Chris Pix for the 2018 Academy Awards!

The Academy Awards will be on March 4th, so here are my picks for the top runners in the race!

BEST PICTURE
This year is filled with some truly exceptional films, so deciding which one will take home the gold will be very difficult. Call Me By Your Name, Phantom Thread, and Lady Bird are unlikely contenders, while The Shape of Water and Get Out are too ‘fantastic’ a film. The Post is very good, but not as good as the VERY best, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk,and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. All three have a strong chance, but I’m going with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

BEST ACTOR
Right off the bat you can eliminate Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.) and Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), because this race will be between Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour). BOTH delivered powerful performances, but I think the edge has to go with Oldman for his magnificent embodiment of Winston Churchill.

BEST ACTRESS
If you saw any of these movies this year you already KNOW the blistering performance of Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), so Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), and Meryl Streep (The Post) can go home for the night. McDormand’s a lock on this one. However, don’t discount Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) as a serious threat in this race.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nobody saw Willem Dafoe in The Florida Project, and Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) was just playing himself, just like Richard Jenkins did in The Shape of Water, so it’s either Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) or Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Both deserve it, no doubt, but I’m thinking Plummer will go home with an Oscar for two reasons: one, for his age and two, because director Ridley Scott made the bold move to reshoot all of Kevin Spacey’s scenes, sending a clear message to Hollywood about sexual harassment.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
This was SO easy, it was a slam-dunk. Nix the others, Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), and Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), because this is Allison Janney’s (I, Tonya) year. Her portrayal of Tonya Harding’s mother is brutal, jaw-dropping, and deserving of Oscar gold. Look to Laurie Metcalf to be a dark horse who just might unseat Janney.

BEST DIRECTOR 
Another difficult decision here as all the directors are truly deserving. First off, Guillermo delToro (The Shape of Water) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) are good, but not as good as Christopher Nolan’s breath-taking Dunkirk. BUT the Academy has to think about diversity and the new agenda: African-American Jordan Peele’s Get Out or female director Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird will be first and foremost on their minds. DelToro also has an excellent chance, being his film was extraordinarily shot AND he’s due. Me, personally? Nolan ought get it, but Peele should get it, due to his terrific (and first-time) film.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
This will be a tough one, that’s for sure, as each script deserves to nominated (save one). First, eliminate Guillermo DelToro’s weak The Shape of Water, and let’s look at the rest. The Big Sick by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani and Lady Bird by Greta Gerwig are both wonderful, but I think it’ll come down to either Jordan Peele’s dramedy/horror film Get Out or the wickedly gut-punching Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri. I’m going to go with Peele as he’s a first-timer and #blacklivesmatter.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
My passion for anything that Aaron Sorkin writes knows no bounds, and it’s for that reason I’m throwing my full support to his screenplay, Molly’s Game. The others, (Call Me By Your Name) by James Ivory, (The Disaster Artist) by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, (Logan) by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green and (Mudbound) by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, as far as I’m concerned, shouldn’t even bother showing up.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM 
Nobody beats the unstoppable juggernaut of the Disney machine. Nobody. No. Bod. Dee. That being said, nix the films The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Ferdinand, and Loving Vincent. They’re good, but they ain’t no competition and they ain’t from the almighty House of Mouse. It’s going to be Coco. You know it. I know it. We all know it. Goodnight.  

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