Sunday, January 21, 2018


Every year, I go through the traditional process of trying to make accurate Oscar nomination predictions, usually I just do this on my blog, but this year, I'm trying to get this done in order for it to be re-posted on "Age of the Nerd", so this is gonna be a little unusual here because, while they've posted several of my pieces already, this is the first time I'll be writing something that's intended to be posted on multiple sites. This'll be a challenge, especially considering how I usually do this, 'cause I try to make this pilgrimage as extensive as I can, and I go through all 24 categories like this, so, (nervous deep breath) for my usual audience this is nothing new, but those of you experiencing this for the first time, buckle up; this is will take a while, and it doesn't help that this is particular strange Oscars year.

Now, I haven't seen most of these movies yet, sorry, and yeah, that helps, although from what I can tell, that if you have a good enough sense of what to look for, this won't be that big an issue. It's like the guy that wins the March Madness pool every year who knows nothing about college basketball, except I'm aiming to make slightly more educated guesses, but still.... don't worry, it's not all the voters watch the films either. The goal is always to try get this right, perfectly predict all 24 categories nominees. In reality, I'll be happy if maybe two or three particular predictions that I'm going out on a limb on come true and I'll just rewrite history afterwards to say that I correctly predicted every category afterwords, but this is still the Oscars, we're still film people, and this is the industry, the people who make movies telling us what they consider to be the best at their job. I think that's valuable information and why the Oscars moreso than some of the other awards, actually has value, even if we don't necessarily agree. I mean, in happens in every line of work. You go through town, you find five random chefs and ask them who's the greatest chef alive and working today, I guarantee you'll get five different answers and as long as they are talented and knowledgeable chefs, none of them would be wrong, and substitute that practice with any other job or profession and you'd get the same thing.

But it's still to take a poll and celebrate those who win, or even those who get nominated. So, I'm going through each category one-by-one, and I'll giving a list of potential nominees for each category, sometimes it's an Oscar shortlist they've made public for certain categories, sometimes it's a longlist that I've made out from keeping track of other major awards from Critics, Guilds and elsewhere and I'll also be using some of Gold Derby's odds as well. If you're not familiar with Gold Derby, they're the people who originally first started setting up betting odds for the Oscars, and they are Hollywood's go-to website and organization when it comes to all things awards; I'll probably post one of their most recent Editors chats where they discuss some of their thoughts and opinions, and you can also make predictions on the site and there's some points system of betting you can participate  in, I recommend them; it's fun, and also they don't just do Oscars they do every awards, most reality TV shows, etc. Anything like that. (In case you're wondering, while they do figure out odds, I don't believe you can actually place a bet on the Oscars in most states or at most sportsbooks; I know you can't in Nevada where I'm at, and if you're wondering why that is, it's because technically you can't bet on anything where somebody knows the result ahead of time, so..., but that's not the law everywhere.) Anyway, I make the list, I'll give any thoughts and trends I might see based on some of the other awards prognosticators that have come out, and whether or not any of those are helpful to me, and.... basically, I'm in the pundit here. Again, nothing new, everybody does it to some extent.

Anyway, let's go through this wonderful annual ritual of pretending I can predict the future. We'll start with the big eight races, Picture, Director, Acting categories, Writing categories, followed by Animation, Documentary Feature and Foreign Language feature, and for the rest of the technical awards we're gonna go alphabetical, until we get to those dreaded shorts at the end. Hope you enjoy it.

BEST PICTURE (Possibles, longlist)
"All the Money in the World"
"Baby Driver"
"Battle of the Sexes"
"The Big Sick"
"Blade Runner 2049"
"BPM (Beats Per Minute)"
"Brigsby Bear"
"Call Me By Your Name"
"Crown Heights"
"Darkest Hour"
"The Disaster Artist"
"First They Killed My Father"
"The Florida Project"
"Get Out"
"A Ghost Story"
"Girls Trip"
"Good Time"
"The Greatest Showman"
"I, Tonya"
"In the Fade"
"Lady Bird"
"Lady MacBeth"
"Last Flag Flying"
"The Lost City of Z"
"Molly's Game"
"Personal Shopper"
"Phantom Thread"
"The Post"
"Professor Marston & the Wonder Women"
"Roman J. Israel, Esq."
"The Shape of Water"
"The Square"
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
"Wind River"
"Wonder Woman"

Okay, Best Picture is always tricky 'cause were never sure exactly how many films they'll nominate, it can be anywhere from five to ten, so you I'm gonna predict which ones I think will get in and if there's more than, I'll throw in those movies. They also slant this category to the preferential ballot, which means that instead of selecting just five-to-ten movies or whatever, voters rank the movies in order of preference, so what we're really counting here, is which movies are gonna get a high enough percentage of number one votes to get the nomination, and short of that, who gets twos and three and whatnot. This is a bigger issue when it comes to who wins, but it's come up in the nomination field before. "Foxcatcher"'s lack of a Best Picture nomination, despite Bennett Miller getting into Directing comes to mind; that movie probably had a lot of 3rd and 4th place votes on a lot of ballots and because the other films were counted first, that one just missed out despite eight films getting nominated. So, guaranteed in, I think it's safe to say, "Dunkirk", "Get Out', "Lady Bird" , "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", are probably in already. and I suspect "Call Me By Your Name" has a passion vote behind it, "I, Tonya"'s coming up strong and if I continue with the recent trend of eight movies getting in, I think the last vote is probably between "Darkest Hour", "The Post", "The Florida Project" and "Mudbound". I can't immediately see a scenario where anything else gets in at this point; maybe long outside shots for "Blade Runner 2049" and "BPM (Beats Per Minute)", but I'm not really seeing that push. I was considering throwing in "The Disaster Artist" for awhile but that has so consistently missed Best Picture categories, that I'm just settled on leaving it out now and James Franco recent controversy doesn't help. PGA which is a little weird 'cause they're the only other Guild that uses a Preferential ballot, actually threw in, "Molly's Game", "Wonder Woman", and most intriguingly "The Big Sick" into their nominations; that's one I might be worried about, 'cause it's gotten into things like SAG Ensemble, and the Critics Choice Awards Picture list; I saw that one and admired it greatly but I'm having a hard time seeing how that gets in despite everything.

Call Me By Your Name
Get Out
I, Tonya
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
*(9th) Darkest Hour
*(10th) The Florida Project

I'm gonna say "The Post" gets in, if for no other reason than it's Spielberg. Sure, the Pentagon Papers story has to help too, but if anybody can Weinstein's place, at least in terms of having a film that suddenly pops into Best Picture out of nowhere with just consistent marketing and campaigning and in no other way replace Weinstein, it's probably Spielberg. I think "Darkest Hour", despite doing well at BAFTA is probably on the outside looking in, and I think it's between "The Florida Project" and "Mudbound" for the last passion vote potential nominee, *if they get to ten, then I'm gonna bet on "The Florida Project". Until we've seen the Netflix approach actually get something into a non-documentary category; I think it's just playing safe to not presume it in.

BEST DIRECTOR (Possibles, longlist)
Paul Thomas Anderson-"Phantom Thread"
Darren Aronofsky-"mother!"
Sean Baker-"The Florida Project"
Maggie Betts-"Novitiate"
Kathryn Bigelow-"Detroit"
Bill Condon-"Beauty and the Beast"
Sofia Coppola-"The Beguiled"
Guillermo Del Toro-"The Shape of Water"
James Franco-"The Disaster Artist"
Greta Gerwig-"Lady Bird"
Craig Gillespie-"I, Tonya"
Luca Guadagnino-"Call Me By Your Name"
Geremy Jasper-"Patti Cake$"
Patty Jenkins-"Wonder Woman"
Angelina Jolie-"First They Killed My Father"
Yorgos Lanthimos-"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"
Malcolm D. Lee-"Girls Trip"
James Mangold-"Logan"
Stella Meghie-"Everything, Everything"
Martin McDonagh-"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Christopher Nolan-"Dunkirk"
William Oldroyd-"Lady MacBeth"
Ruben Ostlund-"The Square"
Alexander Payne-"Downsizing"
Jordan Peele-"Get Out"
Reginald Hudling-"Marshall"
Dee Rees-"Mudbound"
Matt Reeves-"War for the Planet of the Apes"
Benny & Josh Safdie-"Good Time"
Taylor Sheridan-"Wind River"
Ridley Scott-"All the Money in the World"
Aaron Sorkin-"Molly's Game"
Steven Spielberg-"The Post"
Lee Unkrich-"Coco"
Denis Villeneuve-"Blade Runner 2049"
Joshua Z. Weinstein-"Menashe"
Edgar Wright-"Baby Driver"
Joe Wright-"Darkest Hour"
Andrey Zvyagintsev-"Loveless"

When it comes to the Directing Oscar, there's usually always one name that gets in DGA that probably won't make it to the Oscars, and the idea is to try and figure out which one that is and who that nominee might be. You'd think that would be easy, but the Academy's been a little more fickle than people realize with this. Hell, a couple years ago, I completely missed Lenny Abrahmson on my shortlist and he got in for "Room" that year. And yet, a first look at the DGA group, Del Toro, Gerwig, McDonagh, Nolan, and Peele, that feels right. Luca Guadagnino feels like the most likely number six name that could sneak in, with perhaps Dee Rees, Denis Villeneuve and Joe Wright, and of course, let's not leave out Steven Spielberg, being the most likely names to come up and sneak into the category. Del Toro's due, McDonaugh's BP favorite, Gerwig and Peele both have outside influences and popularity reasons to get in, oddly, I think Christopher Nolan's the weak link. He's also due, but the directors' in the Academy have never particularly liked him; even in years when it seemed obvious he should get in, he somehow got left out.

