Predicting the 2018 Oscars: Acting, Writing, Directing

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One would assume that moving from the technical, foreign, and short categories to the much more popular acting, writing, and directing categories would be fun. It isn’t. Almost every one of these requires no speculation, no deep thinking. Almost all have been wrapped up for months. An upset in all but one of these would be almost as shocking as the¬†Moonlight-La La Land debacle last year. So, here we go. Part 2 of the GlitchUp Oscar predictions starts now.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me by Your Name, James Ivory
The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

The Adapted Screenplay award given this year will essentially be a legacy award. 89 year old James Ivory is a 4-time nominee and legendary director, writer, and producer. His script for the movie, which I must say I didn’t think was all that great, has been hailed as a beautiful and respectful turn on a famous novel. It’s going to win and there isn’t much fuss to be had.

It would be very cool to see Logan win but I fear we are not even close to the place, especially in this category which could be viewed as the most art-honoring, where something so mainstream and genre-oriented would win.

Who’s Going to Win:¬†Call Me By Your Name
Who We Want to Win: Logan

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Alright, now we’re cooking, but only briefly. This is the most interesting category of the bunch and one that could go four different ways.

The Shape of Water,¬†the juggernaut leading the nomination count and expected to perform very well, could quite possibly win here. The script, featuring two characters who literally can’t speak, winning would be an affront to the category and most especially to Aaron Sorkin, the lord of using as many words as possible. I highly doubt it happens, but if my senses are off and¬†Shape of Water has way more support than expected maybe it just rolls through and sweeps even its least likely categories.

Lady Bird¬†would be the other surprise, though not as unexpected as¬†the above. It seems to have lost some of the steam it had just two months ago, but it is still a female-led movie in terms of star, director, and writer. It’s the sort of indie flick that deserves a win somewhere and could be awarded here.¬†The¬†Lady Bird¬†support isn’t that strong but I really think that the Academy will want to give it some love somewhere. There’s not many places to do so, and a fairly open category like this could be the spot they eye.

Now, to the two most likely winners. It is a toss up between¬†Get Out¬†and¬†Three Billboards.¬†Get Out¬†nabbed the Writer’s Guild award, generally the strongest predictor for the winner in this category. BUT!¬†Billboards¬†was not nominated, due to some weird rule/the writer, McDonagh, not feeling like registering it. So, the question then goes, would¬†Get Out¬†have won if the other was nominated? We’ll get our answer Sunday.

If you’re making on-the-fly predictions, this is one you’ll want to wait on. Watch how the winners are going in all the earlier categories (Get Out won’t have any nominees before this award while¬†Three Billboards¬†will have two that have little to no chance of winning, so don’t focus on hearing their names). Does it feel like the older voters still have their outdated views as a stronghold on the outcomes? Or does it feel like the younger, more diverse members are imposing their modern ideals and tastes? Are awards kind of going in unexpected ways? No rhyme or reason? If it feels traditional, you pick¬†Billboards;¬†if it feels different, you go with¬†Get Out.

I think Get Out wins and shines a brand new light on movies released in the early months of the year as well as the horror genre. Bless up.

Who’s Going to Win:¬†Get Out
Who Could Easily Upset: Three Billboards

Best Supporting Actor

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
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Willem Dafoe rode through the end of the year on the cascading piles of critics’ awards he won for his role. Sam Rockwell is riding through Sunday on all the other, actual industry voted awards he has won since December. Like the rest of the acting category favorites, he has swept every meaningful award thus far and will win Sunday night.

Who’s Going to Win:¬†Sam Rockwell

Best Supporting Actress

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

Refer to the above statements in the Best Supporting Actor section. The only thing here, as I’ve already mentioned, is a wavering of¬†I, Tonya¬†support and my thinking that the Academy will want to give recognition to¬†Lady Bird. This would be one of the crazier spots to do that, even if I really think Metcalf deserves it.

Who’s Going to Win:¬†Allison Janney
Who We Want to Win/Who Might Upset But Almost Definitely Won’t:¬†Laurie Metcalf

Best Actor

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Major prosthetics? Check. Gained a bunch of weight? Check. Did some outlandish thing to immerse themselves in the role? Check. Is a legend? Check. Oldman wins. Chalamet has been on a “next hot thing in Hollywood“/Oscar campaign for the ages, but he’s 22 and his role isn’t as traditionally showy as Oldman’s.

Who’s Going to Win:¬†Gary Oldman
Who We Want to Win: Daniel Kaluuya
Who Might Upset But Almost Definitely Won’t: Timothee Chalamet

Best Actress

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

Refer to Sam Rockwell’s reasoning in Best Supporting Actor and add this: McDormand losing this would mean the world is ending the moment the Oscar is handed to someone not named Frances.

Who’s Going to Win:¬†Frances McDormand
Who We Want to Win: Margot Robbie OR Saoirse Ronan

Best Director

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

Del Toro has had this locked up for about as long as any of the acting frontrunners. He’ll join fellow Mexican filmmakers Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron in owning 4 of the past 5 Best Director awards. This is as much a deserved win (I guess…) as it is one for a long and prestigious career.

I’d love to see Peele win, because he created a much more tight and intriguing flick, while creating a masterpiece that had to toe the line on delicate social and racial issues while still connecting with the mainstream audience successfully. Get that “classic romance but with FISH-MAN OMG” shit out of here.

Gerwig deserves praise too, but I don’t think this is the category¬†Lady Bird¬†gets love considering it’s a human-centered indie that, though personal, is much more accessible.

Who’s Going to Win:¬†Guillermo del Toro
Who We Want to Win: Jordan Peele
Who Might Upset: Jordan Peele OR Greta Gerwig

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