Oscars 2017: The B+ Nominations Ballot

This is the epitome of what I do. You’d think it would be the analysis of Oscar night. But by that point, so much of it feels anticlimactic. Then again, I guess you could say that about this year, where the damn PGA already announced a winner before nominations! (Though perhaps that made things even more interesting. We’ll see.)

I think I might be the only person on the internet who tries to straight up guess every single Oscar nominee. Not just the way other places do it, a simple list. I talk my way through the entire thing. History, precursors. You know why I make every decision I make. And I grade myself, percentages and all. Oscar nominations are bright and early tomorrow morning, and right now, we’re gonna run through all 24 categories and I’m gonna see if I can guess every one of them. I’m confident that I’m the only person who does it with this much detail because no one else is stupid enough to even bother doing it.

Every year, there are about 120 nominees. The maximum we can have is 123. Generally it’s 121 or 122, depending on how many Best Picture nominees there are (typically 8 or 9). For most people, you’d think correctly guessing 2/3 of them would be a really solid average. Me, I feel like I’m doing badly if I drop below 70%. I hit 77% and 78.5% the past two years, which was about 95 of the total 122 nominees. The worst I’ve done on this site is 68%, and that was the first year I did it. Every other year was 71% or above. No idea how I do it, and I don’t really care. It’s just fun for me. I don’t mind if I fail horribly (because I’m expecting to), but I am hoping to hit 80% one of these years. Or at least get the annual average up to 75%. Both of those things would be amazing.

The way this goes is — I run down all the categories, discuss all the precursors and all the little historical details I’ve picked up by doing this for so long and tell you why I think everything I’m guessing will be nominated. Pretty simple (how it works, not all the bullshit I’m about to throw at you).

I also — as I always do — caution that I reserve the right to edit this article up until midnight tonight. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that in the history of this site, but just in case, that could happen.

But anyway, we’ll start, as usual, with Best Picture.

The way Best Picture voting for the Academy works is — every voting member gets a Best Picture vote. They rank their top five. Those five are weighted based on their number. A film must be #1 on at least 1% of the ballots. If it does not, it cannot be nominated. But if it does, then the maths start.

In order to get nominated, a film must be on at least 5% of total ballots. It also needs to be #1 on at least 1% of ballots. If it does not meet either of those criteria, it cannot be nominated. But if it does, then the maths start.

Once all the votes are in, they determine the threshold a film must reach in order to be nominated. It must have a certain number in order to trigger a nomination. That number is the total number of ballots, divided by 11, and then rounded up. (Which might also be how we convert Fahrenheit to Celsius. I’m sure 9/5 is involved somewhere.) So say 7,000 votes are cast. 7000/11 is 636.36. Round up — 637. So 637 is your number.

The math checks out, because there are ten films that can be nominated. And say ten films hit 637. That’s 6,370 votes. There are only 630 votes remaining, meaning that eleventh film, if it got all the remaining points, cannot hit the 637 vote threshold to get nominated. Got it? Cool. Now we’re gonna get more complicated.

So let’s say, of the 7,000 votes, 25% of people have The Shape of Water at #1 on their ballots. That’s 1,750 first place votes and is by far the highest of any contender. But Shape of Water only needs 637. Which means the remaining 1,113 votes can technically be redistributed to another film on the list. That’s called the surplus rule. It should be noted that the surplus rule only applies to films who received at least 10% greater than the threshold necessary to be nominated. So if the threshold is 637, a film must have 701 (637 + 64) first place votes in order to trigger that surplus.

If a surplus is triggered, then all the votes go to the next film on those ballots that is still in play. So if Shape of Water was #1 on all those ballots, but a bunch of them had The Boss Baby as #2, and that didn’t get enough votes to be nominated, that gets skipped and the next film — say Three Billboards — gets counted for that vote. They do some weird math there, splitting the percentages to make things count accurately. So if Shape of Water has the 1,750 first place votes I hypothesized up there, and the magic number is 637 — the remaining 1,113 votes go to the second place film on those ballots and that becomes the #1. And we do it again.

So now, let’s say Shape of Water is now nominated and out of the running. Assuming it hit the surplus rule, then those votes got redistributed to a myriad of other films. And we count again. Say Lady Bird is next on the list, and through its share of #1 votes and surplus votes from being #2 on the Shape of Water #1 ballots, it hits the threshold, its in. And we continue as long as a film 1) is on at least 5% of ballots, 2) has at least 1% of #1 votes, and 3) hits that number threshold.

We go all the way down until we have a set number of movies that hit the magical threshold for a nomination. Therefore, the way to get a film nominated is for it to appear highest on the most ballots. So the way to guess this is to think what film is going to be liked by enough people to be on enough ballots to get the numbers it needs. There’s a lot of math here, so just think about it as you always have: “Which movies are going to be liked by the most amount of people?” Oh, and you should also look at the Producers Guild, since they’re pretty helpful in figuring that out.

