Academy Awards Predictions: Who Should Win and Who Will Win

The cinema awards seasons finally comes to an end on Sunday night with the broadcast of the 90th annual Academy Awards. Hollywood’s been rocked by scandals and the #MeToo movement in recent months, making this year’s ceremony one of great intrigue. The hope is that the momentum of recent political and cultural events will finally culminate on Sunday night with wins for women, minorities, and LGBT stories alike, ultimately signaling that the winds of change aren’t just here for now… they are here to stay.

Truth be told, a lot of those hopes will probably be fulfilled (thankfully) and a select (probably unfortunate) few will not.

Without further ado, here are my predictions for this year’s Academy Award winners.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • “The Big Sick”
  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Who should win: The Big Sick

Who will win: The Big Sick

The other four films in this category have plenty of opportunities to win this Sunday, which is why I’m frantically pacing across a stage backed by a distressed brick wall in the hopes that Kumail and Emily walk away with this one.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • “Call Me by Your Name”
  • “The Disaster Artist”
  • “Logan”
  • “Molly’s Game”
  • “Mudbound”

Who should win: Logan

Who will win: Call Me by Your Name / Molly’s Game

As an avid comic book reader, it would be cool to see Logan win an Academy Award, but it’s not going to happen. Great as that film was, there were better things about Logan that deserved to be recognized by the Academy, (like Patrick Stewart’s turn as a unraveled Professor Xavier). Ignoring that, which the Academy voters did, then I think that leaves us with a toss up between Call Me by Your Name and Molly’s Game. I don’t think the night ends without a little LGBT love, so I think Call Me by Your Name gets this.

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: War for the Planet of the Apes

Who will win: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Sadly, the new Planet of the Apes franchise will continue to be grossly undervalued for its superb effects work. Kong: Skull Island is the weaker of the two monkey movies so that’s automatically out. Blade Runner 2049 delivers a master class in stellar cinematography, but the visual effects don’t “wow.” That just leaves us with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (a.k.a. Marvel’s answer to Star Wars) vs. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (a.k.a. the new Star Wars movie that we’ll be fighting about for the next 10 years until dumdums realize how good it is). As forgetful as the second Guardians was, it offers way more spectacle on the visual effects side than The Last Jedi did. Also PAC-MAN.

Sound Mixing

  • “Baby Driver”
  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Who should win: Baby Driver

Who will win: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The film that takes place in a galaxy far far away where literally EVERYTHING has to be dreamed up seems like the obvious choice to win here. As an added bonus, it immediately justifies all those articles about how they made the porg’s squawking sounds for the film.

Sound Editing

  • “Baby Driver”
  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Who should win: Dunkirk

Who will win: Dunkirk

Sound editing is about the sounds collected for a film (pre-mixing).  The Dunkirk team has this one sewn up in a WWII-era duffel bag.

Short Film (Live Action)

  • “DeKalb Elementary”
  • “The Eleven O’Clock”
  • “My Nephew Emmett”
  • “The Silent Child”
  • “Watu Wote/All of Us”

Who should win: The Eleven O’Clock

Who will win: DeKalb Elementary

Just to get it out of the way, ALL of the nominees in the Short Film categories are better than some of the Best Picture nominees.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest I need to comment on the experience of watching these five nominees one after another in a dark, somewhat crowded theater. It. Was. Emotionally. Punishing. The only reason I’d care to see The Eleven O’Clock win is because it stood out among that pack by going the comedic route and offered a breath of fresh air during what was an otherwise emotionally taxing evening. However, I know it won’t win and ultimately I don’t want it to because after the tragic events in Parkland, Florida a few weeks ago, DeKalb Elementary not only deserves to win; it needs to win. Every moment kept me on the edge of my seat because the wounds of that day are still so fresh. DeKalb Elementary is the right film for the right moment.

Short Film (Animated)

  • “Dear Basketball”
  • “Garden Party”
  • “Lou”
  • “Negative Space”
  • “Revolting Rhymes”

Who should win: Garden Party

Who will win: Lou

Garden Party is visually astounding and acts as a slow reveal to an interesting story, but Pixar is the “John Cena of the Academy Awards.”  In other words…

Production Design

  • “Beauty and the Beast”
  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Darkest Hour”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “The Shape of Water”

Who should win: The Shape of Water

Who will win: The Shape of Water

Both Beauty and the Beast and Blade Runner 2049 owe its production design to films that came before it, so they probably shouldn’t get it. Darkest Hour and Dunkirk are two sides of the same World War II coin, which means they cancel each other out too. That just leaves Guillermo del Toro’s 1960s fable about a fish man in Boston. Process of elimination dictates the creature from the black lagoon swims away with the award.

Music (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: The Greatest Showman

Who will win: The Greatest Showman

“Remember Me” from Coco is the only nominee besides Showman that has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning for Original Song. Frankly, I wouldn’t be disappointed if it did either, but the momentum of The Greatest Showman cannot and will not be stopped.

On Sunday, Keala Settle tears the house down with a live performance and the Academy realizes the mistake it made by not nominating Showman for Best Picture. To quote Paul Heyman: That’s not a prediction… That’s a spoiler.


