Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Oscar Predictions - Part Three: The Indicators

Halfway through the categories and most of the smaller ones are finished. With the heavy hitters waiting in the wings for tomorrow, the bigger but not quite the biggest awards come now. With a few categories that could be heavy indicators of what is to come with THE big one, here is Part Three of Oscar Predictions.

Film Editing

Favorite: Dunkirk
Potential Spoiler: Baby Driver

At the front of the pack in Best Film Editing are two films that are heavily reliant on editing. Dunkirk features layered storytelling that jumps back and forth between different stories with different paces that without expert editing would fall apart. While Baby Driver is an Edgar Wright, and anyone who knows Edgar Wright knows how incredibly well edited his films are every time out. While both are equally deserving, and I’m confident the winner will be one of these two films, I have to give the final push to Dunkirk for its ability to maintain its unique structure and unbearable tension throughout, a feat that’s impossible without fantastic editing from Lee Smith.

Prediction: Dunkirk

Favorite: Blade Runner 2049
Potential Spoiler: Dunkirk

There is some tremendous talent in this category. From 14-time Academy Award nominee (and still winless) Roger Deakins, who once again turns in impressive, awe-inspiring work on Blade Runner 2049, to the first female cinematographer ever nominated in Rachel Morrison, who delivered some of the best shots of the year in Mudbound. Even the flowy, dreamlike work from Dan Lausten on The Shape of Water or the brilliant cinematography of Hoyte van Hoytema on Dunkirk have enough to take home the trophy. But with any luck, one of the longest losing streaks at the Academy Awards will finally end on March 4th.

Prediction: Blade Runner 2049
Original Song

Favorite: “Remember Me” – Coco
Potential Spoiler: “This Is Me” – The Greatest Showman

Another year, another Pasek & Paul vs Disney showdown. The writing duo of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have been on a sort of hot streak, winning the Oscar for “City of Stars” from La La Land last year and couple of Tony’s not long after for Dear Evan Hansen, but Disney may just put an end to that come Sunday. While the duo certainly have a good shot at repeating with “This Is Me”, Disney and Pixar brought their own past winners to bat this time. And Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez are not just any old past Oscar winner, no this is the pair that brought “Let It Go” from Frozen into the world. I think that pretty much speaks for itself.

Prediction: “Remember Me” – Coco
Original Score

Favorite: The Shape of Water
Potential Spoiler: Phantom Thread

The three leading contenders here are so wildly different but equally amazing in their own way. First time nominee Johnny Greenwood is able to elevate the eloquence of Phantom Thread with a unique score that’s hauntingly beautiful. Hans Zimmer, a seemingly guaranteed nominee lately, goes experimental with his score for Dunkirk and implements it seamlessly alongside the wartime echoes to ramp up the tension to incredible heights. But neither can match the sheer beauty of Alexandre Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water. With two mute characters at the forefront, the film relies so heavily on this magical music to set the mood and Deplat’s work is just wonderful from start to finish.

Prediction: The Shape of Water
Adapted Screenplay

Favorite: Call Me by Your Name
Potential Spoiler: Mudbound

Best Adapted Screenplay may be the category that’s been a lock for the longest amount of time. And while the Call Me By Your Name screenplay from James Ivory is fantastic, most of its status as a lock come from a surprising lack of big competition. Adapted screenplays from films like Mudbound and Molly’s Game are worthy nominees, sure, but they’re hardly strong enough to challenge Call Me By Your Name and James Ivory for what is likely the films only award of the night.

Prediction: Call Me By Your Name
Original Screenplay

Favorite: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Potential Spoiler: Get Out

This is one of those races that is too close to call with a ton of confidence. Every screenplay nominated here is exceptional, but really only two have emerged with chances to bring home a win. Without question the screenplay from Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards is tremendous, but a growing backlash could harm its chances. On the other side, Get Out is a far more honest critique of racism, expertly wrapped into a horror film by Jordan Peele. But while Three Billboards and its problematic themes could hurt its chances, Get Out could face an uphill climb as a genre film. Either way, the winner of this category gets one step closer to the big prize, while the loser could see its hopes dashed completely.

Prediction: Get Out

And that’s it. The big six awards will follow tomorrow with races that are seemingly locked, but could there be potential for upsets. I mean it is almost March after all.

After 18 award predictions, here is the current tally:

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