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2018 Oscar Predictions: BEST PICTURE (November)

Just as Frances McDormand did in Best Actress, we have a new leader in Best Picture and it’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

The margin may be slim (it’s just a single point ahead of Dunkirk) but something impressive to note is that it essentially flip-flopped with The Shape of Water, Fox Searchlight’s other top contender. Last month Dunkirk and TSOW were tied at #1 with 90 points apiece. Three Billboards was in 4th with 75 but on an upwards trajectory. This month, Three Billboards hits 91 while TSOW falls down to 76. A lot of has to do with timing, I think. A lot of people see The Shape of Water waining (it doesn’t open until December 1, but really December 8), didn’t land any Gotham mentions although it was eligible and Three Billboards has the momentum of reviews, the Toronto People’s Choice win and Fox Searchlight’s decision to submit it as a Drama at the Golden Globes. That’s making a push for a serious bid. The film is topical, relevant, hilarious and heartbreaking in equal amounts and could be the film that speaks to the broadest section of the Academy (remember, it’s not just #1 votes).

That doesn’t dismiss Dunkirk as one of this year’s top 3 contenders though. It’s more traditional Academy fare, catering to the meat and potatoes dad crowd and doing so with stellar reviews and strong box office. With Nolan at the top in Best Director and Oscar-winner Mark Rylance in the running for another Best Supporting Actor mention, the Warner Bros WWII flick is still a force to be reckoned with.

So, is The Shape of Water waining? I’m still very high on it myself and I probably will be until there’s enough reason for me not to be. It’s certainly a film that can, and likely will, earn double digit nominations as the fantasy/period piece is chock full of acting and technical achievements that should put it near the top of nomination totals when they’re announced in January. Director Guillermo del Toro is well loved, the film also has very good reviews and the current Academy has shown the willingness, or need, for things outside of the traditional Oscar box.

The Post, from 20th Century Fox and Steven Spielberg, is going to remain the biggest question until it’s not. We’ve only just been given the first production still for the December 22 release, no plans to show at AFI (which it kinda needs) and still no trailer. And it’s November. Scuttlebutt is that it’s behind schedule (duh) but there is a WGA screening for it on November 26th so we can assume that they’re going to be able to get screeners out to the SAG nom comm in time. They better, unless they want to pin their hopes on their other holiday release, The Greatest Showman, which opens just two days before The Post. Currently, not a single one of The Gold Rush Gang has The Greatest Showman in their predictions. A handful of other Oscar prognosticators are higher on the film’s chances so is this our blind spot or are we just reading the tea leaves better?

Sony Classics’ Call Me By Your Name, while remaining in the #5 spot, rebounds in points this month and is solidifying itself as a major contender. Same goes for Universal’s blockbuster hit Get Out, which moves up in points and chart ranking this month. Unless there is a surprise by a November or December release, the film, if nominated, will be right alongside Dunkirk as one of the few high-grossing films in the running for Best Picture. Maybe that’s where the $400M+ grossing Wonder Woman can come in and change the game entirely.

At 7 and 8, A24’s The Florida Project and Focus Features’ Darkest Hour (respectively) feel like they’re just existing. It’s a move up in placement for TFP but down in points for the film with the Supporting Actor leader. Darkest Hour takes hits in both places despite housing the presumed Best Actor frontrunner in Gary Oldman. For The Florida Project, its rollout release has been pretty successful and its box office currently sits between other A24 arthouse efforts Room and Moonlight at this point, but both of those ended up with major Oscar wins. For Darkest Hour, which opens November 22, it also serves the meat and potatoes/WWII crowd of the Academy and wants to be in the mold of The King’s Speech. No doubt Oldman will shore up some critics’ wins for his performance but the film overall, with its modest 72 on Metacritic, will pale compared to the 94 for Dunkirk. It stands a good chance ending up like last year’s Hacksaw Ridge, which had a 71 on Metacritic, healthy box office and top tier nominations, including two wins.

