It’s that time of the year, the 90th Oscar Ceremony is just around the corner and the consensus is that the big honors will be split between “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”, with lots of tough races for the undercard categories. The Best Short Documentary category, for example, will be a real tossup. So here we go, armed with a full year of trudging to the theaters which, in my opinion, is the only way to absorb a film experience, these are my picks for this year’s winners in all the categories.
“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
WHO WILL WIN: “The Shape of Water”. Lots of love for Guillermo del Toro, I saw his exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of At (MIA) last year and was blown away by his incentive imagination. “The Shape of Water” did not disappoint. “Three Billboards” won this years BAFTA award for best picture, but that does not always translate into the Oscar best picture award.
WHO MIGHT WIN “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”
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.”
Who Will Win: Gary Oldman. The amazing transformation into one of the most recognizable figures of the 20th Century will be hard to ignore. This should be a test for the voters considering some of the personal allegations against Oldman in the “#Me Too” era.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Timothée Chalamet, truly versatile young actor who will have lots of noms in the future. He was also seen this year in “Lady Bird”.
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
WHO WILL WIN: Frances McDormand . “Three Billboards” has had a bit of a backlash about its treatment of racial issues, but it’s hard to ignore McDormand’s nuanced portrayal of a single-minded, not entirely like-able, character.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Saoirse (SARE-sha) Ronan, “Lady Bird”. The talented Irish actress is totally convincing as a Sacramento teen trying to acomplish her future dreams. By the way, Sally Hawkins certainly deserves this award, if not for her turn in “The Shape of Water”, then certainly for her parody of it with James Corden on “The Late Late Show”
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”
WHO WILL WIN: Sam Rockwell. This journeyman actor has been amazing in every film I’ve seen him in, and the voters will finally give him his due, in spite of the appalling flaws of the racist character he plays.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”. He’s been totally overlooked in the award season, but he was wonderful as a caring, overworked caretaker of a down and out Orlando apartment complex.
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
WHO WILL WIN: Allison Janney. “I Tonya”. She’s has a string of Emmys and great supporting roles in film (“American Beauty”), but this portrayal of a truly frightening, yet complex, “rink mom” is her best work to date. I worked with her for a season on “A Prairie Home Companion” in the 90’s, before her superstardom, but never doubted an Oscar would be in her future.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Laurie Metcalf was amazing as the strong minded mom in ”Lady Bird”. I highly recommend “HBO’s “Getting On” for seeing the best of Laurie as the manic administrator of a chaotic geriatric hospital wing.
“Dunkirk”, Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird”, Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
WHO WILL WIN: Guillermo del Toro. I think the voters will finally link the “Best director” winner with the “Best picture” winner. He pulls together a visual masterpiece and grand collection of acting performances.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Guillermo del Toro should, although Greta Gerwig is a worthy contender. She created a really personal world that connected with audiences young and old.
Makeup and Hair:
“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten
WHO WILL WIN: It’s a lock, “Darkest Hour”, a truly amazing transformation: Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill.
WHO MIGHT WIN: No contender here. “Darkest Hour” all the way.
“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle
WHO WILL WIN: A movie about fashion? Heck yeah! “Phantom Thread”.
WHO MIGHT WIN: “The Shape of Water” Outfitting actor Doug Jones as a slimy Fish Man takes some doing, and they did it right.
“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman
WHO MIGHT WIN: “Coco”. It’s a lock.
“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
WHO WILL WIN: James Ivory, “Call Me By Your Name”.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Aaron Sorkin for “Molly’s Game”. If he wins he should be made to give a very intricate speech while walking at the same time.
“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
WHO WILL WIN: Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The Irish playwright has whipped up another fascinating screenplay, though there has been some controversy about his treatment of racial themes.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Jordan Peele is a dark horse here for the very successful “Get Out” , co-starring Allison Williams, who I remember as a production assistant on Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion”. I know, ” Many people have said it’s all about me, believe me, SAD!”
