This past year has gifted us with Oscar candidate after Oscar candidate, and thankfully the nominations reflect this. This year has been unique in that a wide range of film genres have made the cut, rather than your typical, stuffy period dramas. With both Get Out and Dunkirk nominated for best picture, it’s clear that this year has delivered some truly dynamic cinematic offerings. When was the last time you saw a horror and a war thriller secure a spot for best flick of the year?
What really makes this year interesting is just how closely contested so many categories are. The Best Director statue really needs to be sliced in three, and the Leading Actress statue in four. Albeit, in the face of so many incredible flicks, we’ve bravely gone ahead and picked our winners in this year’s Oscar race.

Actress in a Leading Role

Ladies first (and not just out of good manners). With so many incredible performances nominated for the win, it’s no surprise that this is arguably the most hotly contested category this year.

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

This year featured outstanding performances all around. Each time we think we come close to making a conclusion about who deserves it the most, it gets thwarted by one of the other performances. Picking a winner here is like trying to hold a flapping fish with soapy hands.

Nevertheless, against all odds, we’ve predicted a winner. Unfortunately, as much as we love Meryl Streep, we fear her Oscar drought will continue for another year, with Frances McDormand picking up the Oscar for Actress In A Leading Role for her boundless passion in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The range of emotions portrayed in this film absolutely floored us this year, and such a powerful, commanding performance deserves the highest level of recognition.

Our Pick: Frances McDormand

Runner Up: Sally Hawkins, for telling a vivid story without uttering a word.

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Actor in a Leading Role

The Leading Actress category is a tough one to follow this year and we’re not quite sure that the fellows rise to the occasion. However, there were some very memorable moments in each of the nominees’ performances that had us thirsty for more. Here are the nominations:

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

Daniel Kaluuya gave a solid, relatable performance in the fantastically clever and culturally aware thriller, Get Out, although whether it was nomination worthy or not, is another question entirely.

We can’t help but swoon over Chalamet’s incredible performance in Call Me By Your Name, especially when his ripe age (he is only 22) is taken into consideration. With plenty of promise in the coming years, he is a particularly strong candidate and has every chance of taking out the Oscar.

Our Pick: Timothee Chalamet

Runner Up: Daniel Day-Lewis

Actress in a Supporting Role

Once again, we get to celebrate and commemorate an incredible selection of female performances. While Octavia Spencer was pivotal in The Shape of Water, this category is spearheaded by two names: Janney and Metcalf.

Mary J Blige | Mudbound
Allison Janney | I, Tonya
Lesley Manville | Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf | Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer | The Shape of Water

Laurie Metcalf delivered an expertly managed performance in a role that teetered between wicked and wonderful. We’ve all experienced parental tension at points growing up such as that depicted by Metcalf in Lady Bird, however, Allison Janney took this tension and ripped it apart with her performance in I, Tonya. Another love-hate relationship between mother and daughter, I, Tonya laid a foundation for Janney to create a character we all loved to hate, almost as much as the public did with Tonya Harding in the ‘90s. Janney absolutely commanded each scene she appeared in, dwarfing Margot Robbie’s Tonya in her own film.

Our Pick: Allison Janney

Runner Up: Laurie Metcalf

Actor in a Supporting Role

Quite possibly a more interesting category than the Leading Actors race, the Actor In A Supporting Role category is a tough one to pick.

Willem Dafoe | The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson | Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins | The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell | Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Chris Plummer | All the Money in the World

Woody Harrelson played part father figure, part antagonist, adding further depth to an already convoluted situation in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Co-star Sam Rockwell has also been nominated, for his expert portrayal of a character so complex you’re not sure exactly how you feel about him when the credits roll. Richard Jenkins has also been nominated due to his careful blend of humour and heart in The Shape of Water.

Willem Dafoe strikes career highlights with his seminal performance in The Florida Project, a film full of nuance and quaintness, that is complemented so seamlessly by Dafoe’s performance.

Our Pick: Willem Dafoe

Runner Up: Sam Rockwell

Best Director

It seems incredible that Guillermo del Toro, and particularly Christopher Nolan are only now receiving their first Best Director Oscar Nominations, considering their illustrious and critically acclaimed bodies of work.

Christopher Nolan | Dunkirk
Jordan Peele | Get Out
Greta Gerwig | Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson | Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro | The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water was a visual masterpiece that was very much a throwback to the golden age era films it paid homage to. It presented an unconventional love story along a series of very investing sub-plot vignettes that integrated into the climax.

Conversely, Nolan presents us with a deeply human message that is unmistakable and incredibly relevant. It takes a minor genius to recognise how the WWII story of Dunkirk presents themes of community, and helping people because they’re people, and the relevance of these themes to the global turmoil of today and tomorrow. For this, Nolan has our pick for Best Director.

Our Pick: Christopher Nolan

Runner Up: Guillermo del Toro

Best Picture

Arguably the biggest category of the awards, this year’s nominations for Best Picture are nothing less than deserved. While we considered the worthiness of Kaluuya’s nomination for Best Lead Actor, we believe Get Out is a strong contender for Best Picture. However, it may not have the legs to outdo its stiff competition in the form of Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Take a look at all the nom’s here:

Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Dunkirk offered one of the most immersive cinematic experiences we’ve ever had. As Nolan described it, the film played almost as a form of virtual reality, and this couldn’t be truer. The film doesn’t present a window into a time past; it thrusts you onto the Dunkirk beach, howling bombers over head, and death at every front.

Call Me By Your Name delivers an equally convincing story in an entirely different way. It exchanges grandiosity for intimacy, soaring plot for deliberate character analysis. The backdrop of rural Italy of decades past only sweetens the experience of Chalamet’s plunge into the perils of forbidden love.

But then there’s Three Billboards…

A very specific story that has seemed to strike a chord with such a range of fans and critics from a diverse range of backgrounds. Who would pick a single mother in rural Missouri, pushing the boundaries of defamation to seek justice for her daughter to be the story that speaks the most to today’s societal climate? The cast shared the pleasure of delivering some the sharpest written dialogue of the year, to take us on a journey of emotion, pain, and love that was not foreseen. McDormand’s hardy Mildred Hayes jumps from literally lethal, to being as vulnerable and open to the world as a full mast flag in a storm. Just as Mildred herself, Three Billboards refuses to go unnoticed.

Our Pick: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Runner Up: Dunkirk


Feature image: Pinterest

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