Guillermo Del Toro-"The Shape of Water"
Greta Gerwig-"Lady Bird"
Martin McDonagh-"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Christopher Nolan-"Dunkirk"
Jordan Peele-"Get Out"

If I were to predict somebody else getting in, it'd probably be Luca Guadagnino getting in instead of Christopher Nolan, but I went back over and checked all the precursor's I could find. Rarely did Nolan's name not show up as a Director nominee and the few times he didn't Guadagnino's name didn't show up either. I'm gonna say the DGA got the nominees right this year.

BEST ACTOR (Possibles, longlist)
Claes Bang-"The Square"
Javier Bardem-"mother!"
Jamie Bell-"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"
Chadwick Boseman-"Marshall"
Steve Carell-"Battle of the Sexes"
Timothee Chalamet-"Call Me By Your Name"
Tom Cruise-"American Made"
Matt Damon-"Downsizing"
Daniel Day-Lewis-"Phantom Thread"
Willem Dafoe-"The Florida Project"
Idris Elba-"The Mountain Between Us'
Ansel Elgort-"Baby Driver"
Colin Farrell-"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"
Ali Fazel-"Victoria and Abdul"
James Franco-"The Disaster Artist"
Andrew Garfield-"Breathe"
Jake Gyllenhaal-"Stronger"
Chris Hemsworth-"Thor: Ragnarok"
Hugh Jackman-"The Greatest Showman"
Hugh Jackman-"Logan"
Daniel Kaluuya-"Get Out"
Tom Hanks-"The Post"
James McAvoy-"Split"
Kumail Nanjani-"The Big Sick"
Gary Oldman-"Darkest Hour"
Gary Oldman-"The Space Between Us"
Robert Pattinson-"Good Time"
Nahuel Perez Biscayart-"BPM (Beats Per Minute)"
Jeremy Renner-"Wind River"
Adam Sandler-"The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"
Andy Serkis-"War for the Planet of the Apes"
Albee Smith-"Detroit"
Harry Dean Stanton-"Lucky"
Miles Teller-"Thank You For Your Service"
Jacob Tremblay-"Wonder"
Jean-Louis Trintignant-"Happy End"
Denzel Washington-"Roman J. Israel, Esq."

When it comes to the Acting categories, generally, the rule of thumb is that the SAG Award will get somewhere between 15 and 17 names right. That would leave Denzel Washington the most likely out to me. "Roman J. Israel, Esq." has just not caught on, anywhere, except for Denzel, so I'm looking for a name that's maybe getting in at other awards, that the actors like, that maybe his film might've screened too late for the SAG voters, and is from a film that's a probable threat elsewhere. This could match a couple people, but I think it's between Daniel Day-Lewis and Tom Hanks for that last spot. Maybe, I can see some votes slip in for the late Harry Dean Stanton, but I don't think it's gonna be enough. I can maybe see a scenario where either Steve Carell or Willem Dafoe get lead actor votes but I doubt that very much too.

Timothee Chalamet-"Call Me By Your Name"
Daniel Day-Lewis-"Phantom Thread"
James Franco-"The Disaster Artist"
Daniel Kaluuya-"Get Out"
Gary Oldman-"Darkest Hour"

In case you're wondering if maybe I'm underestimating James Franco's recent scandal, it's possible, but I'm suspecting that most of the voting was done before then and I'm doubting that it's gonna have the effect anyway that it would have for say, other potential nominees.

BEST ACTRESS (Possibles, Longlist)
Annette Bening-"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"
Jessica Chastain-"Molly's Game"
Judi Dench-"Victoria & Abdul"
Jane Fonda-"Our Souls at Night"
Gal Gadot-"Wonder Woman"
Sally Hawkins-"Maudie"
Sally Hawkins-"The Shape of Water"
Isabelle Huppert-"Happy End"
Zoe Kazan-"The Big Sick"
Nicole Kidman-"The Beguiled"
Nicole Kidman-"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"
Vicky Krieps-"Phantom Thread"
Diane Kruger-"In the Fade"
Brie Larson-"The Glass Castle"
Jennifer Lawrence-"mother!"
Frances McDormand-"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Helen Mirren-"The Leisure Seeker"
Cynthia Nixon-"A Quiet Passion"
Elisabeth Olson-"Wind River"
Natalie Paul-"Crown Heights"
Brooklynn Prince-"The Florida Project"
Florence Pugh-"Lady MacBeth"
Haley Lu Richardson-"Columbus"
Julia Roberts-"Wonder"
Margot Robbie-"I, Tonya"
Saoirse Ronan-"Lady Bird"
Lois Smith-"Marjorie Prime"
Octavia Spencer-"Gifted"
Kristen Stewart-"Personal Shopper"
Emma Stone-"Battle of the Sexes"
Maryl Streep-"The Post"
Daniela Vega-"A Fantastic Woman"
Michelle Williams-"All the Money in the World"
Michelle Williams-"The Greatest Showman"
Debra Winger-"The Lovers"
Kate Winslet-"Wonder Wheel"

Just on an initial glimpse at SAG, it looks like the one left out would be, Judi Dench. Yikes; there's a bet I don't want to make. Well, obvious response is obvious, next one up would be Meryl Streep. Let's take a second look here anyway though. A kid actor sneaking in wouldn't be so outside-the-box, maybe Brooklynn Prince. Perhaps Jessica Chastain for "Molly's Game", she's shown up in a few places and that movie seems to be picking up momentum. Diane Kruger for "In the Fade" shouldn't be overlooked, the Academy likes it when an actor who they knows works primarily in English will take a foreign language role. I wouldn't throw away Emma Stone either, that one checks a lot of boxes, and the Academy's willing to nominate last year's winners even when it seemed unlikely, for instance, Eddie Redmayne's "The Danish Girl" nomination that was a surprise. Actually, now I'm seriously considering Emma Stone now that I say it out loud, that actually makes a lot of sense. Also, I'm probably the only one throwing out Cynthia Nixon's name for "A Quiet Passion", I know that's a real longshot, but respected in the industry, real life person, and btw, she's an Oscar away from an EGOT. Seriously, look it up, she has the Grammy already which would've been the real tough one for her, and she's been the one I've paid attention to figuring she might be the surprise next EGOT winner. I'm not predicting it, I'm not going that far out on a limb, not this year anyway, but she's shown up in a few Critics' lists; if I really taking a shot at somebody real long, she's somebody I'd be keeping in the back of my head if I were you.

Sally Hawkins-"The Shape of Water"
Frances McDormand-"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Margot Robbie-"I, Tonya"
Saorise Ronan-"Lady Bird"
Meryl Streep-"The Post"

I'm really worried that I'm missing an obvious choice by not taking Emma Stone here, but this would require relying on the Actors Branch of the Academy to overlook Meryl Streep. They may overlook Judi Dench, they may pass over Spielberg occasionally, but I can't remember the last time they didn't bend over backwards for Meryl.

