Who do you think will win an Oscar?
By David Kennedy
The 90th Annual Academy Awards are here. That means that in between all the uncomfortable jokes about Kevin Spacey, we’re going to try to recognize the best and brightest Hollywood has to offer, probably just to be proven wrong years later. Jimmy Kimmel’s hosting this year’s Academy Awards in the wake of Seth Meyer’s outspoken address at the Golden Globes. If that was any sort of indicator, we’re going to see a lot of cleansing self-righteousness at the podium. So, while Hollywood takes this much needed opportunity to exorcise its demons, I’ll just try to enjoy the show.
I’m actually kind of looking forward to this year’s Oscars. I’ve never been much for award show pageantry; I just want to see who wins, and this year has some definite favorites. It’s been a terrible year for Hollywood, but a great one for movies. There are nine Best Picture nominees and about half of them seem like the kind of thing that could win. It’s a daunting task to make predictions this year, but here goes.
First I’ll just air out my own bias. I think Three Billboards should win all the awards, including the ones it isn’t nominated for. I think every man, woman, and child in this country should be strapped to the Clockwork Orange chair and be forced to watch it all the way through. I think this movie makes everyone who watches it a better person. Go see Three Billboards. With that said, The Shape of Water is probably going to win Best Picture. I don’t understand it, but The Shape of Water is nominated in more categories than anything else. It’s a feel good movie which tackles contemporary social issues, and has a firm basis in Hollywood tradition. It was made for this year. It was also made for the people who vote for Oscars. My bet, out of the nine nominees for best picture, it’s definitely between Three Billboards and The Shape of Water.
Daniel Day-Lewis is retiring from movies this year so Best Male Lead is a pretty sure thing for him. There’s also just very little competition. Gary Oldman won the Golden Globe though, so he may win again. Honestly, I’d be happiest to see Daniel Kaluuya from Get Out take the award home, but I’m doubtful because Get Out strikes me as the kind of movie that won’t win Oscars because of its horror genre association.
Best Female Lead is a much better race this year. Frances McDormand and Saoirse Ronan both gave incredible performances as women we’ve all met who don’t usually make it into the movies. Meryl Streep in The Post is impossibly talented as usual. Meryl Streep seems like she was built in an underground lab by a group of scientists whose only ambition was to win Oscars. I think Streep is too obvious a choice to win, but it’s a distinct possibility. Margot Robbie carried I, Tonya, but I think the reception of the movie itself is too mixed for her to win.
I predict Willem Dafoe will win Best Supporting Actor. He showed a different side of himself this year and I think it’ll pay off. Sam Rockwell’s chances might be shot because of the controversy surrounding his Golden Globes win. Woody Harrelson is still a possibility, and even though I didn’t like The Shape of Water, I wouldn’t mind if Richard Jenkins took it home.
Likewise, I think Best Supporting Actress is anyone’s game (mostly because I haven’t seen most of the movies), but Laurie Metcalf is my definite favorite. I think Allison Janney also has a solid chance since I, Tonya was such a performance-driven movie. Lesley Manville might also get it, since she’s an unknown working with Paul Thomas Anderson.
Best Director is yet another toss-up. Phantom Thread won’t win because it came out too late and Paul Thomas Anderson is too weird. Dunkirk is my probable favorite for this one. It’s a dynamic war film with an unorthodox narrative structure, and an impressive ensemble cast. It pleases crowds, and it’s a Christopher Nolan movie. Out of all the nominees it’s easily the most carefully coordinated. The Shape of Water could win, as much as I wouldn’t like to acknowledge it. Lady Bird was wonderful, but its directing was certainly not the best thing about it. Again, I would love to see Jordan Peele win this for Get Out, but I don’t really expect him to. Get Out balanced its uncanny performances with a very sharp use of surrealism, but I still think it’s just too weird and too much of a genre-piece to win Oscars.
At the very least, Three Billboards has to win Best Original Screenplay.