My Guaranteed Don’t-Sue-Me-If-I’m-Wrong Oscar Nomination Predictions


JANUARY 22, 2018

I’ve been blabbing on this website for months about the possible nominees for the 2018 Academy Awards, but the rubber meets the road this Tuesday morning when the nominations for the 90th Annual Academy Awards will be announced.  In an absolutely foolhardy gesture, I am going to try to predict the nominees in the top eight categories for Tuesday morning’s announcement, and you are welcome to roll your eyes at any (or all) of my thoughts.

Here are Exact Change Today‘s predictions:

“The Big Sick”
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

If there are 9 nominees:  “I, Tonya”
If there are 10 nominees:  “The Florida Project”

For Best Picture, there are probably five films that have the best chance of being nominated — “Dunkirk,” “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards.”  After that, it’s kind of a crapshoot.  Given the Oscars’ preferential ballot in which what you vote for as your #1 choice has inordinate weight, I could see that enough passionate voters could select “Call Me By Your Name” as their #1 film, so I think that that film gets in.  After that, it’s about the movie that everybody likes but is not quite that passionate about so that it’s ranked #2 or #3 on their ballots, fertile ground for such crowd-pleasers as “The Post,” “The Big Sick,” “I, Tonya” and “The Florida Project.”  I love years like this when there is no sure thing (for now).

Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”)
Jordan Peele (“Get Out”)
Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”)
Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”)
Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)

The critics and guilds appear to agree that as far as imaginative directing goes, no one comes close to Guillermo del Toro for his remarkable work creating “The Shape of Water.”

Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”)
James Franco (“The Disaster Artist”)
Tom Hanks (“The Post”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”)
Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”)

Although there has been a critical movement promoting 22 year-old Timothée Chalamet as the year’s Best Actor given his body of work in 2017 (“Call Me By Your Name,” “Lady Bird,” “Hostiles”), Sunday night’s SAG win by Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” pretty much seals the deal for him for the Oscar.

Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”)
Saorise Ronan (“Lady Bird”)
Meryl Streep (“The Post”)

Uncharacteristically, this is the hottest category for this year’s Oscars, and the strength of its field will likely be demonstrated in this year’s nominees.  Hawkins, McDormand, Robbie and Ronan are pretty much in.  The big question is who will be the fifth nominee.  Critical consensus indicates that the race is between Meryl Streep (“The Post”) and Jessica Chastain (“Molly’s Game”), and, although Chastain has been reportedly been working studio schmooze-fests and she did host “SNL,” “The Post” is a hit and well… it’s Meryl Streep for God’s sake.

Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)
Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”)
Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)

Veteran Dafoe (a nomination here would be his third in this category) appeared to be the favorite after the round of critics awards, but once the definitive guild votes came in, it looks like Rockwell has surged into the lead here (aided by his all-important SAG win on Sunday).  Plus he just hosted “SNL.”

Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”)
Holly Hunter (“The Big Sick”)
Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)
Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)
Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”)

Another two-person race as it’s likely to be a battle of the Monster Moms — Allison Janney in “I, Tonya” and Laurie Metcalf in “Lady Bird.”  Janney has won more of the major awards so far (including Sunday night’s SAG Award), but Metcalf has a more redemptive arc for her character, so I suspect that this one will go down to the wire.  FYI, should Spencer get a nod on Tuesday morning, this will mark her second nomination in a row in this category (2017’s “Hidden Figures”) and her third in the last six years (counting her win for 2011’s “The Help”).  Pretty impressive.

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

Along with Best Actress, this will likely be the most competitive category at this year’s Oscars.  Four of the top contenders for Best Picture — “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards” — will be going head-to-head here, and the winner of this category will likely tip us off as to which film will win the big prize.  And don’t count out “The Big Sick,” a film in which its script is everything.

“Call Me By Your Name”
“The Disaster Artist”
“Molly’s Game”
“Wonder Woman”

Yes, you read that right.  I’m predicting a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for “Wonder Woman,” because there’s an enormous amount of good will toward the critically-acclaimed hit, but it seems unlikely that the film’s director, Patty Jenkins, or its star, Gal Gadot, will make it into the final 5 in their respective categories, so that this is the place that voters might be able to acknowledge the film’s achievements.  Still, the big news for this category would be if film legend James Ivory, who directed such classics as “Howards End” and “A Room With a View,” becomes the oldest Oscar nominee ever at age 89 for writing the script for “Call Me By Your Name.”