2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

While the Best Picture field has shaped up as time passed, there is still no frontrunner. Many of the films nominated will have a great chance of winning.

Right now, there are seven strong bets.

With SAG nominations for Best Ensemble, Lady BirdGet Out and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri are essentially shoe-ins. A film rarely wins Best Picture without one of these and, considering the momentum of these three, it would be shocking were one not to be nominated.

Despite not receiving a SAG Best Ensemble nom, Christopher Nolan’s war epic Dunkirk is still a legitimate threat. The film exploded out of the gates with the best reviews of his career and many touting it as the first legitimate Oscar contender of the year. The film is an unparalleled experiential feat, the cinematic experience of the year, and should work its way into a Best Picture nomination quite easily, a la Gravity and Mad Max: Fury Road. The war genre also makes it Nolan’s friendliest Oscar picture to date, while still remaining distinctly “Nolan,” and Warner Bros. knows that it has something special in its hands.

There was word that The Post came to SAG voters too late for it to be considered, so it not being in there doesn’t necessarily hold the same weight as other films. The Post will likely be loved by the industry, especially because it’s a Steven Spielberg film and it’s extremely relevant. It’s certainly going to be nominated.

The next rather clear cut nomination is Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. The film is a contender across the board, including being a heavy weight in Best Director, which, most of the time, correlates with Best Picture. Plus, the film is also one loved by so many, and easier to love than some others.

Call Me by Your Name may have taken a hit with its total omission from SAG nominations, but, even then, it’s still too strong to ignore. It is the critical darling of the season and, like Manchester by the Sea showed last year, that quite easily translates to a nomination. Even if it did sustain a hit, it was previously near the top, so it wouldn’t really fall far enough to genuinely fall out of contention.

Beyond those seven, as the Academy will likely nominate at least eight, there are a few that could find a final spot.

The Florida Project is a small project, but it seems to be a sneaky powerhouse contender similar to Room, and a Best Picture nomination would absolutely be in order. Like Call Me by Your Name, it is a total critical darling and a film easy to love, two aspects that could translate well. And the fact that it’s an A24 film — A24 being the studio behind Moonlight — only makes it more of a rallying point.

The other outlier is Mudbound. Objectively, the film should be easy to nominate. But it’s distributed by Netflix, and it seems as though the bias against the streaming company isn’t completely gone as it’s momentum has been rather deflated as of late. Still, it is quite a stunning picture, and it has a lot of valuable things to say about race and America that are still extremely relevant today. It also got a SAG Best Ensemble nomination — rightly so — so there’s reason to believe that Netflix could finally break into this category.

While eight seems more likely, we’re going to, at least for now, hedge our bets on there being nine Best Picture nominees, so we don’t have to knock out The Florida Project or Mudbound just yet.

But there are films still in contention.

The Big Sick is the final film mentioned that received a SAG Best Ensemble nod. It’s a certain contender in Original Screenplay and Supporting Actress, so it’s not unreasonable to suggest that it could be nominated.

Darkest Hour hits a sweet spot for the Academy: period prestige. As time has passed, though, the film’s reception has slowly sunk. Something just hasn’t stuck. But the quality is there and it could still find a place.

This wouldn’t be an Oscar conversation without discussing the blockbuster that could potentially shake things up. And this year, the contender seems easy to spot. Blade Runner 2049 is directed by Denis Villeneuve, the filmmaker behind Arrival, which earned eight nominations including Best Director and Best Picture. 2049 has received outstanding reviews and, with it successfully (at least story-wise) following up a sci-fi classic, it could be a film to get behind.

Lastly, three eccentric films could still be in contention. Phantom Thread, The Disaster Artist and I, Tonya have all been widely acclaimed. They might be too particular and not as easily accessible, but stranger things have happened.

9 nominations
Lady Bird
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Get Out
The Shape of Water

The Post
Call Me by Your Name
The Florida Project

Could contend
Darkest Hour
The Big Sick
Blade Runner 2049
The Disaster Artist
I, Tonya
Phantom Thread



Featured image via Warner Bros.

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