Oscar Sunday has been a special day for me since I was a little kid. I’ve always loved movies, so the Oscars and all their pomp and circumstance and glamour have always drawn me to my couch to marvel at the gorgeous gowns, cheer when my favorites finally win, and loudly complain when other favorites are snubbed.
Although the Oscars can sometimes be frustrating to watch and we all know the best movies and performances don’t always win, my desire to watch them from an educated perspective taught me so much about film—especially in my teens. I used to try to watch every Best Picture nominee in a given year (which was much easier when there were only five), and that broadened my understanding of what movies could be and how they could make me feel by introducing me to movies I might never have seen without Oscar nominations behind them. (I’m looking at you, Brokeback Mountain, The Social Network, Slumdog Millionaire, and Revolutionary Road.)
In recent years, I was lucky to see one or maybe two Oscar contenders, but this year, I made a point of seeing as many as I could, and in the process, I fell back in love with movies and how much life-affirming beauty can be found in the hours spent in a darkened theater. So I wanted to come back to these predictions after four years off because I have a stronger sense of the year’s biggest contenders than I’ve had in a while. I hope you’ll share your own predictions with me in the comments and join me on Twitter for all the fun starting with my annual live tweeting of the red carpet at 6 p.m. EST!
Without further ado, let the predicting begin!
My Pick: The Shape of Water
My Thoughts: This is such a wide-open category this year, but I can’t pick against the magic of this movie. Some movies are simply works of art—like paintings come to life—and The Shape of Water is one of those movies. I can’t stop thinking about this movie as a whole, but what’s so special and unique about it is the way certain shots have gotten under my skin and become unforgettable to me not because they were disturbing or shocking or upsetting, but because they were so beautiful. Everything about this film was beautiful—its score, its cinematography, its color palette, its performances (I will sing the praises of Richard Jenkins in this film until the end of time.), and its message that love (even the strangest, most unexpected kind of love) can conquer all. This is a movie about a group of outcasts and outsiders coming together, and it’s also a movie that speaks to the power of cinema to inspire, which we all know Oscar voters love. It’s a love letter to movies, and it’s a creative love story unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. While I wouldn’t mind seeing Lady Bird or Get Out pull a shocking upset, I think this will be a case where the film with the most nominations takes home the big prize.
My Pick: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)
My Thoughts: The creativity, care, and unique perspective del Toro brought to this film took my breath away. Every part of the film was touched by del Toro’s ability to balance the gritty and dark realities of life in the real world with the magic of the movies. This is his masterpiece, and I hope it earns this visionary a well-deserved Oscar.
My Pick: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
My Thoughts: Although I feel like you can never count out Meryl Streep and Saoirse Ronan gave my favorite performance among the nominees this year, McDormand’s fierce and fearless work makes her one of the night’s few sure bets. Her ability to use seething silences to portray the overwhelming anger of grief in a way few actors are brave enough to touch made Three Billboards work, and I can’t see anyone else upsetting what’s essentially been a one-horse race since early on in awards season.
My Pick: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
My Thoughts: The Oscars love a good makeover, and no one changed their appearance for a role more than Oldman did this year. Although I didn’t see Darkest Hour so I can’t offer a truly informed opinion, I think picking with crowd is the way to go on this one. However, part of me is really hoping for a Daniel Kaluuya upset.
My Pick: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
My Thoughts: This is the expected win I am most excited to see tonight. Janney is a true legend, and it feels right that she should finally win her first Oscar tonight.
My Pick: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards…)
My Thoughts: If I’m being honest, I liked Woody Harrelson much better in this film, but I suppose the fact that Rockwell played a much less likable character makes him a better candidate for this award. He brought depth to a character who could have come across as painfully one-note and made a tricky “redemption” arc feel slightly easier to swallow.
My Pick: Coco
My Thoughts: Everything about Coco represented Disney/Pixar at its best. Its music was perfect, its tone appealed to both children and adults, its use of color was stunning, and its plot was captivating. The amount of love put into this film came through onscreen in a truly moving way, and I think that the care that went into making this film will be rewarded tonight.
My Pick: Call Me By Your Name
My Thoughts: I think this Best Picture nominee is going to win something, and this seems like the most likely category for it to take home an Oscar.
My Pick: Lady Bird
My Thoughts: This will probably (and deservedly) go to Get Out, but my love for Lady Bird knows no bounds, and I can’t pick against it in the category it has the best chance to win. I’m still in awe of the fact that Greta Gerwig was able to take such a specific experience (which, as a fellow Catholic schoolgirl, I think she captured perfectly) and turn it into something that has resonated with nearly everyone who’s seen it—a genuine and heartfelt exploration of growing up, mother-daughter relationships, and the struggle to define yourself.
And here’s what the rest of my ballot looks like!
Cinematography: The Shape of Water
Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour
Production Design: Beauty and the Beast
Original Score: The Shape of Water
Original Song: “This Is Me” (The Greatest Showman)
Documentary Feature: Icarus
Documentary Short: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
Animated Short: Lou
Live Action Short: The Silent Child
Sound Editing: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sound Mixing: Baby Driver
Visual Effects: Star Wars: The Last Jedi