I also think there is a good chance the Academy will honor Greta Gerwig, who will lose best director, for her wonderful “Lady Bird”
“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mud bound”, Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
WHO WILL WIN: Dan Laustsen for “The Shape of Water”. Imaginative and very difficult scenes that are hard to forget.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Roger Deakins. “Bladerunner 2049”. The Coen Brothers go-to guy has been nominated 14 times with no wins. He deserves this one. By the way he shot my mini-scene in the Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man”. Some of his best work!
Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)
WHO WILL WIN: “Loveless”. A Look at current Russian societal ills, the story of a couple in such a poisonous relationship that they literally forget the impact on their 12 year old son.
WHO MIGHT WIN: “The Square”, from Sweden, has been picking up a lot of awards. Plus it stars Elizabeth Moss, a voter favorite, from “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer
WHO WILL WIN: “Negative Space”, The story of a boy, packing luggage, and a Dad, in an unusual Stop Action, claymation style. It has a touching story that should capture the voter’s hearts
WHO MIGHT WIN: “Garden Party”. The animation here is astounding as we discover the rot of a crumbling, infested estate with a slowly revealing story of excess gone to seed. This one was my personal favorite. “Lou”, the story of a grade school recess toy box teaching the school bully a valuable lesson is very entertaining but Pixar will get it’s due with the best Animated Feature win for Pixar’s “Coco”.
Best Documentary Short Subject:
“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
WHO WILL WIN: “Heroin(e)”. This is a truly inspiring story of three women in a West Virginia town, making a big difference in the fight against the Opioid Epidemic.
WHO MIGHT WIN: This is a great category; I saw the films at the Historic Riverview in Minneapolis, a midcentury masterpiece of a theater. All these shorts deserve to be seen. Search them out. I think”Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405″, about the amazing artist Mindy Alper, is a strong contender and I think Thomas Lennon’s “Knife Skills”, about prisoners rehab in a culinary class, is particularly inspiring.
Best Live Action Short Film:
“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen
WHO WILL WIN: All fantastic entries, but considering the recent tragedy in Parkland FL, “Dekalb Elementary” will affect the last minute voters the most. A truly terrifying potential school shooting, based on an actual 911 call, is defused by a school secretary. Great performance by Tara Riggs as the school secretary.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Another tension filled short about the 1955 racist murder of Emmett Tell, “My Nephew Emmett” in Mississppi. L.B. Williams is terrific as the boy’s protective uncle.
“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory
WHO WILL WIN: This is between “The Shape of Water” and “Dunkirk”. I think this category will go to champ of the evening,”The Shape of Water”.
WHO MIGHT WIN : Maybe “Dunkirk”..
“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood
WHO WILL WIN: I’ll go with the Oscars voters wanting to award Christopher Nolan with something this year, so “Dunkirk” it is..
WHO MIGHT WIN: “Baby Driver: I love the way the integrated the great soundtrack with the action.
“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick
WHO WILL WIN: Sticking with “Dunkirk”.
WHO MIGHT WIN: “Baby Driver”
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell
WHO WILL WIN: A battle of the composer heavyweights, the winner is Alexander Desplat.
WHO MIGHT WIN: Carter Burwell.
“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
WHO WILL WIN: I must admit, “Remember Me” became a total “ear worm” for days, so that’s my choice.
WHO MIGHT WIN: “Mighty River”. The voters might want to see a great emotional speech by Mary J. Blige
“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist
WHO WILL WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”. I thought the effects here were ground breaking.
WHO MIGHT WIN: “War for the Planet of the Apes”. The Master of Motion Capture, Andy Serkis, gets a real showcase here, though I must say, he doesn’t need special effects to become Klaue in “Black Panther”, one of the nastiest thugs to ever grace the Marvel Universe.
“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
WHO WILL WIN: “The Shape of Water”. All I kept thinking while watching is, “Wow, what production design!”.
WHO MIGHT WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”, for taking us to another world.