30 January 2018

2018 Oscar Dreams Come True!

Are you ready for this? The ultimate, most accurate Oscar predictions ever? This is it, folks. There's no need to ever look at another website again. Oscar Nominations came out last week, but we here at Norwegian Morning Wood take our time and research all the ups and downs of Oscar buzz. We did NOT just get busy. This time, THIS YEAR is OUR YEAR. I guarantee you that right now, at this very moment, in this space and time that the following predictions with 100% come true. There is no need to doubt or fear. Just look at this track record:

2010: 12/24
2011: 14/24
2012: 16/24
2013: 14/24
2014: 20/24
2015: 13/24
2016: 14/24
2017: 13/24

Long-term average: 14.5 / 24

Fuckin shit-dicks. I just spent the last few minutes re-reading last year's LIVE posts, which I'll try to do again this year. Maybe via Twitter. But that ceremony made me so angry. Not the Moonlight / La La Land (2016) thing, just how bad I did for so long. This year we got this on lock! Oh, 2014...how I miss you so. Anyway, let's get to it.

Best Picture

The Shape of Water
Get Out
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Phantom Thread
The Post
Darkest Hour
Call Me by Your Name

Predicted Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I just think Three Billboards has it because Shape of Water is kind of stupid. It'd be amazing if Get Out or Dunkirk snuck in, but that won't happen. Three Billboards feels more of the zeitgeist and more notable, more talked about. Shape of Water seems to be more the butt of fish-fucking jokes. I don't really think anything else has a chance. What's holding Billboards back may be its racism controversy, but since racism was recently solved in America, that shouldn't be an issue. Just kidding, despite Moonlight of course the Academy is still racist - they'll have no problem with Billboards.

Best Director

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Predicted Winner: Guillermo del Toro

I am awestruck that this is a category full of first-time nominees, besides Paul Thomas Anderson, who gets his second here. How is that possible at all. Every single one here is deserving, and the lack of Martin McDonough makes the Three Billboards BP win feel like a stretch, but that's actually been a common recent precedent. Guillermo is the no-brainer in that case, and he has the precursor awards to back it up.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Predicted Winner: Gary Oldman

I was really torn here. Chalamet / Oldman seems like Redmayne / Keaton all over again. Oldman is definitely due, Oscar loves biopics, he's got all the precursors. But people seem to roundly favor Chalamet, and it's tough to look at Redmayne over Keaton and not accept that the Academy is favoring young talent lately. I think it'd be foolish to not choose Oldman here, because it's so obvious and if I get it wrong it looks a lot less crazy than if I choose Chalamet and get it wrong, but if they read Timothée on Oscar night I'm going to be standing there with my arms folded. At some point you kind of also have to think that the Academy may award Daniel Day-Lewis for his purportedly final performance, right? That's far too crazy. He'll be back making Spring Break videos and hair-plug commercials soon enough.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Meryl Streep, The Post

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Predicted Winner: Frances McDormand

There's significant buzz for each of Saoirse, Margot, and Sally (Meryl is more of a "Oh, Meryl Streep was in a movie this year, we'd better nominate her" kind of thing)'s performances, so I wouldn't really call McDormand a given, but she's definitely been dominating here. There's not really enough support among the other three, so they effectively cancel each other out. This ought to be a no brainer, but I'm curios if Saoirse in particular surges late.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: Sam Rockwell

This was once an interesting category. Willem Dafoe is the obvious choice and even seemed like a lock a few months ago, but now long-time character actor Sam Rockwell has beaten him at every turn. But what do you do when you have a category that needs to honor not one but two long-time character actors? Well, you give it to the guy in the more popular movie. Sorry, Florida Project janitor or whatever.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Predicted Winner: Allison Janney

Laurie Metcalf is the Willem Dafoe of this category, but Allison Janney seems to have it locked up. There's not a whole lot of other love for I, Tonya, but this category really likes crazy mom / villain performances like this. Janney has been around for a long time without much mainstream adoration and this is a nice recognition for her work.

Animated Feature Film

The Boss Baby, Tom McGrath and Ramsey Naito

The Breadwinner, Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo
Coco, Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson
Ferdinand, Carlos Saldanha
Loving Vincent, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart

Predicted Winner: Coco

Boss Baby upset? Seriously, what happened to animation this year? Last year we had three or four legit nominees. This year we apparently think Ferdinand is better than The LEGO Batman Movie. Why does the Academy hate LEGO movies? Ninjago! This is maybe Pixar's easiest win ever.

Documentary Feature

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman

Faces Places, Agnes Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda
Icarus, Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan
Last Men in Aleppo, Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, and Soren Steen Jespersen
Strong Island, Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Predicted Winner: Faces Places

There's a lot of ways this could go. Aleppo, Abacus, and Icarus are all very relevant and timely (dealing with Syria, Banking, and Russian Olympic Doping respectively - that's right. I researched). Faces Places was the one documentary here I had heard of before the nominations came out, and I always take that as a good sign. Maybe other people will vote because it's the one they've heard of as well. I hope that's accurate, but this is mostly a toss-up.

