‘A Christmas Prince’ for Best Picture: Oscar Nomination Predictions and Discussion Thread

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Good morning! Condolences to any of you who are actually awake when this goes live. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for its ridiculous, interminable award show in a few hours, and as a man who’s seen, like, forty or so of 2017’s new releases, I’m here to give you, honestly, pretty much no idea what to expect. Here are my predicted nominees for the 90th Academy Awards; movies I haven’t seen yet are marked in the nominee lists (or on first reference in the category), with asterisks, so you know exactly how seriously to take my predictions.


Darkest Hour*
Guardians of the Galaxy 2

There’s no rule that says they can’t nominate five movies for this category, but for whatever reason, three have been the consistent norm. I think the first two of these are near locks. Darkest Hour and Wonder each totally transform their protagonists (Gary Oldman and Jacob Tremblay, respectively), while Guardians‘ claim will be based more on a combination of quality and quantity, a winning formula for Suicide Squad last year.

Party crashers: I, Tonya is a definite possibility here. Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding is the obvious highlight, but any movie about figure skating is going to give the makeup and hair artists some good opportunities to shine.

In the cold: Netflix’s Bright* is on the shortlist, but the universally panned orc cop movie probably won’t be helped by the fact that it left 60 makeup artists out of its credits.

I’d prefer: It didn’t even make the Academy’s shortlist for this award, which is a shame. The design of Bill Skarsgård’s look is spot-on, and the makeup crew didn’t skimp on the movie’s lesser monsters either.


Phantom Thread*
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour*
The Greatest Showman*

Party crashers: Never count out Sandy Powell, who had to design both 20s and 70s costumes for Wonderstruck*Victoria and Abdul* is another popular prediction here. Really, without a shortlist, this category is pretty wide-open.

In the cold: Too many solid contenders to name, but Dunkirk‘s probably the one that will get singled out as a snub.

I’d prefer: Regrettably, as good as The Shape of Water is in every facet, I don’t see the Academy making room for it in this category. Other than Doug Jones’s fish suit, I’m not sure the costumes are as eye-catching as voters would prefer. They are, however, thoughtfully chosen and carefully crafted.


Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Phantom Thread*
Beauty and the Beast

I realized a while back that great art direction might be the number one predictor for whether I’ll like a specific movie more than most people do. That’s not universally true for the movies listed above, but… well, as usual, I have some other preferences.

Party crasher: Murder on the Orient Express*, based on stills and trailers alone, is hard to dismiss.

I’d prefer: In place of Dunkirk and Beauty and the Beast, I’d take any two of the following: Brawl in Cell Block 99Better Watch Out (both for their underrated modern domestic sets, and Brawl also for its almost impossibly bleak prison scenes), or Mudbound (a more traditional choice along the lines of 12 Years a Slave or The Revenant). Bonus fact: Better Watch Out‘s production designer was previously the supervising art director for Mad Max: Fury Road, which won this award in 2015. It shows.


Blade Runner 2049
The Post*
The Shape of Water
Phantom Thread*
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Party crasher: While it’s probably safer to bet on John Williams’ bigger prestige movie, The Post, the score in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is as good as the franchise’s music has ever been.

In the cold: Don’t expect La La Land‘s composers to duplicate last year’s sweep of the music categories with The Greatest Showman* this year.

I’d prefer: To have heard the music Jóhann Jóhannsson would have composed for Blade Runner if he hadn’t been replaced with Hans Zimmer.


“Remember Me” from Coco*
“Mighty River” from Mudbound
“Stand Up for Something” from Marshall*
“This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman*
“Truth to Power” from An Inconvenient Sequel*

The last few years, it’s actually unusual for a documentary not to sneak into this category, and An Inconvenient Sequel is probably going to have the most lobbying clout behind it, which is ironic if you think about it for a second.

Party crasher: The LEGO Batman Movie has two qualifying songs and either (but almost certainly not both) could show up here.

In the cold: “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast. lady snow and I both watched the movie. Neither of us remember the song.

I’d prefer: “Captain Underpants Theme Song” from Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Haven’t heard the song, haven’t seen the movie, didn’t know either existed until I checked the list, but come on.


Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes
The Shape of Water

A pretty standard mix of popcorn films and genuine Best Picture contenders, and also Blade Runner 2049, which has a little bit of both categories in it.

Party crasher: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets*, which I understand was kind of a mess, so this is probably its only shot at a nomination.

