Predicting the 2018 Oscar Winners

It's here guys: the 90th Academy Awards are tonight. The voter's ballots are completed and have been counted and verified. Of course, we won't find out for a few hours who will be taking home the gold statues -- but that doesn't stop us from having a good old guess!

Below are my predictions for the major categories at the 2018 Oscars: these predictions are based on how categories have panned out during across the award circuit - BAFTA, Golden Globes are of particular interest - as well as analysing the Academy's voting inclination over the years, general buzz and sentiment towards the films in contention and simple gut instinct. For each category, I will comment on:


Pretty simple, right? Be sure to send in your own predictions and we can compare thoughts! Here we go...


Unofficially, Best Picture really comes down to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri vs. The Shape of Water. Had you have asked me two weeks ago where my money would be, I would have been leaning towards Water taking it based on consensus -- however, in the last couple of days sentiment for Three Billboards has increased as the film's political implications have grown and the strong, negative reaction has been dismantled somewhat. Scooping up the Golden Globe and BAFTA only help Billboards' case but last year we did see La La Land win at both with the Oscar eventually going to Moonlight, so - with the Academy's different voting system, which you can explore here - take that with a pinch of salt.

Now, the preferential vote could throw it all in Water's favour but that film does have its detractors too; should the vote be too split for either to conquer, it may give way to one of the more universally-appreciated films to sneak though, namely Get Out or Lady Bird - who incidentally hold the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of the nominees. Dunkirk might manage a shock win too. Many will swear by either Get Out or Lady Bird winning, but I still see this as a race between Billboards and Water. Put me down for Billboards at the moment but I may change allegiance before the ceremony.

Update: The Shape of Water won the evenings top accolade meaning my ultimate prediction wound up incorrect - although I wasn't far off!

You can see my full ranking of the Best Picture films here.


WILL WIN: Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
SHOULD WIN: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
SNUBBED: Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name

Guillermo Del Toro looks set to win his first Oscar for Best Director with his stunning work on The Shape of Water. It would be a surprise really to see anyone else win - Del Toro has taken the BAFTA and the Golden Globe already - but if anyone could prove an upset, it's the long-overlooked Christopher Nolan for his extraordinary work on Dunkirk. Arguably his most accomplished piece of work to date, Nolan is waiting in the wings -- but don't expect his time to come now, as Del Toro has everything working in his favour.

Update: Mr Del Toro succeeded here, taking the Best Director award and becoming the third Mexican winner in four years!


WILL WIN: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
SHOULD WIN: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
SNUBBED: Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger

Unfortunately, the Academy have probably already begun etching Oldman's name on to the trophy, with his melodramatic performance as Winston Churchill probably the biggest lock for the night. It would take an awful lot to dethrone him and I can't see it happening. Chalamet's more internal, emotive and rendered performance deserves it and he's probably in with the best chance of overthrowing Oldman -- but the general narrative that this is 'Oldman's time', matched with the Academy's inclination to award the flashy over the subtle this year, suggests that this race ended before it even began.

Update: As suspected, Oldman took the award. Don't worry Timmy, you're the winner in my eyes.


WILL WIN: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
SHOULD WIN: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
SNUBBED: Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread; Jennifer Lawrence, mother!

Like Best Actor, Best Actress looks all but set in stone; McDormand, a worthy winner but not my first pick, will add the Oscar to her collection after taking the BAFTA, Golden Globe and numerous other trophies for her performance in Billboards, a fire-cracking, brash turn that feels very of the moment. Hawkins, maybe Saoirse Ronan, is the biggest competition and the former would win my vote for her wordless, boundless performance -- but it's probably too subtle to win the majority of voters over and McDormand will get the chance to deliver another speech we've all come to know and love across award season on Oscar night.

Update: McDormand conquered and delivered the most stirring speech and rally cry of the evening. Although not my top pick, a thoroughly deserved victory for the Three Billboards actress.


WILL WIN: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
SHOULD WIN: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
SNUBBED: Armie Hammer AND Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

Another almost definite, Sam Rockwell will continue his winning streak on Oscar night. The Three Billboards actor could be pipped to the post by Willem Dafoe, but The Florida Project's underperformance and lack of major wins for Dafoe recently means that Rockwell will almost certainly add to Three Billboards' haul on the night.

That neither Hammer or Stuhlbarg are in contention is the biggest snub of 2018.

Update: Another foreseen victory, Sam Rockwell took the first award of the evening for Three Billboards.


WILL WIN: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
SHOULD WIN: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
SNUBBED: Tatiana Maslany, Stronger

Another acting category, another lock: Janney will take home the award for her gaudy performance as Tonya Harding's mom. See what I mean with the theatrical winning over the subtle this year? Metcalf would be a deserving winner and could be the biggest shot at an upset, although Manville and Spencer would be deserving too. It's a strong category although my winner wasn't even nominated...

Update: Ms. Janney earned I, Tonya it only win of the night for her role as cinema's worst mother of the year.


