Our Fearless Forecast for the Oscars: Get Out Will Win Best Picture
All awards roads lead to the Oscars, which is why, at this point, speculation over who is going to win isn't as wild as you might think. This year's crop of nominees are all (mostly) great, and the many preceding award shows—from the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the BAFTAs, and the various critics associations—have made this year's winners pretty obvious already.
But hey, with last year's last-minute mixup between La La Land and Moonlight, there's one thing we know for certain: There are still always room for a crazy surprise. That's why predicting the winners is still so much fun—who knows what will really happen.
Here are the major categories, featuring who I think should win and who I think will ultimately take home the gold.
What should win: Get Out
What will win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Let's be blunt: Get Out deserves to win Best Picture. Not only is it a brilliant horror film (a genre that is rarely even noticed by the Academy, much less at the Best Picture level), but it also says much about race in America in ways other well-intentioned films often showered with Oscars rarely do. For one thing, it's not about overtly about slavery or the Civil Rights movement; it's about now, and how white supremacy remains foundational to our society—even as kind-hearted, liberal-leaning whites turn a blind eye to that reality—and does so provocatively without tying it all together in a neat, tidy bow.
With that in mind, it seems that Three Billboards is more likely the film to earn Best Picture. What could have been just a revenge tale also manages to lump in some fairly lazy sketches that attempt to portray contemporary American society (written and directed by acclaimed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, whose blind spots have never been so obvious). Filled with stellar performances, Three Billboards makes half-hearted attempts to sweep race and racism into its giant, chaotic amalgamation of themes and ideas. But the Academy loves a lecture—especially one delivered with fire and brimstone—so expect this one to take home Best Picture. (I'll cross my fingers that I am wrong!)
Who should win: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Who will win: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
How thrilling could it be to see the 22-year-old Chalamet earn an Oscar for his breakthrough performance as Elio in Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name? Considering the typical winners, who are often seasoned performers, a win for Chalamet would be a breath of fresh air—and he'd be the youngest man to win the prize.
But then there's Gary Oldman. After a long career of phenomenal performances that have been criminally overlooked by the Academy, might finally earn the award for playing Winston Churchill. This is only his second nomination ever (which is wild!), and it's definitely not his best performance by any means. But the Academy often likes to make up for past mistakes, which is why he's likely to win this one. (The dark horse in the fight: Daniel Day-Lewis, whose win for his last acting performance in Phantom Thread would earn him a record-breaking four Oscars.)
Who should win: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Who will win: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Despite its major flaws, Frances McDormand is a lock for her portrayal of Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother seeking to avenge her daughter's murder. There's a reason why the messy Three Billboards has charmed so many audiences: McDormand's brilliant, fierce, and electric performance is the most human part of the film, and she'll no doubt take home her second Oscar for the role.
Best Supporting Actor
Who should win: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Who will win: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The biggest shame of the 2018 awards season is how Sean Baker's tender-hearted and pointedly real coming-of-age film, The Florida Project, was nearly shut out completely. But sure enough, Willem Dafoe squeezed through with the film's sole nomination—and it's a deserving one, as his quiet and warm performance as a friendly motel manager in Kissimmee, Florida is truly one of the year's best.
But Sam Rockwell has earned nearly all of of the major awards leading up to the Oscars for playing a vile, racist cop who slowly (and arguably) heads down a path to redemption in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Rockwell would be a first-time winner (and would beat his co-star, Woody Harrelson). He's not not deserving of the award, as his performance alongside Frances McDormand lifted the film up beyond its incredible flaws. Plus, it's the sort of capital-A Acting the Academy likes to honor.
Best Supporting Actress
Who should win: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Who will win: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
This is the tightest race of the year, with two seasoned actresses going head-to-head for their first Oscar. Both Metcalf and Janney have picked up various acting trophies throughout their career (Emmys and Tonys). Janney did win the Golden Globe for her performance as Tonya Harding's mother LaVona Golden in January—plus pretty much every other award this season that makes her a shoo-in here.
While Janney's scenery-chewing performance—equipped with an oxygen tank, a natty fur coat, and a ear-nibbling parakeet—is definitely the showier role, Metcalf's subtly hilarious role as another domineering (yet tender) movie mom is the one I'm hoping earns an Oscar for its actress.
