Each and every year, us film bloggers fold ourselves into a pretzel trying to prognosticate the winners of these awards downwind a country mile with nothing but the occasional whiff of “Actual Oscar Ballot”. Personally, I’ve kind of fallen out of the habit of tracking these things – but have relished the opportunity to be a voting member of our local Seattle Film Critics Society Awards – as they “sprint” (read: crawl) down the five-plus month track to the end all be all of awards’ ceremonies – The Oscars.
Being a betting man (I’ve had an annual stake against my brother for a good number of years now), I tended to stick with many of the favorites. We’ve had a few years running of a Director-Picture split and I’m wagering that happens again with Three Billboards being the zeitgesit movie that takes the top prize and Guillermo walking away for his “visionary” art behind the camera. Though I could see some change up in the top section (say Shape of Water nabbing picture and director or even longtime shutout Chris Nolan walking away with a surprising Director score), many of the acting categories feel pretty locked in. That being said, we all know to anticipate surprises and I went with the one-two punch of Dafoe overtaking leading favorite Sam Rockwell.
I considered moving Chalamet into my prediction spot for actor what with Gary Oldman suffering a #MeToo backlash but, if history is any indication, sexual abuse allegations did little to deter Oscar voters from crowning Casey Affleck last year so I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s not going to be enough to shake the boat. The ladies are locked up pretty tight, even if the Three Billboards crowd has been a bit cavalier about award’s receptions of late.
I personally don’t see Get Out going without a single reward and since the screenplay department usually doubles as a kind of consolation prize, I have it winning in Original and the critical darling Call Me By Your Name taking home Adapted. Obviously, the movie about a dressmaker (Phantom Thread) is going to win costumes in what feels like the biggest lock of the night and I think the Academy will have a hard time passing up Dunkirk for its brilliant ability to weave together multiple timelines and narratives though they might just go with the flashy one-two punch of Baby Driver‘s dazzle. I, however, do foresee a scenario wherein Edgar Wright’s upbeat actioner takes half the sound ticket (much like Hacksaw Ridge did last year) and walks away with Sound Mixing if only for being able to synchronize gunshots to the soundtrack.
Musically, I see “This is Me”s remaining popularity as enough to let it soar past Coco competition “Remember Me” and 9-time nominee Alexandre Desplat has seen a spike in favoritism for his work on Shape of Water although Hans Zimmer (Dunkirk) could soar down to claim his first win since The Lion King.
Further down the line, I had trouble deciding between War for the Planet of the Apes or Blade Runner 2049 walking away with Visual Effects (as both truly deserve it) but I’m going with the later because neither of the prior two – which were both nominated – have been able to score before.
For animated, Coco is virtually a sure thing while the Foreign Feature race remains mostly a mystery to me. I’ve seen exactly one of them (The Square) and the wind seems to have exited that film’s sails so I’m going with the popular A Fantastic Woman if only because I feel like Academy members will likewise have skimped on the international fare and go with the one whose name they like best. The last big tossup for me was Documentary, which I can see breaking a few different ways. Icarus (which is pretty fantastic and, almost more importantly, easily digestible) details the Russian government’s systemical doping program within their Olympic teams. And with both Russia and the Olympics on the mind, it may benefit from the recency effect but I’m going to bet that they want to seem hip and cool and artsy so end up with critic favorite Faces Places.
The shorts (which I fully believe should be removed from an already overlong ceremony) are a total crapshoot so I’m just firing from the hip there.
Picture: ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’
Director: Guillermo del Toro ‘The Shape of Water’
Actor: Gary Oldman ‘Darkest Hour’
Actress: Frances McDormand ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’
Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe ‘The Florida Project’
Supporting Actress: Allison Janney ‘I, Tonya’
Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name
Original Screenplay: Get Out
Cinematography: Roger Deakins ‘Blade Runner 2049’
Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Film Editing: Dunkirk
Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour
Original Score: Alexandre Desplat ‘Shape of Water’
Original Song: “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”
Production Design: Shape of Water
Sound Editing: Dunkirk
Sound Mixing: Baby Driver
Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049
Animated Feature: Coco
Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman
Documentary: Faces Places
Animated Short: Dear Basketball
Documentary Short: Edith + Eddie
Live Action Short: DeKalb Elementary