WILL WIN: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, written by Martin McDonagh
SHOULD WIN: Get Out, written by Jordan Peele
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Get Out, written by Jordan Peele
SNUBBED: A Ghost Story, written by David Lowrey

Original Screenplay is one of the most difficult to call this year. In all likelihood, we are looking at it coming down to Three Billboards vs. Get Out vs. Lady Bird. All managed a Best Picture nomination and have performed rather well across the circuit, and while Billboards took the BAFTA and Golden Globe, Get Out and Lady Bird - particularly the former - have been gaining ground in the last few weeks. Voters may wish to (rightfully) reward Peele's feature-length in this category as a general 'congratulations', as it looks unlikely to pick up gold elsewhere; the same could happen with Gerwig's Lady Bird, particularly after winning the Independent Spirit Award last night. In other words, I don't really know but I'm sticking with what the BAFTAs told me -- it's Three Billboards for the win.

Update: Original Screenplay ultimately went to Get Out over Three Billboards -- winning the biggest cheer of the evening in the meanwhile too!


WILL WIN: Call Me By Your Name, written by James Ivory
SHOULD WIN: Call Me By Your Name, written by James Ivory
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Mudbound, written by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
SNUBBED: Their Finest, written by Gaby Chiappe

It's difficult to see this going to anyone but James Ivory for his stellar work with Call Me By Your Name. This category boasts the only nod for three of the nominees who can be ruled out pretty sharpish, with Call Me By Your Name being the only one of the bunch earning a Best Picture nomination. And with Ivory having swept most other award shows and critic's choice, a win here looks all but certain. If anyone can unthrone him on the night, it's Virgil Williams and Dee Rees for Mudbound -- but don't hold your breath.

Update: Call Me By Your Name's only win of the night, James Ivory deservedly scooped up Adapted Screenplay.


SHOULD WIN: Loving Vincent
SNUBBED: Even Cars 3 was better than The Boss Baby...

In a pretty dire year for animation, Loving Vincent and Coco were two beacon burning brightly; they exist at very different ends of the spectrum but both impressive nonetheless. While my heart and loyalties lie with Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman's Loving Vincent, Disney Pixar's Coco will not be dethroned here -- it is a bigger animation in every sense of the world and the powerhouse that is Pixar have rarely lost; eight of the studios films have won the award for Best Animated feature and it's impossible to believe Coco won't be joining them as the ninth.

Update: Disney Pixar add Coco to their Animated Feature-winning haul.


WILL WIN: A Fantastic Woman

An open race indeed, Foreign Language is up in the air. A Fantastic Woman, The Square and Loveless are the main contenders and very little separates them, all taking the lead at various stages in the journey. Having, shamefully, not seen any of the nominees this year (due to late and limited UK releases), I cannot comment from a personal perspective but my gut reaction is that Chile's nominee will take Foreign Language.

Update: A Fantastic Woman wins in an evening bursting with fantastic women.


WILL WIN: Last Men in Aleppo 
SHOULD WIN: Strong Island
SNUBBED: Kingdom of Us

Last Men in Aleppo's seems to be the most timely of the films here and for that reason - as well as its presence in the news, over the filmmaker(s)' denied (then accepted) visa application - it will go on to win in a category that seems a little misjudged in all honesty. It trajectory is very reminiscent of last year's Best Foreign Language winner The Salesman, although Icarus and Faces Places may put up a strong fight.

Update: Netflix's Icarus ultimately took the documentary gong in what I suspect was one of the tightest races of the evening.


WILL WIN: Alexandre Desplat's The Shape of Water 
SHOULD WIN: Alexandre Desplat's The Shape of Water
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Hans Zimmer's Dunkirk
SNUBBED: Daniel Hart's A Ghost Story

Alexandre Desplat has created something truly magical with his work on The Shape of Water and he looks set to win a second Academy Award after his win with The Grand Budapest Hotel just a few years ago. Hans Zimmer and Jonny Greenwood are his closest competition for Dunkirk and Phantom Thread respectively (and both equally as deserving of the trophy), but this really is Desplat's award to lose -- he took the Golden Globes and the BAFTA and the Oscar will complete the set on Sunday.

Update: One of four wins for the film, The Shape of Water took Best Original Score for Desplat's stunning collection.


WHO WILL WIN: This Is Me, The Greatest Showman
WHO SHOULD WIN: Mystery of Love, Call Me By Your Name
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Remember Me, Coco
SNUBBED: Visions of Gideon, Call Me By Your Name

La La Land's lyricists will win again with 'This Is Me', The Greatest Showman's defining self-empowerment anthem. While Sufjan Stevens' Mystery of Love is arguably the best song in contention, it does not have the wide appeal of the musical number, or even Coco's catchy Remember Me.

Update: It was Coco's Remember Me that won Original Song, giving the Mexican-centred animation its second win of the night.


