Yesterday, the Academy announced the nominations for the Oscars 2018, including the nine films that will be vying for the title of Best Picture. It’s a diverse list of movies and the other categories also reflected a general move towards variety that goes against the perception of the Academy as stuffy old white people with very narrow tastes.
Every week, as we draw closer to the ceremony at the Dolby Theater on March 4, I will take a look at the latest standings in the race in order to predict which film will be most likely to leave victorious.
Here’s the first set of Best Picture power rankings…
1. The Shape of Water
You can split the top two contenders with a cigarette paper at this stage in the race, but Guillermo del Toro‘s hauntingly bizarre fantasy romance is just about the favourite as things stand. The film led the field in terms of nominations at the Oscars with 13 mentions – just one fewer than the record held by All About Eve, Titanic and La La Land.
Shape of Water also won the PGA Award for Best Film, which has a very solid record of predicting Oscar winners. It has been wrong on the last two occasions but, immediately before that, the PGA went on an eight-year streak. On that basis, the fishy fantasy is looking good. In cinemas Feb 14.
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It’s within a whisker of The Shape of Water as things currently stand, but the acerbic drama of Three Billboards must settle for second place. It’s sitting rather pretty in terms of the awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, which stand it in good stead to add Best Picture to its tally.
On top of that, the movie bested Shape of Water at the Golden Globes and was the big winner on that night, with four prizes. It also won the main prize at the SAG Awards, which have predicted the Best Picture Oscar for two-thirds of the last 15 years. Full review.
3. Get Out
Get Out is, thus far, the momentum choice for Best Picture. It won first place on more critical top ten lists than probably any other movie on this shortlist and it’s certainly one of the most popular choices with audiences, earning more than $250m at the worldwide box office from a meagre production budget of just $4.5m.
The biting social satire came from nowhere to earn four nominations across the board, including the crucial noms for direction and screenplay that are almost a pre-requisite to be a Best Picture contender. There’s a big gap between the two frontrunners and Get Out but, if it can maintain momentum, it stands a real chance. Full review.
4. Lady Bird
The esteem of Lady Bird is what has carried the movie towards the top of this power rankings list. Greta Gerwig‘s film has won all of the necessary nominations required to make itself a Best Picture contender and also has status as one of the best reviewed movies in the history of the Rotten Tomatoes aggregator.
Critics groups have shared their awards pretty evenly between Lady Bird and Get Out, but the film will need to win the Original Screenplay prize to stand a chance at beating the competition to nab itself the Best Picture gong. In cinemas Feb 16.
This year’s token blockbuster on the Oscar nominations shortlist is Dunkirk, in which Christopher Nolan finally does enough to earn himself a Best Director prize. Dunkirk was second only to Shape of Water in terms of number of nominations, with eight, and a good showing in the technical categories, as well as some Best Director love for Nolan, could propel this to an unexpected victory.
Along with Get Out, this film is very much the people’s choice, with a box office total in excess of $500m globally. It’s a film that lives in a sweet spot, appealing to general audiences and high-minded critics equally. Full review.
6. Phantom Thread
The latest film from Paul Thomas Anderson, being sold primarily as the swansong for acting supremo Daniel Day-Lewis, was looking like a proper also-ran in the awards race until the Academy Awards showed their hand. Phantom Thread was nominated six times, with Anderson sneaking into the crowded field for Best Director.
It has primarily been the costume and score that has won precursor prizes, with Day-Lewis perhaps surprisingly sitting a long way outside of the Best Actor fray. With a pair of acting nods and a director nomination, the film has at least half a chance. In cinemas Feb 2.
7. The Post
The up-and-down momentum of The Post has been one of the more curious elements of this year’s awards season. It managed a Best Picture nomination amidst question marks, but only snagged one other nomination – the inevitable nod for leading lady Meryl Streep. Indeed, the film is only higher up this list because of its recognition as film of the year by the National Board of Review over in America.
It seems very unlikely that The Post will be in amongst the big hitters on Oscar night but, on the off-chance Streep manages to pull off a record-equalling fourth win, there could be a glimmer of hope. Full review.
8. Call Me By Your Name
Much of the awards season momentum of Call Me By Your Name has been tied to the changing fortunes of Timothée Chalamet in the Best Actor race. In the early stages, Chalamet was hoovering up gongs and the movie looked like a bona fide contender. Now, though, the Best Actor momentum has shifted away from Chalamet and, subsequently, the film has slipped out of the main pack for Best Picture.
There’s still a tiny speck of a chance for Call Me By Your Name if the Academy rejects the Best Actor consensus and also rewards 89-year-old James Ivory in the Adapted Screenplay category. Full review.
9. Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour doesn’t stand the slightest chance of winning the Oscar for Best Picture. It is, however, almost certainly going to be rewarded on the night, with Gary Oldman the clear frontrunner for the Best Actor award at this stage. Oldman is winning awards at an impressive rate and it’s very much his performance that marks the film out as special in any way.
Given the status of the film as a mere showcase for one actor, it simply isn’t going to win the big one. This is a stagey, traditional biopic with a very on-the-nose take on history and the days of those movies having Oscar dominance are long behind us. Full review.
What do you think of my Oscars 2018 rankings? Which film will emerge victorious with the Best Picture prize at the Oscars ceremony? Let me know in the comments section and be sure to check back next week for some new power rankings.