Who Will Win at the Oscars in 2018?


Between the typical historical-drama awards bait, intimate love stories, and edgy surprises, 2017’s crop of films have rewarded cinema-goers with the rich and unexpected. The race to the Oscars will be fascinating this year, what with the swiftly turning tides of national politics and Hollywood reckonings.

Here at ELLE.com, we’re starting to think about which films are hitting the mark most with industry professionals and, ultimately, which screen talents will prevail at Hollywood’s night of nights, the Academy Awards. As other awards nights—including the Golden Globes, SAGs, and Independent Spirit Awards—bestow their honors on actors, filmmakers, and films over the coming months, we’ll be predicting just how that will affect the outcome of the 2018 Oscars right here. Read below for our Oscars picks.

1

Best Picture

Which film will win: Dunkirk

Why it will win: Christopher Nolan’s gritty, intense World War II film is a spectacle of filmmaking prowess. It’s best viewed on the big screen—with a box of Kleenex in hand—and Oscar voters will likely appreciate its themes, which include the toll of warfare and the human ability to overcome unlikely odds. WWII flicks are perennial favorites at the Oscars, and Dunkirk‘s technical skill is unparalleled amongst this year’s offerings.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture—Drama, Best Director—Motion Picture; SAG Awards nomination for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture; AFI Award for Movie of the Year. Dunkirk has also won various film critics’ associations awards for 2017.

Main competition: The nominations have yet to be announced, but so far it looks like The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, and The Post may be the biggest threats. Call Me By Your Name, in particular, has resonated strongly, although it may lack the epic scale beloved by the academy.

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2

Best Actress

Who will win: Frances McDormand

Why they’ll win: McDormand’s performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is remarkable; it feels both effortless and immeasurably expert, and showcases a side of the actress we haven’t seen since Fargo. The film itself has drawn conflicting reactions, but no one seems to have any argument about McDormand being the frontrunner for the Oscar this year.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama; SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role; British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actress; Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Actress; Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead.

Main competition: Meryl Streep for The Post, Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water, Margot Robbie for I, Tonya, and Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird all have a shot at the win. Streep is obviously a classic choice, but voters may want to reward Hawkins for her evocative performance, too.

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3

Best Actor

Who will win: Gary Oldman

Why they’ll win: Oldman’s transformation into Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour is uncanny. Watching the film, which follows the British Prime Minister’s early days in office during World War II, you forget that you’re watching an actor at all. At this point it’s very unlikely Oldman won’t win the Oscar for this performance.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Drama; SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role; Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Actor; Desert Palm Achievement Award for Best Actor.

Main competition: Oldman is a shoo-in, but James Franco’s equally transformative work in The Disaster Artist could shake things up. Daniel Day-Lewis will also probably be nominated for Phantom Thread, apparently his last film, as will Tom Hanks for The Post.

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4

Best Supporting Actress

Who will win: Laurie Metcalf

Why they’ll win: This category is still anyone’s game, but Metcalf’s impressive work as a put-upon mother in the beloved Lady Bird gives her an edge.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture; SAG Award nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role; Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Female; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Main competition: Other incredible on-screen moms make this an interesting race. Allison Janney’s abrasive turn as LaVona Golden in I, Tonya and Holly Hunter’s fierce performance in The Big Sick may get through to Oscar voters. There’s also strong competition in Octavia Spencer, who gave a winning performance in The Shape of Water, and Mary J. Blige for her heartbreaking effort in Mudbound.

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5

Best Supporting Actor

Who will win: Willem Dafoe

Why they’ll win: The Florida Project is a remarkable, luminous movie, and Dafoe’s role as Bobby, a motel manager, is essential to its wonder. The kindness that exudes from beneath Bobby’s hardened exterior is just one highlight of his empathetic portrayal. At this point he’s not a lock, but he has a very good chance.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture; SAG Awards nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role; Critics Choice Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actor; Gotham Awards nomination for Best Actor; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor; New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Main competition: Sam Rockwell, who plays a deeply unhinged cop in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, is the main competitor here. Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name is also a contender, as is Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water. The wildcard right now is Christopher Plummer, who replaced Kevin Spacey in All The Money in the World at the last minute, and may secure an Oscar nomination for it.

