Awards & Festivals

90th Academy Awards – Predictions (Pt. II)

Impact's Sarah Quraishi continues her predictions for the Oscar nominees behind the camera

With the 90th Academy Awards just around the corner, Oscar aficionados will be redrafting their carefully curated list of predictions. Although most categories may look near-locked, changes to the Academy’s voting body in recent years (in order to combat the #OscarsSoWhite controversy) combined with a preferential voting system, means that anything could happen.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees:

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Logan

Molly’s Game

Mudbound

 

Will win: Call Me By Your Name

 

Considering Aaron Sorkin is one of a few lucky screenwriters to have at least some clout attached to their name, it’s surprising to learn that he’s only got one Oscar to show for an acclaimed body of work. And yet, James Ivory’s adaption of André Aciman’s novel Call Me By Your Name is likely to be this category’s worthy winner. At 89 years old, Ivory manages to capture the vulnerability and confusion of a 17-year-old’s first meaningful relationship. Besides, after snubs in the Supporting Actor category, this could be CMBYN’s only hope.

Nevertheless, it would have been nice to see Wonder Woman nominated in this category at least, especially as Logan managed to sneak in there – and it would be even nicer to see Dee Rees and Virgil Williams win for Mudbound. But the smart money’s on CMBYN.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

The Big Sick

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

Will win: Get Out

 

The stronger of the two screenplay categories, there is some truly great work nominated here. Martin McDonagh somehow expertly translates the tragedy of a violent murder and a grieving mother from his brain to the page in Three Billboards; Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor manage to pull off the seemingly absurd notion of a romance between a woman and a sea monster in The Shape of Water, and Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani convert the intimacies of their relationship into a multifaceted, raw portrayal of life in The Big Sick.

But this looks like a fight between Lady Bird and Get Out, with the odds tipped in favour of the latter. Greta Gerwig’s semi-autobiographical comedy-drama is wrought with emotion, conveying an oft-neglected relationship on screen to be universally relatable. However, Jordan Peele’s work with Get Out is so beyond the Academy’s usual taste, as it mixes satire, horror and tragedy into a helping of timely goodness. While it’s unlikely he’ll win for directing, Peele’s got this in the bag.

 

Best Director

Nominees:

Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk

Jordan Peele – Get Out

Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird

Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread

Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

 

Will win: Guillermo del Toro

 

Guillermo del Toro winning Best Director is probably the surest win of these categories, having won nearly every precursor award (like the Golden Globe and the Directors Guild of America Award). This is a great category though, with each director making a film that will most definitely stand the test of time.

Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson continue to justify why they are considered their degeneration’s visionaries, while Peele and Gerwig go above and beyond to prove why they also belong in that category. However, del Toro invokes such a specific feeling of bittersweet nostalgia in his audience, from the muted lighting and saturated colours to the eerie, magical score and impassioned acting. It’s a true feat of escapism and one that he should justly be rewarded for.

 

Best Picture

Nominees:

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

Will win: Get Out

 

I don’t think it has ever been so hard to guess the Best Picture winner, and there are several reasons for this.

Part of the fun of predicting this category – and I’m really not being sarcastic when I use the word “fun” – is looking at other awards that are meant to help pinpoint which of the nominees will ultimately succeed. Two of these are the Producers Guild of America Award (won this year by The Shape of Water) and the Screen Actors Guild Award for best cast (won this year by Three BillboardsThe Shape of Water wasn’t nominated). Therefore, it could be assumed that these are the frontrunners, with preference leaning towards The Shape of Water, as the PGAs are better predictors.

However, the influx of younger, more diverse Academy members in response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy a couple of years ago meant that last year, neither organisations correctly corresponded to the ultimate Best Picture winner – and the year before that, the PGA winner The Big Short later lost to Spotlight at the Oscars. Coupled with the fact that La La Land lost despite being Oscar catnip – so many allusions to film history! – it’s clear the voting body is a changed one.

So after spending years honing the art of Oscar prediction, the system is rendered pointless. Which actually makes this year thrilling because no one knows who will win. Therefore, although the logical part of my brain is saying The Shape of Water will triumph, my gut is pushing me towards Get Out (which, it should be noted, was nominated for both the PGA and the top SAG award).

Although there were some exceptional films this year, including some that were unjustly left out of this category (here’s looking at you, Wonder Woman and I, Tonya), Get Out would be a terrific win for what has been an extraordinary year for Hollywood. Its timeliness is uncanny, despite harking back to classics like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Night of the Living Dead. And quite frankly, it is an all-round fantastic film, teetering audaciously on the fence between horrifying and hilarious.

If The Shape of Water does win – or even others like Three Billboards or Lady Bird – then a great film will have won. But if Get Out wins, it would be a remarkable decision for a remarkable film.

 

Sarah Quraishi

Featured Image courtesy of The Academy

Image use license here.

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