Parikh’s Oscar predictions


Richard B. Levine/Sipa USA from Tribune News Service

Oscar statuettes that will be presented to winners at an Academy Award presentation are displayed at “Meet the Oscars” in the Times Square Studios on February 12, 2007.

Shrey Parikh, Reporter

90th Academy Awards Preview

Early in the morning on Jan 23, 2018, actors Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish announced the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards.

Here’s a look ahead at the nominees and potential winners ahead of the actual ceremony airing this Sunday, March 4th. I will not be discussing the documentary, short film, or foreign film categories as I know little to nothing about the nominees from those categories.

*Note: my predictions are in Bold and my preferred winners are Underlined

Best Picture

Nominees: Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape Of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

With nine nominees, The Best Picture is the toughest category to make a prediction about. The Academy usually does make smart decisions with its nominees, picking the best films of the year accurately, and thus making it tougher to choose which one is the best. This is largely the case for this year, with a few exceptions; Darkest Hour, The Post, and Phantom Thread are both largely driven by their leads and are not amongst the strongest films of the year, and should thus not be considered for the year’s top prize. Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird are both extremely well made coming of age films, though they aren’t entirely the transcendent films that they have been praised as. Dunkirk and Get Out, as entertaining as they are, are genre films, which don’t tend to do well at the Academy Awards, especially horror films like Get Out. Both were amongst my favorite films of my year, though it is very unlikely that either will end up winning. This leaves The Shape Of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in contention for the big prize. Both films were fantastic and deserving of the honor, but the Academy likes to split up the winner of Best Director and Best Picture, as evidenced by last year’s split between La La Land and Moonlight, and seeing as Del Toro is posed to win Best Director, Best Picture will likely go to the extremely deserving Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. A smart, character driven film filled with rage and humor, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is easily my favorite film out of these nominees and deserves to win this award.

Best Director

Nominees: Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, Paul Thomas Anderson, Guillermo del Toro

Marking just the fifth time that a female director has been nominated, Greta Gerwig’s nomination is well earned, as is Jordan Peele’s. Both are first time directors, and both directed the two best reviewed movies of the year, Lady Bird and Get Out, respectively. Of all the nominees, only Paul Thomas Anderson has been nominated here before. Nolan and del Toro’s nominations have been a long time coming, and the race will probably come down to them, with del Toro having a slight advantage with his multiple wins for direction this awards season.

Best Actor

 Nominees: Timothée Chalamet, Daniel Day Lewis, Daniel Kaluuya, Gary Oldman, Denzel Washington

The first time since 2001 that two black actors have both been nominated for this category, Kaluuya’s nomination is a welcome and well deserved surprise, though Washington’s is confusing, seeing as his film, Roman J. Israel, Esq. received largely negative reviews and there wasn’t much praise for his performance either. Instead, Andy Serkis’ motion-capture performance as the ape leader Caesar in the finale of the Apes trilogy, War For The Planet Of The Apes was once again overlooked, continuing the Academy’s tradition of ignoring the difficult task of conveying a large amount of emotion through motion capture, an art that Serkis has mastered during his time in the business. Otherwise, Daniel Day Lewis’ supposed final film appearance gains him another nomination, giving him a chance to add to his own record for most Lead Actor wins, though the award will probably go to Gary Oldman, whose performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour has earned much critical praise, as well as multiple wins at ceremonies like the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards.

Best Actress

Nominees: Sally Hawkins, Frances McDormand, Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep breaks her own record for most acting nominations with her 21st nomination, although this one doesn’t feel as well earned, contains the Academy’s streak of nominating her simply because she was in a movie, seen in her nominations for the mediocre movies Florence Foster Jenkins and Into The Woods. Jessica Chastain’s work in Molly’s Game went unnoticed, as did Emma Stone’s in Battle Of The Sexes. This should be an easy win for McDormand, whose fiery performance as an angry mother in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has been universally acclaimed and rewarded, although Saoirse Ronan’s performance as the titular character in Lady Bird has also earned lots of praise and could provide some competition.

