The Road to the 90th Oscars, Part IV: Noms Noms Noms

This is the fourth in a series of articles checking in on the Oscars race in the lead-up to the ceremony on March 4.

Well folks, the moment is upon us. On Tuesday, January 23, at the ungodly (and oddly specific) hour of 5:22 AM Pacific Standard Time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for the 90th Oscars, which will then be awarded on March 4. Nominations have been announced for all of the precursor awards (SAG, WGA, ACE, PGA, DGA, BAFTA, etc.), the ballots have been cast, and now all that’s left is to find out just how wrong I’ve been for the past three months. (What? You didn’t know this was all about me? You haven’t been paying attention, then!)

The biggest news since the Golden Globes is the Directors Guild nominations. The DGA, who have perhaps the best predictive history of all of the guilds, went with Guillermo Del Toro, Greta Gerwig, Martin McDonagh, Christopher Nolan, and Jordan Peele. If I were deciding this by myself in a box, I’d switch McDonagh with Luca Guadagnino, but I’m not so I won’t. The ever-quirky British Academy, which has a lot of overlap in its voting pool with the Oscars, showed some BAFTA love to Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but largely snubbed Get Out (and threw a much-deserved but ultimately inconsequential Best Director nomination to Denis Villeneuve for his masterpiece, Blade Runner 2049).

Three Billboards… has seen its star skyrocket in the past two weeks after a near-sweep at the Golden Globes that was quickly followed up by a trio of awards from the Broadcast Film Critics Association at last Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards. I still don’t see this one as the Best Picture frontrunner (that remains a race between Lady Bird and Get Out, in my opinion), but it’s going to be in the conversation, for sure.

If guild nominations are anything to go by (which they most certainly are), The Shape of Water has managed to be nominated by ten of the twelve major film guilds, representing the film editors (ACE), art directors (ADG), cinematographers (ASC), audio engineers (CAS), costume designers (CDG), casting agents (CSA), directors (DGA), makeup artists/hairstylists (MUAHS), producers (PGA), and writers (WGA). The sole exceptions are the Visual Effects Society (VES), which opted instead for Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Kong: Skull Island, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and War for the Planet of the Apes; and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which nominated Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins individually, but not the overall ensemble.

Not to be outdone, Christopher Nolan’s modern classic Dunkirk follows close behind with nine guild nominations (missing a SAG ensemble nomination and any accolades from MUAHS and WGA), then Get Out, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards…, which each garnered nominations from eight guilds, and I, Tonya with seven.

Blade Runner 2049 is making an interesting late-in-the-game resurgence in the craft categories, and is a dark horse to be this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road or Grand Budapest Hotel in that respect on Oscars night, but I don’t expect it to show up in the Best Picture or Best Director races. Wonder Woman has also been mounting a comeback, but I’m not expecting the Academy to give it any love at all.

I’ve been bullish on The Big Sick and Call Me By Your Name all season long, and they’re still featuring heavily in my predictions, but their lack of recognition from any of the smaller guilds is a tad concerning. The same can be said for The Post, except I’ve never been more than lukewarm on that one (and nevertheless don’t expect Oscar to pass up the opportunity for the Best Picture sizzle reel).

I won’t belabor this any further. My full predictions in all – yes, finally, ALL – 24 Oscar categories are below. I’ve kept the biggies (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Animated Feature) as their own individual threads like in past posts, and have clumped the other categories together broadly by theme (Writing, Short Films, Sound, Production/Editing/Visuals). I’d rather not have 24 individual threads in future posts over the next six weeks, but feel free to suggest other options for organizing down below! I’ve cut myself down to my predicted slate and a single Dark Horse contender in each category; we can all have fun checking back in on Tuesday morning to see just how very wrong I was.