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© Sarah Hadley

Here are our predictions for the 2018 Oscars

The biggest race of the night feels more wide-open than ever – and we haven't opened a single wrong envelope yet

By Joshua Rothkopf
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The big night is almost upon us – and thank Faye Dunaway for making last year such a riot. Our personal favorites – such as ‘Call Me by Your Name’, ‘Phantom Thread’ and ‘I, Tonya’ – are well represented, so the show itself won’t be all that painful. Still, we’re praying for an envelope mix-up or two. Here’s how we think the winners (and should be winners) will pan out.

Best Picture

What will win?
It looks like Guillermo del Toro will add to his pile of ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ Oscars with ‘The Shape of Water’, his much-loved romantic fantasy. Many of AMPAS’ 774 new voting members are non-English speakers, which bodes well for a movie that features a silent love affair.

What should win?
‘Phantom Thread’’s nomination was something of a surprise to begin with, but how we would scream if Paul Thomas Anderson actually drank everyone’s milkshake. He’s already made two masterpieces (‘Boogie Nights’, ‘There Will Be Blood’) and is long overdue for the Oscars’ biggest prize.

What was overlooked?
Elsewhere represented by nominations for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Editing, ‘I, Tonya’ somehow didn’t make the bracket, which is a shame. It’s an incredible feat of production, mustering ’90s period detail and significant digital work on a tiny budget. Also, it’s as fun as ‘Goodfellas’.

        Paul Thomas Anderson, director of 'Phantom Thread' (Pal Hansen, Getty Images)

Best Director

Who will win?

Again, it’s Shape of Water’s Del Toro, eliciting sensitive performances in a high-concept dare that could have easily descended into laughs.

Who should win?
On ‘Lady Bird’, Greta Gerwig sat in that director’s chair like she always belonged there. A win would make her only the second woman in history to take home this prize (after ‘The Hurt Locker’’s Kathryn Bigelow), and it’s the right note to strike in the wake of #MeToo.

Who was overlooked?
Shockingly, ‘Call Me by Your Name’’s Luca Guadagnino failed to place, and while it’s hard to imagine who to cut, his achievement outclassed all the rest. He’ll be back.

Best Actress

Who will win?

The Frances McDormand train has left the station: When she’s acting fierce – as she is in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ – she’s untouchable.

                                              Margot Robbie in 'I, Tonya'

Who should win?
In ‘I, Tonya’, Margot Robbie turned a role that might have been toxic into something euphoric and complex. In our heart of hearts, she’ll be the upsetter come Oscar night.

Who was overlooked?
Best known for ‘The Edge of Seventeen’, Haley Lu Richardson seriously upped her game in ‘Columbus’, a near-perfect indie that she supplied with loner likability.

Best Actor

Who will win?
Don’t bet against Gary Oldman winning for ‘Darkest Hour’, thus riding on a wave of critics’ prizes (and some impressive prosthetic jowls) to the podium at the moment of truth.

Who should win?
We like the kid: Timothée Chalamet uncorked the kind of go-for-broke brio in ‘Call Me by Your Name’ that comes along once a decade (if we’re lucky). Some say the nomination is enough; we’re greedier.

Who was overlooked?
Some say James Franco and Tom Hanks were snubbed –  crazy talk when you consider that Robert Pattinson reversed his vampiric pallor for ‘Good Time’, pulling off a Pacino-grade performance.

Best Supporting Actress

Who will win?
Allison Janney has the momentum with ‘I, Tonya’, and we won’t deny her – or her parrot – the award for last year’s most ferocious manager- mom.

 

Who should win?
If you’ve seen ‘Phantom Thread’, you’ll know that Lesley Manville steals the movie with every sotto-voce bit of viciousness. Her “I don’t like to hear it because it hurts my ears” has already become an internet meme.

Who was overlooked?
Seriously, no Oscar love for ‘Girls Trip’ and its diabolically perverse yet huggable Tiffany Haddish? Moans of disappointment could be heard worldwide.

Best Supporting Actor

Who will win?
‘Three Billboards’’ Sam Rockwell is said to have this one in the bag, and we wouldn’t have a problem with that. Rockwell’s transition from racist to semi-redeemed racist is miraculous.

Who should win?
What does Willem Dafoe need to do to win a goddamn Oscar? (Have better timing, apparently.) His compassionate turn in ‘The Florida Project’ was a career high, but the competition is too strong.

                   Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in 'Call Me by Your Name'

Who was overlooked?
We’re still hurting over the omission of Michael Stuhlbarg, who capped ‘Call Me by Your Name’ with a heartbreaking monologue that will be studied for years. Sorry, Michael – would you settle for a peach instead?

The 90th Academy Awards takes place on Mon 5 at 1.30am, GMT.

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