SUPPORTING ACTOR (Possibles, longlist)
Nnamdi Asomugha-"Crown Heights"
Kenneth Branagh-"Dunkirk"
Sterling K. Brown-"Marshall"
Steve Carell-"Battle of the Sexes"
Daniel Craig-"Logan Lucky"
Bryan Cranston-"Last Flag Flying"
William Dafoe-"The Florida Project"
Idris Elba-"Molly's Game"
Idris Elba-"Thor: Ragnarok"
Colin Farrell-"The Beguiled"
Laurence Fishburne-"Last Flag Flying"
Harrison Ford-"Blade Runner 2049"
Armie Hammer-"Call Me By Your Name"
Tom Hardy-"Dunkirk"
Woody Harrelson-"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Ed Harris-"mother!"
Ethan Hawke-"Maudie"
Dustin Hoffman-"The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"
Lil Rel Howery-"Get Out"
Oscar Isaac-"Suburbicon"
Richard Jenkins-"The Shape of Water"
Doug Jones-"The Shape of Water"
Barry Keoghan-"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"
Ben Mendelsohn-"Darkest Hour"
Jason Mitchell-"Mudbound"
Charlie Plummer-"All the Money in the World"
Christopher Plummer-"All the Money in the World"
Will Poulter-"Detroit'
Sam Rockwell-"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Ray Romano-"The Big Sick"
Mark Rylance-"Dunkirk"
Benny Safdie-"Good Time"
Michael Shannon-"The Shape of Water"
Sebastian Stan-"I, Tonya"
Patrick Stewart-"Logan"
Ben Stiller-"The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"
Michael Stuhlbarg-"Call Me By Your Name"
Justin Timberlake-"Wonder Wheel"
Jean-Louis Tringnant-"Happy End"
Bradley Whitford-"Get Out"

Steve Carell snuck into SAG here for "Battle of the Sexes" kinda surprisingly. (Shrugs) Maybe, but is such a loaded category this year, that I'm having trouble figuring out where he fits in. Both Harrelson and Rockwell got in for "Three Billboards..." also, and that's a bit rare, but not impossible to see. I've also seen several different pushes for both "Call Me By Your Name"'s Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg heavily out there. Patrick Stewart's also a real possibility, Michael Shannon got in last year with a predecessor either, so can't throw that one out. It's also "Dunkirk"'s best shot at an acting nomination with Mark Rylance. There's also a late push for Christopher Plummer; I'm really skeptical on that one. Sure, it's a nice story, and who doesn't want to honor Christopher Plummer when they get a chance, but the Academy has not been kind to Ridley Scott's work lately, and to be honest, I'm typically in agreement with them on that. I haven't seen "All the Money...", so I'm not judging that one, but I don't know, I think sneaking into the Golden Globes isn't enough here. If there's name I'd be really happy to see, it'd be Jason Mitchell for "Mudbound", which-, well, I'll spoil my thoughts here, even with the Netflix factor, I'm not understanding why Mary J. Blige is a serious Oscar contender for that film, but Jason Mitchell's performance; I thought was amazing and was the one I most remembered, so, if he can sneak, I'd be happy with that.

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"
Michael Stuhlbarg-"Call Me By Your Name"

Part of me is just, taking a look at who the big favorie critically-acclaimed supporting actor names are and nominating the ones that never win, but yeah, I think that's how it's gonna play out here. If Armie Hammer can get in for "Call Me By Your Name" and Stuhlbarg, look out for Guadagnino's name at Director. It's been way too long since two actors from two different movies got into the same category in a year for me to predict that happening here unfortunately.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Possibles, longlist)
Naomi Ackie-"Lady MacBeth
Mary J. Blige-"Mudbound"
Hong Chau-"Downsizing"
Abbie Cornish-"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Judi Dench-"Murder on the Orient Express"
Kirsten Dunst-"The Beguiled"
Carrie Fisher-"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Tiffany Haddish-"Girls Trip"
Regina Hall-"Girls Trip"
Holly Hunter-"The Big Sick"
Allison Janney-"I, Tonya"
Dafne Keen-"Logan"
Catherine Keener-"Get Out"
Riley Keough-"Logan Lucky"
Nicole Kidman-"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"
Melissa Leo-"Novitiate"
Lelsey Manville-"Phantom Thread"
Tatiana Maslany-"Stronger"
Audra McDonald-"Beauty and the Beast"
Kelly MacDonald-"Goodbye Christopher Robin"
Laurie Metcalf-"Lady Bird"
Julianne Moore-"Suburbicon"
Julianne Moore-"Wonderstruck"
Carey Mulligan-"Mudbound"
Sarah Paulsen-"The Post"
Michelle Pfieffer-"mother!"
Rosamund Pike-"Hostiles"
Brooklynn Prince-"The Florida Project"
Andrea Riseborough-"
Margot Robbie-"Goodbye Christopher Robin"
Julia Roberts-"Wonder"
Keesha Sharp-"Marshall"
Lois Smith-"Marjorie Prime"
Octavia Spencer-"The Shape of Water"
Tilda Swinton-"Okja"
Juno Temple-"Wonder Wheel"
Kristin Scott Thomas-"Darkest Hour"
Tessa Thompson-"Thor: Ragnarok"
Erin Vinaite-"The Florida Project"
Julie Walters-"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"
Naomi Watts-"The Glass Castle"
Allison Williams-"Get Out"
Michelle Williams-"The Greatest Showman"

Yeah, I'm not sure I get the Mary J. Blige thing; I loved "Mudbound", but it wasn't that performance that stuck out to me, at all and that, and overcoming the Netflix thing, feels like too much for me. This feels like the category I'm looking out for some shockers here. We all know Metcalf and Janney are safe, but the last three are really up in the air. I'm going out to put Hong Chau in, Holly Hunter I think is in, but I'm skeptical of that one, and that leaves one more, Octavia Specer makes the most sense, but there's also Tiffany Haddish out there; she's been losing steam, but I can't ignore her entirely. Lesley Manville's out there, so it Kristin Scott Thomas, if I didn't think Catherine Keener and Allison Williams would be siphoning each other's votes, I might seriously consider either of them this year, especially Allison Williams; I think her performance in "Get Out" has really gotten overlooked.

Hong Chau-"Downsizing"
Holly Hunter-"The Big Sick"
Allison Janney-"I, Tonya"
Laurie Metcalf-"Lady Bird"
Octavia Spencer-"The Shape of Water"

Look out for Lesley Manville and/or Tiffany Haddish to sneak in though. Really worried about them, sneaking in here. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't see Mary J. Blige here. Tough, loaded category  this year.

"American Made"-Gary Spinelli
"Baby Driver"-Edgar Wright
"Battle of the Sexes"-Simon Beaufoy
"Beatriz at Dinner"-Mike White
"The Big Sick"-Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
"Brad's Status"-Mike White
"Coco"-Story & Screenplay: Adrian Molina & Matthew Aldrich; Story: Lee Unkrich & Jason Katz
"Darkest Hour"-Anthony McCarten
"Detroit"-Mark Boal
"Downsizing"-Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor
"Dunkirk"-Christopher Nolan
"The Florida Project"-Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch
"Get Out"-Jordan Peele
"I, Tonya"-Steve Rogers
"Ingrid Goes West"-David Branson Smith and Matt Spicer
"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"-Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthimis Filippou
"Lady Bird"-Greta Gerwig
"Logan Lucky"-Rebecca Blunt
"Loveless"-Oleg Negin and Andrey Zvyagintsev
"The Lovers"-Azazel Jacobs
"The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"-Noah Baumbach
"mother!"-Darren Aronofsky
"Phantom Thread"-Paul Thomas Anderson
"The Post"-Liz Hannah and Josh Singer
"The Shape of Water"-Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor
"The Square"-Ruben Ostlund
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Misouri-Martin McDonagh
"Wind River"-Taylor Sheridan

Now, it's a little tricky with the Writing Categories 'cause the Writers' Guild Award are a bit limiting, so while they're accurate enough to get a decent idea, you have to remember to look a little outside them for the whole five, 'cause there's a usually a film or two out there that's nomination-worthy, but the writer isn't a member of the Guild, so it would've been ineligible for them. That said, in terms of Original Screenplay, they've got "The Big Sick", "Get Out", "I Tonya," , "Lady Bird" and "The Shape of Water", those are pretty reasonable picks. That said, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", is conspicuously absent. So is "Phantom Thread". Also, animated films aren't DGA eligible, so "Coco", is in consideration here. So is, "Dunkirk" even, which is particularly noteworthy, since Nolan is usually admired by writers, and I think he is in the WGA so...., and more importantly than that, I've noticed a trend lately where I suspect Writing is actually a bigger category in terms of Best Picture prognostication than even Directing lately. I mean, look at it recently. "La La Land" didn't win writing, that went to "Moonlight", "Mad Max..." and "The Revenant" weren't nominated in Writing, "Spotlight" only won Writing, but then won Best Picture. "Birdman..." upset "Boyhood" in Writing, and then won Picture, there's some recent precedents that indicate that we're going into an era where Writing is more valued than even Directing. Hell, in the last fifteen years, we've had Peter Jackson, The Coen Brothers and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, manage to win Writing, Directing and Picture in the same year for the same film. You know that only happened once beforehand, with Billy Wilder pulling over that trio for "The Apartment"? We're trending towards Writer/Director's more, but we're also trending towards Writers a lot more and that needs to be kept in mind.