I’d prefer: These are all very strong choices, but I’d like to see Beauty and the Beast considered for the variety and detail that went into its host of CGI characters, as well as the motion capture work on Dan Stevens. I don’t know which film I’d replace; I’d probably rather just see six nominees.


Baby Driver
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water

Party crasher: Wonder Woman, depending on how badly Academy voters feel about not nominating it for Best Picture.

In the cold: The category is probably too crowded for War for the Planet of the Apes, though it sounds as good as just about any other war movie.

I’d prefer: Brawl in Cell Block 99. There’s a lot that went into making Brawl the most uncompromisingly brutal movie I saw all year, but the way it captured, in at-times-sickening fashion, the sounds of close-quarters violence might have been the most important element.


Baby Driver
Wonder Woman
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water

In the cold: With lukewarm reviews, I don’t think The Greatest Showman has the support to crack this category.

I’d prefer: Brawl in Cell Block 99, again, for pretty much the same reasons.


Fox and the Whale
Dear Basketball
In a Heartbeat
Negative Space*

I’ve watched five of the ten shortlisted animated films for this category, and those I’ve seen are mostly solid, if not quite as strong as last year’s nominees. Negative Space has a stack of awards to its name, and other than Dear Basketball it’s the only overlap between the Oscar semifinalists and the Annie Awards nominees.

In the cold: The dialogue-free Chinese film Life Smartphone, which feels Don Hertzfeldt-inspired but comes off more cute than insightful.

I’d prefer: Something other than Dear Basketball. It’s beautifully hand-illustrated, but there’s not a lot of depth to it, and overall it struck me more like an ad for the NBA than a genuinely interesting narrative. I can’t say I’ve found a fifth short yet that I prefer to Dear Basketball, but I suspect I will.


116 Cameras
Traffic Stop*

I’ve also managed to see about half the short documentary shortlist so far, and almost all of them seemed like reasonably likely contenders. Traffic Stop also feels like a decent bet based on subject matter alone.

I’d prefer: Ten Meter Tower isn’t the sort of slick production the Academy usually seems to favor, but I fell in love with it immediately. It’s an odd and fascinating study of human body language.


DeKalb Elementary*
The Eleven O’Clock*
Rise of a Star*

Unlike with the other shorts, I’ve seen none of the ten films on the Live Action Short Film shortlist; I’m guessing the finalists entirely based on description.


Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Call Me by Your Name*
The Florida Project

If Blade Runner’s Roger Deakins doesn’t win an Oscar this year I’m going to throw a goddamn fit, but he once again has some stiff competition from Dan Laustsen (Shape of Water) and Hoyte van Hoytema (Dunkirk). Threepeat winner Emmanuel Lubezki is not present this year, having only worked on the godawful mess that was Song to Song.

Party crasher/I’d prefer: Mudbound‘s Rachel Morrison would be the first woman ever nominated for the cinematography Oscar, and it would be thoroughly deserved. Mudbound is my favorite movie of the year overall (more on that below), and it’s starkly and gorgeously filmed, balancing wide-open scenery with tight interior shots.

In the cold: The Florida Project‘s spot feels pretty wide open, if only because of its very small audience, and it’s hard to say that any of the fringe contenders definitely won’t nab it instead. That said, my own viewing and the reviews I’ve read make me pretty skeptical about popular pick Darkest Hour*‘s chances.


Blade Runner 2049
Baby Driver
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I flagged Baby Driver‘s tight, rhythmic editing earlier in the year, thinking it’d most likely end up one of my should-have-beens, but a shared Best Editing win with Dunkirk at the Critics’ Choice Awards makes it not just a probable nominee but an honest-to-god frontrunner at the Oscars. The closest comparable is probably 2014’s winner, Whiplash. Winning the editing Oscar used to be a pretty good indicator that a film would go on to win Best Picture, but the two awards have kind of gotten decoupled the last few years, and I’d expect that to continue even if Best Picture favorites Shape of Water and Three Billboards get nominations as expected.

Party crasher/I’d prefer: If I were voting, the first thing I’d do is replace Three Billboards on this list with I, Tonya, which has a lot of the same feel as 2015 nominee The Big ShortMudbound is certainly worth a look here; Brawl in Cell Block 99 is too but it won’t get a chance.

In the cold: Lady Bird is a top Best Picture contender but very unlikely to appear here.


