Tonight, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences salutes films concerning social relevance, military achievement, high stakes journalism, coming-of-age, empowering vengeance, and more at the 90th Academy Awards. Without a doubt, 2017 was a fascinating and progressive year for film, evidenced in outside-the-box pleasures from the timely horror of Get Out to the beautifully unique romance between a woman and a sea creature in The Shape of Water. Although the Academy dropped the ball in some respects (Mudbound snubbed for Best Picture remains perplexing), there are a slew of worthy nominees to root for. Expect Hollywood to bring ample attention to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements during acceptance speeches, and let’s hope Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway get it right this time when the Best Picture is revealed. If there’s ever been a year in which you’ll want to stick around until the very end this is it.
Here are my predictions in the top six categories.
Call Me By Your Name
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Overlooked: A Quiet Passion; Battle of the Sexes; Beach Rats; The Beguiled; Detroit; The Florida Project; God’s Own Country; I, Tonya; Mudbound; Patti Cake$; Wind River
Will Win: Shape of Water
Should Win: Get Out
Three Billboards and Shape of Water were captivating character-driven showcases, but Shape has the momentum to go all the way. Even so, no other nominee generated as much thought-provoking discussion across the country as Get Out. The film was simply a cultural game-changer akin to last year’s champion Moonlight.
BEST DIRECTOR .
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Overlooked: Miguel Arteta, Beatriz at Dinner; Sean Baker, The Florida Project; Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit; Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled; Terence Davis, A Quiet Passion; Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, Battle of the Sexes;; Craig Gillespie, I, Tonya; Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name; Eliza Hittman, Beach Rats; Geremy Jasper, Patti Cake$; Francis Lee, God’s Own Country; Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Dee Rees, Mudbound; Taylor Sheridan, Wind River
Will Win/Should Win: Del Toro
Gerwig and Peele are Academy darlings, but Del Toro will triumph for his highly imaginative and fanciful depiction of love with a colorful nod to bygone Hollywood.
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.
Overlooked: Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes; Jason Clarke, Mudbound; Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread; Harris Dickinson, Beach Rats; James Franco, The Disaster Artist; Andrew Garfield, Breathe; Jake Gylennhall, Stronger; Tom Hanks, The Post; Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman; James McAvoy, Split; Jeremy Renner, Wind River; Demetrius Shipp Jr., All Eyez on Me; Algee Smith, Detroit
Will Win: Oldman
Should Win: Chalamet
Oldman’s portrayal of Winston Churchill is pure Oscar bait, but 22-year-old Chalamet was truly riveting and heartbreaking as a teenager coming to terms with his sexuality. The mesmerizing final close up said it all.
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saisore Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post
Overlooked: Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool; Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul; Salma Hayek, Beatriz at Dinner; Sally Hawkins, Maudie; Nicole Kidman, The Beguiled; Danielle Macdonald, Patti Cake$; Shirley MacLaine, The Last Word; Carey Mulligan, Mudbound; Cynthia Nixon, A Quiet Passion; Brooklynn Prince, The Florida Project; Catherine Pugh, Lady Macbeth; Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes
Will Win/Should Win: McDormand is a sure bet for her phenomenal, applause-inducing portrayal of a mother seeking justice.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Overlooked: John Boyega, Detroit; Siddharth Dhananjay, Patti Cake$; Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name; Garett Hedlund, Mudbound; John Lithgow, Beatriz at Dinner; Jason Mitchell, Mudbound; Rob Morgan, Mudbound; Ray Romano, The Big Sick; Sebastian Stan, I, Tonya; Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name
Will Win: Rockwell
Should Win: Dafoe
Rockwell’s impeccable turn as a bigoted, closeted cop nearly stole Three Billboards from McDormand, but there were amazing subtleties and understated charm within Dafoe’s superb portrayal of a gruff yet concerned hotel manager in the underappreciated Florida Project.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Leslie Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Overlooked: Hong Chau, Downsizing; Jennifer Ehle, A Quiet Passion; Bridget Everett, Patti Cake$; Beanie Feldstein, Lady Bird; Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Danai Guaria, All Eyez on Me; Holly Hunter, The Big Sick; Laura Linney, The Dinner; Tatiana Maslany, Stronger; Julianne Nicholson, I Tonya; Miranda Richardson, Stronger; Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour; Bria Vinaite, The Florida Project
Will Win/Should Win: Janney
Although I couldn’t help but think of Mo’Nique’s equally visceral performance in Precious, Janney’s comical and harrowing tour-de-force as Tonya Harding’s mother was a true knockout.
The 90th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be telecast live Sun. March 4 on ABC at 8 pm.