Music (Original Score)

  • Hans Zimmer,  “Dunkirk”
  • Johnny Greenwood, “Phantom Thread”
  • Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”
  • John Williams, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
  • Carter Burwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Who should win: The Shape of Water

Who will win: The Shape of Water

By no means are the Golden Globes a solid predictor for who wins at the Academy Awards, but the winners have been the same six times since 2010. Alexandre Desplat is about to make it number seven.

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Darkest Hour”
  • “Victoria and Abdul”
  • “Wonder”

Who should win: Victoria & Abdul

Who will win: Darkest Hour

Isn’t funny how literally every… single… nominee in this category feels like a film that you’ve seen, even if you haven’t?

But I digress. Darkest Hour will win this award come Sunday. I’m in the camp that believes Oldman’s makeup is doing 90% of the acting in that film anyway, and that’s a conservative estimate. If the world is just, this is the only award Darkest Hour wins this weekend and the Best Actor award will go to someone — ANYONE — who isn’t Gary Oldman. Can we all please agree to recognize that performance for what it is:

Foreign Language Film

  • “A Fantastic Woman”
  • “The Insult”
  • “Loveless”
  • “On Body and Soul”
  • “The Square”

Who should win: A Fantastic Woman

Who will win: The Square

I honestly couldn’t begin to guess what wins here, so I’m picking the bonkers one for my own amusement.

Film Editing

  • “Baby Driver”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “I, Tonya”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Who should win: Baby Driver

Who will win: The Shape of Water

I submit for your consideration reasons A, B, and C for why Baby Driver SHOULD win for Film Editing:

Buuuuuuuut The Shape of Water is going to get this because it’s exactly the kind of film that’s going to sweep in technical categories.

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • “Eddie + Edith”
  • “Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405”
  • “Heroin(e)”
  • “Knife Skills”
  • “Traffic Stop”

Who should win: Uhhhhhhh….

Who will win: Let’s say Eddie + Edith

Documentary (Feature)

  • “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
  • “Faces Places”
  • “Icarus”
  • “Last Men in Aleppo”
  • “Strong Island”

Who should win: Again...


Who will win: Last Man in Aleppo


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

Who should win: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”

Who will win: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

I honestly don’t think this category would be as diverse as it is if not for 1) the outcry at the Golden Globes nominee announcements, and 2) Natalie Portman’s delightful moment of shade at said ceremony:

If I had my way, Gerwig would win for Directing while Peele would win for Best Picture, but the fact is that Guillermo is on a hot streak. He’s the favorite to win here and probably will win.

Costume Design

  • “Beauty and the Beast”
  • “Darkest Hour”
  • “Phantom Thread”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Victoria & Abdul”

Who should win: Beauty and the Beast

Who will win: Phantom Thread

There’s just something so delightfully symmetrical about the film featuring a designer winning the award for Costume Design. It’s just so…


  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Darkest Hour”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Mudbound”
  • “The Shape of Water”

Who should win: Blade Runner 2049

Who will win: Blade Runner 2049

Roger Deakins wins or we riot!

Animated Feature Film

  • “The Boss Baby”
  • “The Breadwinner”
  • “Coco”
  • “Ferdinand”
  • “Loving Vincent”

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 9.55.47 AM

Who should win: Coco

Who will win: Coco

My complicated feelings on Coco aside, it’s as much of a lock to win as anything.

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

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

Who should win: Lesley Manville

Who will win: Allison Janney

If there were ever a shocking upset I’d like to see on Sunday night, it would be to have nominee no one expected, Lesley Manville, winning for Best Supporting Actress over Allison Janney. Her dynamic with Daniel Day-Lewis is easily the best, and only tolerable thing, about Phantom Thread. For better or worse though, like Guillermo del Toro, Janney is currently cleaning up on the awards circuit. I think it culminates with win here.


Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
  • Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
  • Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Who should win: Willem Dafoe

Who will win: Sam Rockwell

Recent BAFTA and Golden Globes wins signal a likely victory for Rockwell , even if his character’s redemption arc is depressingly problematic.  My hope is that he and Harrelson somehow cancel each other out, culminating with a win for Dafoe.


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: Francis McDormand

Who will win: Francis McDormand

She is the hero we need right now:

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Timothée 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: Timothée Chalamet / Daniel Kaluuya

Who will win: Gary Oldman

Oldman keeps winning and I genuinely can’t understand why.  In Darkest Hour, he gives a performance that screams BASIC with a capital “B” but the accolades keep rolling in. I blame the elderly contingent of the Academy.

If anyone but him wins, I’ll be a happy camper but especially if it’s one of these two fellas:

Best Picture

  • “Call Me by Your Name”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “The Post”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “Phantom Thread”

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 8.18.45 AM

Who should win: Get Out / Lady Bird 

Who will win: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri / The Shape of Water

Recent history suggests Directing and Best Picture won’t be awarded to the same film. Del Toro seems destined to win Best Director so it’s doubtful The Shape of Water wins here as well. If he doesn’t win Directing, then this category is probably his to lose. Three Billboards is your runner-up.

In a perfect world though and given the political climate in Hollywood Best Picture should either go to Lady Bird or Get Out.

Who do you think will walk away with top honors on Sunday?

Chime in below!

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