Multiple Disclaimers:  

  1.  I haven’t seen all of the movies nominated for Oscars this year.  I don’t have that time.  These decisions are essentially wild speculation and guessing on my part.
  2. That being said, I’ve attached what rationale I can to my decisions, based on my own opinions, what I’ve heard and read about the movies, and what awards they’ve received already.
  3. Not all of the Oscar categories are included, because I don’t know enough to judge every category.
  4. I’m shortening Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to Three Billboards in my rationales.  I have better things to do than write out that title 30 times.

 

Best Picture-

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

I have seen only two of the films on the Best Picture list, and I’ve picked them both.  This may look like I’m hedging my bets, seeing as how they won their respective Best Picture categories at the Golden Globes, but I legitimately love both movies.  I’m not wimping out of making a decision, I genuinely cannot decide between these two movies and I would be thrilled to see either win.

 

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

This is a strong field, to be sure, but Frances McDormand blows everyone else completely out of the water.  Her performance in Three Billboards is electric, and she’s already won the Golden Globe, SAG Award, and BAFTA for it to boot.

 

Best Actor-

  • Timothee 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

This one could go anywhere.  I’m picking Gary Oldman because of the hardware Darkest Hour has gotten him thus far, but don’t be surprised if he gets upstaged by any of the other four nominees (keep an eye out for Chalamet and Day-Lewis in particular).

 

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

Allison Janney won the Golden Globe and SAG Award for this performance, and I’ve got to respect that.  I could theoretically see an upset by Laurie Metcalf, but considering the hardware Janney’s already stacked up for I, Tonya, she’s a safe bet.  Update: At the time of writing this, I hadn’t seen I, Tonya.  Now that I have seen the film (and now that Janney has won the BAFTA), I can confidently say she’s a safe lock for this award.

 

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

This is another shoe-in for me.  Woody Harrelson was amazing in Three Billboards, but Sam Rockwell disappeared into his character and turned in a performance that easily matches McDormand and blows the competition out of the water (it’s also nabbed him some hardware, as well).

 

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

This one’s a toughie.  We’ve got two relatively new directors in Peele and Gerwig pulling off some pretty A-1 stuff for their debuts, going up against three of the most respected directors of their generation.  It could theoretically go anywhere, but I’m going to tentatively give this spot to Anderson because I know he’s consistently fantastic, and I’ve heard great things about Phantom Thread.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Call Me By Your Name
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Logan
  • Molly’s Game
  • Mudbound

This is another tough category.  We’ve got Molly’s Game written by the legendary Aaron Sorkin, but The Disaster Artist has been getting some great press.  Logan is a real surprise, as most superhero movies don’t get nominated for any of the major Oscars.  If I had to guess, I’d give it to Call Me By Your Name, just based on what I’ve heard of it, but this category will be a surprise no matter how it ends.

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Big Sick
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This is yet another one that could go anywhere.  I’m choosing Three Billboards because it took home the Golden Globe, the SAG Award, and the Venice Film Festival Award for its screenplay.  That being said, I wouldn’t be unduly surprised by an upset.

 

Best Foreign Language Film

  • A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
  • The Insult (Lebanon)
  • Loveless (Russia)
  • On Body and Soul (Hungary)
  • The Square (Sweden)

This is a category where I am really shooting in the dark.  I chose The Square because it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, but that’s really all I’m going on.

 

Best Original Song

  • Mighty River, Mudbound (Mary J Blige)
  • The Mystery of Love, Call Me By Your Name (Sufjan Stevens)
  • Remember Me, Coco (Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez)
  • Stand Up for Something, Marshall (Common & Diane Warren, sung by Andra Day)
  • This is Me, The Greatest Showman (Benji Pasek & Justin Paul)

I’m basing this decision on the songs themselves.  One of them might have been used very well or very poorly in its respective movie, but I’m choosing based only on the quality of the song.  After listening to all of them, I have to go with “Remember Me” from Coco.  I love Pasek and Paul for their work on La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen, but there’s something about “Remember Me” that I just love.

 

Best Animated Feature

  • Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Coco
  • Ferdinand
  • Loving Vincent

Coco is a Pixar movie.  Need I say more?  If I do need to say more, it already won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA in this category.

 

Best Original Score

  • Dunkirk
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This is a battle of the titans.  You’ve got Hans Zimmer’s Dunkirk, Alexandre Desplat’s The Shape of Water, John Williams’ Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Carter Burwell’s Three Billboards.  Each composer has a very different style, and they’re each composing for very different movies. If I had to guess, I’d go with Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water, because it’s won him a few awards, but I’d highly recommend checking out all of the scores nominated here.  If I had no knowledge of previous awards shows, I’d pick Carter Burwell’s Three Billboards score as my personal favorite of the year.

 

Best Cinematography

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Mudbound
  • The Shape of Water

I’m a sucker for Roger Deakins’ cinematography, and the visuals in Blade Runner 2049 are breathtaking.  You could take any exterior shot in the movie and turn it into a desktop background that  allowing us to see some of the best visuals of the year, and the best coloring since Mad Max: Fury Road.  Side note: if you want a crash course in Deakins’ style, watch a few Coen Brothers movies (Inside Llewyn Davis, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men for a start) and see what I’m talking about.  

 

Best Costume Design

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Darkest Hour
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Victoria and Abdul

This category is normally reserved for period pieces that take painstaking measures to recreate their costumes to the letter, and this year is no exception.  I’m giving Phantom Thread this award because it’s a period piece about a fashion designer, so great costumes are to be expected.

 

Best Make-up and Hairstyling

  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria and Abdul
  • Wonder

I’m surprised that The Shape of Water isn’t nominated here, because Doug Jones is famous for acting through feet of makeup.  In lieu of that nomination, Gary Oldman just about disappeared into Winston Churchill’s jowls in Darkest Hour, so I’d call it a safe bet.

 

Best Production Design

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water

The original Blade Runner is legendary for its production design and retro-future aesthetic.  Blade Runner 2049 completely lives up to this precedent and easily deserves this award.  

 

Best VFX

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • War for the Planet of the Apes

A lot of people would be betting on War for the Planet of the Apes here, considering Andy Serkis’ chameleon-like performances under motion-capture technology.  However, I’m picking Blade Runner 2049 here because of an 80% CG scene early into the movie that nearly had me in tears over how real it looked (for those of you who’ve seen the movie, holograms in the rain have never looked better).  In addition, I can name a few other scenes that lock this into Best VFX.

 

Best Sound Editing

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I normally wouldn’t judge this category because I don’t really have much experience with evaluating such things, but I feel compelled to predict here because of Baby Driver’s outstanding editing.  Anyone who’s seen the movie will tell you how just about every sound effect and movement in the movie is synced up to the beat of the film’s eclectic soundtrack.  This is a hallmark of Edgar Wright’s directing style, and it more than qualifies the film for this award.

 

Final Totals:

Three Billboards–  4

Blade Runner 2049– 3

Darkest Hour– 2

Phantom Thread– 2

Coco- 2

Lady Bird– 1

I, Tonya– 1

Call Me By Your Name– 1

Baby Driver 1

The Square– 1

The Shape of Water– 1