A Fantastic Woman* (Chile)
Loveless (Russia)
In the Fade* (Germany)
The Square* (Sweden)
Foxtrot* (Israel)

Party crashers: Senegal’s Félicité, whose presence on the shortlist elicited quite a bit of surprise from people who know more about these movies than I do.

In the cold: The highest-profile foreign-language release of the year, at least here in the U.S., was Angelina Jolie’s Cambodian-produced First They Killed My Father. It didn’t make the shortlist, and while it’s solid enough, I can’t say I was outraged about that.

I’d prefer: Graduation, which wasn’t even submitted for consideration by Romania, reminded me a lot of 2014 nominee Leviathan, which I loved. Leviathan‘s the work of Loveless director Andrey Zvyagintsev, but Graduation felt to me like the more worthy successor.


The LEGO Batman Movie
Loving Vincent*
The Breadwinner*
Despicable Me 3*

Party crashers: Critics like Mary and the Witch’s Flower*, which I know less than nothing about. The way these nominations have gone in the past, almost anything with a substantial budget could be in play; for example, Ferdinand* or Cars 3*.

In the cold: Boss Baby will launch a thousand Oscar-night Trump jokes but will not be nominated for any awards. Good. The Golden Globe nomination was a travesty, and I will not hear otherwise.

I’d prefer: That they just go ahead and abolish this category if LEGO Batman isn’t nominated.


City of Ghosts
Last Men in Aleppo*
Ex Libris – The New York Public Library*
Faces Places*

I’m not thrilled to say that I’m expecting City of Ghosts to be nominated. Director Matthew Heineman’s last film, 2015 nominee Cartel Land, was a searching and nuanced look at the citizen militias that have sprung up in cartel-controlled areas of Mexico. Ghosts is something quite a bit flatter and less interesting. I’m rooting for Icarus, a sort of accidental real-life spy drama, on the other hand.

In the cold: I didn’t start out using the phrase “in the cold” to set up this irony, but, here it is anyway: Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel*, maybe the highest-profile semifinalist, doesn’t look to me like it’s getting the kind of hype it would need.

I’d prefer: Kedi, a gorgeously shot portrayal of the lives of Istanbul’s feral cats, is much lighter fare than the Academy usually goes for, but the filmmaking’s first rate and the whole experience is just so joyous and pure. Sadly, it’s not even on the shortlist.


Molly’s Game*
The Disaster Artist
Call Me by Your Name*

We’re not going to avoid another Aaron Sorkin screenwriting nomination this year, God help us. In better news, this is one of a handful of categories where I think Mudbound can get some traction.

Party crasher: Logan, which offers a more complete change in tone from the mainline Marvel pictures than Deadpool did last year and might find a more receptive audience at the academy.

I’d prefer: The Beguiled. It’s not perfect, but Sofia Coppola’s adaptation is tense and well-paced.


Get Out
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
The Big Sick

If Get Out falls short of expectations and only manages one nomination, this is probably going to be the one. Jordan Peele deserves plenty of credit for putting together a good, tight allegory for a slippery and difficult socio-political phenomenon.

Party crasher: The Post*, if only for its uncanny timeliness.

I’d prefer: I could write a whole separate post about Better Watch Out, and I may yet, but I just want to say here that the unheralded Christmas home invasion flick is the year’s best horror movie, unless you count the admittedly Hitchcockian Dunkirk. It’s a story that might actually work better for you if you figure out its key twist in advance, and gives you everything you need to do so.  Swap it for Three Billboards, the biggest failings of which are definitely storytelling. Give me, I, Tonya, too, in place of The Big Sick.


Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World*
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name*

I don’t believe much in All the Money‘s momentum generally after its showing at other awards shows, but nominating the a guy who did a top-notch job filling in for Kevin Spacey in reshoots may still be too much for the Academy to pass up.

Party crasher: Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Looking especially strong after Three Billboards picked up the Screen Actors Guild ensemble award.

In the cold: Armie Hammer’s co-star, Michael Stuhlbarg. Even if Plummer isn’t nominated, a second actor from Three Billboards feels a lot more likely than a second actor from Call Me.

I’d prefer: Jake Gyllenhaal, who unquestionably did the most acting in a supporting role this year with his hyperactive performance in Okja. And man, Lil Rel Howery’s hilarious contribution to Get Out is worth at least a second look. More realistically than either of these options, I’d happily take either Garrett Hedlund or Jason Clarke from Mudbound.


Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

I thought Ray Romano was a little better in The Big Sick than Hunter was, but I also think he’s facing tougher competition on the men’s side.

Party crasher: Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG nominee Hong Chau (Downsizing*). The truth is, I know very little about her and less about what she did in Downsizing, but picking up those nods means she’s a definite contender.

I’d prefer: Tiffany Haddish, who delivers far, far more than her fair share of the laughs in Girls Trip, would also be a fun nominee because she’s making the announcements this morning alongside perennial snub Andy Serkis. Additionally, I’d spare a thought for Miranda Richardson (Stronger) and Tilda Swinton (Okja).


Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour*)
James Franco (The Disaster Artist)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name*)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread*)

From the outset, I suppose I have a deep-seated bias against frontrunner Gary Oldman. Namely, I think it’s high time we took a good, hard look at our veneration of Winston Churchill, who got two whole movies this year (Churchill* being the other) and a prime cameo in a third (Dunkirk). Revisiting our respect for Gary Oldman wouldn’t be a bad idea either, come to think of it. Either Kaluuya or Day-Lewis (believe it or not) is most likely the bubble candidate here, but even their positions seem fairly safe.

Party crasher: Jake Gyllenhaal, again, but this time for Stronger. In my opinion, this is the biggest potential shock nomination in play, but it shouldn’t be, if it happens. Gyllenhaal’s turn as Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman, dealing with his injuries—physical and mental—as well as his newfound fame is so raw and resonant that it’s often hard to watch.

In the cold: Tom Hanks (The Post*), which is fine. The man has enough hardware.

I’d prefer: I can’t say much about Levi Miller in Better Watch Out without spoiling the movie, but I can tell you the movie wouldn’t have been as special as it is without him. I haven’t historically been a big Vince Vaughn fan, but he’s menacing and seething and just all-around brilliant in Brawl in Cell Block 99. And honestly, if Andy Serkis can’t get a nomination for War for the Planet of the Apes then it’s high time the Oscars added a motion capture/costume acting category. Doug Jones (The Shape of Water) and Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast) would make fine runners-up for the new award.


Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game*)

I’ll put my cards on the table: As this category goes, I’m a Margot Robbie stan. (Relatedly, I’m also a Sebastian Stan stan.) But of the four performances I’ve seen, every one would be worthy in almost any year. Frances McDormand has cleaned up in awards season so far, but I’m not convinced this race is decided yet. More on that in March, I suppose.

Party crashers: Meryl Streep (The Post*) is an obvious threat. Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World*) is a longer shot.

In the cold: We’re not likely to see any truly shocking omissions. Emma Stone, Judi Dench, and Helen Mirren all got Globes comedy acting nominations, but I don’t think anyone’s expecting any of them to follow up with Oscar nods.

I’d prefer: Jennifer Lawrence deserves to be on this list too, and could even have been the frontrunner if critics had liked mother! better. For my money, though, the best actress who definitely won’t be nominated is Tatiana Maslany, despite the range and depth she shows off as the partner of bombing victim Jeff Bauman in Stronger. And while I probably wouldn’t vote her a nomination in this crowded field, I do want to at least mention the cunning, calculating, and frankly terrifying showing by Lady Macbeth‘s Florence Pugh.


Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name*

Before several women came forward with allegations of pretty disturbing behavior by James Franco, I felt pretty strongly that he should be considered not only for the lead acting award but for Best Director as well. I’m no longer terribly interested in making that case.

Party crashers: This can go in one of two directions: If the Academy is still the same essentially conservative organization it’s always been, Steven Spielberg (The Post*) probably finds a place on this list. If the newer members really swing the vote, you could see Jordan Peele (Get Out) or Sean Baker (The Florida Project) there alongside first-time director Gerwig.

I’d prefer: Dee Rees, Dee Rees, and Dee Rees. For an Academy claiming to be newly invested in promoting diversity, I can’t imagine a more obvious choice than the Mudbound director. A woman of color herself, sure, but she also hired a woman to shoot the movie and a woman to edit it, and put together a film that more than qualifies her for this award.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Post*
The Shape of Water
Lady Bird
Call Me by Your Name*
Get Out
The Florida Project

I think the first six on this list are nearly guaranteed, and Get Out is close. After that, things get dicey. We can be pretty sure that there will be at least eight nominated movies, and almost certain there won’t be eleven. (“Almost certain” because I don’t know anything about the Academy’s tiebreaking procedures.)

