Final Oscar Predictions 2018: Who Will Win the Academy Award?

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It’s Oscar weekend.  The time where the final predictions are flowing within the awards community.  As this writing is dropping late in the game, I feel as though I owe the readership an explanation to the lack of editorial coverage this week (for those who don’t follow on social media).  Last weekend, my older brother William suddenly passed.  It’s been a colossally difficult week saying goodbye and with that, many things took a back seat.  I normally share with the readers the ballots of several Oscar voters and tons of other things that are just sitting in an incomplete box on the computer.   They’ll likely stay there as running through the coverage post-mortem won’t offer too much insight.  Rather, I’ll give some insight to those down below as I go through the categories.

With all that said, I always use this post to offer tons of “thank you’s.”  To the publicists that partner with us to give a spotlight to performers and films…thank you.  To our fellow critics and colleagues from all the different outlets that continue to inspire us to raise our game…thank you.  To my friends and family who are so supportive and continue to be my champion in fulfilling a long dream of mine…thank you.  To my wife and children who sacrifice so much for me to chase my dreams…thank you.  To my team of writers, many of which are friends, who still continue to believe in this crazy ride of mine…thank you.  To the readership of AwardsCircuit.com.  Both old and new, you give us a little more reason to continue on.  You’re the reason we try to do better and will strive for excellence because you deserve it.  And with that…thank you.

With that said, the final predictions for the Oscars are down below with commentary.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)

This has seemed like a two horse race this Phase 2 season as “A Fantastic Woman” and “The Square” seemed to benefit immensely from the absence of “In the Fade.”  The #MeToo movement is going to peak through ballots and awarding a film starring a transgender actress, who herself was thoroughly in the hunt for a nomination all year, will be a good way to do so.

ALTERNATE: “The Square” (Sweden)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “In the Fade” (Germany)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Icarus” (Netflix)

The absence of “Jane” blew this race wide open and all the distributors jumped on the opportunity to get themselves out in front.  From the critical side, “Faces Places” feels like the default choice but Netflix put the pedal to the floor on “Icarus” and I think it may have done the trick in the end.

ALTERNATE: “Faces Places”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Cries from Syria”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Remember Me” from “Coco” (Pixar)

The Golden Globes chose the hit number from “The Greatest Showman” while Critics Choice went with the pinnacle number of “Coco.”  There have also been quite a bit of voters that threw love towards “Mudbound” and Mary J. Blige.  That could be an upset pick.  Let’s go with “Coco” for safe keeping.

ALTERNATE: “Mighty River” from “Mudbound”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Prayers for this World” from “Cries from Syria”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The Shape of Water” (Alexandre Desplat)

Jonny Greenwood (“Phantom Thread”) and Hans Zimmer (“Dunkirk”) were all hoping to get in front of Alexandre Desplat but with BAFTA, Globes, and Critics Choice in-pocket, it’s difficult to see any other outcome.  With that said, Focus Features and Warner Bros. still believes in the upset and we should watch out for one to occur.

ALTERNATE: “Dunkirk” (Hans Zimmer)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Loving Vincent” (Clint Mansell)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Blade Runner 2049”

It was interesting to watch a possible outcome where they would reward the final installment of the beloved “Planet of the Apes” franchise but BAFTA missed the boat while Critics Choice got the memo.  “Blade Runner 2049” is set to do very well on Oscar night and should bring up the tally.

ALTERNATE: “War for the Planet of the Apes”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

BEST SOUND EDITING: “Dunkirk”
BEST SOUND MIXING: “Dunkirk”

Combining the two categories, not many are foreseeing a split and if you are looking to get the most of your Oscar ballot, you shouldn’t either.  “Baby Driver” could snag it in the end, as many voters expressed their love for the film and gave it their votes.  “Blade Runner 2049” and “The Shape of Water” is also in the hunt for the prize and was brought up quite a bit.

ALTERNATES: “Baby Driver”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Hostiles” and “mother!”

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: “Darkest Hour”

This has seemed sewn up for 12 months and it’s hard to see any other outcome but if we are, “Wonder” could be it.

ALTERNATE: “Wonder”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “I, Tonya”

BEST FILM EDITING: “Dunkirk” (Lee Smith)

Call this my last minute flip-flop.  “Baby Driver” has been my choice for Phase 2 and even with taking the BAFTA prize, who has been an indicator of surprise wins like “Hacksaw Ridge,” we stayed the course.  Warner Bros. feels like “Dunkirk” is a possibility for Best Picture and I tend to believe them based on all the #2 and #3 placements on ballots that were shared with me.  I think the war film may squeak by at the end.

ALTERNATE: “Baby Driver” (Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “mother!” (Andrew Weisblum)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “Phantom Thread” (Mark Bridges)

This is one of the biggest locks of the night especially given that the film pulled in multiple nominations.  It’s been a clean sweep for the film and leads in precursors.  I imagine they’ll open up with this one.

ALTERNATE: “Beauty and the Beast” (Jacqueline Durran)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Mudbound” (Michael T. Boyd)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Blade Runner 2049” (Roger Deakins)

Dare I say it?  Are we about to witness the great Roger Deakins win an Academy Award?  Critics Choice, ASC, and BAFTA is a combination that he has not had before.  It looks like it’s finally his time unless “The Shape of Water” or “Dunkirk” have something to say about it.

