Preview of Oscars 2018

It’s bold, it’s misguided, it’s here.

My expectations for the Academy Awards this year are low. I always expect—and even enjoy—the campiness. I know I’m going to hear songs that make me cringe. I know there is going to be stilted dialogue. I know host Jimmy Kimmel will make President Trump jokes. I also know that last year is impossible to beat.

Last year I predicted Moonlight would win, and after La La Land accidentally won the award, I was ready to retire from predictions forever.

I watched last year’s ceremony, but I do not remember anything but the last five minutes. To close out the awards ceremony, producers of La La Land went up to accept the award for Best Picture, only to find out Moonlight actually won. The Wrong Envelope Fiasco of 2017 will be impossible to beat. Not only did it leave a lasting impression, it also validated my previously shaky history of predicting Oscar winners, a misguided tradition that spans 25 years.

Last year I predicted Moonlight would win, and after La La Land accidentally won the award, I was ready to retire from predictions forever. And then the Moonlight miracle happened. That mishap not only created buzz, but also inspired me to come back this year to make more predictions. I’m sorry? You’re welcome? You decide.

Here are a few predictions designed to help you win your Oscar pool.

No country for young men: Young men, like Best Actor nominee Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), have plenty of time to win an award. This year, old men will rule. More specifically: Gary Oldman will win. The long-respected actor has never won the award, but Oldman’s transformation into Winston Churchill for Darkest Hour was stunning. Fellow veterans and former winners Daniel Day-Lewis (in supposedly his last role) and Denzel Washington are also nominated this year, but expect Oldman to win. And after acting in a movie in which he is constantly writing speeches, Oldman will be well rehearsed to give a live speech for real.

Pick Pixar: Disney subsidiary Pixar has released 16 movies since the Academy started the Best Animated Feature category in 2001. Eight of those have won the category, and the smart money is that Coco nabs the win this year.

One actress, two Oscars, Three Billboards: In addition to a Pixtory (Pixar victory), there is another sure thing this year. Francis McDormand has won every major critic award out there for her role in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. And here’s a fun fact: this is McDormand’s fifth nomination, and four of them have been movies with a geography reference in its title—Mississippi Burning; Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri; North Country; and Fargo, for which she won. Expect costar Sam Rockwell to win the Best Supporting Actor category as well.

Monkeys rule: In case you missed it—and I did (on purpose)—Kong: Skull Island is nominated for Visual Effects. Yes, a King Kong movie has as many nominations as critical darling The Florida Project. But it’s not even the best ape movie in its own category. Expect War for the Planet of the Apes to win for Visual Effects.

Envelope, please: There really isn’t a clear front-runner this year for Best Picture. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Shape of Water have split most of the major awards leading up to Sunday’s Oscars. They both can’t win. Actually, I take that back. If the wrong envelope is used again, they can both win, even if just for one awkward minute. Three Billboards is brutal and blunt—maybe too much so. With the political climate in the United States in crisis mode, expect Hollywood to shun reality in favor of a love story between a mute woman and a fishlike creature. Prediction? The Shape of Water wins Best Picture and Best Director. If I’m right, I’ll be back to predict more next year. I’m sorry. And you’re welcome.


All reviews express the opinions of the reviewer, not necessarily the views of Third Way.


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