POSSIBLE UPSETS: Blade Runner 2049
SNUBBED: mother!

Dunkirk was a loud, well-orchestrated and composed cinematic experience, sonically and cinematically and could, upsettingly, win its only award of the night here -- the only thing that would be more annoying than Dunkirk losing out on Sound Editing is the fact that mother! wasn't even nominated.

Update: As suspected, Dunkirk took it.


SNUBBED: mother!

Hacksaw Ridge took it last year so it wouldn't be surprising if another war film took it this year. Although less of a lock than Sound Editing, with Baby Driver revving from the sidelines, Dunkirk's sonic landscape is tremendously well-realised and balanced. It could easily take both sound categories but the Academy did hand Mixing and Editing to different films last year...

Update: Another technical for Dunkirk -- presented by two of its main competitor's actors... ouch.


WHO WILL WIN: Blade Runner 2049
POSSIBLE UPSETS: War For The Planet of the Apes
SNUBBED: The Shape of Water

Blade Runner 2049 vs War For The Planet of the Apes won't go the way I want it to -- despite the groundbreaking work on the Planet of the Apes series, culminating in the final chapter in the trilogy, Blade Runner 2049 will probably take this one for its futuristic landscapes and aural feel. Apes might surprise but I except to be disappointed.

Update: Blade Runner 2049 predictably wins, but in doing so, cements the Academy's failure to recognise the technical marvel of The Planet of Apes reboot franchise as one of the biggest stings in recent memory.


SNUBBED: mother!

Dunkirk and Baby Driver have scored pretty even wins across the field but I favour Dunkirk for the win with the Academy. The more structurally layered and complex of the two, Dunkirk is a masterpiece in editing and the more technically impressive of the two thanks to intertwining narratives. While I wouldn't sniff at a Baby Driver win all too much (I, Tonya would also be deserving), Dunkirk deserves this one.

Update: Another technical for Dunkirk and thoroughly, thoroughly deserved.


WHO WILL WIN: Blade Runner 2049
SNUBBED: Call Me By Your Name

Roger Deakins may not be my pick for cinematography - although Blade Runner 2049 was gorgeous to look at - but a win here feels right. After fourteen nominations but no gold, it's his time (so they say). Dunkirk might take it (and would have my vote) but there's no denying that the narrative's working in Deakins' favour.

Update: The riots were cancelled. 2049 takes cinematography and Deakins earns a standing ovation.


WHO WILL WIN: The Shape of Water
WHO SHOULD WIN: The Shape of Water
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Blade Runner 2049
SNUBBED: mother!

The Shape of Water's production design is utterly ravishing, a spell-binding experience made for just a reported $20 million budget; to me, that's more impressive than a nine-digit-budgeted production blowing your socks off. Voters may not have the same opinion though, with both Blade Runner 2049 and Beauty & The Beast posing a threat to The Shape of Water. My heart says it will take it, though but, feasibly, anyone could win on the night.

Update: The luscious production design on The Shape of Water earned the film its first win of the night.


WHO WILL WIN: Phantom Thread
WHO SHOULD WIN: Phantom Thread
POSSIBLE UPSETS: Beauty & The Beast

This is a closer race than people may realise: Phantom Thread is the frontrunner by a *ahem* thread but Beauty & The Beast and The Shape of Water could dominate the category, Darkest Hour to a lesser degree too. A film based on the intricate creations of a dressmaker seems a shoe-in for the Costume category -- but it has not swept the full circuit, leaving to some hesitancy from me. I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if Phantom Thread didn't pick up the award here -- a shame because it is the film's only real chance of victory.

Update: Phantom Thread took its only victory of the evening in Costume Design -- and won Mark Bridges a jet ski in the process.

WHO WILL WIN: Darkest Hour
WHO SHOULD WIN: Darkest Hour

I'd argue that Darkest Hour's MVP is not Gary Oldman but the make-up and hairstyling team, who give the transformative turn the real conviction and weight to see his melodramatic performance through. It will win and although Wonder doesn't real stand a chance, it's in higher stead than Victoria & Abdul. I, Tonya really deserved this one though and it's a shame it was so overlooked.

Update: Darkest Hour, as suspected, conquered.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Will Win Tally:

Three Billboards - 4

Dunkirk - 3
The Shape of Water - 3

Blade Runner 2049 - 2
Darkest Hour - 2

A Fantastic Woman - 1
Call Me By Your Name - 1
The Greatest Showman - 1
I, Tonya - 1
Last Men in Aleppo - 1
Phantom Thread - 1

Should Win Tally:

Dunkirk - 5

Call Me By Your Name - 4

The Shape of Water - 3

Darkest Hour - 1
Get Out - 1
Lady Bird - 1
Loving Vincent - 1
Phantom Thread - 1
Strong Island - 1
Three Billboards - 1
War For The Planet of the Apes - 1

Predictions update: 17/21 guessed correctly, working out at 81%. I'll take that.