By Rachel Zalucki, E23 Reporter

After an amazing year for film, it’s no surprise that the 2018 Oscars is stacked with contenders for every category, and choosing each winner poses a tough challenge. Considering last year’s mishap with the “Best Picture” award, it is definitely going to be interesting to see who comes out on top (and who comes running on stage to reveal the true winner). Here are my predictions for this year’s Academy Awards!

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”

“Darkest Hour”

“Dunkirk”

“Get Out”

“Lady Bird”

“Phantom Thread”

“The Post”

“The Shape of Water” – WINNER

“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

This year’s nominees for the Best Picture category each have remarkable qualities in their own right, but in my opinion, “The Shape of Water” is the obvious frontrunner. The movie’s commercial success was phenomenal, and in tandem with a magnificent set design, score and cast, this movie is sure to sweep the Academy. Plus, Del Toro’s concept of redefining the “movie monster” as a powerful white male is a concept that I am definitely intrigued by.

Best Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” – WINNER

Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Personally, Three Billboards did not appeal to me for the same reasons it appealed to most of its audience. I felt like Three Billboards was a movie that flirted with the provocativity of unbridled rage without actually ever confronting the consequences of such emotion, which goes beyond suspending your disbelief and right into lazy storytelling. However, what was not lazy was Frances McDormand’s acting (or that of the rest of the cast). Her character was rife with conflicting emotions that required both vulnerability and flexibility from the actress herself. The movie’s cast deserved every inch of the “Best Ensemble” award, which was presented to the cast at the SAG awards in late January, and McDormand is graciously sweeping up “Best Actress” awards left and right, as expected.

Best Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”

Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour” – WINNER

Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

My heart is very conflicted about this category, since my prediction is very different than my preference in regards to who deserves the award. I personally believe Timothée Chalamet’s performance in “Call Me by Your Name” was unparalleled. Especially given the five minutes of credits that Chalamet acted over with nothing but a singular earpiece playing Sufjan Steven’s “Visions of Gideon” quietly into his ear. However, I think that Gary Oldman will take home the award this year, since he gave a splendid (albeit boring) performance as Winston Churchill in the period piece “Darkest Hour.”

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”

Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” – WINNER

Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”

Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Yet another category full of very deserving actresses, how will we ever choose a winner?

Easy, it’s Allison Janney. I admittedly did not see “I, Tonya” in theaters, but even from my tiny computer screen, Janney’s performance was still larger than life. LaVona Golden is definitely not the typical parent for an Olympian, seeing as she favors harassment over encouragement, but it does raise a few questions as to Tonya Harding’s role in the Nancy Kerrigan incident. But that’s a story for another article.

Best Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”

Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”

Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”

Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” – WINNER

Admittedly, I struggle a bit with the idea of Sam Rockwell winning an award for playing a racist cop whose gimmick involves beating up minorities and spewing the n-word (hard “r” and everything) like it’s a colloquialism. This movie’s casual attitude toward racially-aggravated abuse is troubling, and furthermore, the lack of consequence for said abuse made me want to walk out of the theater at some points. However, the fact of the matter is that life imitates art, and Rockwell’s portrayal is true to life. As a viewer, it is natural to crave justice in movies, but there are too many movies that became notable by denying the audience of a happy ending and leaving the viewer in a purgatory of ambiguity. (I’m looking at you, “Chinatown.”) So, I am warming up to the idea of Rockwell taking this award home, mostly because he took home the Golden Globe for “Supporting Actor,” but also because he explored the “antihero” trope with a gritty realness that other performances could have lacked. Next time, use less racial slurs. Please.

Best Director:

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan

“Get Out,” Jordan Peele

“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig

“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson

“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro – WINNER

Once again, I hope Guillermo del Toro takes home the award for Best Director simply because “The Shape of Water” was everything I wanted and nothing I expected. Anybody who is able to make a phenomenal love story by taking the age-old concept of “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and mix it with “Beauty and the Beast” — while keeping all of the beastiality intact — deserves all the awards.

Best Cinematography:

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger A. Deakins – WINNER

“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel

“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema

“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison

“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

I could write a thesis paper on why Blade Runner 2049 deserves Best Cinematography, whether it be for the visual homages to the original movie or the revitalization of the original’s dreary color scheme into a bright, monochromatic landscape of the future. But I’ll try to keep it short. Roger Deakins, a master cinematographer who is known for his work in “Fargo” (1996) and “Skyfall” (2012), is a notable name in the Academy, but audiences are questioning whether or not “Blade Runner 2049”’s box office flop will affect its position as the Best Cinematography front-runner. The short answer is: it probably won’t. A flop is a flop, but the cinematography is still gorgeous.

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