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2018 Oscar Predictions – BEST PICTURE (July): The Papers, Roman Israel Get Names; Shape of Water Debuts

Name changes, new entries and some movement this month in Best Picture.

Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers film with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks has finally settled on a title: The Papers, and the Dan Gilroy-directed Denzel Washington thriller Inner City is now called Roman Israel, Esq. Inner City was better, in my opinion. Still, it moves up this month even though it still isn’t a confirmed 2017 release. This is all the more surprising by the fact that Sony, who is distributing Roman Israel, Esq. is also looking to fast-track Ridley Scott’s Getty kidnapping drama All the Money in the World for a December release. Risky or hedging its bets? Sony’s not the best at the Oscar game so this doesn’t feel like it’s going to end well.

Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is the new entry this month, landing at #15 with a single vote. With a trailer forthcoming and an Oscar-friendly cast (plus some very likely festival runs this fall), this period drama could be a big breakthrough this awards season. Speaking of all things awards and fast-tracking, Clint Eastwood is looking to turn around his ‘Americans foil terrorists’ film The 15:17 to Paris quickly enough for a December release as well. The 87-year old Oscar winner has shown before that he is spry enough to do it and even win Best Picture in the process (Million Dollar Baby did just that). But is this Warner Bros. also hedging its bets against its two major blockbuster/awards hopefuls Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049?

In the red zone, Call Me By Your Name and Blade Runner 2049 take small dips but ultimately insignificant. Lean on Pete, Wonderstruck and Mudbound, however, keep dropping and will be on fall festival life support soon. The first trailer for The Greatest Showman didn’t spark any upwards mobility for the film as it drops one more slot as it hangs on without a net.

What remains to be seen is what the impact of the 774 new members invited into the Academy this week. Last year we saw the two-year drought of no acting nominations for people of color turn into nominations in all four categories, two winning (Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis) and Moonlight become the first black-led and LGBTQ film to win Best Picture in Oscar’s 89-year history. This year’s group, 136 more than last year’s record-breaking number could turn this year into another breakthrough. But there’s one big difference; last year saw a much larger pool of diverse films and performances to choose from. This year looks…bleak, to say the least. Roman Israel (if it lands in 2017), Get Out (if Universal can mount a real campaign) and Mudbound (from Netflix), and perhaps Marshall, are the films that will be doing the heavy lifting this year.  Last year was an important year to see if that diversity push of new members would actually have an impact (it did). This year will be important to see if that was a pendulum swing or a course correction for the future.

Here are the 2018 Oscar predictions in Best Picture for July from the Gold Rush Gang.

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

1 The Papers (20th Century Fox – 12/22) 2 1 2 1 8 2 2 1 1 2 88
2 Detroit (Annapurna – 8/4) 1 2 1 2 7 3 1 7 2 1 83
3 Darkest Hour (Focus Features – 11/24) 6 9 3 4 5 6 3 2 3 3 66
4 Dunkirk (Warner Bros – 7/21) 7 3 4 6 3 7 6 6 5 5 58
5 Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics – 11/24) 3 4 6 5 1 10 5 3 9 8 56
6 Roman Israel, Esq (Sony – if 2017) 6 8 4 4 4 8 4 39
7 Florida Project, The (A24 – 10/6) 5 8 3 7 1 9 9 10 9 38
8 Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros – 10/6) 4 8 10 4 7 10 6 28
8 Get Out (Universal – 2/24) 9 5 7 2 8 7 28
10 Last Flag Flying (Amazon – 11/17) 10 9 9 9 8 5 6 21
11 Lean on Pete (A24) 5 4 13
12 Wonderstruck (Amazon – 10/20) 10 10 5 7 12
13 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight – 11/10) 7 8 10 8
14 Mudbound (Netflix) 7 10 5
15 Shape of Water, The (Fox Searchlight – 12/8) 8 3
15 Suburbicon (Paramount 11/3) 10 9 3
17 Greatest Showman, The (20th Century Fox – 12/25) 10 1
15:17 to Paris, The (Warner Bros. – Dec)
Aftermath, The (Fox Searchlight)
All the Money in the World (Sony – Dec)
Beguiled, The (Focus Features – 6/23)
Breathe (Bleecker Street – 10/13)
Current War, The (The Weinstein Company – 12/22)
Disobedience (TBD)
Downsizing (Paramount – 12/22)
Glass Castle, The (Lionsgate – 8/11)
Goodbye Christopher Robin (Fox Searchlight – 10/13)
Happy End (Sony Pictures Classics)
Hostiles (TBD)
Killing of a Sacred Deer, The (A24 – 11/3)
Kings (The Orchard)
Leisure Seeker, The (Sony Pictures Classics)
Lost City of Z (Amazon – 4/14)
Marshall (Open Road Films – 10/13)
Mary Magdalene (The Weinstein Company – 11/24)
Molly’s Game (STX Entertainment – 11/22)
mother! (Paramount – 10/13)
Mountain Between Us, The (20th Century Fox – 10/20)
Murder on the Orient Express (20th Century Fox – 11/10)
Silent Man, The (Sony Pictures Classics)
Snowman, The (Universal – 10/20)
Stronger (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions – 9/22)
Thank You For Your Service (Universal – 10/27)
Under the Silver Lake (A24)
Phantom Thread (Focus Features – 12/25)
Untouchable (The Weinstein Company)
Victoria and Abdul (Focus Features – 9/22)
Wind River (The Weinstein Company – 8/4)
Wonder Woman (Warner Bros – 6/2)
Wonder Wheel (Amazon)
Wonder (Lionsgate – 11/17)

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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