I already ranked the nominees in a few categories, but with the Oscars coming on Sunday, I want to make my predictions now. It is important when predicting the Oscars, you leave out your own personal bias. Do not pick what you think should win, pick what you think the Academy will select. The voters in the Academy do not always vote in ways that make sense. They are vulnerable to pressure, favoritism, and societal trends. They often will pick things not because they are the best, but because of how relevant they are. They can lean towards nominees that have a larger clout in Hollywood. Sometimes they just do things that make no sense at all. Predicting the Oscar winners can be as complicated as picking an NCAA Bracket. And just like with the NCAA Bracket, there are some trends to follow, that could lead you to a successful ballot. So here are my predictions, for what will win in each of the 24 categories, alongside which nominee I think should win.

Best Picture

Fox Searchlight

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

When I ranked the nominees, I had Three Billboards as the best movie, but will it win? It won at the Golden Globes, which is promising, but it does not make it a lock. Less promising, Martin McDonagh was snubbed for Best Director. While Ben Affleck’s Argo won without him being nominated for Best Director, it is rare. Darkest Hour and the Post are definitely out, they are the clear weak links among the nine nominees as both lack nominees in the other major categories like Best Directing, Best Film Editing, etc. The same goes for Call Me By Your Name, though it ranks highly among the nominees for me. Dunkirk is nominated in almost all of the film craft categories, but it has gotten no love at any of the other awards like the Globes, BAFTAs, so I do not like its chances. Both Get Out and Lady Bird seem like longshots, given that they are both directorial debuts. Lady Bird is a bit more of a longshot given that it is lighter than the average Oscar winner. That leaves Phantom Thread, Shape of Water, and Three Billboards as the likely winners. Phantom Thread is my Dark Horse, because of Paul Thomas Anderson has a great track record, and this movie does have very positive Oscar Buzz, but Dark Horse’s are not favorites to win. In the end, although I think Three Billboards is the better film, Shape of Water is my prediction to win this. It has a record number of nominations, and it just fits the mold of movies the Oscars like to reward. I personally think Blade Runner was the most deserving winner, but it wasn’t even nominated.

Dark Horse- Phantom Thread

Who I think should have won- Blade Runner 

Who  will win- Shape of Water


Best Actor in a Leading Role

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Focus Features

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.”

Denzel is definitely an Oscar type Actor, but he is nominated for a movie no one saw, and no one really liked. His chances are slim to none. Timothee Chalmet and Daniel Kaluuya are both newcomers, and although their performance was great, they will not win. Daniel Day-Lewis has scored several wins, and he should win for this, but he will not. Because this award in a grand slam lock for Gary Oldman. This is like picking a 1 seed vs a 16 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tourney. Do not get bold, take the layup, and pick Oldman. Does he deserve to win? No. But the Award shows love these transformative roles. Also, he has swept all the other Award for Best Lead Actor. Write his name in pen on your ballot, he is going to win.

Dark Horse- N/A

Who should win- Daniel Day-Lewis

Who will win- Gary Oldman


Best Actress in a Leading Role

Three Billboards Day 02_164.dng
21st Century Fox

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”

While not quite as much of a lock as Best Actor, the choice here is still pretty clear. Any of the five could be deserving of the win, but the one who will win is Frances. If anyone could beat her, it would be Sally Hawkins. If you want to get cute and daring, go ahead and pick Sally to win. But the safe bet is Frances.

Dark horse- Sally Hawkins

Who should win- Frances McDormand

Who will win- Frances McDormand


Best Actor in a Supporting Role

21st Century Fox

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”

This one is tough. Dafoe was taking all the Critic’s awards early and looked like the favorite. But then Rockwell stole wins at the Globes, the SAG, and BAFTA. Beyond that, Christopher Plummer is a bit of a Dark Horse after he was added to the movie only a few months before it’s release, and Richard Jenkins is in what may win Best Picture and could be given the award partly as a lifetime achievement award. The safest pick would seem to be Rockwell though.

Dark horse- Christopher Plummer

Who should win- Sam Rockwell

Who will win- Sam Rockwell


Best Actress in a Supporting Role


Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

This is a tight two-person race, but the smart money is on Allison Janney to win. Like with the Best Supporting Actor, it seemed like one person, Metcalf, was the favorite to win after winning early with many of the critic’s groups, but then another nominee, Janney, starting racking up wins at awards like the Globes, Sag, and Bafta. None of the other three candidates really have a good chance here. I will take Janney to win it all, because she is on a winning streak, and the Oscars seem to like actresses who play bad moms for whatever reason.

