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The 'Shape' of Oscar: Another Dude Predicting the Academy Awards Nominees

By Jon Chattman, Entertainment Director

Predicting the Oscar nominees is a little like guessing which tattoo your drunken friend is going to get on the Sunset Strip at 3 a.m. Is it going to be predictable - something that matches with their other "inkage" - or is it going to be something totally random like Skeletor sipping Mai Tais on a beach with former New York Mets star Lenny Dykstra? That’s the excitement about “Oscar morning” - the anticipation, at a much higher level no doubt, is always a combination of both. There's a ton of shoo-ins who shine, and a bunch of jaw-dropping surprises. This year will be no different.

The Shape of Water is going to clean house here. It's expected. It deserves it, and aside from spectacular acting and directing, it's going to lead the pack because it's also going to pick up nods in most technical categories as well. Expect Dunkirk to do well in big categories (sans acting) as well as the tech ones, too. Other shoo-ins who will rightfully earn some gold glory will be Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. But, the question is how much love are they going to get? In addition, how has the "Time's Up" and "#metoo" movements influenced Oscar voters. I think the film's fierce lead and subject matter (Golden Globe big wins as well) have propelled Three Billboards to bigger heights than ever imagined. I expect that momentum to carry through to the Oscar noms.

I fully expect Greta Gerwig to be nominated for Best Director not just because she deserves it (because damn right she does), but because they'll be a riot if she doesn't. I also wonder if the allegations against James Franco are going to derail his high ride with The Disaster Artist. Allegations didn't hurt Oscar winner Casey Affleck last year, but methinks if this year were last year Denzel would definitely be carrying a trophy for Fences. As an aside, I think the one film that's going to have a weak showing will be The Post. It's sad the film, given the state of the world we live in, won't have a better representation but the truth is there are far better films to honor this year. I still to applaud Steven Spielberg and any filmmaker (anyone at all honestly) who stands up for freedom of the press.

I can theorize all day, but I'll get to the predictions. But, before I do, I'll say this. It'd be cool if there were some big curveballs thrown. Remember when Marisa Tomei was nominated for My Cousin Vinny, and everyone was like "whoa!" And then she won, and everyone said, "Jack Palance read the wrong name" or "oh she only won because she's not British." Bullocks. She was hysterical in that movie. Anyway, surprises are fun. I'd love to see a bunch of them. I didn't love Wonder Woman but what a major stand the Hollywood community would take by throwing it in the mix for Best Picture. Does it deserve it? No. Is it better than Oscar-nominee The Blind Side? Yea. Do you follow? Probably not. My point is far worse pictures have been nominated for the top prize, curveballs are fun, and women rule. Oh man, I'm on a tangent. Here we go...

Best Picture
I’m going to say we’ll have seven nominees this year but filled out all ten possibilities in the order I think they'd receive nods.

Call Me By Your Name
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Darkest Hour*
The Florida Project
Wonder Woman

Dark Horse: Phantom Thread
Real Wild Card: I, Tonya but I doubt it. I'm pulling for The Big Sick.
Missing in Action: In a perfect world, Logan gets its shot. It won’t.

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Post
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Dark Horse: I’m not sure if the allegations against Franco bumped him off this list. If he slips in, I think Hanks or especially Kaluuya gets left out.

Real Wild Card: Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. I haven't seen it. Neither have you. But, it's Denzel, man.

Missing in Action: Jake Gyllenhaal, who was passed over for his stellar work on Nocturnal Animals last year, is going to get left off again for even better work on Stronger.

Best Actress
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

Dark Horse: Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World - Another bold statement voters could make consider the hub bub over Mark Wahlberg's salary for reshoots. Plus, I mean, Williams is terrific in everything.

Real Wild Card: Something tells me Jessica Chastain will just miss for Molly’s Game. This field is just so crowded this year. If she gets in, Robbie doesn't and that's your big "snub" headline.

Missing in Action: Annette Bening hasn’t gotten much love for Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool but you just never know with her.

Best Supporting Actor
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
Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

Dark Horse: Armie Hammer is the more popular pick, but I’m saying it’ll be Stulbarg who picks up the nod. If he doesn't, Hammer's in or maybe they both get nods, and Harrelson falls off. I hope not. I love that guy in everything.

Real Wild Card: The Academy could really stick it to Kevin Spacey here, but this category is so rich with performances, I can see Christopher Plummer getting left out for All the Money in the World.

Missing in Action: Ben Mendelsohn was great in Darkest Hour. Patrick Stewart was amazing in Logan. Ray Romano shined in The Big Sick.

Best Supporting Actress
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Dark Horse: Mary J. Blige, Mudbound - She was good but not sure she fits in this stacked line-up.
Real Wild Card: Tiffany Haddish. Find me one person who wouldn’t do a back flip if she were nominated for Girls Trip.
Missing in Action: Tatiana Maslany was brilliant in Stronger. Too bad no one saw it.

Best Director
Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out

Dark Horse: Steven Spielberg, The Post - Call me crazy, but I think he's getting left out here. No Director's Guild nominee. The film is not getting much pre-Oscar buzz or awards.

Real Wild Card: Since he wrote it, I think Martin McDonagh will get omitted for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri here. If I'm wrong, Guadagnino is going to fall off. There's always a chance Peele doesn't get nominated but I just can't see it.

Real Wild Card: Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World - He did the impossible with the reshoots for the film, but did anyone notice it opened?

Best Original Screenplay
Lady Bird
The Big Sick
Get Out
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Dark Horse: The Post
Real Wild Card: I, Tonya

Best Adapted Screenplay
Molly’s Game
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name

Dark Horse:

Check out the rest of my predictions over at