Here are the Sun’s predictions for the 2018 Academy Awards.
Should Win — Get Out
Unless we want another Crash over Brokeback Mountain situation, Get Out should win Best Picture this year. It captures the zeitgeist of 2017 in a way that something like The Shape of Water simply doesn’t. Jordan Peele, in his directorial debut, accomplished the rare feat of creating a movie that is entertaining as hell and a layered onion to peel far after you leave the theater. At nearly every juncture, Peele’s script goes somewhere smart and unexpected, with plenty of clever foreshadowings along the way. Most importantly, of all the nominated films, it’s the most poised to become a classic — from The Sunken Place to Betty Gabriel’s “no no no,” many of the most memorable movie moments of the year were from Get Out. The Academy is going to be kicking themselves a decade from now if they get this wrong.
Will Win — Three Billboards
The Shape of Water may be the juggernaut of this year’s Oscars, garnering a near-record 13 nominations, but in recent years, the biggest prize of the night has gone to well-written, relevant stories over grandiose directorial achievements. 12 Years a Slave bested Gravity in 2014, Spotlight beat The Revenant in 2016 and Moonlight (infamously, and literally) took the trophy away from La La Land last year. This Sunday, look for Three Billboards, a powerfully-acted, sharply written and thoughtful drama (which cleaned up at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards) to spoil The Shape of Water’s big night.
Should Win — Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk
A common criticism of Christopher Nolan is that he has his set toolbox (visual spectacle, nonlinear timelines, booming soundtracks, etc.) and he just applies that toolbox to different genres. Well you know what? I don’t care, because the toolbox works. And it has perhaps never worked better than when used on the war genre in Dunkirk, Nolan’s finest piece of technical craftsmanship, where he ramps up the tension for two hours and doesn’t let you relax for one second of the chaos.
Will Win — Guillermo Del Toro for Shape of Water
Shape of Water is utterly weird and beautiful, thanks to one childhood fantasy of visionary filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. Known for his obsession with monsters, Del Toro puts a fresh spin on the classic genre this time, and what comes out is an adult fairy tale filled with tender compassion and dazzling visuals. Further, His exploration on sexuality and disability turns Shape of Water into a timeless masterpiece that speaks loudly in today’s political climate.
Will & Should Win — Frances McDormand for Three Billboards
I think the most resounding evidence for Frances McDormand’s excellence in Three Billboards is that she’s a pretty unanimous frontrunner for the award in a year where Saoirse Ronan, Sally Hawkins and Margot Robbie all turned in “Oscar-worthy” performances. McDormand’s raw, unadulterated emotion as Mildred Hayes, a tragedy stricken mother struggling with the brutal murder of her daughter, sent chills down my spine and put her head and shoulders above one of the deepest Best Actress fields we’ve seen in years.
Should Win — Timotheé Chalamet for Call Me by Your Name
In the final scene of Call Me by Your Name, an emotionally devastated Elio sits by the fire and flushes of passion, nostalgia and grief run across his face in the span of only several minutes. This scene alone justifies the best actor nomination for Timotheé Chalamet. The youngest-ever nominee (at the age of 22) is so exceptional as the lovestruck, gawky but reckless 17-year-old that even the most controversial (and iconic!) peach scene feels authentic and relatable.
Will Win — Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour
This is about as “Oscars” as it gets folks — Oldman’s an older, revered industry veteran and he’s finally undergone dramatic prosthetics and makeup for a high tension historic biopic which is itself nominated for Best Picture. He’s gonna win. I’m certainly not saying he doesn’t deserve to based on his performance either, the Brit delivers a stunning imitation of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Every word, step and mannerism feels carefully calculated and it’s not hard to believe Oldman spent just as much time studying his subject as he did in the makeup chair.
Will & Should Win — Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird
Lady Bird is one of the few films that accurately depicts what it’s like to fumble around as a teenager, trying to figure out what will happen after high school and the way that the bond between mother and daughter can go from frail to unbreakable when put through trials and distance. Greta Gerwig’s writing accurately conveys what it’s like to want bigger, better things, even if that involves straining relationships with loved ones. Further, it shows how independent we become, a mother’s approval will always hold weight, even when we don’t want it to.
Best Supporting Actor:
Will & Should Win — Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards
What separates Sam Rockwell’s performance in Three Billboards from the rest of the pack in this category is his total commitment to the role of a racist police officer, a pretty unappealing role in today’s climate to say the least. The level of emotion and nuance Rockwell brings to Jason’s character makes the somewhat redeeming arc the character gets all the more convincing and satisfying. The actor is tasked with holding his own against great performances from Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson (who’s also nominated in this category) and never disappoints.