Dark horse- Laurie Metcalf

Who should win- Allison Janney

Who will win- Allison Janney


Best Director

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

I am very confident in del Toro winning. He has been taking all of the Direction awards so far, which makes him a near lock. The only candidate I could see maybe stealing it is Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson is an Oscar favorite, though he has not won, and his film came out late making it present in voters minds. But that is a high-risk bet. The safe, and probably the best choice, is del Toro.

Dark horse- Paul Thomas Anderson

Who should win- Guillermo del Toro

Who will win- Guillermo del Toro


Best Original Screenplay

get out
Universal Pictures

“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

All five of these are great choices, and I wouldn’t argue with any of them winning. This is by far one of the toughest categories to pick. With Big Sick being the only one up here without a Best Picture Nomination, it is the odd duck out. The Shape of Water may get fewer votes here because it has so many chances to win elsewhere. So that leaves three movies, and I honestly have no clue who to pick. I guess Get Out stands a high chance, because of how culturally relevant it is, but Three Billboards scored some major wins for writing at the Globes and BAFTA. When in doubt, pick the relevant nominee. Get Out and its story about race issues in America reflects the big issues in our society today. So I will pick it to win.

Dark horse- Lady Bird

What should win- Three Billboards

What will win- Get Out


Best Adapted Screenplay

Sony Pictures

“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

There is only one nominee here that is nominated for Best Picture, so I feel pretty confident in picking Call Me By Your Name to win. I very much liked the other four nominees. It has been taking a lot of wins at the other Award shows, and writer James Ivory is long deserving of an Oscar.

Dark horse- Mudbound

What should win- Call Me by Your Name

What will win- Call Me by Your Name


Best Animated Feature


“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

It is Coco. Coco wins by a country mile. Not only does it get bonus votes for being the Disney/Pixar, which almost always take this category, but it has no competition. It is way better than three of these nominees, and no one saw The Breadwinner. Coco wins, lock it in, and move on to the next category.

Dark horse- N/A

What should win- Coco

What will win- Coco


Best Documentary Feature

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes

I have only seen two of these movies, Faces Places, and Icarus. Faces Places was fine but felt unimportant. The Oscars tend to lead towards Documentaries that tell gripping stories, and Face Places, while well made, does not. Icarus however, tells a very gripping story. For those who are not familiar, Icarus is about the Russian Olympics doping scandal. The voting took place during the Winter Olympics. Maybe one of the three movies I have not seen are better, but Icarus has buzz and is super relevant. I think it will win

Dark horse- Faces Places

What should win- Icarus

What will win- Icarus


Best Animated Short

“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

Again, we have a category where I have not seen all the nominees. Garden Party and Revolting Rhymes may be great, but I haven’t seen them. Tried to look them up, could not find them for whatever reason. As for the three I watched, I lean towards Dear Basketball. Lou, by Pixar, was cute, but Pixar does not have quite as good of a track record in animated shorts as it does animated features. Negative Space was great, and I am always up for stop motion animation. But I am taking Dear Basketball to win. It got a huge ovation at the Oscar nominees lunch, and it has some big names behind it, like Kobe, and John Williams. I am just happy that horrid Frozen short they played before Coco did not get a nomination. Probably because it was freaking 25 minutes long, it may not even be eligible.

Dark Horse- Negative Space

What should win- Negative Space

What will win- Dear Basketball


Best Documentary Short

“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

It will be either Traffic Stop or Heroin(e) that win here. Both are just so relevant to what the hot button issues are right now in America. Traffic Stop covers police brutality, while Heroin(e) explores the opioid crisis. It is tough to pick between the two, but I lean towards Traffic Stop. Oscars never shy away from making political decisions for good PR, and with both of these films being deserving, they may break the tie by pandering to make up for the #Oscarssowhite, from a couple years ago.

Dark Horse- Heroin(e)

What Should win- Tie between Heroin(e) and Traffic Stop

What will win- Traffic Stop


Best 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

The voting took place at the same time as the Parkland School Shooting happened. So I am fairly confident in picking the short film about school shootings to win. DeKalb Elementary is a very strong candidate for this category, it is timely as hell. Doesn’t hurt that it may also be the best even without the timeliness.

Dark horse- N/A

What should win- DeKalb Elementary

What will win- DeKalb Elementary 


Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner
Warner Bros.

“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

I think the three blockbusters can be crossed off.Noth that they did not have great effects, but I do not think Star Wars, Kong, or Guardians, touch the visual achievements of the other two films. These big movies are always nominated, and almost never win. That leaves Blade Runner and War of the Planet of the Apes. I am taking Blade Runner. Blade Runner won the BAFTAs, and it has what may be the best visual effects ever, not just in this year. But would not be surprised by Planet of the Apes taking it.

