It’s a major race between ‘The Shape of Water’, ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. We predict what’s in store at the Academy Awards this year.
With the 90th Academy Awards on the horizon, Oscar fever began to soar the moment the nominees across all 24 categories were announced by the Academy President John Bailey, on January 23. This year, the ceremony has been shifted from its usual February-end date to March 4, so as to avoid an overlap with the 2018 Winter Olympics. Sources confirm that, like last year, humourist Jimmy Kimmel will host the celebration again. But sources can’t yet confirm if any bloopers or surprises are in the pipeline, like last year’s notorious announcement mix-up between Moonlight and La La Land!
Final voting of the 6000-odd voting members of the Academy is taking place between February 20 to 27. The secret results are known by only a few people from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences team, who then schedule the declarations for the fateful night of the Oscars. This year’s high scorers, who have grabbed the most numbers of nominations, are The Shape of Water, which has received an astounding 13 nominations; followed by Dunkirk, which has been nominated in 8 categories; and the stunning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which closely follows on its heels with 7 nominations. The rest of the categories are balanced by Call Me by Your Name, Darkest Hour, Get Out, Phantom Thread, Lady Bird and The Post.
What’s more exciting than the awards event itself, however, is the predictions that precede it every year! Based on the number of nominations a film has garnered, its creators’ body of work, and critical analysis of the film, predictors have already started calculating each film’s fate. Our writers at CreativeYatra are also sitting with their crystal balls to predict the winners of Oscars 2018, in the event’s most anticipated categories:
Though Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro has been accused by the director of French films Amelie and Delicatessen of plagiarising a few stills, our first Oscar choice of this year remains The Shape of Water. A fantasy love story between a mute cleaning lady and an amphibian-like creature, set during the Cold War, the film has a tenderness that is sure to woo the Academy’s jury. Holding the strongest position with more than 13 nominations, The Shape of Water has already grabbed the ‘Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture’ on January 20.
But fans might notice that there’s been a distinct pattern in the Academy’s manner of selection over the past two years, when films Spotlight (2016) and Moonlight (2017) won the Oscars, beating the Producers Guild Award-winning choicesThe Big Short and La La Land. Hence, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri also makes for a strong contender for the award, with its portrayal of a badass mother who puts up billboards to demand justice for her daughter’s murder case.Like previous winners Moonlight and Spotlight, this movie also reflects a people’s story – of an ordinary citizen taking an extraordinary step. But the fact that its story revolves around a protagonist struggling with law enforcers, which hints at a culturally-encouraged policy of violence, the film may not go down well with the jury.
English luminary Gary Oldman left audiences awestruck by his watertight performance in the Winston Churchill biopic, Darkest Hour. He has already proven himself to be ace at the game, having flawlessly slain all other nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe, to bring the trophies home from there. Oldman has yet to grab an Oscar, despite having been nominated twice before. Daniel Day-Lewis, however, is another name that is emerging as a strong contender for Best Actor, for his role in in the 1950s-based drama Phantom Thread. He plays a luminary English couturier who has a life full of romance but no commitment, until he meets an ordinary woman and falls in love with her extraordinary aura. Considering that Day-Lewis has already tasted the glory of the Academy twice, however, I sense that it won’t be Lewis’ year this time around.
Dexterous female protagonists are flooding this year’s Awards. At one end, we have veteran actress Frances McDormand who has previously won the Oscars for Fargo, and is now leading with her ferocious performance as a mother fighting for justice in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The performance grabbed her a win at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award. On the other hand, we have 23-year-old gifted actress Saoirse Ronan, who truly shines in her performance as an outspoken teenager who conflicts with her iron-willed mother, in Lady Bird. And from the audience’s perspective, Sally Hawkins has touched all hearts through her performance as a voiceless janitor in The Shape of Water. Although McDormand leads the race, there might be an interesting twist to events. During her speech at the SAG Award, she implored that young actresses, who are working hard to make their way up in the industry, ought to be given a chance. If the Oscar jury decides to empathise with her statement, the game may take a pleasant turn!
We predict that the Oscars is most likely to go to the highly-revered Christopher Nolan, whose stunning creations so far have mostly been in the genres of science fiction and action, and therefore have been unrecognised by the Oscars. The World War epic Dunkirk is an artistic embodiment of how highly imaginative the director is. Nolan does face stiff competition, though, from Guillermo del Toro, who gives us the heart-warming The Shape of Water. Other nominations for Best Director are mostly full of first-timers this year – most notably, Greta Gerwig is the fifth woman to be nominated for the Best Director award at the Oscars for her witty and smart working Lady Bird.
Having a next-to-perfect script, Get Out glued everyone across the globe to their theatre seats last year. Jordan Peele, who has also directed the film, has already been honoured by the Writers Guild of America Awards for his multi-layered, satirical horror story. A couple in an interracial relationship decide to meet the girls’ parents, but things start to get truly bewildering as the plot progresses. Nothing should really stop Peele from grabbing the Oscar statuette this year. The thriller drama has been nominated across four categories, and a possible win in the Original Screenplay Award will bolster its probabilities in the Best Film category too.
In a historical moment this Oscars, Rachel Morrison is the first ever woman nominated in the category of Best Cinematography. The nomination for her World War II epic Mudbound is the Oscars’ way of finally acknowledging her impressive two-decade-long body of work. But her pale countrysides and scenic war scenes have to stand out against Roger Deakins’ futuristic sequences in Blade Runner 2049, and Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s sunny Italian landscapes in Call Me by Your Name. Not only is the media betting on these two for the win, so is public opinion.
Personally, I wish I could declare Hans Zimmer as the unbeatable winner in this category, for his epic World War tunes in Dunkirk, but it’s difficult to beat Alexandre Desplat’s elegantly crafted melodies for The Shape of Water. They combine romanticism, wit and fantasy, in utterly sophisticated forms. Jonny Greenwood is also a deserving candidate for his Phantom Thread sound score, through which he amplifies the inherent classicism of the film with sheer, sober modernity. Music is one of the most intimate bodies of work in any movie. Regardless of who wins, each composer nominated this year is a true maestro, having contributed innumerable masterpieces in his individual artistic style.
Although the Star Wars franchise has a multimillion fan-following across the globe, the series has won at the Oscars only once, which indirectly hints that, instead of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the real showdown in the Visual Effects category will be between War for the Planet of the Apes and Blade Runner 2049. Blade Runner’s downright realistic animated visuals and highVFX effects, which narrate the future days of the Earth in 2049, are hugely promising. But Apes’s visuals having been mentored by senior Visual Effects artist Joe Leterri, a four-time Academy Award Winner who has been contributing to the franchise since the last two Apes Films, which were both nominated for the award.
With our predictions in tow, watch out for 2017’s winners, who will be announced at the Dolby Theatre, in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard, on March 4. Film lovers in India can watch the show live on Star Movies early in the morning, on March 5. Or you can catch the repeat telecast later in the day.
Image source: Oscar
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