After the 2015 and 2016 #oscarssowhite campaign, the Academy added many new voting members, the majority of which were either young people, people of color, or both. The effects were felt almost immediately when the small budget gay romance film Moonlight managed to upset the predominately white La La Land. This new crop of voters is what makes this year’s Oscars so interesting. There are lots of Oscar-bait movies (as always)  like a Steven Spielberg period piece, a boring war film and a movie with Daniel Day-Lewis. On the flip side, there are plenty of unique indie films that also have a shot to win this year’s top honor. This year is even competitive in the awards that usually have clear-cut favorites, like special effects and best original song. With so many wide open races, a diverse slate of nominees and one of the most transformative years in Hollywood history having just taken place, expect the 90th annual Academy Awards to be one to remember

Best Picture

Get Out

Darkest Hour

The Phantom Thread

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Lady Bird

Call Me by your Name

Dunkirk

The Post

The Shape Of Water

This year’s Best Picture race is one of the most wide open in recent memory. It has comedy, horror, drama, and romance, which makes it such a hard group to choose a winner from.

Who Should Win: Lady Bird or Call Me by Your Name

They’re both Indies with complex relationships, important settings, and Timothee Chalamet. What more could you ask for? Both of these films have been gifted with incredible stories both original and adapted that make them both deserving of this year’s Best Picture.

Who Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Again, this race is hugely competitive, but Three Billboards won at the Globes and it deals with a much heavier subject matter than any other nominee. Although any film on this list could swoop in and steal it

Best Directing

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Jordan Peele, Get Out

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Finally, a diverse slate of directors has been nominated, Natalie Portman can rest easy. This award is historically an all (white) boys club, so it’s likely that this year- with everything going on in Hollywood- that a female or person of color will take this award home.

Who Should Win: Christopher Nolan

Somehow he has NEVER won an Oscar, unbelievable right? While Dunkirk isn’t his best work, it’s still a beautiful and well-directed film, that definitely deserves recognition.

Who Will Win: Greta Gerwig

This works out so perfectly for the Academy, it’s a home run to give this to Gerwig. Lady Bird won the best picture award at the Globes but Gerwig was snubbed for best direction, I guess the movie just directed itself?

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Meryl Streep, The Post

Who Should Win: Frances McDormand

Her role in this movie is so powerful and the casting is marvelous all around so it’s no surprise that McDormand is the favorite. A mother seeking justice for her daughter after she was raped and killed is some heavy stuff and McDormand brings it in every scene, demanding your attention with every perfect delivery.

Who Will Win: Frances McDormand

Seriously, just watch this movie for her and Sam Rockwell, they practically write the book on acting in every scene.

P.S this is probably the first time in her career where Meryl Streep is the worst performance on the list.

Best Actor in a Lead Role

Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel Esq.

Who Should Win: Timothee Chalamet

He learned to speak French and Italian for this movie and he nails every line in both while slipping in and out of them with ease. He shows emotion like an actor well beyond his years and his re-acting skills are stupendous. Not to mention the dance moves that should be awarded their own separate Oscar.

Who Will Win: Gary Oldman

Yeah, yeah I know he’s great and he wears prosthetics and whatever but this is the most boring choice available. Pick something exciting for once, Academy.

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

Get Out

Lady Bird

Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Who Should Win: Get Out, Jordan Peele

Get Out is an achievement in storytelling and it should be recognized as such. To snub Get Out entirely would be a huge mistake. It’s filled with so many details, foreshadowing and imagery that it is hard to believe this is Jordan Peele’s first ever feature-length script. A fact that makes Get Out even more impressive than it already is.

Who Will Win: Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig

Greta deserves recognition for the Lady Bird script, and she’ll probably get it. Timothee Chalamet said it best when he told Daniel Kaluuya that the Lady Bird script is great because it’s so intentional with every line. Highlighted by this poignant line “, maybe paying attention and love are the same thing.”

Best Original Score

Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer

The Last Jedi, John Williams

The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat

Phantom Thread, Johnny Greenwood

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carter Burwell

Who Should Win: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

John Williams has Oscar pedigree (51 nominations!) and The Last Jedi is some of his best work. Highlighted by the incredible farewell to Luke Skywalker with his famous Binary Sunset theme playing over it all.

Who Will Win: The Last Jedi

Because the only thing that critics and fans agreed on in this movie was that it had a great score.

Best Original Song

“Mighty River” from Mudbound

“Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name

“Remember Me” from Coco

“Stand Up for Something” from Marshall

“This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman

Who Should Win: Mystery of Love, Sufjan Stevens, Call Me by Your Name

Because it’s SUFJAN STEVENS that’s why. Seriously though, this song is fantastic. Give it a listen right now.

Who Will Win: This Is Me, Benji Pasek and Justin Paul, The Greatest Showman

The Academy loves Justin Paul because he scored La La Land, but the Greatest Showman is NOT La La Land. It’s a montage of a bad businessman with a heavily edited voice and if it wins anything I will lose my MIND.

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Kong: Skull Island

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

Who Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

Ridley Scott’s blockbuster sequel to the original Blade Runner was perfect in the sense that the movie nails everything in it and doesn’t try to reach. 2049 is just a good film with no agenda, highlighted by some of the best effects, and production design, that I’ve ever seen.

Who Will Win: The Last Jedi

When Admiral Holdo jumped to lightspeed and cut the First Order’s ship in half, every Oscar voter in the audience penciled in their winner for this category.

Final Thoughts

After such a monumental year for Hollywood, we can all expect that Oscars to be huge as well. If the Moonlight win last year was any indicator of what’s to come, expect a very diverse sleight of winners this year.

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