Party crashers: Darkest Hour*I, Tonya, even The Big Sick and Molly’s Game* are all in play, especially if the nominations run to ten.

In the cold: The Disaster Artist, which I think even before the Franco accusations was a bit too weird and niche to ever get the nomination. All the Money in the World*, which was probably lucky to catch a wave of good press just as Golden Globes voting was going on.

I’d prefer: Above all, Mudbound. Its exclusion seems inevitable now, but I also can’t imagine this harrowing story about the treacherous landscape of post-World War II race relations missing the cut, but for its simultaneous release on Netflix and in theaters. I may be proven wrong about this snub a few hours from now, but if Mudbound isn’t nominated, it’s because of the way the movie got to its audience, not  In a perfect world, I’d give The Post and Call Me by Your Name the benefit of the doubt, pull Three Billboards, and round out the ten selections with I, Tonya and Better Watch Out.

If you’ve read this far, the announcements have probably already started. Let’s see what happens.

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make it snow is an alot of beer. He is also a Broncos fan living in Denver.
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yeah right

I just watched Mudbound and it was incredible.
Got to readjust.

Still think The Shape of Water is going to win a bunch of hardware.


Finally finished this. I learned a ton and am pissed Big Sick didn’t get more nominations.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

I just want to say that I watched Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and is has objectively replaced Alien vs. Predator: Requiem as the hands down worst movie I have ever seen. This is not a “Ha ha, so bad it’s good” type of picture, like The Room, a Jean Cluade Van Damme flick or other generally bad but entertaining movies; this thing feels like it was written, produced and directed by Justin Bieber and made me want to bash my head into the pavement. Sure, it might’ve looked bright and colorful and had “effects” or whatever, but this thing belongs nowhere near any type of acclaim whatsoever.

My friend made a group of us watch this on New Year’s Eve, and I’m positive it alone was responsible for my hangover the next day.


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Holy shit snowman that is comprehensive. Question though, when will Bloodsport get its just due?


A hearty FUCK YOU to Hans Zimmer


This whole time I thought “Mudbound” was the subtitle for “Call Me By Your Name”

Senor Weaselo

“No, that’s Mudblood.” -Lucius Malfoy

Buddy Cole's Halftime Show!

I heard Ryan Shazier’s going to be the lead role in “Tyler Perry’s FDR”


The Post

Nice to see the Jimmy Graham biopic getting a little love here. Did you know he played basketball in college?

Buddy Cole's Halftime Show!

I thought he ate a lot of cereal


You’re thinking of Clarence “Special” Kay.


My take: Churchill related movies will get tons of nominations and will do some damage because the demographic that largely voted for a fat piece of shit that desperately wants to commit genocides, is the same people that love a fat piece of shit who committed lots of genocides and can give him praise so they don’t have to give any to FDR.


It sounds liked the billboard movie is going to clean up. Hollywood lives for that type of film.

yeah right

I really liked it. Outstanding performances all around but I’m a little surprised because it’s got tones of misogyny and racism all through it.
Does have a nice fierce energy that’s right up my alley.


Oopsies. Fixed above

yeah right

You know the Academy with it’s boner for Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson would be flaunted around.

yeah right

Denzel stars as Denzel in “Denzel: The Musical.”


My nomination for Film Of The Year:

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August Ames closes the In Memoriam or we riot.


You ingrates don’t know shit about movies. You just eat up whatever Big Hollywood covers in ketchup and shoved down your gullet. Me? I just finished watching a great little number on netflix that, frankly, they just don’t make movies like it anymore. But while you all clelebrsye shit like Gardians of the Galaxy, I suggest you watch the real best movie release of the year: Netflix’s The Godfather.


Best movie I saw on Amazon Prime this year:

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I really did enjoy baby driver. It was just a fun movie.


No Batman Lego Movie.



Was it always “ondem” or was I making up the Makeitsnowden portmanteau in my head?


To make up for my dumbass question, here’s an alternate angle of that Eagles fan running into a pillar. If you want the extended cut of him taunting the people on the train before he makes his sprint, I’ve got that covered – https://gfycat.com/RealisticMiserlyBullmastiff.

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A modern day Zapruder film.




What about things that we didn’t expect or want to find ourselves looking at, but just kind of invaded our field of view without our consent?