I love movies. From the production choices, to the cinematography, to the costumes and actors choices, everything about an entire created world is fascinating. While our day-to-day lives can be hectic and unpredictable, with everyone glued to their phone and social media and the turbulence of society, movies offer a break from reality to just take a step away from your own life and peer into the fantasy of another. Whether they offer you a perspective on a historical event, like Darkest Hour or I, Tonya, or present an unconventional love story like The Shape of Water, we all see some part of ourselves in movies. It can be so good to just go to a movie and do nothing other that feel and react and allow your mind to wander. If you love or even like going to the movies, I highly recommend MoviePass. It’s a $10 monthly service where you can see unlimited movies in most theaters. It’s super easy to use and has saved me SO much money in the 6 months I’ve had it. This past year, I used it to see every movie nominated for the top 6 categories (and then some).

The Oscars have been celebrating movies for 90 years. The winners are chosen by more than 6,000 voting members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. In recent years, the show has had some controversies, with #OscarsSoWhite – rightfully so, and the mix-up last year when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong winner for Best Picture, shouting “La La Land!” instead of the victor Moonlight. It was downright bizarre. This year’s ceremony will take place Sunday March 4, 2018, and it is more diverse than ever, with people of color and women being represented in nearly every category. The only thing I love more than the movies nominated is the red carpet.

On to the predictions!

Best Picture

  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Prediction: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. For most of the award season, I realllllly thought The Shape of Water would win. It’s up for 13 awards, the most of any film this year. Personally, I would choose The Shape of Water. It was visually stunning & a beautiful whimsical story, and I’ve never been so attracted to a fictional sea creature. Despite the backlash Three Billboards has received, I still think it’s poised to take the top prize for divisive reasons: 1- Best Picture and Best Director don’t often go to to the same film.  2-Best Picture tends to favor actors over technical aspects of the film. 3- Three Billboards has outperformed all other films in the other award shows this season (Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture- Drama, SAG for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, and BAFTA for Best Film). I thought the movie fell flat in terms of its lack of dealing with the derogatory racism, while being able to portray emotional dimension so well; it seemed to only be able to handle one discourse in its comic twist on a revenge drama. Regardless, it’s great to have a year where it’s kind of up in the air as to who will win.

Best Director 

(All first time nominees other than PTA)

  • Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
    • (Technically stunning chance to award someone whose former movies aren’t nominated)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
    • (While Get Out was released in 2017, and feels more relevant than ever, it was inspired by the Democratic Primary between Obama and HRC in 2008.)

Prediction: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water. The first year Christopher Nolan is nominated for an Oscar, and he isn’t likely to win. While Dunkirk was technically stunning, and deserves a lot of other awards, this one is rightuflly going straight to GDT. The Shape of water was visual, and all of the directors choices fit like a perfect puzzle. GDT made you believe a love story between a mute woman and a fish-man, and for that he deserves the oscar. Paul Thomas Anderson is the only veteran in this category. Jordan Peele is one of the few directors who was nominated for Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay with their first feature film. Fun Fact: Though it feels more relevant than ever, Get Out was written in 2008 after the Democratic Primary between Obama and HRC. Many think Martin McDonagh, director of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was snubbed in this category (I am not one of them).

Best Actor

  • Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
    • (Second nomination)
  • Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Prediction: This award will without a doubt go to Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour, who also isn’t a good dude by society’s standards, but is a hell of an actor. He was unrecognizable as Churchill (200 hours in a makeup chair for the film), but his dialogue-centric performance brought vivaciousness to some of the greatest speeches of all time. Timothee Chalamet had a good performance in Call me by Your Name (he was also in Ladybird), but nothing to write home about. Props to the Academy for nominating Daniel Kaluuya, and everyone alive is scratching their head wondering if anyone actually saw “Roman J Israel, Esq.” Side note: James Franco was rightfully snubbed for “The Disaster Artist” because of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, his performance in it was one of my favorites of the year.

Best Actress

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
    • (5th nomination – won in 97 for Fargo)
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

Prediction: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. The clear frontrunner, McDormand won best Actress in 1997 for Fargo, and this is her fifth Oscar nomination. This year alone she’s won the Golden Globe, the SAG, and the BAFTA for Best Actress. Her performance was chilling, sympathetic, unrelatable, insane, and deeply emotional at times. She is mad as hell and up against a system she has no chance of infiltrating, this performance resonates. Ronan and Robbie were both GREAT in their roles, and Meryl is up for her 21st (!!!!) nomination. I genuinely loved every one of these performances, and all of the films sans Three Billboards. It was a great year for featured actresses.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
    • (First nomination)

Prediction: Sam Rockwell,Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. In his first Oscar nomination, Rockwell has swept the supporting actor award this season. His character is all about redemption and change, and boy does he need it. He is so easy to just despise in this film, slowly changing his tune as he goes. He deserves the award. I’m disappointed that Michael Stuhlbarg (the dad in Call Me By Your Name) wasn’t nominated for this award. He appears in three Best Picture nominees this year (The Post and The Shape of Water) and deserves the nomination based on his last scene in the film alone.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Leslie Manville, Phantom Thread
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Prediction: Allison Janney in I, Tonya. This category is the race of strong-willed mothers. Laurie Metcalf loves her daughter fiercely, while Allison Janney is just fierce. It blows my mind that Allison Janney has never been up for an Oscar before, and she’s completely swept the award shows this year, winning every major award for her performance of Tonya Harding’s unloving, ruthless mother. She’s hilarious and mean.

If you’re local to the MOV/Appalachia, you may find yourself caring about the Best Documentary Short category for the first time, I know I sure am. One of our own, Elaine Sheldon McMillion is the filmmaker behind Heroin(e), a Netflix Original Documentary Short following three women combating the opioid epidemic in Huntington, WV. The movie is slated to win it’s category by a landslide.