Who should win: Jordan Peele, Get Out
Who will win: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele is just the fifth black director to be nominated in this category; he also the first black person who be nominated simultaneously for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (and only the third person to accomplish that feat). It's not a bad record for a guy who started out as a performer on Mad TV—but it's to be expected for a directorial debut as impressive as Get Out.
But Dunkirk's Christopher Nolan is also a first-time nominee in this category, despite his acclaimed career and three previous Oscar nominations for Memento (Best Original Screenplay) and Inception (Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay). Dunkirk is, quite honestly, the film that has the most obvious direction; it's a large-scale war epic for which Nolan commandeered boats, planes, and thousands of actors. With any luck, this will be the year he gets an Oscar for doing what he does best.
Best Original Screenplay
What should win: Lady Bird
What will win: Get Out
This could be a tough one: Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele are the breakout creatives of this year's race, both of them nominated for their solo directorial debuts for which they also wrote the screenplays. Gerwig's Lady Bird is a warm, funny, coming-of-age tale; Peele's Get Out is a satiric horror about race in America. The latter might be the weightiest, but there's certainly something about the former that has captured the hearts of nearly everyone who has seen it.
If Three Billboards (or Dunkirk) does in fact get the top prize, this might be the category that Lady Bird and Get Out will earn a single Oscar. While I don't want either to go home empty handed, I'm rooting for Lady Bird in this category (as I'm hoping for a last-minute Hail Mary that Peele and Co. will take home Best Picture). But it's more likely this one might go to Peele for his inventive and shocking script.
Best Adapted Screenplay
What should win: Call Me By Your Name
What will win: Call Me By Your Name
The legendary James Ivory, who at 89 is the oldest person to be nominated for an Oscar, has previously earned three nominations for Best Director for A Room With a View, Howards End, and The Remains of the Day. While he passed on directing Call Me By Your Name, he completed a phenomenal adaptation of André Aciman's celebrated novel (directed beautifully by Luca Guadagnino). Ivory has already earned numerous awards for his screenplay, and it looks like this year he'll finally accept his first Oscar, too.
Best Original Song
What should win: "Mystery of Love," Call Me By Your Name
What will win: "This Is Me," The Greatest Showman
Every now and then an acclaimed indie songwriter gets an Oscar nomination and loses it to some popular song whose ubiquity is impossible to defeat. (See, for example, Elliott Smith's "Miss Misery," no match for Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." Also: Aimee Mann's "Save Me" vs. Phil Collins's "You'll Be in My Heart.") This year's front-runner is the belter of a track from The Greatest Showman. Keala Settle, a Broadway powerhouse, will no doubt blow Sufjan Stevens's soft, dulcet tones out of the water; "This Is Me," naturally, will pummel "Mystery of Love" and nab the award.
What should win: Faces Places
What will win: Faces Places
Icarus and Last Men in Aleppo, two frontrunners for this year's Best Documentary category, are already expected to get shut out of the race thanks to Russian meddling (seriously). But despite the potential Oscar espionage, there's one film nearly everyone expects to earn the prize: Faces Places, the collaboration between French photographer JR and the celebrated director Agnès Varda, whose films (including Cléo from 5 to 7) was central to the French New Wave movement of the 1960s. This is the kind of lifetime achievement Oscar most people don't earn—not just for a long career, but also for a current and provocative contemporary work.
Best Animated Feature Film
What should win: Coco
What will win: Coco
Look, if you're up against a Pixar movie at the Oscars, just be grateful you got the invitation at all. Coco is the clear winner here. (Take it up with HR, Boss Baby.)
Best Original Score
What should win: Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
What will win: Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood first collaborated with Paul Thomas Anderson on the Best Picture-nominated There Will Be Blood; the musician has scored all of the director's films since, with Phantom Thread serving as his ultimate best. It's so good that he earned his first Oscar nomination for the score; it's a lush, romantic, sweeping composition—a clear standout for this year's crops of nominees.
Yet the Academy doesn't always go for outsiders in this competition; despite his previous work with Anderson and with director Lynne Ramsey, Greenwood may still be a indie-rock musician in the voters' eyes. Alexandre Desplat is a more likely winner for his beautiful score for Guillermo del Toro's grown-up fairy tale The Shape of Water.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.