Wed. Feb 26th, 2020

2018 Oscar Predictions: BEST PICTURE (June) – Pentagon Papers Pic is #1, Call Me By Your Name Rises, Florida Project Debuts

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What a difference a month makes.

Wonderstruck, which had been a top 5 contender all year and landed at #1 last month for the first time, takes a disastrous hit this month after its Cannes debut two weeks ago. Now, that isn’t to say the film’s reviews were bad, they were mostly good and it sits in the low 70s on both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. But, that’s not Best Picture-level material and for most of the Gold Rush Gang it meant low-balling its chances considerably. So much so that it dropped out of the top 10 entirely and is now at #11. Here’s the thing; it’s only June and Cannes isn’t always the best place to launch an Oscar film. The US and North American fall festivals, especially Telluride and Toronto, are better points of entry for strong Oscar players. Plus, having to begin the Oscar race as a frontrunner in May and hold that all the way until next March seems like a Sisyphean task. Wonderstruck will most definitely find itself at Telluride at least and once the film hits US shores I’m betting its reception and its place in many prediction charts will see an uptick.

This means we have another new #1 and this month it’s Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers Project with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. That’s an almost insane amount of Oscar-winning firepower in that trio. It’s also a perfect example of a film and prediction that ‘looks good on paper.’ It’s still shooting as of this piece but 20th Century Fox is secure that it will hit its December 22nd release date on time. But its status with the Gold Rush Gang as the #1 choice right now feels very de facto at the moment. This film winning Best Picture would defy a lot of odds; no festival release and a December release date. La La Land was supposed to be the film that broke the December curse (no December film has won BP since 2005’s Million Dollar Baby) but we all know how that turned out. So why would this be the one to do it? Well, arguably this collaboration being a serious, period and fact-based drama elevates it from LLL more than just a bit. Plus, the very subject of the film, the exposing of highly sensitive government material about the Vietnam War by The Washington Post that then spilled over into the Watergate investigation, is incredibly timely considering the current administration being embroiled in controversy and investigation itself. This could be Hollywood’s clapback at Trump and the demonizing of Hollywood itself by him.

Elsewhere, Detroit holds on to 2nd place with no change in point totals. A good sign for the Kathryn Bigelow-directed film about the Detroit riots in the summer of 1967 after a police shootout at the Algiers Motel. Two World War II-era films, Darkest Hour from Joe Wright (Atonement) and Dunkirk from Christopher Nolan (Inception) move up a bit and secure themselves top 5 placement.

A big move up this month is Call My By Your Name from Luca Gaudagnino. The gay summer romance film moves up from #8 to #4 this month, partially because I have finally come around to it being a potentially big contender. I had a lot of reservations with the idea of the Academy giving its Best Picture to a gay film for the first time this year immediately glomming onto another one because their taste year to year can often be a huge pendulum swing. But the film is likely going to make a huge splash at the fall festivals and just from its Sundance debut the film is still the best reviewed movie this year so far.

Blade Runner 2049 also makes a big move this month. After briefly faltering last month, it lands at #6. But Get Out, which debuted on our list last month at #16, vaults all the way up to #8 this month, making it the single biggest mover of the month in both point totals and placement. The Universal blockbuster could really break out big this fall and winter with critics’ awards and also with the industry who wants to boost the profile of a micro-budget film from a black director with across the board critical raves – just like Moonlight last year.

Falling off the charts this month are Downsizing, Happy End and mother! The Florida Project from Sean Baker (Tangerine), which A24 picked up from Cannes, is the month’s sole debut and a strong one at that – it starts off at #8.

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

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

1 Untitled Steven Spielberg Pentagon Papers Project (20th Century Fox – 12/22) 1 1 2 1 7 2 2 1 1 2 90
2 Detroit (Annapurna – 8/4) 2 2 1 2 9 3 1 8 2 1 79
3 Darkest Hour (Focus Features – 11/24) 3 7 3 3 1 5 3 2 3 3 77
4 Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics – 11/24) 6 4 6 4 3 10 9 3 9 7 49
5 Dunkirk (Warner Bros – 7/21) 9 3 4 9 8 7 10 6 5 5 44
6 Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros – 10/6) 5 10 8 8 4 6 5 6 9 38
7 Inner City (Sony) (possibly 2018) 8 6 4 4 8 4 32
8 Get Out (Universal – 2/24) 8 5 6 2 8 6 31
8 Florida Project, The (A24) 6 5 5 1 10 8 31
10 Lean on Pete (A24) 4 5 9 7 4 26
11 Wonderstruck (Amazon – 10/20) 7 7 4 7 7 23
12 Mudbound (Netflix) 7 8 7
13 Last Flag Flying (Amazon) 9 10 10 10 5
14 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight – 10/13) 9 9 4
15 Suburbicon (Paramount 11/3) 10 9 3
16 Greatest Showman, The (20th Century Fox – 12/25) 10 1
16 Current War, The (The Weinstein Company – 12/22) 10 1
Aftermath, The (Fox Searchlight)
Beguiled, The (Focus Features – 6/23)
Breathe (Bleecker Street – 10/13)
Disobedience (TBD)
Downsizing (Paramount – 12/22)
Glass Castle, The (Lionsgate – 8/11)
Goodbye Christopher Robin (Fox Searchlight – 11/10)
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)
mother! (Paramount – 10/13)
Mountain Between Us, The (20th Century Fox – 10/20)
Murder on the Orient Express (20th Century Fox – 11/10)
Shape of Water, The (Fox Searchlight – 12/8)
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 Wheel (Amazon)
Wonder (Lionsgate – 11/17)

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