With the Oscar nominations set to be announced on January 23rd, Best Picture nominee predictions are in full swing. The 2018 Academy Awards have been the subject of much discussion within Hollywood and the critical community alike. Much speculation has swirled around how the ceremony, to be presented by Jimmy Kimmel, will take on the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the countless revelations of sexual harassment and assault within the industry. With the heavy hitters of the season lacking in terms of diversity, many have worried the year will be a repeat of #OscarsSoWhite.
There’s also the fascinating reality that this season’s awards offerings have been more varied, stranger and less formulaic than ever. Among the most popular contenders are sci-fi romances, genre-busting war epics, black comedies of historical events, touching LGBT dramas, and biopics of some of Hollywood’s stranger figures. For the first time in many years, the Oscars have become truly difficult to predict.
Oscar season is usually an inevitable narrative of a handful of winners that everyone knows will win, but we still have to go through the motions of being surprised by it all. That makes the entire campaign a tad boring to watch. Fortunately, that process got a much needed shake-up last year when the flub that was seen around the world revealed the 2017 Best Picture winner as Moonlight. For months, many had been saying that Moonlight was the best film of the year, but that it would never actually beat La La Land – the perfect Oscar-bait movie, set in Hollywood and full of nostalgia and dreams. And then Moonlight actually won.
This season, the critics’ awards have been all across the board in essentially every major category. There are few certain front-runners, and the major films in contention have all received recognition in some shape or form. There’s no single juggernaut in the race snatching up every title. There’s still time for one big movie to pick up that mantle – with the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards on the horizon, there’s certainly a way for that momentum to build – but for now, the race really could be anyone’s.
The Best Picture category can include up to ten nominees. Due to the preferential voting system for nominations, where films must earn either 5% of first-place rankings to make the list, it’s been a few years since all ten slots were filled. It seems more likely this year than ever for the category to fill up. There’s a lot of passion for the big films of the year, so anything could happen. We’ve compiled our ten choices for what we feel are most likely to be nominated for Best Picture. Nothing is set in stone, and for once, not being able to predict the winners is genuinely exciting.
This Page: All the Money in the World, Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, Get Out and I, Tonya
All The Money in the World
When Ridley Scott announced that his latest film would undergo unprecedented reshoots in order to replace actor Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer, few of us could have predicted that it would go on to become a Golden Globe nominee mere weeks later. After the rush to switch out actors and recut the entire movie in the process, many feared that All the Money in the World, a biographical drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, would be unsalvageable -and yet Scott managed to pull it off. Reviews have been solid, if not as resoundingly positive as some of the other front-runners, but there’s a lot of industry goodwill for Scott, and many remain dazzled by the sheer technical wizardry of such high-pressure reshoots and recasting. Plummer and Michelle Williams stand strong chances in their respective acting categories, but don’t rule out the Academy wanting to reward Scott and the film itself for pulling off the seemingly impossible.
Call Me By Your Name
Since premiering at Sundance a whole year ago, Luca Guadagnino’s touching romance Call Me By Your Name, starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, has gained hordes of fans the world over. It’s managed to maintain its momentum all year and stands as one of 2017’s best-reviewed films. Chalamet is giving long-time favorite Gary Oldman a run for his money as the front-runner for Best Actor, but even if he doesn’t pull that off, it seems likely that the film itself will rank in the top ten. Those who love the film are rapturous in their adoration of it, and that kind of passion is needed to get a film far.
After a summer release that broke IMAX screening records and saw a box office gross of over $500m worldwide, Christopher Nolan’s war drama Dunkirk became somewhat underrated with critics and awards prognosticators. It was a critical and commercial smash, nobody could deny that, but it began to feel like people were overlooking just how good the film is. Perhaps we all just took for granted the consistent excellence of Nolan’s work, but we shouldn’t underestimate how astounding an achievement Dunkirk is. What could have been a re-tread of every war film you’ve ever seen became an achingly tense drama of survival and failure, with some of the best cinematography of the year. Dunkirk forces the audience into the traumatic chaos of war and keeps the unease at near unbearable levels for over 100 minutes. Few other directors could pull it off, and it certainly deserves that credit.
There are certain arbitrary rules that seem to define awards season: Movies released early in the year will be ignored; Horror never gets nominated; First time directors don’t have a chance; Stories about racism should be told through a white gaze. What’s astounding about Get Out is not that it breaks all these rules – although it does that with panache – but that it’s helped to rewrite what we define as a prestigious movie. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is unquestioningly the movie that defined 2017. The whip-smart satirical horror has dominated the zeitgeist since premiering last February, and against all odds, it’s swept many critics circle awards along the way. Many questioned its Golden Globes categorization as a comedy, but few could argue that Get Out deserved the nomination. The Academy still have a block when it comes to genre offerings – Black Swan was the last horror film to get a Best Picture nomination, but one hasn’t won the big award since The Silence of the Lambs – but in a year where anything could happen, this is beginning to feel like a lock.
It may be too soon in some people’s eyes for anyone to make a film about the infamous ice skater Tonya Harding, but Craig Gillespie’s comedy-drama on the rise and fall of the sport’s most contradictory woman has been one of the season’s true dark horses. I, Tonya was an audience favorite when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and its stars, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, have been campaigning hard all season for it. Following FX’s American Crime Story: The People Versus OJ Simpson, wherein the much-maligned prosecutor Marcia Clark got her due, many have felt that I, Tonya replicates that redemption narrative for Harding, exposing her tough childhood and abusive relationship that took place alongside the infamous crowbar to Nancy Kerrigan heard around the world. While its tonal problems remain, I, Tonya has reportedly been a big hit with voters thanks to screeners, so don’t rule it out.
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