Oscars 2018

I’m mildly surprised at the number of nominations for The Shape of Water. Maybe I shouldn’t be—but I am. I love that film, but I suspect that the out-of-nowhere lawsuit brought by the estate of author/playwright Paul Zindel (The Pigman, My Darling My Hamburger) in late January will hurt its chances tonight.

My big beef this year is that The Florida Project (https://moviebloke.com/2017/10/03/the-florida-project/) was pretty much ignored. I don’t get it—it’s so much better than half the films nominated for Best Picture.

Here’s what I see happening this year:

Best Picture

Again with nine nominations—whatever. The end of the year saw some great films come out. However, the Oscars are political—I see only three real contenders out of this year’s bunch.

Lady Bird (https://moviebloke.com/2018/01/14/lady-bird/) is the first I’m eliminating. It’s good, but it’s not Oscar material.

The Post (https://moviebloke.com/2018/01/26/the-post/) has the right subject matter and the right timing—coming out after a year of the president bashing the press. It misses the mark, though.

Dunkirk (https://moviebloke.com/2017/07/20/dunkirk/) is a sensory stunner, but it didn’t get the attention that a few others did this year. I don’t think it’s a winner in this category.

I don’t know why the Academy bothers nominating films that don’t have a chance. Phantom Thread (https://moviebloke.com/2018/01/27/phantom-thread/) is easily the weirdest film nominated for this category. I loved it, but it’s too bizarre for Best Picture. I’ll be surprised if it snags the gold-plated dummy.

I’m glad to see Get Out (https://moviebloke.com/2017/03/19/get-out/) on the list, for a lot of reasons. It’s a great movie, but it’s probably too racy (pun not intended) for the Oscar.

Call Me by Your Name (https://moviebloke.com/2017/12/20/call-me-by-your-name/) might have had a better chance if Moonlight (https://moviebloke.com/2016/11/19/moonlight/) hadn’t won last year. I’d like to see it win, but I doubt the Academy will give the Best Pic to a “gay movie” two years in a row. Too bad, because this is a fine film.

Now we’re down to the contenders.

I was unimpressed with Darkest Hour (https://moviebloke.com/2018/02/18/darkest-hour/). Regardless of what I think, it has Oscar clout if only for Gary Oldman. I can see it winning but I’m putting my money elsewhere.

That brings it to The Shape of Water (https://moviebloke.com/2018/01/11/the-shape-of-water/) or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (https://moviebloke.com/2017/10/21/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri/). The Shape of Water is an incredible cinematic experience—it should win for Guillermo del Toro’s craftsmanship, which is flawless. All things considered, it really is the best of the bunch. The Shape of Water is a fairy tale, though. I bet they give Best Picture to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It perfectly captures the mood of today—anger, outrage, and righteous indignation.

My guess: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should win: The Shape of Water

Lead Actor

Denzel Washington again? He’s actually pretty good in Roman J. Israel, Esq. (https://moviebloke.com/2018/03/03/roman-j-israel-esq/). Too bad it’s a forgettable film. He’s done better—he didn’t snag Lead Actor for Fences (https://moviebloke.com/2016/12/28/fences/). I don’t see it happening for this.

Daniel Kaluuya did a nice job in Get Out, but I don’t see him winning Lead Actor for it.

Timothée Chalamet gave the best performance out of all of these guys. The problem: he’s 22 years old—they won’t give it to him. Yet.

Daniel Day Lewis could win for the mere fact that Phantom Thread is his swan song. But I’m going with someone else: Have you heard how much Gary Oldman looks like Winston Churchill?! OMG, it’s amazing! Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

My guess: Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour.

Should win: Timothée Chalamet for Call Me by Your Name.

Lead Actress

Meryl Streep for another role in an overhyped film? Um, no.

Sorry, Saoirse Ronan—you made Lady Bird McPherson a joy to watch. But this isn’t your year.

Same for you, Sally Hawkins (even though I loved The Shape of Water).

This category comes down to Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Margot Robbie for I, Tonya (https://moviebloke.com/2017/12/29/i-tonya/). Robbie’s job making Tanya Harding sympathetic was much harder, and she pulled it off amazingly well. I would give it to her, but I think it’s going to McDormand.

My guess: Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Should win: Margot Robbie for I, Tonya.

Best Supporting Actor

I didn’t see All the Money in the World, but I haven’t heard all that much about it—or about Christopher Plummer’s performance. So, this is a no.

Richard Jenkins isn’t going to win.

I’d like to see Willem Dafoe get this. His performance in The Florida Project was his best in decades, and it’s a role that I don’t see many actors pulling off like he did. He might win, but my gut tells me it’s down to both actors in Three Billboards. So, I’m guessing San Rockwell over Woody Harrelson.

My guess: Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Should win: Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project.

Best Supporting Actress

Octavia Spencer again, this time for The Shape of Water. I don’t think she or Laurie Metcalf will nab the booty.

Mary J. Blige is good in Mudbound (https://moviebloke.com/2018/02/25/mudbound/), but I think she’s a long shot.

Lesley Manville is a shorter shot for Phantom Thread, but I think Allison Janney is the obvious winner.

My guess: Allison Janney for I, Tonya.

Should win: Allison Janney for I, Tonya.

Best Director

For once, I don’t think a single director in this category is a clear loser. All five brought something unique to each project, so that alone makes this year noteworthy (at least in my mind). It’s pretty cool to be able to say that.

In the end, The Shape of Water has the most going for it, lawsuit or not—and Guillermo del Toro is largely responsible for that.

 My Guess: Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water

Should win: Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water


The only one I didn’t see is Blade Runner 2049. If the film looks anything like its trailer promises—or like the first movie—I don’t see Roger Deakins losing. The only serious competition I see is Dan Lausten for The Shape of Water.

My Guess: Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049.

Should win: Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049 or Dan Lausten for The Shape of Water

Best Adapted Screenplay is a no-brainer: James Ivory for Call Me by Your Name. I didn’t see The Big Sick, but I don’t think they’ll give Best Original Screenplay to either Three Billboards or The Shape of Water. I think it’s going to Jordan Peele for Get Out. Loveless (https://moviebloke.com/2018/03/02/loveless-nelyubov/) was a notch or two better than A Fantastic Woman, but I’m pretty sure Best Foreign Language Film is going to The Insult (https://moviebloke.com/2018/02/22/the-insult-linsulte/). How the heck did BPM (https://moviebloke.com/2017/10/15/bpm-beats-per-minute-120-beats-per-minute-120-battements-par-minute/) get overlooked?

Next, I see Jonny Greenwood for Phantom Thread written all over Best Original Score. Meanwhile, Best Original Song could go to Mary J. Blige for “Mighty River” (Mudbound), but I see Diane Warren and Common grabbing it for “Stand Up for Something” (Marshall). Here goes absolutely nothing because I didn’t see a single nomination for Best Documentary: I’m going with Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

This being total guesswork, I’m looking forward to seeing what I get right. I’ll be watching from The Gene Siskel Film Center again—like I do every year. Break a leg.