Get Out-Jordan Peele
I, Tonya-Steven Rogers
Lady Bird-Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water-Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri-Martin McDonagh

Look, I love "The Big Sick", I'd be happy to see it get in here, but I'm just not seeing it. Honestly, I'm worried I'm underestimating "Phantom Thread" a bit, but "The Master" was a P.T. Anderson film that got three acting nominations and he didn't get into Writing that year, so I think it's possible, and while "The Post"'s not getting in, in a bit suspicious, I suspect with everything being equal, they're gonna look for the most innovative script, and to me, that's "I, Tonya", clearly sticks out. I could see, maybe, "The Florida Project," sneaking in late, but it'd have to break everywhere and I don't think it's doing that.

"All the Money in the World"-David Scarpa
"The Beguiled"-Sofia Coppola
"Beauty and the Beast"-Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spillotopoulos
"Blade Runner 2049"-Hampton Fancher and Michael Green
"Call Me By Your Name"-James Ivory
"The Disaster Artist"-Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
"Donald Cried"-Kristopher Avedisian
"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"-Matt Greenhalgh
"It"-Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman
"Lady MacBeth"-Alice Birch
"Last Flag Flying"-Richard Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan
"Logan"-Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green
"The Lost City of Z"-James Gray"
"Marjorie Prime"-Michael Almereyda
"Molly's Game"-Aaron Sorkin
"Mudbound"-Dee Rees and Virgil Williams
"Stronger"-John Pollono
"Their Finest"-Caby Chiappe
"Victoria & Adbul"-Lee Hall
"Wonder"-Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, Stephen Chbosky
"Wonder Woman"-Jason Fuchs & Allan Heinberg
"Wonderstruck"-Brian Selznick

Interestingly, it's the Adapted Screenplay that's a little more up in the air, 'cause there really hasn't been too many Adapted films that have broken through as true Best Picture contenders. "Call Me By Your Name" is probably the only I legitimately think could win Best Picture. WGA went with that, "The Disaster Artist", "Logan", interestingly enough, as well as "Molly's Game" and the really intriguing one "Mudbound". Netflix getting into Writing I think would be just as huge as getting into Picture for them. Other things that could sneak in, I can see "The Lost City of Z", Amazon does have a Writing win, last year with "Manchester by the Sea" remember, I could see "Victoria & Abdul", I could see "All the Money in the World" getting honored, and maybe "Blade Runner 2049", but- they're gonna honor that for technical awards; I don't think they're in a pressing need to honor that in the major awards. Outside-looking-in, maybe "Marjorie Prime" and maybe, any of the movies with "Wonder" in the title. (Man, how did that happen this year, there was five of them, and they're all in award consideration somewhere. Weird.) Actually currently, "Wonder" is fifth on Gold Derby's list, which, kinda surprises me a bit actually. Also, this is maybe the one category where "The Beguiled" might be relevant but I'm struggling to put it in.

Call Me By Your Name-James Ivory
The Disaster Artist-Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Logan-Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green
Molly's Game-Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound-Virgil Williams Dee Rees

I'm gonna go paint with WGA here. Um, the only reason I give is that, I've seen "Logan" so I do know how good that script is, but also, if I were a voter and a better, I'd bet that the writers would honor the best in the business and Scott Frank in particular, has been a great working screenwriter for a long time now and he has only once been nominated for an Oscar and that was for "Out of Sight" and sure, there's a dud or two here or there in his resume but go through his IMDB page and a wide-range of really beloved movies he's worked on and written, so I think, that's where I would lean as a writer, so that's where I think the voters will lean too.

"The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales"
"Birdboy: The Forgotten Children"
"The Boss Baby"
"The Breadwinner"
"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"
"Cars 3"
"Cinderella the Cat"
"Despicable Me 3"
"The Emoji Movie"
"Ethel & Ernest"
"The Girl Without Hands"
"In This Corner of the World"
"The LEGO Batman Movie"
"The LEGO Ninjago Movie"
"Loving Vincent"
"Mary and the Witch's Flower"
"Moomins and the Winter Wonderland"
"My Entire High School Singing into the Sea"
"Napping Princess"
"A Silent Voice"
"Smurfs: The Lost Village"
"The Star"
"Sword Art Online: The Movie--Ordinal Scale"
"Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphant of Rosie Ming"

So, in a bit of a twist, this year all Academy voters will vote on the nominees, which is a bit scary. We're used to seeing nominees from, all over the world in some cases, since the Animation Branch usually selected the nominees but now,- well, I don't think "The Emoji Movie" is getting in, but I suspect the more well-known titles might have the advantage. We almost certainly know "Coco" is getting in, and I suspect "The Breadwinner" and "Loving Vincent" are most likely in. That leaves two spots. Quick check of the Annie Awards, leans towards "The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales", which makes sense, that's from the same people who made "Ernest & Celestine" which got nominated a few years ago. Eh, also from "Birdboy: The Forgotten Children" has several awards over there, including the Goya, which is Spain's Oscar equivalent. "Ethel & Ernest" is based on a beloved graphic novel and is a British film from the guy who made, "The Snowman", which is a popular Christmas short over there, so I suspect that's got some British votes, although curiously that missed out on BAFTA, which went with, "Coco", "Loving Vincent" and-eh, "My Life as a Zucchini", which got translated to "My Life as a Courgette" there. How does that happen sometimes? Like, how come in Britain it's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" in England, but "...Sorcerer's Stone" here? Like, we have philosophers here, that's not an unusual word in America. That's an English-to-English translation  like, how did that happen?!


Alright, I went off-track there. Um, I can see "The Girl Without Hands", sneak in, that looks like it's good. There's also some anime, "In This Corner of the World", is based on a popular Manga; it's not a Studio Ghibli film, which is a bit of a detriment, there hasn't been another Japanese studio breakthrough at the Oscars yet. Another one from Japan is "Napping Princess", which looks interesting, but I think is a longshot, it's from a guy more well-known for TV anime than films, most notably, "East of Eden", "Cyborg" and "Ghost in the Shell" series. (I am trying to learn more about anime, than Studio Ghibli, bear with me though, I'm still flying blind when it comes to OVAs.) From Madman Studios, I could also see Naoko Yamada's "A Silent Voice" sneaking in; that's an anime from a female director, which is something I don't come across too often, and the story sounds somewhat interesting, they also have a really experimental piece of animation called "Sword Art Online: The Movie--Ordinal Scale"; I don't know, that one looks divisive as Hell to me.  Now "Mary and the Witch's Flower" is a Studio Panac film, which is interesting 'cause that's a studio that was formed from some former Ghibli animators, as was made by Hiromasa Yonabayshi, who was nominated for "When Marnie Was Here". That seems like a strong pick here. Whoever was in charge of "Moomins and the Winter Wonderland"'s trailer needs to be fired, 'cause their trailer is eight minutes long! Including a five-and-a-half post-trailer scene. Nope, not thinking that's in. If there's some dark twisted people in the Academt, "My Entire High School is Sinking Into the Sea" might show up. I'm doubting it, since they've had some opportunities lately like-eh, "Sausage Party" and passed them up, although this movie looks better than that one. "Window Horses..." I've heard about, it's a Canadian film that's popped up on their critics lists and awards, that could be a spoiler. Reminds me a little bit of "Persepolis" in the style and the story narrative. Despite everything I just said about everything else, I'm a little concerned I'm underestimating "The Boss Baby". That thing did pretty well at the Annie Awards so....

The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent
Mary and the Witch's Flower

I'm worried I'm overlooking, say, "The Boss Baby" or "Captain Underpants..."; I could see them, making going with "The LEGO Batman Movie" as a makeup for not nominating "The LEGO Movie", but I don't know; I think they want room for something Miyazaki-adjacent and something that's classic, but also fun and good, and that leads me to think "The Big Bad Fox" and "Mary..." get in.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Chasing Coral
City of Ghosts
Ex Libris--The New Your Public Library
Faces Places
Human Flow
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
LA 92
Last me in Aleppo
Long Strange Trip
One of Us
Strong Island

I've seen a couple of these, "Strong Island" is pretty solid, albeit one-sided but that's fine. "Chasing Coral" I'm gonna write a review for that in the future, I'm not sure if it'll be posted on Age of the Nerd or not, but-uh, I have some issues with that movie that really bothered me. Little surprised to see it here honest. Well, I suspect "Faces Places" is easily in, that and "Jane" have been alternating awards all season. I suspect "Icarus", is in, especially considering the news lately. After that, I'm a little unsure. My gut says "Strong Island". "Ex Libris"-, like, I'd be shocked. I don't thing the Documentary branch really Frederick Weisman that much. I love him, but he's tough to take. There's a couple on the Middle East war, I loved "City of Ghosts", I think that's in, and I've also seen "LA 92", pop up in a lot of places. It's L.A., the L.A. riots; I mean, if weren't sick enough to not give it to an O.J. Simpson documentary last year, than I think something about the riots will catch on. I'm also hard-pressed to rule out, "An Inconvenient Sequel...". It didn't catch like the original, but forget the original had a slow climb as well. That wasn't a breakout doc right away, and there was tough competition that year, so it kinda slip up the pack until it's triumph at the Oscars that year, so the sequel could do the same.