Best Supporting Actor

 Nominees: Willem Dafoe, Woody Harrelson, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Plummer, Sam Rockwell

One of the few widely open categories, there is no clear front runner. Sam Rockwell has been praised for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as has Woody Harrelson. Christopher Plummer’s quick replacement of Kevin Spacey in All The Money in the World has also gathered lots of attention, and Willem Dafoe gained lots of praise for his performance in the indie darling The Florida Project. The race should come down to Plummer, Rockwell, and Dafoe in the lead.

Best Supporting Actress

 Nominees: Mary J. Blige, Allison Janney, Lesley Manville, Laurie Metcalf, Octavia Spencer

With several motherly performances in this category, albeit very different ones, it’s surprising that the Academy opted for Lesley Manville’s largely low-key performance in Phantom Thread over Holly Hunter’s powerful and, at times, hilarious performance from the critical darling The Big Sick. At any rate, this category really comes down to a race between Allison Janney and Laurie Metcalf, from I, Tonya and Lady Bird, respectively. Both actresses have been neck and neck with wins throughout the awards season, though as the ceremony approaches, a clear front runner should become apparent.

Best Original Screenplay

 Nominees: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape Of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

 This year has been filled with plenty of spectacularly written Original Screenplays, each one extremely diverse and unique in its own ways. From a racially tinged horror to an interspecies romance, the differences are endless. The Big Sick’s snubs in the acting and Best Picture categories were especially disappointing, so it would be great to see it get the recognition it deserves for its beautiful love story in this screenwriting category. However, one of the two Best Picture frontrunners is likely to end up winning this category as well. Three Billboards has an extremely emotional and complex story, and it would be deserving of the win in this category.

 Best Adapted Screenplay

 Nominees: Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game, Mudbound

 Logan marks the first time that a superhero film has been nominated in a category like this, which is very exciting for comic book fans. It would be refreshing for the Academy to vote against its tradition, however it’s unlikely. Another well written adaptation is Molly’s Game, written by the always impressive Aaron Sorkin. His fast paced dialogue in his directorial debut is spot on, though this category is likely to go to the much more critically acclaimed Call Me By Your Name, which is terrific in its own rights.

 Best Animated Feature Film

 Nominees: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent

 First let’s discuss the elephant in the room; The Boss Baby. Why this film was nominated escapes me, and the only logical explanation I can think of for why 100 minutes of poop jokes were nominated is that there was a lack of animated movies this year that were good enough to be considered. However, this isn’t even true; the excellent LEGO Batman Movie was snubbed for this category just as it’s equally amazing predecessor, The LEGO Movie was in 2014. This category should be an easy win for Pixar’s Coco unless The Breadwinner manages to pull off an upset.

 Best Original Score

Nominees: Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Shape Of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

 John Williams’ traditional Star Wars nomination is present, and again, it is well deserved. The score builds on past Star Wars themes while developing new themes of its own. It’d be nice to see Williams win another award for his fantastic work, though Hans Zimmer’s masterful score for Dunkirk is award worthy as well. The tense undertones that are always present in Zimmer’s scores are just as effective here, and to see him get recognition would be rewarding. However, this category will likely go to Alexandre Desplat’s score for The Shape Of Water. The fantastical themes work well with the underwater theme, and Desplat is a deserving winner, as he often has won the category when he has been nominated in the past.

 Best Original Song

Nominees: “Mighty River”, “Mystery Of Love”, “Remember Me”, “Stand up for Something”, “This Is Me”

Though they are largely all fantastic songs, this category should come to a matchup between “Remember Me” and “This is Me”. “This is Me” was written by last year’s award-winning songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (of La La Land fame), though their soundtrack for The Greatest Showman hasn’t quite had the staying power that last year’s for La La Land did. On the other hand, the emotional impact of Coco’s “Remember Me” has been renowned, and the song is beautifully written. Coco also has the added benefit of being a Disney movie, typically an indicator that the film will win in this category.

