Final 2017 Oscar Predictions

 Last year's acting winners. Who will take home a trophy this year?

Last year's acting winners. Who will take home a trophy this year?

At long last, the time has come! The 90th Annual Academy Awards will be held this evening, marking the conclusion of this lengthy movie awards season (made slightly longer this year by the Winter Olympics)! [...Except for the all-important 4th Annual CineMunchies which we will bestow next week.] Here at CineMunch we've ranked our favorite films of 2017 and we know who we're rooting for tonight, so it's time to double down on some final predictions.

We've seen some intense battles of late in Oscar's biggest category, Best Picture, but this year truly is the craziest I've ever seen. We thought Gravity vs. 12 Years a Slave (2013) was close; we can presume Birdman vs. Boyhood (2014) came down to the wire; Spotlight overtaking The Big Short and The Revenant (2015) was a welcome surprise; and then there was last year's shocker. At this time a year ago, I wrote about how the suspense of that Oscar night was not to be found inside the final envelope (boy was I wrong) as La La Land seemed to be an unstoppable behemoth...and I think we can recall how that played out -- congrats again, Moonlight! So while Best Director and all four acting awards look set in stone, the night's biggest prize is still so up in the air that there are realistically FIVE Best Picture nominees that stand a good chance of being named 2017's MVP.

So settle in, mix yourself a cocktail (we'll be starting with Kaluuya's Kahlúa in honor of Get Out from our Oscar Menu), and follow along with our predictions below! For more (snarky) commentary and up-to-the-minute analysis (provided our television cooperates this year), be sure to follow us on Twitter @CineMunch.

BEST PICTURE

shapeofwaterbestpic

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

Matt’s Prediction: The Shape of Water
Alternates: Three Billboards..., Get Out, Dunkirk, Lady Bird

Whichever film emerges victorious from this roller coaster year will buck history and break a few stats in the process. No film has ever won the Best Picture Oscar without first receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Ensemble (except for Braveheart in SAG's first year), so that hurts The Shape of Water and Dunkirk. Oscar history usually dictates that you can't win without a Best Director nomination (sorry, Three Billboards...) or a Best Film Editing nomination (looking at you, Get Out and Lady Bird), though both of those statistics have recently proven surmountable (with Argo and Birdman, respectively). Three Billboards... has been a dominant force on the circuit, picking up wins with the Golden Globes, SAG, and BAFTA, so it has to be considered a frontrunner, but this category's preferential ballot, where voters rank their favorite films from 1-9 instead of casting a single vote for which film they think is best, rewards consensus - and I'm not sure Three Billboards... is a film everyone can agree on. The Shape of Water won with the Producer's Guild, which is the only other major award determined by that same preferential ballot, so with its 13 nominations, I think it narrowly has the broadest support and squeaks out a victory. Dunkirk may also be a bankable consensus choice, though without screenplay or acting nominations, I'm hesitant to think it can go all the way. If there's a true spoiler and the Academy is hoping to feel "of the moment," I wouldn't be shocked in the slightest to hear Get Out named the winner - in fact, I'd be thrilled.

Nathan’s Prediction: Get Out

 

BEST DIRECTOR

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

Matt’s Prediction: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)
Alternate: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)

Best Picture might be anyone's guess, but this category appears to be a lot more settled. In recent years, voters have gravitated toward honoring the director they feel had the highest degree of technical difficulty in successfully making their film (Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, Alejando G. Iñárritu for both Birdman and The Revenant, last year's Damien Chazelle for La La Land). Impressive visuals seem to have more weight here than in Best Picture, so I'd posit that Guillermo del Toro and Christopher Nolan are the ones to beat. del Toro has walked away with every major directing prize this season, so I think it's a safe bet he adds Oscar to his mantle tonight.

Nathan’s Prediction: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

 

BEST ACTOR

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.)

Matt’s Prediction: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
Alternate: Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name)

Though Chalamet's performance has its devoted fans (us among them) and he does have a slim chance at an upset, the writing has been on the wall in this race for quite some time. Gary Oldman's Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour checks all the clichéd Oscar winner boxes: respected, veteran actor who has never won and has long been considered "overdue"; biopic mimicry of a well-known historical figure; he "transforms" into the role through the use of heavy prosthetics; and his film received a Best Picture nomination. It's a done deal.

