The 2018 Awards season is well underway, with the Golden Globes already awarded and the acronym bonanza of SAG, PGA, WGA, DGA and BAFTA having announced their nominations. That just leaves the big one, the Academy Awards, with the nominees to be announced on Wednesday, January 24 (Australian time).

The Globes, Guilds and BAFTAs are always a pretty good indicator as to what and who will receive an Oscar nomination, so using that as a guide, along with some informed personal opinion of course, let’s look at the major contenders who could be up for a gold statuette this year.

The frontrunners for Best Picture are unlikely to differ, with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape of Water, Dunkirk, and Call Me by Your Name virtually guaranteed. The Academy is also likely to nominate The Post, and Get Out has been a surprise Globe and BAFTA inclusion – it will be a pleasant surprise if Jordan Peele’s smart horror satire receives a Best Picture nod; the themes are certainly Oscar-friendly. Coming-of-age comedy Lady Bird is also a potential addition to this category.

The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) will receive his second Best Director nomination, and Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) and Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards) will be right there beside him, as will Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name). Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World) is an outside chance, and Denis Villenueve (Blade Runner 2049) deserves a nom but probably won’t get one. It would be great to see a female director like Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) in the mix, too. Kathryn Bigelow is also a worthy contender, although Detroit has been strangely overlooked this awards season.

You can count on Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day Lewis (The Phantom Thread) and Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) to all receive a Best Actor nomination. James Franco (The Disaster Artist) could join them, having delivered the kind of character-inhabiting performance that receives Academy recognition. Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) is an outside chance, as is Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq).

Call-me-by-Your-Name

Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) will be the hot favourite to win Best Actress, alongside fellow nominees Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Saorise Ronan (Lady Bird), and possibly Margot Robbie (I, Tonya). And of course Meryl Streep (The Post) will receive the mandatory nomination – her 21st.

Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), and Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name) are brilliant in their respective roles and will receive Best Supporting Actor nods, with Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) and possibly Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) rounding out the category. And Best Supporting Actress is likely to mirror the Globes – expect Alison Janney (I, Tonya), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water) to be there on Oscar night.

Get Out

Screenwriting has been particularly strong this year; Three Billboards and The Shape of Water are the frontrunners for Best Original Screenplay, with Call Be My Your Name and The Disaster Artist in the Adapted Screenplay category. Get Out and The Killing of a Sacred Deer are also incredibly original works and deserve to be recognised.

Blade Runner 2049 was the most stunning looking film of 2017, so a nomination for Best Cinematography is guaranteed, along with the beautifully shot Dunkirk, The Shape of Water and Call Me by Your Name. All four are also major contenders for Best Production Design.

Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk and The Shape of Water will also dominate the technical categories (Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects), and expect War for the Planet of the Apes and Star Wars: The Last Jedi to be among the nominations as well.

Coco is one of Pixar’s most vibrant productions and will lead the Best Animated Feature noms, followed by Loving Vincent. But will The Boss Baby make it all the way to the Oscars? It received a Globe nomination in this field (we’re not kidding!), so it’s entirely possible.

And having not heard all of the potential Best Song and Original Score contenders, we’ll sit this one out for now, along with the Short film category, which is generally anyone’s guess.

All will be revealed on January 24, and then it’s time to pick the winners. Look out for STACK’s Oscars 2018 Form Guide for all the hot tips.