forever.
Additionally, Gary Oldman gave us what could be his best performance of his long career, portraying Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
I’m pulling for Chalamet and feel like he deserves it, but unfortunately, it just isn’t his time yet. This one will most likely go to Oldman.

Supporting Actor:

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

As much as I’m pulling for Illinois Wesleyan alum Richard Jenkins to take home his first Oscar, the crop of supporting actors this year is particularly deep.
There are two performances that have separated themselves from the pack and should be a coinflip come Oscar night.
Willem Defoe’s efforts as a motel operator in the criminally underlooked Florida Project are incredible, and Sam Rockwell’s dense acting in the deep ensemble of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri fits in perfectly.
I believe Defoe gave the best performance here, but sadly his movie did not get the attention it deserved. Rockwell received a Golden Globe for his performance, so expect him to take the Oscar home as well.

Supporting Actress:

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

Other than Octavia Spencer, each of these actresses are receiving their first Academy Award nominations, so we’ll likely be getting a first-time winner.
Leading the charge are two performances from mother figures. Laurie Metcalf plays a loving but concerned mom, worried about raising her daughter through tough financial times. On the other end, you have Allison Janney’s portrayal of Tonya Harding’s mom, a nasty woman inflicting years of mental strain on her daughter.
This is a tough one, but it should go to Janney.

Animated Feature:

Coco, Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
The Boss Baby, Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
The Breadwinner, Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
Ferdinand, Carlos Saldanha
Loving Vincent, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

The selection for animated features is not up to the same quality as it has been in the past. I mean, Boss Baby is nominated for an Oscar, Seriously!?
Loving Vincent has a fascinating concept, being the world’s first fully painted feature film. However, Pixar went away from rehashed plots and sequels this year to give us the beautiful film Coco, which will win hands down.