By LINDSEY BAHR and Jake Coyle
AP Film Writer
Ahead of Sunday’s 90th Academy Awards, Associated Press film writers Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle share their predictions for a ceremony that — at least at the end — should be a nail biter.
Expanded predictions by Bahr and Coyle are available here .
The Nominees: “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”
Will Win: No controversy, timely messages, a dash of fantasy and a love of movies, “The Shape of Water” seems to be the safe, if a little boring, front-runner.
Should Win: “Lady Bird” is the movie I want to watch over and over again. It is such an effortlessly perfect slice-of-life film that will be around far after this awards season noise comes to an end.
Will Win: There are five movies with a legitimate shot to win, which makes this year more difficult than usual to call. I’m going to say Jordan Peele’s cultural sensation “Get Out” wins because it has two crucial things going for it: the all-important SAG ensemble nomination and a good shot at a recently highly predictive screenplay award. That, and it did more to re-energize genre filmmaking than anything in a decade.
Should Win: “Call Me By Your Name” stood apart for me. It’s a movie that feels like it has the windows open, and life just flows through it.
The Nominees: 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 has won most of the major awards so far and there’s no reason he wouldn’t continue the streak at the Oscars, much to the chagrin of the internet’s darling, Timothee Chalamet, who will definitely get another shot at this award down the line.
Should Win: Gary Oldman’s full and complete transformation into Winston Churchill is something they should teach in acting (and makeup) classes forever.
Will Win: Oldman has this one in the bag.
Should Win: I wouldn’t begrudge Oldman his moment in the sun. But I’ll say Day-Lewis is simply the best there is. Maybe a surprise Oscar would coax him into rethinking retirement.
The Nominees: 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: It’s funny how uninspired the acting categories can seem when the same people win every award. This is Frances McDormand’s year, plain and simple.
Should Win: This is an extremely tough category, but out of this batch, it was Margot Robbie who stretched herself beyond anything I might have assumed her capable of as the proud, defiant and unapologetic Tonya Harding.
Will Win: McDormand is a virtual lock.
Should Win: The most deserving is Ronan, who’s perpetually playing a jumble of emotions, most of them contradictory, at once.
The Nominees: 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 went big in “Three Billboards” as the racist cop who decides to (maybe) start rethinking (some of) his ways.
Should Win: It is Willem Dafoe who gives “The Florida Project” its beating heart. He makes every moment he’s in memorable, whether he’s escorting a suspicious character off the property of a low-rent motel on the outskirts of Orlando, or just trying to count the rent money.
Will Win: Rockwell is the favorite but I smell an upset. There’s not much evidence for it. I just think good sense will prevail and Dafoe will win his first Oscar.
Should Win: Would it not be great to see Jenkins win? Would anyone not cheer seeing Harrelson at the podium? But Dafoe’s low-rent motel father-figure will go down as the iconic performance of the bunch.
The Nominees: 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, who is very excellent as the caustic, complicated mother LaVona in “I, Tonya,” and everyone has noticed.
Should Win: Lesley Manville upstaged Daniel Day-Lewis (in a good way) as the steadfast Cyril, who can be sometimes terrifying and often funny and without whom “Phantom Thread” would have come crashing to the ground.
Will Win: Janney, a riot in “I, Tonya,” is the favorite.
Should Win: I’d cast my nonexistent vote for Metcalf, in her first film in almost a decade. Her character in “Lady Bird” is one of the finest working mothers I’ve ever seen in movies.
The Nominees: Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”), Jordan Peele (SDLqGet Out”), Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), Paul Thomas Anderson (SDLqPhantom Thread”), Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”)
Will Win: Affable, undeniably talented, quick to drop an expletive and “in love with love and movies,” Guillermo del Toro is the likely pick for this year’s best director. Also, “The Shape of Water” could only have been made by him.
Should Win: Christopher Nolan really should be getting more awards for his achievement with “Dunkirk.” Nolan made a masterpiece of suspense like we’ve never seen before.
Will Win: Del Toro seems to have this locked up.
Should Win: I really have no idea. The filmmakers in this group are impossible to compare against each other; all of the movies are so singular to the director. Anderson’s impeccable comedy? Gerwig’s richness of lived-in detail? I don’t like choosing but Nolan’s feat in “Dunkirk” is a majestic creation of sight and sound.