The long and winding road that is awards season will finally come to an end March 4, when the 2018 Oscars—hosted, for the second year in a row, by Jimmy Kimmel—anoint a new class of winners. But while some of those victors seem pre-ordained—all four acting categories, for example, appear to be pretty much sewn up already—others are much less certain, including the biggest prize of all: best picture.
So, who will walk away with Oscar gold on Sunday night? Below, our crack team of experts gives our best guesses in every category—including the shorts. And feel free to use our picks while filling out your interactive or printable Oscar ballot; we won’t tell.
Call Me by Your Name
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
In a year when most of the big awards appear to be locked in, best picture—the biggest prize of all—is refreshingly up in the air. Conventional wisdom holds that there are only five films with a real chance of winning: Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards. But it’s hard to be sure of even that, given the weirdness of the preferential ballot. (Long story short: voters rank the nominees; there’s no winner until one movie collects over 50 percent of the vote; and you get there by re-allocating the second-place—or lower—votes of bottom performers as they are eliminated one by one.)
Given its successful run throughout awards season, Three Billboards would be the favorite here, were it not for the fact that its director, Martin McDonagh, was snubbed in the best-director category. (Ben Affleck’s Argo won without a director nod in 2013, but that year was bananas.) Since Guillermo del Toro is almost certain to win best director, many people think The Shape of Water will win here, too—but then, many people thought La La Land would beat Moonlight, and The Revenant would beat Spotlight.
Our analysis of voter sentiment, however, makes us think Get Out could pull off an upset. The people who love it really love it; it’s become a rallying point for people of color in Hollywood; and it’s a likely second pick for fans of The Post, Phantom Thread, and Call Me by Your Name—all of which are liable to be eliminated. We’ll be in the opposite of the Sunken Place if it turns out this way, but honestly: your guess may be as good as ours here.
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
The good news for Christopher Nolan is that he finally got nominated for best director, after nearly two decades of lauded and commercially successful filmmaking that for various reasons—too small at first, then too genre—hadn’t caught the Academy’s attention. The bad news is that another beloved, idiosyncratic, commercial auteur, Guillermo del Toro, appears to have the edge this year. Dunkirk’s technical mastery is undeniable, but del Toro’s Shape of Water infuses all that same care and precision with a lot of big, gooey feeling, a sentimentality that Dunkirk scrupulously avoids. Nolan is still the spoiler here, but this one is del Toro’s to lose.
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
There was a time when this felt like it would be Sally Hawkins’s category to lose. There are still people gunning for Saoirse Ronan. And at least one of us left an early screening of The Post thinking that this could be the year Meryl Streep adds yet another statuette to her collection. But all came before Frances McDormandwon every precursor award under the sun for her fierce, unapologetic, and frequently unsettling performance as the very angry, very resourceful mother of a murdered teenager. McDormand’s performance, already resonant in the #MeToo moment, has become only more relevant in the wake of the Parkland shooting and the resulting outpouring of grief, anger, and activism. Rest assured, they’re etching this nameplate as we speak.
SOURCE: (Vanity Fair) | Contributor: HILLARY BUSIS