We’re calling it – this might be the most exciting field of films an Academy Awards has ever seen.
From Jordan Peele’s provocative racial horror flick Get Out vying for attention next to eccentric fantasy-romance flick The Shape of Water and the memorably-titled Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the options are diverse and unique.
There are also plenty of firsts: Greta Gerwig in her directorial debut with Lady Bird and Peele in his for Get Out, under-30s Timothée Chalamet and Margot Robbie luxuriating in the glow of their first nominations and, bafflingly, mainstay Gary Oldman celebrating his first Oscar nomination.
We’re excited and you should be too. We’ve pulled together the most likely (and most deserving winners) across the major categories.
Timothée 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
Who will win: Gary Oldman. After a stellar career spanning more than three decades, it’s unfathomable the 59-year-old Oldman is only just getting his first nomination. His transformation into British prime minister Winston Churchill was nothing short of miraculous.
Who should win: Timothée Chalamet. There’s plenty of time yet for this 22-year-old to have his moment, but his startlingly authentic performance as a young man discovering his sexuality in Call Me By Your Name proved he’s no rising star – he’s already arrived.
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Who will win: Frances McDormand. As grieving mother Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards, she was an unstoppable force. Expect a hilariously unfiltered acceptance speech and a delightfully casual red carpet look from her too.
Who should win: Margot Robbie. McDormand’s performance was moving and hilarious, but Gold Coast-born Robbie had a far greater challenge on her hands. Capturing controversial figure skater Tonya Harding’s athleticism, edge, humour and Pacific-Northwest accent required a complete personality overhaul. Robbie nailed it, and managed to convey humour, gravitas and Harding’s unreliable perspective at the same time.
Call Me By Your Name
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Who will win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. While Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a close second, Three Billboards claimed the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama, which is usually a strong indicator.
Who should win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. An entirely original film with a powerhouse cast and a compelling premise. Plus, any movie that manages to make its hard-to-spell, five-world title instantly memorable has to be considered a smash success.
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
Who will win: Sam Rockwell. He’s been taking home trophy after trophy this awards season.
Who should win: Sam Rockwell. In his career-best performance, this quietly brilliant character actor took centre stage in Three Billboards, delivering the redemption arc of the decade with his portrayal of troubled, bigoted, yet somehow loveable policeman, Jason Dixon.
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
Who will win: Allison Janney. The 58-year-old is a surefire winner, cleaning up at all preceding awards ceremonies and deservedly so. Her portrayal of Tonya Harding’s, ahem, complicated mother is equal parts tragic and riotous.
Who should win: Laurie Metcalf. The delightfully humble actress, who is better known for her TV and stage roles, plays the kind of mother everyone will recognise in Lady Bird.
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Who will win: Guillermo del Toro. The Mexican director pulled 13 nominations with this left-of-centre flick, which he wrote as well as directed. That’s a huge achievement for a film that doesn’t look anything like your typical Oscar bait.
Who should win: Greta Gerwig. Only the fourth woman to be nominated in this category ever, Gerwig produced magic in her directorial debut, working with her own original script and a young cast, many of them in their first or second feature film outing.
Best Original Screenplay
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor)
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
The Big Sick (Emily V Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
Get Out (Jordan Peele)
Who will win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. For the first time in a while, the original screenplay category is densely populated with serious contenders. But the hype machine around Three Billboards should carry it all the way.
Who should win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri or Get Out. Both films will define the 2010s for years to come.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name (James Ivory)
Logan (Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green; story by James Mangold)
Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin)
Mudbound (Virgil Williams and Dee Rees)
The Disaster Artist (Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber)
Who will win: Call Me By Your Name. The 89-year-old James Ivory expertly adapted Andre Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name into a film that resonated with all who saw it.
Who should win: Call Me By Your Name. In another year with a less-impressive field, this sensual, moving film would have cleaned up. It deserves to win in this category at the very least.