City of Ghosts
Faces Places
LA 92

Yeah, "Strong Island" is powerful, but it's a bit of a confrontational, slow watch. I've heard good things about most of these, so I wouldn't be shocked by any of these titles getting in. So it's a good bunch of critically-acclaimed and honored films here, I think there's a lot of toss-ups being done by the Documentary Branch on this one, so we'll see. If all else fails here, look for the important subjects and the ones getting a lot of awards praise and buzz, and I would say overlook the Steve James one, but they already did that, so.... (Shrugs)

"A Fantastic Woman" (Chile)
"Felicite" (Senegal)
"Foxtrot" (Israel)
"In the Fade" (Germany)
"The Insult" (Lebanon)
"Loveless" (Russia)
"On Body and Soul" (Hungary)
"The Square" (Sweden)
"The Wound" (South Africa)

Obviously with the Academy there's always gonna be a few left out that probably shouldn't be; the most notable one absent is probably "BPM (Beats Per Minute)", which I think in a weaker year would've had an outside shot at a Screenplay nomination. Still, this looks like a decent list; there still some big names here. "Loveless" is the same director as "Leviathan", so his film should probably get in. "In the Fade", is from one of my favorite directors Fatih Akin, the Turkish/German filmmaker, plus his film has Diane Kruger, that a star America know; I suspect he's getting in. Also, "The Square", Ruben Ostlund, that might be a makeup for him not getting in for "Force Majeure", but that's also a film with some American actors in it, most notably Elisabeth Moss, so for that reason alone it's in consideration. "A Fantastic Woman" has some foreign backing that's known in America as well.

I'm always a little distrustful of Gold Derby on this category, because it's always the more mysterious ones that will trip you up. The only one I haven't seen pop up elsewhere, was "The Insult". I'm also debating whether or not any of the African films get in; I tend to think the Academy wants to spread to as many continents as possible, so Senegalese and South African films, just on that level seem intriguing; we could get four continents represented in the category, but I don't think they consider that too much unfortunately.

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
In the Fade (Germany)
Loveless (Russia)
The Square (Sweden)
The Wound (South Africa) 

I was tempted to throw in "The Insult" instead of "The Wound", 'cause I like that director Ziad Doueiri, he made a film called "Lebanon" awhile back that took place entirely inside a tank; worth seeking out, but-um, just based on the trailers "The Wound" looks the powerful of those two. "Foxtrot", "In the Fade" and "A Fantastic Woman" are all about grief, and I can't imagine three of those getting; that'd be depressing. "Felicite" looks interesting, might be the orange in the basket of apples, but I just don't think there's enough space this year. Even without some big films, this looks like a crowded year at the top of the foreign language category.

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Possibles, longlist)
"Beach Rats"-Helene Louvart
"Beauty and the Beast"-Tobias A. Schliessler
"The Beguiled"-Philippe Le Sourd
"Blade Runner 2049"-Roger Deakins
"Call Me By Your Name"-Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
"Columbus"-Elisha Christian
"Darkest Hour"-Bruno Delbonnel
"Detroit"-Barry Ackroyd
"Dunkirk"-Hoyte Van Hoytema
"The Florida Project"-Alexis Zabe
"Get Out"-Toby Oliver
"The Greatest Showman"-Seamus McGarvey
"Hostiles"-Masanobu Takaynagi
"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"-Thimios Bakatakis
"Lady Bird"-Sam Levy
"Lady MacBeth"-Ari Wegner
"Logan"-John Mathieson
"The Lost City of Z"-Darius Khondji
"Loveless"-Mikhail Krichman
"mother!"-Matthew Libatique
"Mudbound"-Rachel Morrison
"Murder on the Orient Express"-Haris Zambarloukos
"Personal Shopper"-Yorick Le Saux
"Phantom Thread"-
"The Post"-Janusz Kaminski
"The Shape of Water"-Dan Lautsen
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"-Steve Ledlin
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"-Ben Davis
"War for the Planet of the Apes"-Michael Seresin
"Wind River"-Ben Richardson
"Wonder"-Don Burgess
"Wonder Wheel"-Vittorio Storaro
"Wonder Woman"-Matthew Jensen
"Wonderstruck"-Ed Lachmann

Loaded category this year. We'll start with the obvious, if you don't know who Roger Deakins is..., basically for like two years, I've been hearing people and cinematographers excited about him working on "Blade Runner 2049", and hoping he will finally win his Oscar. He's been nominated, some ridiculous number, um, (Checks IMDB), 13 times, and has never won. His first nomination was for "The Shawshank Redemption" so you can do the math from there. He's way overdue, and Hollywood is forcing this, maybe as hard as Weinstein forced the Best Score Oscar for Ennio Morricone for "The Hateful Eight" a couple years ago. It's that big a push, so, if anybody else wins, it's an upset, and it's just figuring out who else is nominated. The one everybody's hoping for to get nominated is "Mudbound", which along with "Dunkirk", "Darkest Hour" and "The Shape of Water", and the reason we're caring about "Mudbound"; that film's cinematographer is Rachel Morrison, she is only woman ever nominated by the Guild, and there has never been a woman nominated for Best Cinematography at the Oscar, ever! It's the only non-gender specific category that's happened with. So if "Mudbound" has a shot anywhere, I'd bet on Cinematography, partly she deserves it, but mostly 'cause that's embarrassing. I don't know why this field in particular has been so, male-centric but it's time for that to end. Elsewise, keep outside the nominations, I'm trying to figure out how much the Academy likes "Darkest Hour", I think Bruno Delbonnel is in, but it's close. "Darkest Hour" hasn't shown up everywhere it was suspected of showing up, so there's some outliers we gotta look at. Gold Derby's got "Call Me By Your Name" sneaking in, I'm a little surprised "The Post", Janusz Kaminski isn't getting more votes. Spielberg's DPs usually get in, even when it's not one of his better films. Even "War Horse" got in that year. It's not even on Gold Derby's longlist, but if I were gonna go out on a limb, and I'm kinda thinking seriously about this one, "Loveless". It's a Russian film from the same guy who did "Leviathan" a couple years ago. They nominated "Ida" a few years ago, they have to lean towards a well-made foreign film occasionally. That's the one where I'm think if no one's paying attention, that could sneak in.

Blade Runner 2049-Roger Deakins
Darkest Hour-Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk-Hoyte van Hoytema
Mudbound-Rachel Morrison
The Shape of Water-Dan Lautsen

I'm going paint with the ASC Awards. Part of me's thinking "Loveless" could sneak, part of me's wondering if I'm just hoping too much for "Mudbound", I'm a little worried on "Call Me By Your Name", but I can't figure who I'd take out for them.

COSTUME DESIGN (Possibles, longlist)
"All the Money in the World"-Jenny Yates
"Battle of the Sexes"-Mary Zophres
"Beauty and the Beast"-Jacqueline Durran
"The Beguiled"-Stacey Battat
"Blade Runner 2049"-Renee April
"Call Me By Your Name"-Guilia Piersanti
"Darkest Hour"-Jacqueline Durran
"Dunkirk"-Jeffrey Kurland
"Get Out"-Nadine Haders
"The Greatest Showman"-Ellen Mirojnick
"Hostiles"-Jenny Eagen
"I, Tonya"-Jennifer Johnson
"Kingsman: The Golden Circle"-Arianne Phillips
"Lady Bird"-April Napier
"Lady MacBeth"-Holly Waddington
"Logan"-Daniel Orlandi
"The Lost City of Z"-Sonia Grande
"Mudbound"-Michael T. Boyd
"Murder on the Orient Express"-Alexandra Byrne
"My Cousin Rachel"-Dinah Collin
"Phantom Thread"-Mark Bridges
"The Post"-Ann Roth
"The Shape of Water"-Luis Sequeira
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"-Michael Kaplan
"Thor: Ragnarok"-Mayes C. Rubea
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"-Melissa Toth
"Victoria and Abdul"-Consolata Boyle
"Wonder Woman"-Lindy Hemming
"Wonderstruck"-Sandy Powell

The Costume Designers Guild always a fun Awards, 'cause they separate by genre, so we get more nominees and sometimes some interesting ones too. Still though, it's usually sci-fi and period films that get the most attention, although, there's a few interesting ones in the contemporary category. I can't imagine recreating ice skating outfits was easy for Jennifer Johnson, so "I, Tonya" doesn't seem that odd a pick to me, and Arianne Phillips has been honored by the Academy a few times, I suspect people are underestimating "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" a little bit in these craft categories. (Also, I wouldn't be shocked by "Lady Bird" showing up here either) That said, this is where "Beauty and the Beast" will show up,- (I don't think Jacqueline Durran's getting in twice, sorry "Darkest hour", and this is also where "Murder on the Orient Express" can come in. You gotta like stuff that's about the clothes as well, so "Phantom Thread" looks right here. "The Shape of Water", I'm debating on. The other kinda interesting one out there is "Wonder Woman", especially considering the controversy with the costuming regarding the character in some of the DC movies, that would be an interesting pick.

