Well, we finally made it. All the precursor awards shows, red carpets, crazy dresses and heartfelt speeches have led to the grandaddy of them all: Oscar night.
This year’s Oscar nominations have made history in many ways (including the first female cinematography nominee), but it could make history in another way. So far, Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney have won acting awards at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, SAG and BAFTA awards. If they do win Oscars on Sunday, it will be the first time that all four acting champs have won all five major awards in the same season.
But if Oscar has taught us anything, there’s always room for surprises.
Here are my predictions in major categories for the 90th Academy Awards:
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“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
As we’ve seen in the past few years, if there’s any place where we can see an upset, it’s here.
“The Shape of Water” leads the way this year with 13 nominations, and looks to be the one to beat, especially after winning the Producer’s Guild Award (although “La La Land” won the PGA last year and we all know what happened there, despite the whole envelope debacle).
If there is an upset, it will surely be “Three Billboards,” which won the SAG version of best picture with its ensemble performance award. It also just won the BAFTA best picture award overseas.
I think it could very happen (although that film’s director, Martin McDonaugh, failed to snag a best director nomination, which seriously hurts the film’s chances of winning best picture).
But it is a surprise to me that the Academy has such admiration for “Shape of Water,” as fantastical as it is (Oscar usually favors stuffier “prestige” films for the coveted prize and rarely rewards fantasy), but I think that’s great and that the Academy will continue the love.
Prediction: “The Shape of Water”
My vote: “Three Billboards”
Timothee 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.”
Only Day-Lewis and Washington have been nominated before (both already have two Oscars, Day-Lewis as best actor for “There Will Be Blood” and “My Left Foot” and Washington as best actor for “Training Day” and supporting actor for “Glory.”) But neither are getting buzz to win here.
It’s nice to see nominations for Chalamet and Kaluuya for fine work, but they won’t win either.
Because this is Oldman’s to collect with his (surprisingly) first nomination. He’s won every precursor award for his robust turn as Winston Churchill – and it’s the kind of extreme physical metamorphosis that academy voters drool over.
Prediction and my vote: Oldman
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie in “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep in “The Post”
Three-time winner Streep (lead actress for “The Iron Lady” and “Sophie’s Choice” and supporting for “Kramer vs. Kramer”) extends her lead as the most nominated performer with her 21st nomination, but she won’t win again.
Robbie rightfully landed her first nomination for her defiant work as Tonya Harding, but she won’t win. Neither will Hawkins, although her first nomination for her beautifully expressive work as a mute woman is certainly worthy.
Ronan lands her third nomination (after supporting for “Atonement” and lead for “Brooklyn”) with fine, detailed work as a rebellious teen, but she still has a long career ahead of her and can be rewarded later.
Because, again, all signs point to previous winner McDormand (lead for “Fargo”), for her roiling performance as an angry mother seeking justice.
Prediction and my vote: McDormand
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”
Previous winner Plummer (supporting for “Beginners”) becomes the oldest acting nominee at age 88. He’s the long shot here.
So is Dafoe, who lands his third nomination (after supporting for “Shadow of the Vampire” and “Platoon”) for his earnest performance as a hotel manager/father figure.
Previous nominee Jenkins (lead for “The Visitor”) gave a fine, colorful performance as a friendly neighbor, but he’s not getting any buzz to win.
So it comes down to the “Three Billboards” men. Previous nominee Harrelson (lead for “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and supporting for “The Messenger”) could pull an upset but it’s unlikely.
Because, again, all roads point to his co-star, Rockwell, with his first nomination after a long, steadfast career. He’s well-liked and his performance as a racist cop is so good you actually hate him. He’s won every pre-cursor award, all leading up to Oscar gold.
Prediction and my vote: Rockwell
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney,”I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
All are first-time nominees except Spencer (who won supporting for “The Help” and was nominated last year in supporting for “Hidden Figures”). She continues to give fine performances, but isn’t getting any buzz to win.
Neither is Manville, who is the longshot as well as Blige, but it’s nice to see she had such a performance in her.
It comes down to Metcalf, who could very well pull off an upset and win for her detailed, emotional performance as a tough-love mother.
But it’s another mother who will prevail in a flashier role. Janney as Tonya Harding’s mom gave a wickedly sharp performance that will go down as one of the worst movie moms in history.
My vote: Metcalf
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
It’s nice to see Gerwig and Peele get their first nominations (she becomes only the fifth woman director to be nominated and he becomes only the fifth black director to be nominated). They both did outstanding work.
Previous nominee Anderson (directing for “There Will Be Blood” and writing for “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood” and “Inherent Vice”) was somewhat of a surprise here, so he’s the longshot.
Nolan gets his first directing nomination (although he was previously nominated for writing “Memento” and “Inception” and producing “Inception”) for pulling off a stellar technical achievement, but he won’t win.
Because this will be del Toro’s night. He won the Director’s Guild Award and will rightfully win the Oscar for his whimsically dark fairy-tale love story. On paper, the story sounds ludicrous, but in his hands it was magical.
Prediction and my vote: del Toro
90th Academy Awards
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, March 4
Host: Jimmy Kimmel
Predictions in other categories
ROD POCOWATCHIT’S OSCAR PREDICTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS
Foreign Language Film: “A Fantastic Woman,” Chile; “THE INSULT” Lebanon; “Loveless,” Russia;”On Body and Soul,” Hungary;”The Square” Sweden
Adapted Screenplay: “CALL ME BY YOUR NAME,” “The Disaster Artist,” “Logan,” Molly’s Game,” “Mudbound.”
Original Screenplay: “The Big Sick,” “GET OUT,” “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Animated Feature Film: “The Boss Baby,” “The Breadwinner,” “COCO,” “Ferdinand”: “Loving Vincent.”
Costume Design: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Darkest Hour,” “PHANTOM THREAD,” “The Shape of Water,” “Victoria & Abdul.”
Production Design: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk, “THE SHAPE OF WATER”
Cinematography: “BLADE RUNNER 2049,” “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk,” “Mudbound,” “The Shape of Water.”
Sound Mixing: “Baby Driver,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “DUNKIRK,” “The Shape of Water,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Sound Editing: “Baby Driver,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “DUNKIRK,” “The Shape of Water,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Original Score: “Dunkirk,” “Phantom Thread,” “THE SHAPE OF WATER,” ”Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Original Song: “Mighty River” from “Mudbound”;”Mystery Of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name”; “Remember Me” from “Coco”; “Stand Up For Something” from “Marshall”; “THIS IS ME” from “The Greatest Showman.”
Documentary Feature: “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,””Faces Places,” “ICARUS,” “Last Men in Aleppo,” “Strong Island”
Documentary (short subject): “EDITH+EDDIE,” “Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” “Heroin(e),” “Knife Skills,” “Traffic Stop”
Film Editing: “Baby Driver,” “DUNKIRK,” “I, Tonya,” “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Makeup and Hairstyling: “DARKEST HOUR,” “Victoria & Abdul,” “Wonder.”
Animated Short Film: “DEAR BASKETBALL,” “Garden Party,” “Lou,” “Negative Space,” “Revolting Rhymes.”
Live Action Short Film: “DEKALB ELEMENTARY,” “The Eleven O'Clock,” “My Nephew Emmett,” “The Silent Child,” “Watu Wote/All of Us.”
Visual Effects: “Blade Runner 2049,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Kong: Skull Island,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES.”