Best Sound Editing

 Nominees: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape Of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 Sound design is an extremely vital and often under appreciated component of filmmaking, essential in immersing the viewer in the entire viewing experience. Dunkirk has been the loudest film I’ve seen in a theater, and that loud, in your face, sound design shocks the audience and puts them in the same state of mind as the main characters in the film. Similarly, Baby Driver’s entire film experiment is built on the music and the combination of that with the sounds of the environment and the events happening on screen. This category should be tight race between the two, as well as Blade Runner 2049.

 Best Sound Mixing

 Nominees: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape Of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 There isn’t a very large difference between this category and Sound Mixing, so what was said for that category should apply here as well.

 Best Production Design

Nominees: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape Of Water

 Dunkirk and Darkest Hour are odd choices for nominees in this categories, as they are largely straightforward and dully designed period pieces. On the other hand, the other three nominees are lavishly detailed and unique in their own ways. Blade Runner’s dystopian future world is complex and fully realized, and each character feels like they fit within the settings. Beauty and the Beast is an extremely sumptuous fantasy realm with fantastic sets for the castle and its many rooms. However, the likely winner in this category is The Shape Of Water, which is both a period piece and a fantasy. Every location is well realized, from the labs, to the tanks, to the apartment. This should swing the film largely in voters’ favors, and likely guarantee its victory.

 Best Cinematography

Nominees: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Mudbound, The Shape Of Water

 As mentioned in my review of Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins’ work has been snubbed by the Oscars many times before, and the work he put in here is his finest yet. Blade Runner 2049 has a lush and beautiful landscape, yet also harsh and unforgiving when needed, all thanks to Deakins. This category should be an easy win for him, however The Shape Of Water could pull off an upset with its stunning underwater scenes.

 Best Makeup and Hairstyling

 Nominees: Darkest Hour, Victoria & Abdul, Wonder

 A small category with only three nominees, the makeup and hairstyling nominees still have some pretty fierce competition. Wonder has some impressive prosthetic work involved with its main character, however, the real impressor is the work involved with Gary Oldman’s transformation in Darkest Hour. The fat suit and makeup and prosthetics turn Oldman into a perfect duplicate of Winston Churchill that fully immersed the viewer in the story of the film. Though the completion is tough, this win should go to The Darkest Hour.

Best Costume Design

 Nominees: Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, The Shape Of Water, Victoria & Abdul

 Period pieces typically end up winning this category, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Phantom Thread, a period piece about a dressmaker and filled with many complex costumes, win this category. However, Beauty and the Beast is another gorgeously detailed period piece, and its costuming is no different. To see it pull off an upset in this category would be a welcome surprise.

 Best Film Editing

Nominees: Baby Driver, Dunkirk, I, Tonya, The Shape Of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

 The unique style of Dunkirk, jumping between three different time periods, yet still allowing the story to flow seamlessly, should make it appealing to voters in this category. However, the film that really stands out from an editing standpoint is Baby Driver, which is chock-full of Edgar Wright’s signature jump cuts and clever transitions between scenes. Much of the power of the movie comes down to its masterfully edited car chase sequences, and those should secure this win for Baby Driver.

 Best Visual Effects

 Nominees: Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Kong: Skull Island, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes

 Another category that appears to be wide open at this moment, each of the nominees has something unique it brings to the table. War for the Planet Of the Apes revolutionized motion capture performances in film with Andy Serkis and his crew of incredible actors, and its simian competitor, Kong: Skull Island likewise brought to life the titular beast with a visually stunning mastery of the medium. The spacey visuals of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi are equally impressive and unique, and the use of visual tricks and enhancement in Blade Runner 2049 ensure that this race will be a close one between all the nominees.