Documentary Short Subject

"Edith+Eddie", Laura Checkaway and Thomas Lee Wright

"Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405", Frank Stiefel
"Heroin(e)", Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon
"Knife Skills", Thomas Lennon
"Traffic Stop", Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

Predicted Winner: "Heroin(e)"

So this is definitely the most toss-up category of the year, but "Edith+Eddie" features an old interracial elder abuse couple that seems very Oscar-y. So that's the forerunner I'm curious about "Heroin(e)" which is about the opioid epidemic and available on Netflix. That kind of widely available, timely subject matter ought to do it some favors. Fuck it, let's go with that one. Who cares about this category that does nothing but create minefields.

Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman, Chili

Loveless, Russia
The Insult, Lebanon
The Square, Sweden
On Body and Soul, Hungary

Predicted Winner: The Square

A Fantastic Woman is the obvious choice (so obvious) based on my "I've heard of this movie" rule. The Square, however, is a surreal descent into art and politics and on Netflix. You can watch it right now! Some may say it's too crazy for the Academy, but nothing's too crazy for the Academy. Last year the obvious choice was Toni Erdmann and we all know how that turned out. Oscar seems to not go for the obvious in this category lately. Or this could go to The Insult or something, which sounds like the best of the rest of the lot. The only thing I know for sure is that I researched all these films and their critical reactions for the past ten minutes and I am definitely - DEFINITELY still going to get it wrong. The Square has the longest Wikipedia entry. Let's go by that.

Adapted Screenplay

Call Me by Your Name, James Ivory

The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank and James Mangold and Michael Green, Story by James Mangold
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Predicted Winner: Call Me by Your Name, James Ivory

This is an easy win for a film that may otherwise walk away empty-handed. I don't think Sorkin dazzled with Molly's Game like he did with his previous win for The Social Network (2010), Logan is cute, but more of a gimmick here than anything (what is it an adaptation of? Old Man Logan? Then where's my venom symbiote Tyrannosaurus? Eh?!). Mudbound and The Disaster Artist are well-liked, but not on Your Name's level. This seems like a gimme.

Original Screenplay

The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani

Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, Story by Guillermo del Toro
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Predicted Winner: Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig

We've seen this a million times - give it to Greta Gerwig for not winning best director. The same could be said for Jordan Peele, but Lady Bird reeks of previous similar winners like Her (2013), Midnight in Paris (2011), Juno (2007), and Little Miss Sunshine (2006). There's no real precedent for Get Out. The last horror film to win this was uh...uh...Ghost (1990)? A win here would be totally deserving and awesome but fairly unexpected. And The Big Sick would also make a very fine winner, but the love for Lady Bird feels so much more potent, especially after it looks like it will get housed in every other category.

Original Song

"Mighty River" from Mudbound, Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson

"Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name, Sufjan Stevens
"Remember Me" from Coco, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
"Stand Up for Something" from Marshall, Diane Warren and Lonnie R. Lynn
"This is Me" from The Greatest Showman, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Predicted Winner: "Remember Me"

I love how The Greatest Showman existed only for this category. Fuck you, let's go with Coco. "Remember Me" is no "Let It Go," hell it's not even "How Far I'll Go" but it's a song that brings meaning to its film and not just played over the credits. Then again, how awesome would it be for Mary J. Blige to somehow bring home both this and Supporting Actor. This is far from a lock like this category has been recently, which is kind of fun, but Coco should do it.

Original Score

Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer

Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood
The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, John Williams
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carter Burwell

Predicted Winner: The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat

There is some love swelling for John Williams who is like 97 years old and is the most nominated non-Walt Disney dude ever, but there's nothing really notable about The Last Jedi's score and it's not like Williams needs some long overdue recognition. Zimmer did great work in Blade Runner 2049, but the whole point of Dunkirk was practically how little score was actually used. Desplat did JUST win for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), but double winners have happened twice in the past 16 years (Howard Shore for 2/3 Lord of the Rings films and back to back Gustavo Santaollala for Brokeback Mountain [2005] and Babel [2006]). Shape of Water has got to walk away with something and if it splits with Billboards, which then picks up the acting categories it should, this starts making a lot of sense.


Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins

Darkest Hour, Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk, Hoyte Van Hoytema
Mudbound, Rachel Morrison
The Shape of Water, Dan Laustsen

Predicted Winner: Roger Deakins

I thought about this long and hard. This is Roger Deakins' year but EVERY DAMN YEAR IS SUPPOSED TO BE ROGER DEAKINS' YEAR. I almost went Hoyte Van Hoytema, because I think Dunkirk will soundly clean up in technical categories. This should be a crowing achievement for all of Deakins' work, and unlike a lot of categories when this happens (see, Gary Oldman above), this actually stands amidst the best he's ever done. But you just get the feeling he's cursed, right? Like maybe he's actually a huge dick and no other cinematographer likes him. I feel like he'll lose again. But in case he wins I couldn't not be there to celebrate, saying "See, Rog - I knew it all the time! I predicted ya!"

Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

Predicted Winner: Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread is a marvelously nominated film that isn't really the forerunner anywhere. My thought here is that costume designers everywhere think "Finally, a film that speaks to ME!" This would typically go to Victoria & Abdul or Darkest Hour or some shit, but the Academy apparently really loved Phantom Thread and its win here seems like a gimme.

Film Editing

Baby Driver
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: Dunkirk

This category lately has gone all over the place, from Hacksaw Ridge (2016) to Whiplash (2014). Baby Driver and Dunkirk both seem to fit that mold, with Dunkirk's prestige giving it a slight edge. This would just be too much of a dream for Baby Driver to win. It's one of only three categories it's nominated in, but damn it seems so fitting, doesn't it? Dunkirk has legitimately great editing though, weaving in its three different stories and timelines fairly seamlessly. I wouldn't be too shook up, and it's definitely the safe bet.

Makeup and Hairstyling

Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul

Predicted Winner: Darkest Hour

There's really good prosthetics at work here, though not as convincing as Bad Grandpa (2013). That's always my high water mark. Nothing else is really buzz-y, and this category needs to jump on high profile, widely seen and respected movies while it can.

Production Design

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Predicted Winner: The Shape of Water

Production Design is low-key one of the loopiest categories we got. On the one hand we have bonkers fantasy stories like Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Then we have standard period pieces with a little flair like Hugo (2011), The Great Gatsby (2013), and The Grand Budapest Hotel but also the totally grounded Lincoln (2012). And then La La Land (2016) for some fucking reason. So are we flair-ish period and go Beauty and the Beast or Shape of Water? Grounded period with Darkest Hour and Dunkirk? Or fantasy with Blade Runner 2049? Best picture doesn't seem to impact the category. When Great Gatsby won, it beat out its four competitors that were all up for BP. I think Blade Runner 2049 was the most impressive, but it was also built upon its 1982 predecessor and looked great more for its cinematography than production. Dunkirk was a boat and a beach, Beauty and the Beast was storyboarded in 1991, and Darkest Hour is more the Gary Oldman show than "Wow, look at that set!" That leaves us with Shape of Water. Good enough. Weird period fantasy seems to be a sweet spot, anyway.

Animated Short Film

"Dear Basketball"
"Garden Party"
"Negative Space"
"Revolting Rhymes"

Predicted Winner: "Dear Basketball"

I'm going with the "Don't underestimate the power of Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles" route. Also "Oscar Winner Kobe Bryant" has an awesome ring to it. "Negative Space" and "Garden Party" seem more interesting and if the Academy is made up more of people who have never stepped foot in the Staples Center in their lives, or are just big Clippers or Celtics fans, it might go south. But then, how could I make all these NBA jokes?! Ugh I hope this wins. Who knows. It's such a damn toss-up. I never doubted you, Black Mamba!

Live Action Short Film

"DeKalb Elementary"
"The Eleven O’Clock"
"My Nephew Emmett"
"The Silent Child"
"Watu Wote/All of Us"

Predicted Winner: "My Nephew Emmett"

So, Gold Derby, in their infinite wisdom, is predicting "DeKalb Elementary," which means that's what most people with blogs on their own time will probably go for. Except that Gold Derby is always wrong about the shorts because they're totally impossible to predict and it's more of a case of the first critic picking one at random, then everyone else falling in line. There's some merit to that, but I'm not picking against an Emmett Till story in 2018, even if we've already cured racism.

Sound Editing

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Predicted Winner: The Shape of Water

Mixing and Editing have only lined up six out of the past ten years, and since Mixing seems like a lock for Dunkirk I'm striking out and saying Shape of Water here. Baby Driver could be a stretch, but that film has just received little to no awards contention. It's clear the Academy really liked this film and it should go into it here.

Sound Mixing

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Predicted Winner: Dunkirk

This gives Dunkirk two out of the five technical awards it's up for and that sounds about right to me. Sound or the lack of sound is so important to this movie, more so than any other film on this list. This is also a rare year where the Editing and Mixing nominees line-up perfectly, so more and more I'm guessing these awards split and love is shared.

Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Predicted Winner: War for the Planet of the Apes

How has this apes series never won an award? It's unreal. Hugo? Interstellar (2014)? These piece of shit movies beat out other apes flicks. Well, Interstellar totally deserved it, but fuck off, Hugo. This has kind of been lumped together with other technical categories over the past decade, but notably not in the past two years where it went to stand alone Ex Machina (2015) and The Jungle Book (2016) respectively. This film deserves some credit, although Blade Runner could get it if they feel like turning all the technical awards over.

So, that's it. The Ceremony drops March 4th. As usual I will live-blog the event, although I do not currently own a television. I'll probably just follow twitter or something for three hours. Anyway, these are definitely the best predictions you will ever read. What do yours look like?

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