ALTERNATE: “The Shape of Water” (Dan Laustsen)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Hostiles” (Masanobu Takanayagi)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “The Shape of Water”

There are three films in the hunt for this prize: “Blade Runner 2049,” “Darkest Hour,” and “The Shape of Water.”  “Blade Runner” has snagged itself quite a bit of prizes this season and “Darkest Hour” has always been a great upset pick to mirror something like “Lincoln.”  “The Shape of Water” is going for Best Picture in the end and needs to rack up a tally and this seems like something for it to grab.

ALTERNATE: “Blade Runner 2049”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Wonderstruck”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Coco” (Pixar)

Is this worth speculating over?  “Coco” has taken everything it needs to and is the biggest lock of the night and so well deserved.  It should have made it into the Best Picture lineup if you ask me.

ALTERNATE: “The Breadwinner” (GKIDS)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: They got it exactly right.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “Call Me by Your Name” (James Ivory)

This may seem like a runaway for James Ivory but Dee Rees and Virgil Williams (“Mudbound”) received votes on ballots as did “Molly’s Game” surprisingly.  Unsure if they were enough to upset but it looks as though Ivory may become the oldest winner in Oscar history (if Agnes Varda doesn’t win Documentary Feature).

ALTERNATE: “Mudbound” (Dee Rees, Virgil Williams)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Rian Johnson)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Martin McDonagh)

This is one of the hottest races of the night as “Three Billboards,” “Get Out,” and “Lady Bird” are all pulling in their fair share of votes.  Even “The Shape of Water” is offering up a compelling case of a shocking win.  With Golden Globes and BAFTA, McDonagh’s film seems like the one made for the stage but “Get Out” has WGA (where “Three Billboards” wasn’t eligible) and Critics Choice.  It’ll be a photo finish.

ALTERNATE: “Get Out” (Jordan Peele)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Novitiate” (Maggie Betts)

BEST ANIMATED SHORT: “Dear Basketball”
ALTERNATE: “Lou”
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: “Edith+Eddie”
ALTERNATE: “Heroin(e)”
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: “Dekalb Elementary”
ALTERNATE: “The Eleven O’Clock”

The hardest categories to predict but I went with the sentiment of “Dear Basketball” over Pixar, the emotion of “Edith+Eddie” over Netflix, and timely nature of “Dekalb Elementary.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”) led the season in wins but when it came to the televised shows, Allison Janney has run away with it all.  It’s become a great way to reward “I, Tonya” and Janney is a favorite among many TV-movie crossover voters.

ALTERNATE: Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Melissa Leo (“Novitiate”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”) led the season but Sam Rockwell came through when it mattered.  With Rockwell’s film becoming a bonafide threat in Best Picture, the tally of wins will be sure to grow.

ALTERNATE: Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Will Poulter (“Detroit”)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Oscar-winner Frances McDormand is about to become two-time Oscar-winner and it feels appropriate.  The heart and soul of her film, she’s muscled by some of the stiffest competition that we’ve seen in a Best Actress lineup.  Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”) are possible spoilers if they end up edging her out.  Some voters I’ve spoken with were quite fond of the two and they are totally in the hunt.

ALTERNATE: Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Diane Kruger (“In the Fade”)

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

Gary Oldman has had this made for him for 12 months and just needed someone to offer up a more compelling argument to take it away.  While Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”) and Daniel Day-Lewis (“Phantom Thread”) tried their best, it looks as though Oldman is ready for his moment on the Oscar stage.

ALTERNATE: Daniel Day-Lewis (“Phantom Thread”)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Steve Carell (“Last Flag Flying”)

The Shape of WaterBEST DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

The industry is ready to award the iconic and visionary director Guillermo del Toro.  Plain and simple.  So many ballots have his name on it as seen by talking with Oscar voters.  If there’s a spoiler for the prize, Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”) is the culprit.

ALTERNATE: Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Dee Rees (“Mudbound”)

BEST PICTURE: “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

It’s all down to this.  “The Shape of Water” has PGA, Critics Choice, and DGA.  “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” has SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globes.  That seems to be the race.  While many are putting a lot of stock into the Director miss for “Three Billboards,” it’s heavily in the running and may be the default choice.  A stat is going to be broken either way.  It looks to the SAG Ensemble stat that “La La Land” tried to last season.

ALTERNATE: “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “I, Tonya” (NEON)

FINAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS (COLLECTIVE)

BEST PICTURE
“The Shape of Water” (J. Miles Dale, Guillermo del Toro)

BEST DIRECTOR
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

BEST ACTOR
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

BEST ACTRESS
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Martin McDonagh)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“Call Me by Your Name” (James Ivory)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Coco” (Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“The Shape of Water” (Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Blade Runner 2049” (Roger Deakins)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Phantom Thread” (Mark Bridges)

BEST FILM EDITING
“Dunkirk” (Lee Smith)

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“Darkest Hour” (Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick)

BEST SOUND MIXING
“Dunkirk” (Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo and Mark Weingarten)

BEST SOUND EDITING
“Dunkirk” (Richard King and Alex Gibson)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Blade Runner 2049” (John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“The Shape of Water” (Alexandre Desplat)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Remember Me” from “Coco”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“A Fantastic Woman” from Chile

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Icarus” (Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan)

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“Dear Basketball” (Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant)

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Edith+Eddie” (Laura Checkoway)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Dekalb Elementary” (Reed Van Dyk)

CLICK THE CATEGORY TO SEE THE OSCAR PREDICTIONS:

MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |
FOREIGN LANGUAGE | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE |

ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT |