Best Picture Breakdown with no clear winner for the 2018 Academy Awards: Who will win?

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 90th Academy Awards will air this Sunday night on March 4, 2018.  After last year’s shocking upset win by MOONLIGHT over LA LA LAND and the blundering wrong name on the wrong card being announced, it feels as though anything could happen at this year’s Oscars.  The past handful of years have had at least a couple of major contenders for the big award.  This year is no different and in fact, might be the most heated race ever.  At least five of the nine films nominated have a genuine shot to take home the golden statue. I’ve personally wavered back and forth on my pick several times over. While not all of my Ten Best Movies of 2017 were nominated, a handful (3 of my top 4) have a good shot at winning it all.  Lets first start with predicting the Oscar winner for Best Director, which seems a little more straight forward.

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

This is another strong category. It’s amazing that this is the first time nomination for four of the five.  Paul Thomas Anderson has had a handful of screenplays nominated but only nominated once for directing (THERE WILL BE BLOOD).  The Academy has shown a lot more love toward PHANTOM THREAD than most, but it would be a surprise for the film to move further than its nominations.  Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig are extremely young in their directing careers and I would be surprised to see one of them win, despite the quality of their films.  Despite his long list of amazing films, it is a travesty that Christopher Nolan (INCEPTION) has never been nominated until now. I think it would be amazing to see Nolan pull it off, but more than likely the guy that won the Director Guild Award and many others leading up to this one will probably win here.  While Guillermo is excellent at his craft, Christopher Nolan deserves the win, not only this time but also many times before.

Winner: Guillermo del Toro, THE SHAPE OF WATER

Should Win: Christopher Nolan, DUNKIRK

Should have been Nominated: Edgar Wright, BABY DRIVER (Yes, I am going to continue to hype this film)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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

Alright, lets breakdown and analyze each film in the order of least likely to most likely to win.

DARKEST HOUR (6 Nominations) – This is the Gary Oldman show, which to fair was enough to propel the film into the Best Picture race.  While director Joe Wright (ATONEMENT, ANNA KARENINA) did a wonderful job of creating a lot of tension and excitement into basically a two hour monologue is quite impressive.  However, it’s also not the recipe to win an Oscar, especially with so many bigger and more moving pictures in the category.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (4 Nominations) – This film is well-acted and technically put together beautifully, but I can’t understand for the life of me why I’m in the minority in thinking this film is just plain wrong.  A 17-year-old boy is in a different place mentally and emotionally than a 24- year-old man.  This is not a love story. It’s a lust story.  They are attracted to one another, but the older man knows that he is taking advantage of the vulnerability and lustful thoughts of a boy.  It’s an inappropriate relationship (not because they are gay) that the father should at the very least be concerned about.  Furthermore, I find his speech, while moving as a singular moment, a flaw in the screenplay to make the audience think this relationship is okay. For my full review, click the title.  Thankfully, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME has a minimal shot at winning Best Picture, but then again, I’m surprised it even got nominated.

PHANTOM THREAD (6 Nominations) – I think it’s safe to say that not many people predicted this film to get so many nominations, one of which is a best directing nod for Paul Thomas Anderson.  But the fact that it received so many nominations should prove that it has a lot of love from the Academy. It might just be a hint that it has far more support than expected. While this still may not be the film that earns PTA his eventual Best Picture or Best Director, it does contain the self proclaimed final performance by perhaps the greatest actor in Daniel Day Lewis since announcing retirement.

THE POST (2 Nominations) – This Steven Spielberg directed movie starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hank about the importance of journalism feels like it was tailor made for Oscar glory.  And that in itself is it’s greatest weakness.  This is a wonderful true story that lacks energy and focus on the actual story and seems to care more about winning awards.  That’s probably not completely true but I think Spielberg over thought this film.  I’m happy that it only got two nominations. Personally, I think it only deserved maybe one in art direction, which it wasn’t even nominated for.  Spielberg should look at Joe Wright’s direction for DARKEST HOUR for inspiration who did a much better job energizing and punch up a rather interesting but visually mundane story.  Although Spielberg could also look back at several of his past films for that same inspiration as well.  THE POST is a topical film with two most talented stars in the lead which screams Oscar. With the lack of nominations, the Academy seems to mostly agree it’s not the best.

