The Shape of Water is leading the nominations at the 90th Annual Academy Awards with 13, but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has quickly become the film to beat this awards season, having already notched up four Golden Globes, five BAFTAs and three SAGs in the lead-up to Hollywood’s night of nights. You could do the math on the other major nominees, or simply let us predict the winners for you…    

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

Observations: Six out of the nine nominees truly deserve to be there, so let’s look at the three outsiders. Darkest Hour is a good film but not a Best Picture contender – it’s Gary Oldman’s performance that’s great. The Post might be Spielberg, but it wasn’t as good as Spotlight – its historical significance gains it a nod. And Get Out up for Best Picture? Get out! It’s a great example of its genre, but a major Oscar contender?!
Winner: If the competition hadn’t been so strong, Dunkirk would be a hot favourite. However, with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri sweeping aside all in its path, we already have a winner.

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

Observations: It would be nice to see Christopher Nolan take this home, but Dunkirk seems more likely to dominate the technical categories. Paul Thomas Anderson makes a triumphant return to form after the misstep of Inherent Vice. Good to see Greta Gerwig’s solo outing as director recognised. Jordan Peele’s inclusion is a little baffling. Ultimately, this will be a case of the Best Director not having directed the Best Picture winner – where are you Martin McDonagh?
Winner: This will be Guillermo del Toro’s year – he should have won it back in 2006 for Pan’s Labyrinth, but was inexplicably excluded from the category.

The Shape of Water

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.

Observations: Has anyone actually seen Roman J. Israel, Esq? The Academy do so love Denzel. If Phantom Thread is indeed Daniel Day Lewis’s acting swan song, another Oscar would be a fitting farewell gift. Timothée Chalamet deserves to win, and Daniel Kaluuya is the odd man out.
Winner: The Academy loves a transformative performance, and Gary Oldman will claim another victory for Winston Churchill.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

Observations: Sally Hawkins channels Amélie in a wonderful silent performance that mirrors the film’s old Hollywood aesthetic. Margot Robbie has as much fun bringing the white trash Tonya Harding to life as we do watching her do it. Saoirse Ronan scores her third Oscar nomination, but will this be strike three? And did anyone think that Meryl Streep wouldn’t be nominated?
Winner: Francis McDormand’s fiery force of nature in Three Billboards is too formidable an opponent. Her trophy shelf is getting awfully crowded this year.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Observations: All worthy nominees. Especially Christopher Plummer, who makes his last minute role as John Paul Getty feel like he was on set from day one; at 88 he becomes the oldest actor to be nominated for an Oscar. Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name) is conspicuously absent, however.
Winner: Sam Rockwell consistently delivers, and his redneck Ebbing cop is a career best, and too nuanced a turn to lose.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Observations: An interesting mix, and nice to see Mary J. Blige getting a nod. Octavia Spencer is great as Sally Hawkins’ feisty co-worker, but as a specialist at this kind of role, it’s not exactly a stretch. Lesley Manville is fantastic as DDL’s frosty sister, and Laurie Metcalf has come a long way since Roseanne.
Winner: Margot Robbie gives her all, but Allison Janney’s vulgar and vile mother is the real star of I, Tonya.

Best Original Screenplay
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Observations: The nomination that Get Out truly deserves, but unfortunately won’t win. The Shape of Water‘s inter-species love story is certainly original, but a tad predictable. The Big Sick is largely autobiographical (should it qualify as Adapted Screenplay?), and Lady Bird is a beautiful and honest re-invention of coming-of-age themes.
Winner: Martin McDonagh is a master wordsmith and Three Billboards effortlessly see-saws between tragedy and comedy, with crackling dialogue and characterisation to match.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly’s Game
Mudbound

Observations: The Disaster Artist turns Greg Sestero’s memoir into one of the year’s funniest films, and Aaron Sorkin brings his trademark verbosity to Molly Bloom’s. Logan is definitely a surprise inclusion, but comic books qualify too.
Winner:  Call Me by Your Name – André Aciman’s tale of summer love is so beautifully adapted by James Ivory, you can almost taste those apricots.  

Call-me-by-Your-Name

Best Cinematography
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

Observations: Dunkirk is a visual feast shot in glorious IMAX and 70mm clarity, Darkest Hour is bathed in russet period tones, and every film from Guillermo del Toro looks stunning.
Winner: Blade Runner 2049 is the most incredible looking film of 2017. The Oscar is yours, Roger Deakins.

Best Film Editing
Baby Driver
Dunkirk

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

Observations: You know a film has a chance at this category when you find yourself admiring how well it’s cut together, and Baby Driver and I, Tonya are fine examples of cutting room prowess.
Winner: Seamlessly alternating between land, sea and air (as well as IMAX and 2.20:1 ratios), Dunkirk is the worthy recipient.

Dunkirk Scene

Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

Observations: Tough to pick between The Shape of Water and Blade Runner 2049.
Winner: The Shape of Water. Del Toro’s films are art directed to the max, and this is no exception – from Elisa’s apartment and the old theatre below, to the steampunk design of the lab.

Best Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

Observations: For a film about a fashion designer, Phantom Thread is surprisingly light on Oscar-worthy frocks. That leaves Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and Victoria & Abdul to duke it out.
Winner: Beauty and the Beast – animated couture comes to life and ball gowns galore!

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder

Observations: Surely The Shape of Water‘s Amphibian Man should qualify for Best Makeup?!
Winner: Darkest Hour – for the latex applications that turn Gary Oldman into the jowly and portly Churchill.

Darkest Hour

Best Original Score
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Observations: Paul Thomas Anderson’s films always boast memorable scores and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood delivers his best since The Master. Will the Academy be nostalgic for John Williams? Probably not.
Winner: Hans Zimmer builds an incredible sense of foreboding in Dunkirk with his fantastic score.

Best Original Song
‘Mighty River’, Mudbound
‘Mystery of Love’, Call Me by Your Name
‘Remember Me’, Coco
‘Stand Up for Something’, Marshall
‘This Is Me’, The Greatest Showman

Observations: There’s a musical in the mix, but can The Greatest Showman beat Pixar?
Winner: Yes. ‘This Is Me’ is the best song in this bunch.

Best 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

Observations: Those apes were real, weren’t they? War for the Planet of the Apes represents the next evolution in performance-capture.
Winner: Blade Runner 2049‘s dazzling, neon-drenched vision of the future is hard to beat.

Best Sound Editing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Sound Mixing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Observations: They might sound like the same thing but remember, the editing comes before the mixing. This year, the sound design of all five nominees is superb, and particularly crucial to Baby Driver.
Winner: Blade Runner 2049 in both categories.

Best Foreign Language Film
A Fantastic Woman
The Insult
Loveless
On Body and Soul
The Square

Observations: A Fantastic Woman (Chile), The Insult (Lebanon) and The Square (Sweden) have generated all the buzz, with the latter winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
Winner: A Fantastic Woman‘s topical and sensitive treatment of transgender rights has already won over audiences and critics, and will do likewise with the Academy.

A-Fantastic-Woman

Best Animated Feature
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Observations: The Boss Baby gets nominated, but anime features Mary and the Witch’s Flower and A Silent Voice don’t. Huh?
Winner: Coco – Pixar’s most vibrant and detailed production in years.

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony will be televised on March 5. Don’t miss STACK‘s insightful and witty live Oscars coverage across our social channels.