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Year in review: 2018 Academy Award Predictions

Blake Gasner, film reporter

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It’s award season again. The Grammy’s just aired last Sunday and now it’s time for the Oscars on March 4.  An entire incredible year of movies has already come and gone, and now we are knee deep in the muck of another awards season that will honor the individual feats of these great films. With the date impending, there is no need to panic. Movie theaters nationwide will continue expanding the release of the major award contenders, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to work away at that watch list.

Examining this list of nominees has been incredibly exciting. There is not a steamroller like “The Lord of Rings: Return of the King” that can swoop in and monopolize the entire awards ceremony. Instead, the variety of films nominated are quite exotic compared to past ceremonies, and wide open in terms of competitive quality. There are the normal Oscar bait works, small scale indies, massive blockbusters, wide diversity amongst nominees and a few first timers like Rachel Morrison as the first woman nominated for “Best Cinematography.”

Best Picture – “The Shape of Water”

This category is an exceptionally tight race between both “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “The Shape of Water,” with “Dunkirk,” “Get Out” and “Lady Bird” all possessing the potential spare fuel to launch right back into the thick of the fray as well. Overall, I think Martin McDonagh’s exemption from the “Best Director” category could prove lethal for “Three Billboards,” allowing “The Shape of Water” to pull ahead. Still though, the building buzz behind “Get Out” from this past year is something that should not go unnoticed, as Winona State University film professor, Paul Johnson, said when I asked him about his thoughts on the Oscar race.

“It taps into deep cultural knowledge and anxieties, exploits genre conventions expertly,and features near-perfect writing, direction and performances. And its message is timely and thoughtful,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, the Academy is not too fond of horror as a genre.  But if the #OscarSoWhite movement has anything to say, ‘Get Out’ might follow last year’s ‘Moonlight’ as the year’s best and most important film.”

Best Director – Guillermo del Toro –“The Shape of Water”

Del Toro is undoubtedly the frontrunner for “Best Director.” However, a history of ignorance towards Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”) could propel him to the front as reimbursement for serval years of obvious snubs. Other aspects of the best director race that must be acknowledged are the nominations for woman director, Greta Gerwig, and black director Jordan Peele (“Get Out”). When asked about the groundbreaking cinema of this year, Johnson also offered praise for Gerwig’s direction.

‘“Lady Bird’ is also a gem and I am thrilled to see Saoirse Ronan, one of the best actors of her generation, nominated again, as I am Greta Gerwig, only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for Best Director,” Johnson said.

Best Actor –  Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”

Gary Oldman has been considered the likely candidate for “Best Actor” since the first set pictures of him masquerading as Winston Churchill were released. He has only been nominated one prior time in his illustrious career and has yet to win. This has been inevitable for a long time.

Best Actress – Frances McDormand – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

McDormand has swept up a great deal of awards thus far in 2018’s award season, allowing me to confidently notch her above the other juggernauts, Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”) and Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”).

Best Supporting Actor – Sam Rockwell – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

This one is an “either or” scenario between Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”) and Rockwell (“Three Billboards”). I cast doubt however on whether the majority of the Academy voters have actually seen “The Florida Project,” while on the flipside, it seems “Three Billboards” is a clear favorite thus far amongst the voting consensus so I put my money on Rockwell.

Best Supporting Actress – Allison Janney – “I, Tonya”

Similar to Gary Oldman’s domination of the “Best Actor” category, Allison Janney seems to grasp a similar control over her competition, based off past awards ceremonies from this year. She is nearly a lock.

There are your major awards. May the best film triumph!

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