Beauty and the Beast-Jacqueline Durran
The Greatest Showman-Ellen Mirojnick
I, Tonya-Jennifer Johnson
Murder on the Orient Express-Alexandra Byrne
Phantom Thread-Mark Bridges

Everything else is basically paint based on film and name recognition, (Yes, "Murder on the Orient Express' is getting in, Alexandra Byrne's too big a name to leave out and that movie is all costume design) and I'm gonna take a shot on "I, Tonya" sneaking in. Little worried about "Wonder Woman" and maybe "Star Wars...", they have a good history with this category, but I think they've also had forty years of films to base their looks on, so...

FILM EDITING (Possibles, longlist)
"All the Money in the World"-Claire Simpson
"Baby Driver"-Paul Machliss & Jonathan Amos
"Blade Runner 2049"-Joe Walker
"BPM (Beats Per Minute)"-Robin Campillo
"Call Me By Your Name"-Walter Fasano
"Coco"-Steve Bloom
"Cries from Syria"-Aaron I. Butler
"Darkest Hour"-Valerio Bonelli
"Dawson City: Frozen Time"-Bill Morrison
"Detroit"-William Goldenberg
"Dunkirk"-Lee Smith
"The Florida Project"-Sean Baker
"Get Out"-Gregory Plotkin"
"A Ghost Story"-David Lowery
"Good Time"-Ronny Bronstein and Benny Safdie
"The Greatest Showman"-Tom Cross, Robert Duffy, Joe Hutshing, Michael McCusker Jon Poll and Spencer Susser
"I, Tonya"-Tatiana S. Riegel
"Jane"-Joe Beshenkoysky, Will Znidaric, Brett Morgen
"Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold"-Ann Collins
"LA 92"-TJ Martin, Scott Stevenson and Dan Lindsay
"Lady Bird"-Nick Houy
"Logan"-Michael McCusker
"Long Strange Trip"-Keith Frasse
"Molly's Game"-Alam Baumgarten, Josh Schaeffer & Elliot Graham
"mother!"-Andrew Weisblum
"Murder on the Orient Express"-Mick Audsley
"Phantom Thread"-Dylan Tichenor
"The Post"-Michael Broshar
"The Shape of Water"-Sidney Wolinsky
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"-Bob Ducsay
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"-Jon Gregory
"Victoria & Abdul"-Melanie Oliver
"War for the Planet of the Apes"-William Hoy
"Wonder Woman"-Martin Walsh

By far, the most consistent predictor of Best Picture is getting an Editing nomination. You don't have to win but you almost certainly need to get in. The last to film to win without one was "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" and that film didn't really have editing, and before that you go back to "Ordinary People" winning. So if you think, "Get Out" or "Three Billboards..." or "Lady Bird" is a Best Picture favorite, you better put them in here. It doesn't always match up though and there are exceptions. My rule is to look around for movies that involve a lot of chases. Every editor you ever know will tell you that the toughest thing to edit is a chase scene. So, action movies with a lot of chasing. The ACE Eddies are a big help here, they also separate into genres so, "Blade Runner 2049", "Dunkirk" and "The Shape of Water" got into Drama with "The Post", which, Michael Kahn, he could play spoiler, and "Molly's Game" was a surprise nominee there. Comedy though, "Baby Driver" got in with "Get Out", "I, Tonya", "Lady Bird" and "Three Billboards...". "I, Tonya"'s got some interesting editing too, I can definitely see that getting in here.

Baby Driver-Jonathan Amos & Paul Machliss
Dunkirk-Lee Smith
Get Out-Gregory Plotkin
The Shape of Water-Sidney Wolinsky
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri-Jon Gregory

I had "I, Tonya" in here for a bit, and I am fairly worried that I'm underestimating that film here, so I went back to double comparing the Best Director winners with the Editing, 'cause I how wondered how often a Best Director winner won without an Editing nomination; not counting the "Birdman..." year, the last time that happened was 2005 with "Brokeback Mountain", and before that, you gotta go back to "Ordinary People". It's not impossible, but I'm not certain it's likely enough for me to go against it. I'm a little concerned that I'm overestimating "Baby Driver", but it's shown up everywhere, I'm gonna put it in. Yeah, I'm sticking with these five; nervously sticking with them, but stickin' with them.

Darkest Hour
Ghost in the Shell
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
I, Tonya
Victoria & Abdul

Usually, as may have noticed by now, the Guilds are typically the best place to look, at least they are and have been for me, in determining your predictions. If there's one big exception to this, it's probably Makeup & Hairstyling. In facts the MUAHS Awards, (Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Guild; get it, MUAH, like a kiss? It's actually a clever name.) are basically useless. Far and away I usually do better predicting this award by just going on Youtube and watching the trailers and just, determining whether or not the makeup seems impressive enough to me. And the Makeup Branch of the Academy, is still weird despite this. I have no idea why they only honor three nominees every year, it's a stupid rule, most of the Academy thinks it's a stupid rule, but that's the Branch's prerogative for some reason, so, it's three, after they shortlist it from seven. Other than that, I check to see if any of Rick Baker's work is potentially up, and it's not this year, make sure there's no ridiculous what-the-hell-is-that nominee, usually from some obscure foreign film nobody's heard about, and there's not this year. Time to check out the trailers for the makeup.
(20 minutes later)
Ironically, I think I am going a bit paint with the guild here, but-eh, the clear favorite are "Darkest Hour" and "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2", and after that, I'm not 100% sure. My gut instinct is "I, Tonya". It's the most likely Best Picture candidate in the group, and the makeup is critical (BTW, the only film here that didn't get a MUAH nomination was "Victoria & Abdul", which usually means I should probably vote for that, and it does look impressive, but it looks like there's more interesting nominees out there.) I'm worrying about "Wonder", 'cause usually a nominee I might eliminate since it's only one major makeup job, but eh, that's usually when this branch would screw me over. Remember this branch nominated "Bad Grandpa" a few years back. They do not care about quality of film. I guess it's a toss-up between "Ghost in the Shell" and "I, Tonya" for the last spot. (Grabs a coin, flips it.)

Darkest Hour
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
I, Tonya

ORIGINAL SCORE (Possibles, Longlist)
"Beauty and the Beast"-Alan Menken
"Blade Runner 2049"-Benjamin Wallfisch
"Brimstone & Glory"-Dan Romer and Benh Zeriman
"Coco"-Michael Giacchino
"Darkest Hour"-Dario Marianelli
"Dunkirk"-Hans Zimmer
"Get Out"-Michael Abels
"Good Time"-Daniel Lopatin
"Goodbye Christopher Robin"-Carter Burwell
"Jane"-Philip Glass
"Lady Bird"-Jon Brion
"Logan"-Marco Beltrami
"Murder on the Orient Express"-Patrick Doyle
"Phantom Thread"-Jonny Greenwood
"The Post"-John Williams
"The Shape of Water"-Alexandre Desplat
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"-John Williams
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"-Carter Burwell
"Victoria & Abdul"-Thomas Newman
"War for the Planet of the Apes"-Michael Giacchino
"Wind River"-Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
"Wonderstruck"-Carter Burwell
"Wonder Woman"-Rupert Gregson-Williams

The music categories are always difficult. There's not really an established Guild that gives out awards for them and especially when it comes to Original Song, the Academy doesn't have a good history behind it, especially recently. If you can listen to all these scores, you might want to do that, but that takes time. That said, there's a few scattered clues out there. "Dunkirk" seems like a particular lock, having shown up everywhere it needs to, and gotten into the Grammys comparable category which combines with television, so that's a good standard. "Phantom Thread" has also shown up everywhere and I can't imagine a scenario where that's not getting in.Carter Burwell's names has shown up a few times here, he seems like a lock for, at least one of his movies. I've also seen Michael Giacchino's name pop up a few time, for "...Planet of the Apes"; I'm a little skeptical of that one, but that's an interesting pick. John Williams is of course, almost perennially a nominee and he's got a real shot at being a double-nominee again.

Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I had "War for the Planet of the Apes" in for awhile here, and then I just couldn't force myself to imagine the Academy not nominating John Williams when they have a couple shots at it.

ORIGINAL SONG (Possible, longlist)
"Love and Lies"-"Band Aid"
"If I Dare"-"Battle of the Sexes"*
"Evermore"-"Beauty and the Beast"*
"How Does a Moment Last Forever"-"Beauty and the Beast"
"She"-"Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story"
"Your Hand I Will Never Let It Go"-"The Book of Henry"
"Buddy's Business"-"Brawl in Cell Block 99"*
"The Crown Sleeps"-"The Breadwinner"
"World Gone Mad'-"Bright"
"Mystery of Love"-"Call Me By Your Name"*
"Visions of Gidion"-"Call Me By Your Name"*
"Captain Underpants Theme Song"-"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"*
"Ride"-"Cars 3"*
"Run That Race"-"Cars 3"*
"Tell Me How Long"-"Chasing Coral"
"Remember Me"-"Coco"*
"Prayers for the World"-"Cries from Syria"*
"There's Something Special"-"Despicable Me 3"
"It Ain't Fair"-"Detroit"*
"Can't Hold Out On Love"-"Father Figures"
"I Don't Want to Live Forever"-"Fifty Shades Darker"*
"You Shouldn't Look at Me That Way"-"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"*
"I Get Overwhelmed"-"A Ghost Story"*
"This is Us"-"The Greatest Showman"*
"This is How You Walk On"-"Gifted"
"The Pure and the Damned"-"Good Time"
"How Should a Sparrow Fly"-"Hostiles"
"Truth to Power"-"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power"
"Next Stop, the Stars"-"Kepler's Dream"
"We'll Party All Night"-"Lake of Fire"
"Friends are Family"-"The LEGO Batman Movie"
"Found My Place"-"The LEGO Ninjago Movie"
"Stand Up for Something"-"Marshall"*
"Longing for Summer"-"Moomins and the Winter Wonderland"
"Rain"-"Mary and the Witch's Flower"
"Mighty River"-"Mudbound"*
"Never Forget"-"Murder on the Orient Express"*
"Hold the Light"-"Only the Brave"
"PBNJ"-"Patti Cake$"
"Tuff Love (Finale)"-"Patti Cake$"
"How a Heart Unbreaks"-"Pitch Perfect 3"
"The Promise"-"The Promise"*
"Stubborn Angels"-"Same Kind of Different As Me"
"Dancing Through the Wreckage"-"Served Like a Girl"
"Keep Your Eyes on Me"-"The Shack"
"The Star"-"The Star"*

I also have the same approach to Original Song, only I actually do listen to every song if I can. So, I went streaming and if I can find somewhere than I listened to it. I also should mention that, this category in particular has a bad recent history of lazinesss and corruption within the voting. One song was even disqualified shortly after getting nominated in recent years after illegal campaign tactics involving of the members of the Board of Governors was discovered. That's not to mention that fact that there have been some seriously questionably nominations in recent years. Not last year, that year the category was so loaded that they would've really had to try to screw that up;  this year, eh, I think it's a bit more slim pickens here. There's some decent songs here but great songs? Few and far between and if the branch made any logical sense, this would be easy to figure out."If", big word ,two letters," as my Uncle would say.

One troubling issue is that some of better songs are from film's with multiple nominations. You'd think that wouldn't be an issue, but normally that's a death-stroke for a possible nominee splitting the votes. It's either the death blow, or like "La La Land" last year, it's such a juggernaut that it'll sneak two songs in. (Current Academy rules state that only two songs per movie are allowed to be nominated, a dumb rule that was also the result of a history of lazy voting from the Academy) So, I've listed any song that has some hypothetical chance at getting nominated, like a name attached that's actually noteworthy, or just something that sorta decency sounds like a good song,- (Sigh) This category's impossible to predict. After "Alone but Not Alone" got nominated I lost all hope with this category. There's enough good here that there shouldn't be an excuse for anything utterly shitty getting in this year, but, hmm...., we'll see. Do your best.

"Captain Underpants Theme Song"-"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"
"Remember Me"-Coco
"This is Me"-"The Greatest Showman"
"Truth to Power"-"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power"
"Stand Up for Something"-Marshall

I'm fairly confident on the songs from "Coco", "The Greatest Showman" and "Marshall" getting in, personally I wouldn't mind seeing, maybe "Dancing Through the Wreckage" from "Served Like a Girl" or "Ride" from "Cars 3" or especially "You Shouldn't Look at Me That Way" from "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool", but I'm gonna say that some documentary gets in, and with an unusual lack of a J. Ralph connection among the shortlist this year, I'll take going back into the "An Inconvenient Truth" well again. And-eh, what the hell, I went with "Captain Underpants...", I really think the Academy is just twisted enough to do that. And-, c'mon, who wouldn't want to see the show interrupted by a Weird Al performance? He gets screwed over everywhere else, let's throw a nomination his way, why not?

PRODUCTION DESIGN (Possibles, longlist)
"Baby Driver"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"The Beguiled"
"Blade Runner 2049"
"Call Me By Your Name"
"Darkest Hour"
"The Disaster Artist"
"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"
"The Florida Project"
"Get Out"
"Goodbye Christopher Robin"
"The Greatest Showman"
"I, Tonya"
"Lady Bird"
"Lady MacBeth"
"The LEGO Batman Movie"
"Loving Vincent"
"Murder on the Orient Express"
"Phantom Thread"
"The Post"
"The Shape of Water"
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
"Victoria & Abdul"
"War for the Planet of the Apes"
"Wonder Woman"

The ADG Awards (Art Directors' Guild) also goes by genre so we got a few choices here. "Beauty and the Beast" has been a small favorite, basically since day one in this category, it got into fantasy with "Blade Runner 2049", which is also a heavy favorite, "Star Wars..", "War for the Planet of the Apes" and "Wonder Woman". Interesting list, but the Period Film nominations, "Darkest Hour", "Dunkirk", "Murder on the Orient Express", "The Post" and "The Shape of Water". Those are ten interesting choices to select between. There's also a contemporary film genre, that has some of the presumed Best Picture nods, but it has, one intriguing nomination though with "Downsizing". The last movie that I remembered that did something similar with the Production Design was "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"; I double-checked, it did win a BAFTA for Special Visual Effect, but it didn't get a nomination for it's Production Design, anywhere, including the Oscar, so I'm gonna presume that's out of the running, and there's else obvious in the Contemporary Film category, so we're picking from the Fantasy and Period Films here. Gold Derby's listing "Phantom Thread" and "The Greatest Showman" as possibles pretty high, but if they couldn't get into the Guild, I'm leaving them out just to be safe.

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
The Post
The Shape of Water

"The Post" might be a little surprising to some, but Spielberg films do well in this category, 'cause he's great at getting really specific details down. I'm still kicking myself for not predicting "Lincoln" in this category years ago, even though I knew they actually acquired a lot of Lincoln's real items for the film. Also, stylized journalism movies, actually have some success in this category, most notably, "All the President's Men", but "Good Night, and Good Luck." also got into this category, so there's a lot of precedent here.