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6

Best Director

Who will win: Christopher Nolan

Why they’ll win: Nolan recreated the French beach at Dunkirk for his film, usually mostly practical effects to imagine the harrowing plight of the British soldiers trying to escape death during World War II. That’s just one of the impressive filmmaking feats he pulls off in the technically proficient film, which reveals the incident’s unfolding drama from the land, sea, and air in genius interconnecting timelines.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nomination for Best Director—Motion Picture; Critics Choice Awards nomination for Best Director.

Main competition: Guillermo del Toro builds a fantastical yet intimate situation in The Shape of Water, and nobody’s going to look past Steven Spielberg for his deeply timely The Post. Other possibilities include Jordan Peele for Get Out, Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Dee Rees for Mudbound. And, of course, there’s always the distant hope of Patty Jenkins being recognized for the well-received Wonder Woman.

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7

Best Foreign Language Film

Which film will win: The Square

Why it will win: The Square is Sweden’s entry for the category and it’s likely the most-watched of the shortlisted films. Starring Elizabeth Moss and Dominic West alongside Claes Bang, the movie centers on the art world and its interplay with broader social issues. It’s sharp and relevant—and, due to its Hollywood stars and partly English script, probably the most accessible of the foreign films this year.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture—Foreign Language; British Independent Film Awards nomination for Best International Independent Film; Critics Choice Awards nomination for Best Foreign Language Film; European Film Award for European Film.

Main competition: Russia’s Loveless took the top prize at the London Film Festival. Other possible winners include Israel’s Foxtrot, Chile’s A Fantastic Woman, Germany’s In the Fade, and Lebanon’s The Insult.

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8

Best Documentary

Which film will win: Icarus

Why it will win: All eyes are on Russia these days, so Netflix’s documentary Icarus, directed by Bryan Fogel, may hold the spotlight. Fogel follows the crumbs about doping allegations and reveals a huge scandal in Russian athletics. The result is both tense and timely, especially as we come up on the 2018 Winter Games, which Russia has been barred from competing in.

Other awards so far: Critics Choice Documentary Award for Best Sports Documentary; Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Documentary.

Main competition: Chasing Coral, Human Flow, Jane, and A Long Strange Trip are possibilities, although Jane may have an advantage thanks to its high-profile subject, Dr. Jane Goodall.

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9

Best Animated Feature

Which film will win: Coco

Why it will win: Pixar’s latest tearjerker, Coco, has become the biggest film to ever open in Mexico, but audiences all over the world have connected to its story about family and following your dreams. If the academy wants to drive home the point that diversity works at the box office, an Oscar would do the trick. Plus, the film is visually stunning and full of memorable, fun music.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture—Animated; Annie Award nomination for Best Animated Feature; Critics Choice Awards nomination for Best Animated Feature; Hollywood Film Award for Animation of the Year; New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Animated Film.

Main competition: The Breadwinner and Cars 3 are both likely contenders, and The Lego Batman Movie should also get a nomination. But Coco is the frontrunner by a long shot.

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10

Best Original Screenplay

Which film will win: Lady Bird

Why it will win: Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Lady Bird, a coming-of-age film that draws on nostalgia for ‘90s American culture. Its script is quirky and smart, tapping into what it means to be a teenager who isn’t quite sure of her place in the world yet. Gerwig isn’t a sure thing in this category yet, but the strong response to the film so far suggests that she has a good shot.

Other awards so far: Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay—Motion Picture; Critics Choice Awards nomination for Best Original Screenplay; Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Screenplay.

Main competition: Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor’s script for The Shape of Water is a likely nominee in this category and could sway voters with its originality and heart. The Post, penned by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, and Get Out, written by Jordan Peele, are also solid contenders thanks to their strong cultural resonance. Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani’s The Big Sick deserves a nod as well.

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11

Best Adapted Screenplay

Which film will win: Call Me By Your Name

Why it will win: James Ivory adapted André Aciman’s seminal novel Call Me By Your Name for the screen, and his interpretation of the story of a summer romance between two men has won many viewers’ hearts. Rather than selecting this intimate personal drama for Best Picture, academy voters could choose to reward the film in category instead.

Other awards so far: Critics Choice Awards nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay; Gotham Independent Film Award nomination for Best Screenplay.

Main competition: Some likely contenders are Aaron Sorkin for his fast-paced rendition of poker memoir Molly’s Game, Dee Rees and Virgil Williams for Mudbound, and Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for The Disaster Artist.

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