2018 Oscar Predictions by Zak Kondratenko
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Best Picture (last updated Jan. 1st)
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Current Predicted Nominees
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Comments? Suggestions? Spot a typo? Feel free to reach out to me on twitter, @ZakKondratenko
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(Ordered by My Confidence in Them)
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Film:Distributor:Analysis:
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Lady BirdA24 FilmsThought to be a small film, Greta Gerwig's directorial debut has turned into a surprising box office hit and is perhaps the most well-reviewed film of the year. Gothams, Indie Spirits, NBR all went for it heavy as have various critics groups. SAG went for it big and Gerwig has won more director prizes than anyone thus far. It could win two acting Oscars. Don't write it off because it's a coming-of-age film. Based on what it's done so far and recent history, Lady Bird can win.
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Get OutUniversalBest bet from the first half of the year. Gotham Awards, Indie Spirits, NBR went heavy for it. It's popping up everywhere with critics groups as well. While it'd certainly be a subversive nominee all indications are that it's happening. Where else can it get in though besides screenplay? Not sure it'll have the widespread support necessary to win, but then again, SAG Ensemble nom suggests it's loved by the most important branch.
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The Post20th Century FoxSpielberg tackling a timely historical story with an Oscar friendly cast in tow (Streep, Hanks). First wave of reviews are pretty strong and it's popped up with a few precursors. NBR gave it Best Film, Best Actress, and Best Actor. But it doesn't really need the momentum boost. It's a studio film with big names involved that should do well with the guilds. A very real threat to win. Was it being absent from SAG just due to screeners getting out too late?
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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriFox SearchlightPeople's Choice winner at Toronto, recent history suggest that means it's a lock here and a possible winner, though McDonagh's films have never played well with the Academy and it's missed out at Gothams, Indie Spirits, NBR while not really hitting with critics groups outside of its cast. Globes went heavy for it though and SAG did as well. The recent "backlash" seems to have popped up more because people are bored than anything else. Don't think it's a great film personally but I feel comfortable locking it in for a nom.
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DunkirkWarner BrosNolan overdue narrative + critical acclaim + Oscar friendly subject + major support from tech branches = near lock for a nom. Getting a December re-release so voters can see it in its intended form. Warner Bros thinks they can win. Has only popped up with a few critics groups but that matters not for a film this big that every voter is going to see regardless. But no film has won Best Picture without a SAG Ensemble nom since Braveheart. Can it buck the trend?
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The Shape of WaterFox SearchlightAll the rage at Toronto & Venice, Golden Lion winner, said to be del Toro's best. Although, I wonder if its fantasy elements will prevent it from winning. Missed out at the Gothams, Indie Spirits, and NBR. but critics groups have responded to various elements of the film. A real contender for 12+ noms as it'll get serious love in the techs but I'd be more comfortable here had it gotten SAG Ensemble.
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Call Me By Your NameSony Pictures ClassicsBeen in the convo since Sundance, a critical darling that played well at Toronto as well. SPC thinks they can win. A factor in multiple acting races, but is already being lazily compared to Moonlight. Let's see how general audiences respond, but critics groups are eating it up, though SAG didn't. Early limited box office looks strong. Needs PGA and DGA to cite it.
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Phantom ThreadFocus FeaturesPTA is hit-or-miss with the Academy but he's got Daniel Day-Lewis with him this time. The last time the two worked together the result was There Will Be Blood. First reviews are very strong and it's popped up with various different critics groups for its script. It's also Focus Features' only horse this year and they're campaigning it everywhere. Should have some vocal supporters in key branches (directors, actors, costumes).
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On The Bubble
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Film:Distributor:Analysis:
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The Florida ProjectA24 FilmsA24 showed they can get smaller films in with Moonlight, and Sean Baker's latetst seems to have the DNA of a crowd-pleaser. Critics adore it, audiences are showing up to the rollout, but it'll need help to stay in the convo all season. If Willem Dafoe can keep picking up notices, that'll really help the film. It's been the most awarded film from critics groups thus far but will guilds embrace it? I'm keeping it out until SAG, DGA, or PGA cites it.
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The Big SickAmazon StudiosDecent bet from year's first-half but will they remember this rom-com come voting time? I thought it was dead until SAG weighed in.
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Darkest HourFocus FeaturesStrong word across the festival circuit, Oldman the frontrunner in best actor and winning there always goes hand-in-hand with a nomination here. Some vocal detractors but it'll get the older and British vote. However, it missed with the Globes and this has the makeup of a very Globe-friendly film. I'm starting to think it is more The Iron Lady than it is Lincoln.
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The Disaster ArtistA24 FilmsThis generation's Ed Wood played well at Toronto but it's a pure comedy. Can you see Oscar embracing a Rogen/Goldberg/Franco production? But maybe it wins the Globe? Despite concerns, Franco and the script look like locks for noms. It's very much in the hunt.
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I, TonyaNeonNew distributor, but was a crowd-pleaser at Toronto and will factor into two acting races. Dark comedies can be tough sells with the Academy, except when they're not (Birdman, Silver Linings Playbook, etc.). Though it's been missing from all the precursors so far. Really could've used a SAG Ensemble nom.
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MudboundNetflixSundance darling will have the critics on its side and is one of few films from people of color in the race this year. But with Netflix, until proven otherwise, hard to bet on it. SAG Ensemble nom was huge but that's really all it's picked up thus far.
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WonderLionsgateThe sentimental hit of the year put up huge opening weekend numbers and may have overtaken Stronger as Lionsgate's primary pony this year. Could queitly emerge as a real force a la Lion last year but hasn't yet. Needs a PGA nom to stay alive.
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Dark Horses
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Film:Distributor:Analysis:
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HostilesEntertainment StudiosPlayed well at Telluride and Toronto and was finally picked up for distribution; will be a centerpiece at AFI. It appears as if they're going for it but it's a violent, challenging watch.
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Molly's GameSTX EntertainmentSorkin's directorial debut played well at Toronto and could ride the script/Jessica Chastain to a nom. Buzz has been muted since though. Needs a major critics group or guild to go for it like the Globes sort of did.
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StrongerLionsgateOnce looked like Jake Gyllenhaal and nothing else as far as awards prospects go but the reviews are really strong; has played festival circuit well. But, man, the box office was terrible. Will voters even remember it? Needs SAG to notice. I'm not even sure Gyllenhaal gets in at this point.
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Blade Runner 2049Warner BrosReveiws good but not great, and the box office is weak. It's a player all across the techs which keeps it in play here but it doesn't look too likely. WB has shifted attention to Dunkirk and even Wonder Woman over this.
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DownsizingParamountCritics did not go for Alexander Payne's latest at festivals but the Academy loves him and perhaps the film will play better with general audiences. Made NBR top 10.
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Wonder WomanWarner BrosIt's getting a full push, is very popular, and benefits from girl-power narrative. But is this really the superhero film to finally land with Oscar? It did make AFI Top 10 and I think PGA will cite it.
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Logan20th Century FoxGenre stigma and it came out sooooo early in the year but critics love it, it had huge box office, and the NBR even put it in their top 10. If it can continue to rack up notices and hit with a key guild like the PGA, maybe it surprises.
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All The Money In The WorldSonyWild card. Will it be good and how will people respond to the unprecedented move of replacing Spacey so close to release? Globes love it.
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mother!ParamountExtremely divisive, but that is sometimes a good thing in terms of scoring a nomination considering preferential balloting is only used to pick winners.
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