"All the Money in the World"
"Baby Driver"
"Battle of the Sexes"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"Blade Runner 2049"
"Cars 3"
"Darkest Hour"
"Despicable Me 3"
"Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars"
"Gaga: Five Feet Two"
"Get Out"
"The Greatest Showman"
"Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2"
"I, Tonya"
"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power"
"Justice League"
"Kong: Skull Island"
"Lady Bird"
"The LEGO Batman Movie"
"Long Strange Trip"
"Only the Brave"
"The Post"
"The Shape of Water"
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
"Thor: Ragnarok"
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
"Transformers: The Last Knight"
"War for the Planet of the Apes"
"Wonder Woman"

For reasons I have never fully understood, the MPSE Golden Reel Award Nominations, (Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild) traditionally never announce their Guild's nomination the day before the Oscars do, so I'm a bit of a disadvantage here. So fair warning, predictions subject to change on this category. Let's start with traditional thing to remind ourselves of the difference, Sound Editing is the recording and creation of the sounds, Sound Mixing is the people who take those sounds and place them in the movie and also adjusts which sounds and what levels and volumes they're present in the film, and that also includes the music and score, so Mixing is where Musicals tend to do better than Editing. For more detail check out this Variety article:

Alright, that said, these are two distinct skills that are so intricately linked that many people even in the industry struggle with the difference, so generally if you can figure out what gets nominated for one, they're probably likely choices to get nominated for the second category. This is also where, generally action and war movies do best, so "Dunkirk", "Star Wars...", "Blade Runner 2049", the BAFTAs included all three of them. (BAFTAs only give out one sound award) It's not the most assured precedent out there, but it's a good one. They also included "Baby Driver", and "The Shape of Water". "The Shape of Water" didn't make the Sound Mixers Guild oddly enough, the others did however. That sorta makes sense though, since "The Shape of Water" probably has more impressive Sound Editing instead of Sound Mixing. I think might be better for "Baby Driver", especially considering that film's use of music, so part of me's thinking that's the one that's off. If it is, I have some choices. "War of the Planet of the Apes" actually has more votes on Gold Derby than "The Shape of Water" right now, despite "The Shape of Water" having better odd. The big sleepers I'm wondering about are "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2" and also, "Coco". Sound, has a tendency to honor animation more than most other crafts, which makes sense since they often have a lot more work than for just a live-action film.

Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
The Shape of Water
War of the Planet of the Apes

I'm playing a hunch here and I think "Baby Driver" has a better shot at Mixing.  I'm a little worried about "Wonder Woman" and "Star Wars..." but "Guardians..." did win the Hollywood Film Award for Sound, which, isn't much, in fact it's very little and I hate those awards, but without any other guidance I think we're underestimating them, and "War of the Planet of the Apes", might make sense to fill in that animated slot instead of "Coco'.

"All the Money in the World"
"Baby Driver"
"Battle of the Sexes"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"Blade Runner 2049"
"Cars 3"
"Darkest Hour"
"Despicable Me 3"
"Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars"
"Gaga: Five Feet Two"
"Get Out"
"The Greatest Showman"
"Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2"
"I, Tonya"
"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power"
"Justice League"
"Kong: Skull Island"
"Lady Bird"
"The LEGO Batman Movie"
"Long Strange Trip"
"Only the Brave"
"The Post"
"The Shape of Water"
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
"Thor: Ragnarok"
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
"Transformers: The Last Knight"
"War for the Planet of the Apes"
"Wonder Woman"

Okay, so the CAS Awards did come out on time, (Cinema Audio Society, the Sound Mixers Guild) so I have a little help here. Now interesting, they didn't go for one of the presume favorites in the category, "Blade Runner 2049". Could be something, could be nothing, but I suspect it's out for Mixing. This would fill up the "Baby Driver", is there anything else I need to reconsider? Hmm... 

Baby Driver
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2
The Shape of Water
War of the Planet of the Apes

I debated over whether to throw "The Greatest Showman" in here, eh, it might show up, but I don't really suspect it's a musical big enough to breakthrough even to sound, and frankly, music's so important to "Baby Driver" and "Guardians..." that I don't think they're gonna need a musical in here.

Alien: Covenant
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
War for the Planet of the Apes

You'll have to bare with a bit, I'm only now getting around to the VES Awards (Visual Effects Society, not technically a Guild, but close enough the Visual Effects people get.) "Blade Runner 2049" was big there, so was "War of the Planet of the Apes" so was "Star Wars", uh, after that, eh, "Kong: Skull Island" got some stuff. Curiously, "The Shape of Water" was shutout here. That's a bit of a shocker. "Alien..." people will mention that that franchise usually if they make it this far in the voting they ultimately get in; I'm not as sold on that. I think "Valerian..." got a rouge Annie Award nomination, that about the only thing I've heard from them, but that looks hard to ignore craft-wise. There also some votes out there for "Okja", Bong Joon-ho's latest WTF film, um, eh, they might be impressed, but I'm thinking there's other things that might impress them more. 

Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

I was gonna leave out "The Shape of Water" and put "Dunkirk" in there, but I did some research; the last time a straight period war picture even got into Special Effects, was "Pearl Harbor," and that lost to "Lord of the Rings..." which is legitimately one of the few times I thought "Lord of the Rings" was the better choice. (Not that much better though, "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" was up that year too, that should've won.) Going further back, this category doesn't like that genre. I assumed "Saving Private Ryan" at least was nominated; it wasn't,  You have to go back to 1970, when "Tora! Tora! Tora!" beat "Patton" in the category, to find a war movie that won, and against the only other period war film I can find that's ever gotten nominated. So, I don't like "Dunkirk"'s chances. In fact, the big one I'm worried about is "Valerian...". That feels like I should be considering and paying more attention to, but I think I'd have to throw out "The Shape of Water" for that. Eh, maybe, but I better play it safe.  

"Dear Basketball"
"Fox and the Whale"
"Garden Party"
"In a Heartbeat"
"Life Smartphone"
"Lost Property Office"
"Negative Space"
"Revolting Rhymes"

I actually managed to watch, most of these, I couldn't get "Lost Propert Office" of "Life Smartphone" and I couldn't get to "Negative Space", the rest I got around to. "Lou" is the Pixar one that might be familiar to most of you, and it's suspect it will get in. "Dear Basketball" was written and narrated by Kobe Bryant and is about his life-long love with basketball and how he grew up to live of boyhood dream of being a Los Angeles Laker and lead the team to several championship and accolades. Good for him, I say. Good for him, I say, glad you always dreamed and imagined yourself as a Laker, you Philly-born-and-raised athlete. (Annoyed sigh, biting lip in anger) Yeah, I didn't care much for that one, either as a short and especially as a Sixers fan. (Deep seething breath)  Anyway....

Garden Party
In a Heartbeat
Revolting Rhymes

I just went with the ones that impressed or touched me the most. "Revolving Rhymes" is interesting as it's actually one of two shorts that adapt some Roald Dahl stories quite well. Really loved "Garden Party" that's my favorite, the animation and storytelling was wonderful. "Cradle" and "In a Heartbreak" are also great. I'm a little worried about "Life Smartphone" a Chinese short that looks funny, although a bit smug, but funny. That said, I'll stick with these. My rule is, if I don't see the whole thing, the animation in the trailer has to be stellar to predict is; I saw nice animation; I didn't see stellar unfortunately. 

"116 Cameras"
"Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405"
"Knife Skills"
"Ram Dass, Going Hom"
"Ten Meter Tower"
"Traffic Stop"

The documentary short category has been competitive lately, and I'm trying to get through all of them, but I'm already passed deadline and I still got a category to go. Anyway, the big new winner in this category is the New York Times, who have in recent years started to dominate this category. Netflix and HBO of course also have some say in the category, but as well as others but pay attention to the New York Times Op-Docs, they're showing up a lot here. "Alone", "116 Cameras" "Ten Meter Tower" are NYT films. 

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Ten Meter Tower

I'm just going here by reputation mostly. Actually, I've a lot more of these selections show up elsewhere than I usually see, there's some consistency with the category, and as a prognosticator I like that. Subject matter, matters a bit, entertainment values helps though; that's usually how and when the upsets come in, so the other four have picked up some things, and I decided to throw "Knife Skills" in there because it looked like the most fun. I liked "Alone" quite a bit, and "Traffic Stop" and "Kayayo" worry me a bit. We'll see

"DeKalb Elementary"
"The Eleven O'Clock"
"Facing Mecca"
"Lost Face"
"My Nephew Emmett"
"Rise of a Star"
"The Silent Child"
"Watu Wote/All of Us"

Alright, final category. Live-Action short. Alright, good rules of thumb, if there's anybody remotely famous in these, just put it in whether it's good or not. Same goes for anybody behind the camera. Look up a director's name or two and see if it sound's familiar; it easily could be somebody who's struggle to get an Award elsewise and decided to try the short film route as an easy option. (Don't laugh, it's happened before). After that, look at subject matter, but look at the trailers if a film has one and just judge the quality of the filmmaking, just an easy test. If it really looks like impressive filmmaking, like a lot of filmmaking craft is involved, that's usually a big hint.  

DeKalb Elementary
Lost Face
Rise of a Star
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

I'm taking a bit of a shot here by not putting in "My Nephew Emmett", um, I won't go into too much detail with that one, but Emmett's last name is Till....-  lost yeah, I'm taking a chance here, but I think "Lost Face" could be a spoiler. It's based on a Jack London short and has a lot Native American actors in it; I'd like to see that get in. "Rise of a Star" has Catherine Deneuve in it, "Watu Wote..." is a Kenyan film that actually won the Student Academy Award this year, and "The Silent Child" is basically a new version of the Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, and it looks like a good one.  "DeKalb Elementary" is probably the favorite though. 

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