2018 Oscar Nominations Predictions: The Academy Awards' Most Unpredictable Race Ever

Academy Awards, Oscars 2018

How do you go about predicting the most unpredictable Oscar race in years? Even after the SAG Awards and Golden Globes helped to narrow the field, the fates of so many of the films in the mix this year seem to change daily, making it impossible to pin down exactly which way the Academy winds will blow. (Then again, what do the Globes really tell us about the Oscars? Not much, except that a win is extra face time, and any extra face time helps right now.)

With that said, here are my final predictions before the Academy announces the nominees on Tuesday morning, bright and early. I'll be back tomorrow to break down the snubs and surprises and will continue to update these features regularly leading up to the Oscars on March 4.

Best Picture

Oscars 2018, Best Picture Predictions

1. The Big Sick

2. Call Me by Your Name

3. Darkest Hour

4. Dunkirk

5. Get Out

6. Lady Bird

7. Phantom Thread

8. The Post

9. The Shape of Water

10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

One Last Alternative: The Florida Project. There are still a handful of films orbiting the Best Picture race (I, Tonya, Molly's Game, Mudbound), but the best bet is director Sean Baker's winsome and one-of-a-kind portrait of life on the outskirts of Disney World. (A quick disclaimer: Because the Academy can nominate up to 10 films, but isn't required to, any number of the above could be the alternates.)

Best Actress

Oscars 2018, Best Actress Predictions

1. Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

2. Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)

3. Meryl Streep (The Post)

4. Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)

5. Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)

One Last Alternative: Jessica Chastain for Molly's Game. Hawkins, McDormand, Ronan and Streep seem to be the sure things here, with the final slot going to either Robbie or Chastain. I'm personally rooting for the latter, but I think I, Tonya has the heat.

Best Actor

Oscars 2018, Best Actor Predictions

1. Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)

2. Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)

3. Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)

4. James Franco (The Disaster Artist)

5. Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name)

One Last Alternative: Tom Hanks for The Post. If the controversy around Franco had hit earlier, I think a good number of Academy voters would have swung in favor of the safer vote (Hanks). But after winning the Globe and Critics' Choice, I imagine Franco will still make the cut.

Best Supporting Actress

Oscars 2018, Best Supporting Actress Predictions

1. Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

2. Holly Hunter (The Big Sick)

3. Hong Chau (Downsizing)

4. Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

5. Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

One Last Alternative: Mary J. Blige for Mudbound. No matter how tightly we all cross our fingers and toes, I just don't think it's going to happen for Tiffany Haddish. And while Blige got the SAG nod over Spencer, a harbinger of Oscars' eventual nominees, she's contending with the Netflix of it all. I have a feeling the overall love for The Shape of Water and the Academy's specific love for Spencer will push her into the top five.

Best Supporting Actor

Oscars 2018, Best Supporting Actor Predictions

1. Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name)

2. Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World)

3. Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water)

4. Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

5. Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)

One Last Alternative: Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I think there are really two alternatives here, with the second being Michael Stuhlbarg for Call Me by Your Name. While early buzz for Stuhlbarg has quieted, a lot of love for his performance remains. Unfortunately, there's a better chance Hammer and Stuhlbarg will split the vote over Harrelson and Rockwell, so I'll give preference to Harrelson. (I would also like to point out one last time how absolutely wild it is that Plummer is probably going to get an Oscar nomination this year!)

Best Director

Oscars 2018, Best Director Predictions

1. Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)

2. Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)

3. Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

4. Jordan Peele (Get Out)

5. Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

One Last Alternative: Steven Spielberg for The Post. I'm keeping the faith that newcomers Gerwig and Peele will both get in, which means any wiggle room here will be between white dude directors for once. And, it's Spielberg. (Which means my baby, Call Me by Your Name's Luca Guadagnino is left out in the cold. Che tristezza!)

Nominations for the 90th Annual Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 5:22 a.m. ET/8:22 a.m. PT and will be livestreamed during a two-part presentation on Oscars.com.



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