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2018 Oscars: Who Are the Frontrunners Now?

The Oscar nominations are in, giving us some solid intel as well as provided us with some questions that only the next phase of awards season will tell. The Shape of Water continued to be a nomination behemoth, grabbing a field-best 13 today. It just won the Producers Guild prize last weekend. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri earned seven nominations but missed out on a very crucial one – Best Director. My Spidey senses told me this might happen and it did. Little did I know though that it would be Phantom Thread‘s Paul Thomas Anderson that would take his place as part of a huge surge for that film that included a Best Picture nomination.

You can keep track of my Build by Guild: Creating a Best Picture Winner here and the new Oscar winner predictions charts from the Gold Rush Gang this week.

Best Picture – The Shape of Water

I’ve hemmed and hawed for a month now that The Shape of Water missing the SAG Cast nomination sunk its Best Picture hopes. Adding that it’s a December release and I felt pretty strongly about that. I’m changing my mind, or at least getting there. The film won PGA and although the last two years diverted from the PGA winner there is a path for The Shape of Water here. Three Billboards just won that SAG Cast prize but I think the backlash of the film is probably going to deny it the top win, not to mention that Director snub. Even though they’re on the lower end of nominations, Get Out and Lady Bird could prove the preferential ballot is in their favor. It could all hinge on screenplay, which has been the stronger magnet to a Best Picture win than anything lately. The Shape of Water would probably need to triumph there (in an extremely competitive field) to clinch it.

Best Director – Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

He’s amassed the most critics’ wins, won the Golden Globe, will probably win the DGA and BAFTA. There’s little to stop him from completing the Three Amigos trifecta of Mexican Best Director winners that includes Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Best Actor – Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Oldman should steamroll through and add BAFTA to his Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe and SAG award….unless Daniel Day-Lewis’s swan song in Phantom Thread provides a major upset. Darkest Hour was no slouch though, it got a Best Picture nomination today as well, which should solidify Oldman’s chances.

Best Actress – Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Unless Lady Bird finds a way to overtake in Best Picture, this is probably going to SAG winner Frances McDormand. She has largely escaped criticism of the film and should become the newest member of the double Best Actress society. Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) could prove a strong spoiler if her film is the Best Picture winner but then so is Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) if hers is.

Best Supporting Actor – Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

It seems like Rockwell should be able to keep moving on to Oscar, unless the Three Billboards backlash lands on his doorstep. Considering that it’s largely his character that sits in the middle of the controversy there is a chance that the Academy does an about face and rewards two-time nominee Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) instead. That would be a tough call though as he is the film’s only nomination and would have had to at least win SAG to ensure an Oscar win.

Best Supporting Actress – Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Like the other acting categories we could be in for an unprecedented sweep. Never in history have all four Oscar acting winners came in with Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA. Never. It got close in 2014 when all four hit everything except one – Eddie Redmayne lost Critics’ Choice but won everything else. Onto Janney, I would say that her chances dimmed ever so slightly today with I, Tonya not making it into Best Picture or Original Screenplay. This is the window that Laurie Metcalf needed, especially since her film has both of those plus Best Director. If Lady Bird is going to upset in Best Picture, it’s very likely that it will take an acting prize too.

Best Adapted Screenplay – Call Me By Your Name

A runaway category if there is one at this year’s Oscars. The only Best Picture nominee of the bunch and the best place to reward one of the year’s biggest critical hits.

Best Original Screenplay – Lady Bird

This is where it gets really tough. If The Shape of Water wins Best Picture, it should win here. If Lady Bird wins, it should win here. If Get Out wins, it should win here. You can see where this is going. The power of women has been the theme this season and only three films have female writers – Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig), The Shape of Water (Vanessa Taylor is the co-writer with director Guillermo del Toro) and The Big Sick‘s Emily V. Gordon (co-writer with husband Kumail Nanjiani). This is The Big Sick‘s only nomination so that’s not happening. This feels like a fight between Lady Bird and The Shape of Water. So what happens if Get Out follows up its huge haul of critics’ wins with WGA too? It’s tough to think of Oscar’s most successful Best Picture nominee going home empty-handed.


About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself 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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