The nominations for the 90th Academy Awards will be released tomorrow morning. Maybe you’re a big awards fan and waiting with bated breath, maybe you’ve been too busy dealing with work and/or kids to pay much attention, or maybe the events of the last 12 months have crushed your spirit to the point you just don’t care anymore. There’s no judgment here either way.
Regardless of your interest, the nominations are coming. 2017 was kind of a weird year. It was down in terms of overall ticket sales thanks to a number of high profile bombs (Baywatch, Valerian) and in spite of a number of releases that were either greatly anticipated (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Wonder Woman) or surprise successes (Get Out, It, Wonder). Indeed, few of the most visible awards season films made much of a dent at the box office.
We’re also seeing further – if halting – strides in recognizing female filmmakers and actors and directors of color. A possible post-Moonlight backlash never materialized, and in the wake of #MeToo and the Harvey Weinstein revelations, this is a trend that will hopefully continue.
Being what passes for a movie critic here at the Press, it falls to me to offer my prognostication as to the likely nominees. As always, the author is not responsible for any gambling losses incurred.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The Shoo-Ins: Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Holly Hunter (The Big Sick), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) The Contenders: Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water), Kirsten Dunst (The Beguiled), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) The Long Shots: Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Sarah Paulson (The Post). Michelle Pfeiffer (mother!). Aubrey Plaza (Ingrid Goes West)
We start off with what might be this year's most loaded category. Any of the top four listed could walk away with the statue, and the depth continues into the third tier (a Paulson nomination isn’t even *that* much of a stretch). I threw Plaza's name in there because the world needs more Aubrey Plaza.
The Shoo-Ins: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) The Contenders: Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name), Jason Mitchell (Mudbound), Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) The Long Shots: Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), Sterling K. Brown (Marshall), Idris Elba (Molly's Game), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Fun fact, Stuhlbarg was in three great/very good movies this year (Call Me By Your Name, The Shape of Water, The Post), and he could easily have secured a nomination for any of them. Having said that, he’s got some competition.
The Shoo-Ins: Coco, The Breadwinner, Loving Vincent The Contenders: The Lego Batman Movie, Ferdinand The Long Shots:Boss Baby, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, The Girl Without Hands
This is the weakest slate of American animation releases in a very long time. Maybe ever. Coco is hands down the best here, but it’ll be interesting to see how foreign the Academy goes.
Prediction: Coco, The Breadwinner, Loving Vincent, Ferdinand, The Girl Without Hands
The Shoo-Ins: "Remember Me" (Coco), "This is Me" (The Greatest Showman), "Evermore" (Beauty and the Beast) The Contenders: "The Mystery of Love" (Call Me By Your Name), "Stand Up for Something" (Marshall) The Long Shots: "Mighty River" (Mudbound), "Captain Underpants Theme Song" (Captain Underpants), "Home" (Ferdinand)
See also Animated Feature Film. Do people even remember songs from non-cartoon movies anymore? Did enough people watch The Greatest Showman to give “This is Me” a shot? Am I the only one disappointed “Evermore” wasn’t a Led Zeppelin homage?
Prediction: "Remember Me," "This Is Me," "Evermore," "The Mystery Of Love," "Mighty River"
The Shoo-Ins:Call Me By Your Name, Molly’s Game, Wonder The Contenders: Mudbound, The Beguiled, All the Money in he World The Long Shots:Logan, Last Flag Flying, The Disaster Artist
Is it just me, or did Last Flag Flying completely get overlooked this year? It wasn’t bad at all, though Bryan Cranston’s performance was a little over the top, It’s just weird that Richard Linklater, who was the toast of the town three years ago with Boyhood, is being essentially ignored this time around.
Prediction:Call My By Your Name, Molly’s Game, Wonder, All the Money in the World, Mudbound
The Shoo-Ins: Lady Bird, Get Out, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri The Contenders:The Shape of Water, The Big Sick, The Post The Long Shots:Phantom Thread, Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, I, Tonya
Another tough category, with the top three up there all being worthy candidates. Get Out may not ultimately be able to overcome the late runs by Lady Bird and Three Billboards, especially after the latter’s Globes wins, but it should still earn a nom.
Prediction:Get Out, Lady Bird, Three Billboards etc, The Shape of Water, The Post
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
The Shoo-Ins: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Tom Hanks (The Post) The Contenders: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) The Long Shots: Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Andy Serkis (War for the Planet of the Apes), Chadwick Boseman (Marshall)
It feels kinda cheap going with Oldman, because Darkest Hour was not very good (it was the 3rd best Dunkirk-related film this year). I also don’t see how the Academy ignores an allegedly retiring DDL or Serious Hanks. Chalamet was great, and Kaluuya was pretty good. I’d be surprised if the cloud currently following Franco doesn’t torpedo his chances, and Serkis may yet win something for a motion capture performance, just not this year.
The Shoo-Ins: Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) The Contenders: Jordan Peele (Get Out), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Steven Spielberg (The Post) The Long Shots: Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), Sean Baker (The Florida Project), Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
I’m guessing Greta Gerwig won’t be overlooked after that Golden Globes fiasco, but who knows? The whole “up to 10 Best Picture nominees” makes those Director noms that much more important, and even more awkward when the Director doesn’t win (right, Tom McCarthy?). I think Gerwig will be on the short list, but at whose expense?
Prediction: Del Toro, Nolan, Gerwig, Spielberg, Peele
The Shoo-Ins:Lady Bird, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Get Out, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri The Contenders: The Post, Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project, I, Tonya The Long Shots:The Big Sick, Mudbound, Wonder Woman, Battle of the Sexes, Last Flag Flying
Box office aside, this was a pretty strong year for film, and my top five have changed up quite a few times in just the last month. I think we’ll see eight nominees, with the caveat that I haven’t gotten the actual number right since the Academy expanded the field in 2009.
Prediction:Lady Bird, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Get Out, 3B, The Post, Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE...
Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.