Nathan’s Prediction: Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name)

 

BEST ACTRESS

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)

Matt’s Prediction: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Alternates: Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)

Ronan and Hawkins began the season by splitting many of the critics' awards, though their momentum slowed once McDormand started bulldozing through this race with win after win. McDormand's Best Actress win with the Screen Actors Guild made her the first to win that top category twice (though the SAG Awards have only been around since the mid-1990's), and she looks set to become the fourteenth woman to win a second Oscar for Best Actress - having last won 21 years ago in this category for Fargo.

Nathan’s Prediction: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards...)

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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)

Matt’s Prediction: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Alternate: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)

In a field full of under-rewarded character actors, Dafoe and Rockwell emerged as frontrunners early on in the season. Dafoe snagged the majority of the regional critics' prizes and it looked like Oscar would finally anoint the three-time nominee, but after Rockwell won the Globe, he overtook Dafoe as this race's leader and hasn't stopped winning since. That streak will almost certainly continue with Rockwell's first Oscar win tonight.

Nathan’s Prediction: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards...)

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)
Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)
Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Matt’s Prediction: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Alternate: Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

A nearly identical situation as the supporting males: two veterans searching for a first Oscar (in this case, Janney and Metcalf), one dominates the critical circuit (Metcalf) before playing also-ran to a flashier performance in the final stretch (Janney). A win for Metcalf might be the best opportunity for voters to award the well-loved Lady Bird, and, of all the acting categories, this one seems (historically, anyway) the most ripe for an upset, though I don't think Janney has too much to worry about.

Nathan’s Prediction: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Matt’s PredictionThree Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Alternates: Get Out, Lady Bird

This is one of the closest races of the night. Though many have taken issue with Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards... - in particular his screenplay (us included), that hasn't stopped its awards dominance this season. It might prove too divisive to win on a preferential ballot (as in Best Picture), but it's very possible it nets enough votes to gain a simple majority here over intense competition from both Get Out and Lady Bird. I've been predicting Get Out for this award all year, but in the end am resorting to a tried-and-true Oscar prognosticator tactic: fatalism. I'm predicting the film I least want to win this in the hopes that I can't be too upset when it wins because at least my prediction was accurate, and I can be pleasantly surprised if it loses.

Nathan’s Prediction: Get Out

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly's Game
Mudbound

Matt’s Prediction: Call Me by Your Name
Alternate: none?

The best film of the year will nab its only Oscar here for veteran filmmaker James Ivory, who, at 89, will be the oldest Oscar winner ever. Unless a certain someone wins Best Documentary earlier in the evening...

Nathan’s Prediction: Call Me by Your Name

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Matt’s Prediction: Coco
Alternate: none

Coco is a mortal lock, and rightfully so. This will be Pixar's ninth win in this category since it was introduced in 2001.

Nathan’s Prediction: Coco

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia)
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

Matt’s Prediction: A Fantastic Woman
Alternates: The Square, The Insult

It's often tough to know how many voters ended up watching all of the nominees to even cast a vote here, so while A Fantastic Woman seems to have the buzz (and star Daniela Vega has been tapped to present at the ceremony), perhaps there was a more populated fanbase for one of the other nominees. I'd say the next most likely is Cannes Palmes d'Or winner The Square.

Nathan’s Prediction: The Square

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Matt’s Prediction: Faces Places
Alternates: Icarus, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island

A case can be made for each of these films, as the Documentary Feature category continues to be one of Oscar's strongest lineups. Icarus, which focuses on doping in sports, specifically in Russian athletics, has been in the news and feels timely with the recently concluded Pyeongchang Olympics, but Faces Places, from legendary 89-year-old French filmmaker and recent Honorary Oscar recipient Agnes Varda, stands out the most in this group and might propel it to a worthy victory.

Nathan’s Prediction: Faces Places

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

Matt's Prediciton: Blade Runner 2049
Alternates: Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Mudbound

Blade Runner 2049's DP Roger Deakins has been nominated fourteen times with Oscar and never won, and while his name doesn't appear on the ballot (only the title of the film does), I think enough voters are aware of his overdue status that his excellent work here will push him over the top against a pair of beautifully lensed Best Picture nominees.

