Oscars 2018: Best Picture Prediction

It’s not easy being an international student at a boarding school… out of all the Best Picture nominees, I’ve only seen Dunkirk. (EDIT 3/20: I have now also seen The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, and Darkest Hour.) But I’ve been following this year’s movies intently and have been pleased with I’ve been gauging.

This is one of those years when every movie is wildly different. Every movie’s spot on this list makes sense for some reason or another, which is not always the case. The Academy made very good decisions – but not all of them have an equal shot at winning.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It’s incredibly refreshing to see more excellent movies about the Southwest and Midwest, especially after the surprisingly masterful Hell or High Water last year. The comedy-tragedy seems clever, harrowing, difficult, and expertly crafted without for a moment losing originality. It won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Drama)– and I believe it can do the same here at the Oscars.

Dunkirk

This is the only Best Picture nominee I have watched. I felt the cinematography, color composition, and unconventional chronology were brilliant, but the film failed to move me. Maybe it was the lack of a true protagonist (the lack of dialogue makes it hard for any one character to earn enough limelight). The film was well-done, and another kudos to Nolan, but I do not want nor predict this film to win.

The Shape of Water

Wonderfully original; I would love to see this film win. A nuanced tale of strange and tender affection trying to unfold in austere reality, this film spells genuine, never melodramatic emotions; at the same time, it challenges society’s norms of acceptable romance. Guillermo del Toro returns with his signature fantasy style– at times shocking but ultimately moving– that may finally deliver his long-deserved award.

Lady Bird

A24 strikes again with its amazing stream of films. The grainy, warmly saturated film is a funny and relatable coming-of-age story for growing pains… and it has yet to be the moment for Oscar voters to truly consider giving away the highest honor of the night to said genre. It may be a nominee, yes, and that’s a big step– but still has ways to go before such a movie can win the top prize.

Call Me by Your Name

Quick shoutout to the director, Luca Guadagnino, for slipping in Ravel and Beethoven in the trailer. Excellent choices. The cool color palette of the European streets and countryside are absolutely beautiful. The subjects in this film – both nature and actors – are beautiful. Critics say the script is sure to win Best Adapted Screenplay. Unfortunately, the echoes of Moonlight are not disappearing anytime soon, and the award is unlikely to go to another LGBT movie for the second year in a row.

Get Out 

Much has already been written about this film. The originality and relevance to this political/social climate is unmistakable. I do not like horror movies simply because I’m scared of them, and since I have not seen it, I am not qualified to add more comments. Because it is a horror movie, it will not win.

The Post

Intriguing. But haven’t we just seen a film like this recently? Yup. (Spoiler: Spotlight.) Simply for that reason, it will not win.

Phantom Thread

Daniel Day-Lewis’s melancholy last performance… we will miss him. However, too much of a specific subject matter to win.

Darkest Hour

I love comparing movies side-by-side because their colors are so different. Darkest Hour is appropriately drained of all its warmth. Outstanding performance from Gary Oldman as all critics have praised unanimously. But the timing is off: its political subject and period setting blends in too closely with The Post and Phantom Thread, so it will not win.

 

The Verdict

Honestly, although people have said it’s The Shape of Water, I’m holding out for Three Billboards, too. Both films have an equal shot. Either of my top two picks will be a more unusual film in the trend of recent Best Picture wins. (one is a fantasy, one is a dark comedy in the Midwest)

Last year, I knew La La Land would win the award. Every critic knew. Many of us painfully acknowledged the undeniable winner over the moving Moonlight. But then the impossible happened. Moonlight was a huge victory for more independent, less commercially aimed films, but I would hesitate to say Moonlight alone will launch a trend of “arthouse” movies winning Best Picture. Such a trend lends support to The Shape of Water. At the same time, if the difficult and polarizing Three Billboards swings voters to its side, it can take the prize. Could “independent” films become a trend? Maybe, but it’s only in its budding stages.

Will Win: The Shape of WaterThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Good but boring: Dunkirk

More effective as a piece of art than as an award-winner: Call me by your name, Lady Bird, Get Out (based on the general consensus)

Long Shot: The Post, Phantom Thread, Darkest Hour


More Oscar Predictions.

The Atlantic: historically accurate and excellent predictions & write-ups for every major category, but I don’t think Get Out is winning Best Picture… No.

IndieWire

Highsnobiety

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