Will ‘Three Billboards’ Win the Big One? Let’s Make 24 Oscar Predictions!

Published on February 28, 2018

When we last left the Oscars, the musical La La Land had won Best Picture and the cast and crew had gathered on stage to thank their loved ones. Yippee!!! Sorry, there’s a mistake. Moonlight won the prize. One year later, it’s time to revisit the scene of the most embarrassing snafu in awards history. (And certainly the only one that involved a star-struck CPA). All we know for sure about the 90th annual Academy Awards is that host Jimmy Kimmel will crack some pointed zingers . . .  and, yeah, Sam Rockwell will take Best Supporting Actor. Everything else is a wait-and-see-and-hope. Of course, that uncertainty isn’t going to stop me from making Oscar predictions in all 24 categories. Place your bets and cross your fingers that presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway will get a little redemption, Bonnie and Clyde-style.


Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour


Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Spoiler Alert: Get Out

After picking up top prizes at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild and the recent BAFTAs (i.e., The British Oscars), only a fool would pick against this searing drama about a mother’s quest for justice in the wake of her daughter’s murder. I pity that fool! It’s a stellar, issue-oriented film with just enough backlash to make it a provocative choice. Yet I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if the Academy went rogue and chose Jordan Peele’s groundbreaker — which, a full year after its theatrical release, remains part of the pop-culture fabric. One more note: Had the delicate gay romance Moonlight not won last year, I’m convinced the similarly themed Call Me By Your Name would be in the conversation. The Academy is progressive, but perhaps not that progressive.


Best Actor

Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel Esq.


Will Win: Gary Oldman

Spoiler Alert: Timothee Chalamet

Can I just brag for a second? I saw Darkest Hour over Labor Day weekend at the Telluride Film Festival and predicted in a YouTube video that Gary Oldman had this award locked up. Impressive old-age makeup, beloved historical figure, impassioned monologues, triumphant performance . . . this is a role that screams “thank you so much!” The veteran British actor has dutifully showed up at every ceremony, shaken every hand and taken every selfie. He’s ready for his shining moment. Breakout start Timothee Chalamet will get his due soon enough. P.S. I still can’t believe Denzel Washington ended up in this category. Why, James Franco, whyyyyy?


Best Actress

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie, I Tonya

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Meryl Streep, The Post


Will Win: Frances McDormand

Spoiler Alert: Margot Robbie

I’m a bit shocked this category hasn’t been more contested this awards season. You could make a case for any of these venerable leading ladies — in fact, there was a hot second in early December when pundits insisted Meryl Streep was taking her fourth Oscar for her portrayal of Katharine Graham. But Frances McDormand has been sweeping through with relative ease. Maybe it’s because her Mildred character in Three Billboards is such a one-woman force of nature. Nobody wants to tangle with her. Man, I’d love to see her and Margot Robbie’s scrappy version of Tonya Harding duke it out in a boxing ring.



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


Will Win: Sam Rockwell

Spoiler Alert: Willem Dafoe

The only way Sam Rockwell isn’t winning this award is if. . . . wait, I’m thinking. Well, he did use the F-word while hosting Saturday Night Live last month. Nope, that’s not enough. Even those who rail against Three Billboard’s many loose ends agree that Rockwell’s racist, sexist, ABBA-loving police officer is a stand-out. Never underestimate the power of a worthy character redemption arc. Willem Dafoe’s quiet, almost invisible performance in the low-budget The Florida Project is no match.



Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water


Will Win: Allison Janney

Spoiler Alert: Laurie Metcalf

Like Rockwell, Allison Janney has amassed quite the trophy collection over the past several months. The veteran actress and multi-Emmy-award winner is the one to beat — if only for the meta scene in I, Tonya in which her embittered character sneers to the camera, “Well, my storyline has gone to s—t!” FWIW, I do think Metcalf has an outside shot here as Ronan’s blue-collar, put-upon mother. She’s the real heroine of Lady Bird.



Best Director

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Jordan Peele, Get Out

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water


Will Win: Guillermo del Toro

Spoiler Alert: Jordan Peele

They call themselves the Three Amigos. Now friends and auteurs Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro are poised to win four of the last five Best Director awards. (Applause for Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant, respectfully). Del Toro’s old-fashioned monster movie is visually sumptuous and a technical marvel. With The Shape of Water looking in on Best Picture, this seems like a surefire consolation prize. Still, Peele delivered a masterpiece in his feature film debut and he would be the first African American to take it. Can Get Out go from the Sunken Place to the Big Stage? Clink-clink-clink.


Best of the Rest

Animated Feature — Coco

Animated Short — Dear Basketball (this is the movie that Kobe Bryant coproduced)

Adapted Screenplay — Call Me By Your Name

Original Screenplay — Get Out (a tough call over Three Billboards)

Cinematography — Blade Runner 2049

Best Documentary Feature — Last Men in Aleppo

Best Documentary Short Subject — Edith + Eddie

Best Live Action Short — DeKalb Elementary

Best Foreign Language Film — A Fantastic Woman

Film Editing — Baby Driver

Sound Editing — Dunkirk (it has to win something, no???)

Sound Mixing — Dunkirk

Production Design — The Shape of Water

Original Score — The Shape of Water

Original Song — “This is Me,” The Greatest Showman (I maintain the story is so-so but the music rules)

Makeup & Hair — Darkest Hour

Costume — Phantom Thread (I stand by Jennifer Lawrence’s recents comments on this movie)

Visual Effects — War for the Planet of the Apes

The 90th Annual Academy Awards air on Sunday, March 4 at 8 P.M. on ABC  

Also published on Medium.