Nathan’s Prediction: The Shape of Water

 

BEST FILM EDITING

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

Matt’s Prediction: Dunkirk
Alternate: Baby Driver

Both Dunkirk, with its weaving of three distinct time frames and storylines, and Baby Driver, paced to coordinate seamlessly with a high-energy soundtrack, feature the work of their editors prominently, though I think the "importance" of the war film wins out with more voters in the end.

Nathan’s Prediction: Dunkirk

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Beauty & the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

Matt’s Prediction: The Shape of Water
Alternate: Blade Runner 2049

I think this is one award the nomination leader can be guaranteed to take home this evening.

Nathan’s Prediction: The Shape of Water

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Beauty & the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

Matt’s Prediction: Phantom Thread
Alternate: The Shape of Water

I would think a film all about costume and clothing design would bag an easy win here (especially after receiving a surprise Best Picture nomination), though The Shape of Water won this award over Phantom Thread at the Costume Designer's Guild Awards recently, so I guess an upset is possible.

Nathan’s Prediction: Phantom Thread

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Matt’s Prediction: The Shape of Water
Alternates: Phantom Thread, Dunkirk

Another award that seems likely to add to The Shape of Water's final trophy count, giving composer Alexandre Desplat his second Oscar after winning this category for The Grand Budapest Hotel four years ago.

Nathan’s Prediction: The Shape of Water

 

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)

Matt’s Prediction: “This Is Me” (The Greatest Showman)
Alternates: “Remember Me” (Coco)

This is a nail-biter. The safe money may be on the well-utilized and ultimately tear-jerking "Remember Me" from Coco, but The Greatest Showman was peaking as voters cast their ballots and its signature tune was ubiquitous. "This Is Me" songwriters Pasek & Paul won this category last year for writing the lyrics to "City of Stars" from La La Land. Whoever wins, I'm looking forward to this year's performances on the telecast (Sufjan!).

Nathan’s Prediction: “Remember Me” (Coco)

 

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder

Matt’s Prediction: Darkest Hour
Alternate: Wonder

A lock? I should think so.

Nathan’s Prediction: Darkest Hour

 

BEST SOUND MIXING

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

Matt’s Prediction: Dunkirk
Alternates: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049

Nathan’s Prediction: Dunkirk

 

BEST SOUND EDITING

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

Matt’s Prediction: Dunkirk
Alternates: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049

I suspect Dunkirk takes both Sound categories, though the two awards don't always go to the same films and last year's winners surprised me in both fields (Hacksaw Ridge took Mixing, while Arrival grabbed Editing), so what do I know?

Nathan’s Prediction: Dunkirk

 

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

Matt’s Prediction: Blade Runner 2049
Alternate: War for the Planet of the Apes

The rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise continues to set the bar for motion capture visual effects, but it has been bested in this category for its previous two installments. I'm hoping the third time is the charm and it finally takes home a well-deserved honor, but the overall support and respect for Blade Runner 2049 (including a recent BAFTA win for visual effects) might make bridesmaids out of the Apes team once again.

Nathan’s Prediction: War for the Planet of the Apes

 

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

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

Matt’s Prediction: DeKalb Elementary
Alternates: The Silent Child, The Eleven O'Clock, Watu Wote/All of Us

And here is where Oscar prediction contests are won or lost. Even having seen these films doesn't make me any wiser in guessing what the Academy will choose. I thought this was a relatively weak field overall, but DeKalb Elementary had the greatest impact, and I think voters will agree.

Nathan’s Prediction: The Silent Child

 

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Matt’s Prediction: Garden Party
Alternate: Dear Basketball

Dear Basketball has a definite advantage here: it's produced and written by NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, animated by Disney legend Glen Keane, and scored by the 51-time Oscar nominated composer John Williams, but it's also a slight five minutes and a bit underwhelming in my book. I bet many will vote for it on name recognition alone without having even watched it, but I'll predict the gorgeous and wickedly dark Garden Party anyway.

Nathan’s Prediction: Dear Basketball

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Edith+Eddie
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Heroin(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Matt’s Prediction: Heroin(e)
Alternates: Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Heroin(e) has the power of Netflix behind it, but really, any of these could win.

Nathan’s Prediction: Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405


The 90th Annual Academy Awards will air live on ABC beginning at 8pm ET with Jimmy Kimmel returning as host.