A24’s other effort, Lady Bird, makes a healthy move and into the top 10 this month. It opens today and has a superb 94 on Metacritic (TFP has a 92). It could find itself an audience favorite and build great momentum. Mudbound, from Netflix, continues to end up at the bottom of the pack and understandably so. The Academy doesn’t seem like it’s going to waver on how it feels about the streamer’s release strategy (Mudbound will hit Netflix and a limited amount of theaters on the same day, November 17) as much as Netflix doesn’t feel the need to change. It’s an impasse where both are waiting to see who breaks first.

Despite finally getting a trailer, Focus Features’ Phantom Thread dips in chart placement and in points where it was already struggling. This despite a major Best Actor contender in Daniel Day-Lewis, a potential breakout for newcomer Vicky Krieps in Best Actress and an all but locked nomination in Costume Design.

Conversely, hot, young distributor Neon debuted I, Tonya‘s trailer this week and the film lands a spot in our top 10 for the first time, pushing Amazon’s The Big Sick out of it. Last Flag Flying, also from Amazon and opening today, and box office disappointment Blade Runner 2049 from Warner Bros, fall off the chart.

2018 Oscar Predictions (November): Best DirectorBest Actor | Best Actress | Supporting Actress | Supporting Actor | Foreign Language Film | Animated Feature | Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay | Film Editing and Cinematography | Production Design and Costume Design | Visual Effects and Makeup & Hairstyling | Sound Editing and Sound Mixing | Original Score and Original Song

Here are the 2018 Oscar predictions for Best Picture for November from the Gold Rush Gang. Keep an eye on all of the Gold Rush Gang’s 2018 Oscar predictions updated LIVE throughout the month.

Green – moves up from last month
Red – moves down from last month
Blue – debut/new entry

BEST PICTURE ERIK
ANDERSON
BRYAN BONAFEDE GREG HOWARD EVAN
KOST
JASON OSIASON KENNETH
POLISHCHUK
DENIZCAN SÜRÜCÜ RICHARD
ANTHONY
ŞÜKRÜ SÖĞÜT MATT DINN TOTAL
POINTS
1 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight – 11/10) 2 1 3 2 1 2 1 4 1 2 91
2 Dunkirk (Warner Bros – 7/21) 4 4 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 90
3 The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight – 12/1) 1 5 1 4 5 4 4 2 3 5 76
4 The Post (20th Century Fox – 12/22) 3 3 5 3 3 3 3 6 4 3 74
5 Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics – 11/24) 5 2 4 5 4 6 5 3 6 4 66
6 Get Out (Universal – 2/24) 6 6 7 6 7 5 6 5 5 6 51
7 The Florida Project (A24 – 10/6) 7 9 8 7 6 8 8 8 7 9 33
8 Darkest Hour (Focus Features – 11/22) 8 8 6 9 8 9 7 7 8 8 32
9 Lady Bird (A24 – 11/3) 9 7 8 9 10 9 9 10 7 21
10 I, Tonya (Neon – 12/8) 10 10 7 9 8
11 The Big Sick (Amazon/Lionsgate – 6/23) 10 10 10 10 10 5
12 Phantom Thread (Focus Features – 12/25) 9 2
13 Mudbound (Netflix – 11/17) 10 1

OTHER CONTENDERS
The 15:17 to Paris (Warner Bros. – Dec?)
Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight – 9/22)
The Beguiled (Focus Features – 6/23)
Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros – 10/6)
Detroit (Annapurna – 7/27)
Downsizing (Paramount – 12/22)
First They Killed My Father (Netflix – 9/15)
The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox – 12/20)
Hostiles (Entertainment Studios)
Last Flag Flying (Amazon/Lionsgate – 11/3)
Molly’s Game (STX Entertainment – 12/25)
mother! (Paramount – 9/15)
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Sony – 11/3)
Stronger (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions – 9/22)
Victoria and Abdul (Focus Features – 9/22)
Wonder Woman (Warner Bros – 6/2)
Wonder Wheel (Amazon – 12/1)
Wonder (Lionsgate – 11/17)
Wonderstruck (Amazon – 10/20)

About Erik Anderson

Erik blames his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched them together since he opened his eyes. They also watched Miss Universe religiously every year (the pageantry!) and Erik came to the conclusion that the combination of these two things ultimately led him down the path to obsessing about awards and ACTRESSING. He began at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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