LADY BIRD (5 Nominations) – The highest certified fresh percentage on Rotten Tomatoes seems to be the major advertisement for LADY BIRD. I love humorous, observational, coming-of-age films about dealing with school and parents. I think Greta Gerwig perhaps made one of the best in the genre. The performances are top notch and in another year I would be rooting for Saoirse Ronan for best actress.  However, I do think it’s probably over achieved.  It’s one of my favorite movies of the year but even I admit it does not deserve the top prize.  The #Me Too movement and recent support for females to write, direct, and produce more films could be the right kind of push that sends LADY BIRD to an upset victory.  Right now it’s not a favorite to win, but a potential spoiler in all five of its categories. I’m rooting for a win in the supporting actress category for Laurie Metcalf and am happy for the simple acknowledgement of the film.


DUNKIRK (8 Nominations) – I really thought my second favorite film had a shot at winning this thing. But as time gets closer to the big Oscar date, I realize its chances are slipping further and further away.  For such a successful and critically acclaimed film, why do I feel like one of the only people supporting it?  Seriously, it has been a struggle convincing this is the Best Picture of the year and one of the most captivating, inventive and visually mesmerizing war films to ever grace the big screen.  It’s sad that Christopher Nolan films still struggle to find that elusive Best Picture/Best Director support. Like Paul Thomas Anderson, it should not be long until we are clamoring for this guy to win the big award.  But people found the editing confusing and thought the picture lacked the necessary heart to make it the best.  I’m always able to insert myself into these type of movies making it very emotional as I care for every nameless face in battle trying to live for one more week, or in the case of DUNKIRK, one more day and one more hour.  I hope it wins.

GET OUT (4 Nominations) – This is the movie that I think has taken audiences most by surprise.  The fact that it’s even on this list is a great testament to Academy’s ability to recognize great works of art.  An unconventional, almost satyrical horror film, that brings the view point of race, fear, and privilege in a whole new light.  GET OUT should be a popular choice to upset the Best Picture race. As my third favorite film of the year, I would be ecstatic.  Since DUNKIRK seems to be drifting from the race, GET OUT might have the right surge and support at just the right time. It’s culturally significant, which is a plus and is on many of the Academy top list, recently winning Best Original Screenplay at the WGA.  However, the horror genre is not always a favorite and some could think that first time writer and director Jordan Peele needs a little more time and proven work under his belt before it earning the industy’s highest honor. Plus it’s competing with…

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (7 Nominations) – When I saw this film in theaters, I immediately thought it was the one to beat (along with DUNKIRK).  But as time has gone on and I’ve read the criticism about the inaccuracies of the characters as real people (I disagree), I realize it’s far more vulnerable than expected.  A story about pain, forgiveness, and humanity.  It’s a harsh film swinging emotions from emotional drama to biting humor.  I love the characters and Frances McDormand leads the charge. Like the characters, the film is not flawless with some rough edges for sure. It’s the film with the best acting, which plays well for the largest group of the Academy – the actors.  It’s also the thing that stands out in most viewers eyes. My fourth favorite film of the year and the one that I think has the best shot at winning, I will be  definitely be pulling for it over the favorite. Two weeks ago, I actually picked it to win. However, I fear it’s a film that will be remembered and revered in years to come rather than the year it came out. With a strong female lead, it seems to have the makings for a Best Picture run the same way FARGO did.  FARGO did not win Best Picture, THE ENGLISH PATIENT did.  A film that has two lovers embracing eerily similar to…

THE SHAPE OF WATER (13 Nominations) – A film that is beautiful in its simplicity that encourages love, kindness and acceptance, THE SHAPE OF WATER is the clear favorite with the most nominations leading into the night.  I like the film but it did not connect with me the same way it did for others, so understand that I will actively be rooting against it in favor for some of my underdog favorites.  Writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s is a veteran filmmaker whose best work came with PAN’S LABYRINTH in 2006. He has never won and the film is a sentimental favorite with the classic beauty and the beast, love story.  It’s a nice message where all the good guy characters are the traditionally kicked on people in society. It’s on to think that the safe bet is a story about a poor, mute woman falling in love with the creature from the black lagoon, but here we are.  As I said, I really like the beautiful look and idea of the story. Technically it deserves a lot of praise, but I never actually connected to their love emotionally, perhaps the same way others didn’t connect to DUNKIRK.  I think time will tell that while this a very good movie, it’s not the best picture. But as of right now…



Check out my other Oscar Predictions by clicking the links:

Oscar Predictions for the eighteen other categories in the 2018 Academy Awards: And the Oscar goes to…

Will there be an upset? The Best Acting Oscar Predictions for the 2018 Academy Awards

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