Predicting The 90th Annual Academy Awards, Part 1: The Minor Categories


This awards season has been one of the strangest on the books in quite some time, with winners all over the place, and every major contender missing out on some important nomination. At the very least, it’s kept things rather exciting, but it’s all about to come down to the big finale as the Oscars are very nearly upon us, so, as usual, let’s take a look at what has the best chance of taking home Oscar gold on the evening of Sunday, March 4th.

This first part will cover the minor and technical awards (The Shorts-Film Editing):

Best Live Action Short

Dekalb Elementary

The Eleven O'Clock

My Nephew Emmett

The Silent Child

Watu Wote/All of Us

Best Documentary Short

Edith+Eddie

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Heroin(e)

Knife Skills

Traffic Stop

Best Animated Short

Dear Basketball

Garden Party

Lou

Negative Space

Revolting Rhymes

As usual, there’s absolutely nothing to base predictions on for these short categories except the buzz circling around them, and that buzz is currently predicting “Dekalb Elementary,” “Edith+Eddie,” and “Dear Basketball” to win.

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

In a rather bizarre circumstance, all five nominees in the sound categories are the same in editing and mixing this year, but the one to beat appears to be “Dunkirk.” After all, as has been noted before, most Academy members wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between the two, so a big, loud war movie seems like just the thing that they would gravitate to given the opportunity.

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Kong: Skull Island

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

For a while, I considered going with the latest “Apes” film, especially after it won big at the latest Visual Effects Society Awards, but considering that the other two “Apes” films also won big there, and didn’t go on to win at the Oscars, it seems a rather questionable move. Add on to that the fact that “Blade Runner 2049” recently won the BAFTA (and seems like a more obvious pick as well), and it seems like “Apes” is destined to lose again (though I certainly wouldn’t count it out entirely).

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman

The Insult

Loveless

On Body and Soul

The Square

This year’s Best Foreign Language Film race has been rather odd. Unexpectedly, the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe winner in this category (“In the Fade”) didn’t make the final cut, while BAFTA was a mix of film’s from this year and last year (again not including “In the Fade”), so we’re left with a bit of a toss-up. “The Square” has been a popular nominee, winning in a few places (Toronto, Boston, Chicago, etc.), and even won the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes. However, the film only received moderate reviews, whereas A Fantastic Woman received incredible reviews (and, honestly, it’s the superior film), so I would think they would go with the latter. Again, it’s a toss-up, and really any of them could win, but with the way everyone has praised “A Fantastic Woman,” it would be surprising if they went with anything else.

Best Documentary Feature

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Faces Places

Icarus

Last Man in Eleppo

Strong Island

Here we have another strange race given that the seemingly popular pick (NBR, PGA, and WGA winner “Jane”) didn’t make the final cut, so we’re forced to look for what’s second best. Out of these nominees, it would appear that “Faces Places” has been by far the most popular, having won with multiple groups including Boston, Ohio, Denver, Los Angeles, NBR, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCS, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toronto. The other four have scarcely been mentioned, if at all, so given what we have to go on, this looks like a pretty easy call.

Best Animated Feature

The Boss Baby

The Breadwinner

Coco

Ferdinand

Loving Vincent

Here’s your first 100% locked category of the evening. “Coco” has been on an unstoppable rampage throughout awards season, winning the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and PGA, among many other awards. There isn’t really anything else to say except it would be incredibly unwise to bet against it.

Best Original Song

Mighty River, Mudbound

Mystery of Love, Call Me by Your Name

Remember Me, Coco

Stand Up for Something, Marshall

This is Me, The Greatest Showman

This is another category with a degree of uncertainty, but it would appear that “Remember Me” from “Coco” appears to have the edge, having won in multiple places, including the Critics’ Choice, Denver, Houston, Iowa, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. It’s true that the Golden Globe went to “This is Me,” and the Academy has certainly shown how awful their music taste can be in the past (evident by “Writing’s on the Wall” winning Best Original Song a couple of years ago), so that’s a possibility, but from the way that things have been going, this would appear to be Coco’s to lose as well.

Best Original Score

Dunkirk

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Here we have what appears to be another lock as well. While “Phantom Thread” seemed like a favorite early on, it was “The Shape of Water” that took the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Awards, on top of several others, which makes it look like Alexandre Desplat will be taking home his second Oscar. I suppose there’s still a chance for a small upset, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Best Makeup & Hair

Darkest Hour

Victoria & Abdul

Wonder

Here’s another category that appears to be all locked up. After winning the Critics’ Choice and BAFTA awards, “Darkest Hour” has become the clear favorite here, and who could blame them for picking it? The makeup work done on Gary Oldman to transform him into Winston Churchill is nothing short of extraordinary, so this honor will be well-deserved.

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

Darkest Hour

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Victoria & Abdul

Now we come to the one category where it appears most likely that the Academy will give a little praise to Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread.” After winning Best Costume Design from the Critics’ Choice and BAFTA, it remains the one to beat here. When you stop and think about it, how could a film about a tailor making gorgeous clothes for the upper class possibly lose this award?

Best Production Design

Beauty and the Beast

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Here we have what appears to be another lock for “The Shape of Water.” After winning this award from the Critics’ Choice, BAFTA, and the Art Directors Guild (Period Film), there doesn’t appear to be anything stopping it from winning here as well.

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Mudbound

The Shape of Water

This category will hopefully result in one of the biggest celebrations of the evening. After 14 nominations (the first occurring in 1995), it would appear that master cinematographer Roger Deakins is FINALLY set to take home his very long overdue first Oscar for his incredible work on “Blade Runner 2049” after having won both the BAFTA and the American Society of Cinematographers Awards. Expect a long standing ovation when his name is joyfully announced.

Best Film Editing

Baby Driver

Dunkirk

I, Tonya

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

This year, Best Film Editing appears to be down to “Dunkirk” and “Baby Driver.” The former won the ACE award for drama, while the latter lost in the comedy category to “I, Tonya.” However, “Baby Driver” recently won the BAFTA for Best Editing, still making it a formidable opponent. However, just like last year (“Hacksaw Ridge” vs. “La La Land”), I have a feeling that the big war flick is going to win the day over the lighter fare. However, either one could easily take it, and no one can say who the victor will be with any certainty, making it one of the more interesting categories of the evening.

Check back for Part 2 (The Major Categories) tomorrow!

Do you agree with these predictions? Who do you think will be winning in each category? Let us know in the comments below!

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