Dark horse- War of the Planet of the Apes

What should win- Blade Runner 2049

What will win- Blade Runner 2049

Best Cinematography

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Roger Deakins is this year’s, Leonardo DiCaprio. He has been nominated so many times without winning, and there is some significant internet buzz pulling for him to win. He isn’t quite as big of a meme as Leo was, but for a cinematographer, there is a lot of buzz. He deserves it anyway. I think this is a pretty strong lock.

Dark horse- Dunkirk

What should win- Blade Runner 2049

What will win- Blade Runner 2049


Best Costume Design

“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

I think it is fair to say the movie that where the costumes are actually part of the plot has a fairly good chance to win. It even has Thread in the title. The characters in the movie are fashion designers. The costumes are fantastic anyway. Phantom Thread wins.

Dark Horse- The Shape of Water

What should win- Phantom Thread

What will win- Phantom Thread


Best Production Design

“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

This one is tough, and any of the 5 could win. But when in doubt, go with the academy favorite. They have given Shape of Water a lot of love, and if they have a chance to give it an award, they will.

Dark Horse- Blade Runner 2049

What should win- All 5 are deserving

What will win- The Shape of Water


Best Film Editing

Sony Pictures

“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

this is a two horse race in my mind. The Academy tends to lean towards war movies in the editing categories, even when they do not deserve it, looking at you Hacksaw Ridge. But here we have a movie in Baby Driver, where it’s editing was its primary feature. Edgar Wright outdid himself in this movie, the film and sound editing was brilliant. Baby Driver already scored the Bafta for Editing, I think it pulls the upset, and knocks off Dunkirk. You cannot win an NCAA bracket without picking at least one Dark Horse, and you can’t win your Oscar pool without doing so either.

Dark Horse- Baby Driver

What Should win- Baby Driver

What will win- Baby Driver


Best Sound Editing

“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

Here is the same battle as we saw in Film Editing, and it will take place a third time in Sound Mixing. I think Dunkirk takes at least one of these awards, even though I believe Baby Driver deserves all 3. But I have no clue which they will decide to let Dunkirk win, so to be safe, I am picking Baby Driver for all 3. This way, I am guaranteed to get two right, as opposed to guessing and risking getting only one right.

Dark Horse- Baby Driver

What Should Win- Baby Driver

What will win- Baby Driver


Best Sound Mixing

“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

Again, I think it is a race between Baby Driver and Dunkirk in all three of these editing/mixing categories. I believe Baby Driver will take two of them, and Dunkirk will take the other. But I have no clue which Dunkirk will take. So instead of guessing, I am picking Baby Driver for all three. One, because it deserves all three, but also because it is safer than guessing, and risk losing two instead of only one. I could also be all wrong, and the Academy may wrongly give all three to Dunkirk.

Dark Horse- Baby Driver

What Should Win- Baby Driver

What will win- Baby Driver


Best Foreign Language Film

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)

I only saw one of these movies, A Fantastic Woman. Luckily, it seems to be the one with the most buzz. I can’t really say if it deserves to win, because I did not see the other four, but I do think it will win because it has all the hype.

Dark horse- N/A

What should win- N/A

What will win- A Fantastic Woman


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

It will be Darkest Hour. I mean come on, my thoughts of Darkest Hour being completely undeserving of the Best Picture Nom aside, the makeup on Gary Oldman is superb. They really transformed him into Winston Churchill. I want to know where The Shape of Water is though? Do the creature effects on Doug Jones not count toward makeup?

Dark horse- N/A

What should win- Darkest Hour

What will win- Darkest Hour


Best Original Score


“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

John Williams is nominated for every Star Wars movie, but he will never win it again for a Star Wars film. While I prefer Phantom Thread moody atmospheric score, I can see the Academy awarding The Shape of Water here. It had a beautiful fantasy like romantic score, that fir the film well. I think they will award The Shape of Water every chance they get.

Dark horse- Phantom Thread

What should win- Phantom Thread

What will win- The Shape of Water


Best Original Song

“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

I really hope This is Me does not win. I do not think it deserves a win at all. It is too pop, it is basically just like Fireworks, Let it Go, and Fight Song. I think the winner will either be Mystery of Love or Remember Me. Both are great, but I prefer Mystery of Love. Still, Remember Me has a larger cultural impact and does have a bigger role in the movie. So I will pick it to win. Still, I am afraid that This is Me has a chance of stealing it.

Dark Horse- This is Me

What should win- Mystery of Love

What will win- Remember Me


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