Last year, there were 9 Best Picture nominees. In the six years where we’ve had the sliding scale of nominees, it’s been 9 nominees four of the years and 8 nominees two of the years. So chances are, that’s what we’re getting, one or the other. Now, last year, the PGA, in nominating a set list of 10 films, had all nine of them in their list. In 2015, they had 7/8 (missing Room). In 2014, they had 7/8 (missing Selma). In 2013, they had 8 of 9 (missing Philomena). In 2012, they had 8 of 9 (missing Amour). In 2011, they had 7/9 (missing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Tree of Life). Chances are they’re gonna get almost all of them right and really only miss one.

This year has the added bonus of the PGA nominating 11 films, which all but guarantees that your entire Best Picture list is gonna be on there. The PGA nominees are:

The Big Sick, Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, Get Out, I Tonya, Lady Bird, Molly’s Game, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Wonder Woman

And, as an added bonus (the first time this has happened before nominations since I’ve started doing this), the winner of the PGA was The Shape of Water. So yeah. You got one!

But starting with those ten, the other films you need to put in varying degrees of contention for a nomination are:

Darkest Hour, The Florida Project, Mudbound, Phantom Thread

Usually I get to like six extra and force myself to stop. But this year… what else is there? Are we gonna kid ourselves that Blade Runner or The Disaster Artist has any shot? I’m probably stretching with one or two of those already. This shit should be easy.

Also, look back at what’s been nominated. Once they started that sliding scale thing, the precursors basically give you everything you need to be nominated. Only one surprise came out of nowhere to get nominated, and that was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Outside of that, you know what the contenders are from the outset, and it’s almost never something outside of those. It’s all just about figuring who gets squeezed.

Anyway, here’s how the other precursors did:

BAFTA: Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

BFCA: The Big Sick, Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Florida Project, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Golden Globes: (Drama) Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

(Musical/Comedy) The Disaster Artist, Get Out, The Greatest Showman, I Tonya, Lady Bird

And, because it can’t hurt…

SAG Best Ensemble: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, Mudbound, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

That’s really everything you need aside from your own common sense. We’ll begin by breaking down the fringe contenders that didn’t make the PGA list:

Darkest Hour is a classy film. Joe Wright, plus a probable Best Actor winner, some tech nods, and BAFTA support. It can easily make it on. Will it? Or will it get squeezed? It probably should be able to hit the #1 vote threshold, but will it get enough support past that? Don’t know. Definitely the top contender of this bunch.

Phantom Thread broke late. People love Paul Thomas Anderson and a lot of people who saw it really love it. But… Anderson is also an acquired taste. Sometimes people really don’t like his movies. People were turned off The Master, and a lot of people hated Inherent Vice. So this is a tough sell to some people, and without any kind of precursor support, this seems like a tall order to make it on. I’d love it if it did, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. The more difficult films (Dragon Tattoo, Nightcrawler) generally don’t make it on because they can’t muster the top level support to hit the vote threshold.

The Florida Project, outside of the initial BFCA love, really didn’t go anywhere. It seems forgotten, outside of Willem Dafoe. Doubt this can muster the support to get on. This might be #3 or #4 on a lot of ballots, but I don’t know where the top level support comes from. Very unlikely.

Mudbound seems to have fallen victim to the stigma of Netflix. People don’t feel like Netflix is anything more than glorified TV. As such, they won’t vote for a Netflix movie. We had the same thing with Beasts of No Nation in 2015. All this got was SAG, which isn’t nothing, but also, even if this does manage to make the #1 vote threshold, how many people will have it high enough to hit the nomination threshold? I’m not ruling it out, but I’m also not thinking this can overcome the Netflix thing.

But yeah, those are the four. That was easier than expected.

Only one movie has hit all five precursors, and that’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It has PGA, BAFTA, BFCA, SAG Ensemble and the Globes. So that right there has to be on your top five.

We have five films that hit 4/5. Which is impressive. Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk and Shape of Water only missed SAG Ensemble, while Get Out and Lady Bird only missed BAFTA. So right there, you pretty much have your top six films, since they are liked almost across the board.

You can parse through them however you want, but for me, take the five you think are for sure gonna be on and then the one you think has a slightly less chance to go on, make that your #6. Chances are, all six will be on, but you don’t want to be straight up wrong on the five you consider the locks.

For me, I’m saying Get Out is my #6. Just because I don’t see them leaving any of the other five off, and I don’t know 100% that Get Out will be nominated. (Just like, 98%.) So I’d rather leave that in the flex spot at 6 and feel really confident in it there. But that’s just me. Maybe some of you will throw Call Me By Your Name or Dunkirk down there. You should still feel like you’re gonna get all six right and then concern yourself more with the latter half of the list, because that’s always where things get tricksy.

With four spots left, let’s look at the films left that have the most precursors:

  • The Big Sick has PGA, BFCA and SAG
  • The Post has PGA, BFCA and the Globes

Those are the only two left with three precursors. And since one of them is Spielberg, chances are that’s gonna be my #7. After that… I don’t know what happens. I generally can get 7 deep most years and feel good about my chances. Once we get to 8, I get nervous as hell. Last night I got the top 9 straight up and that was your list. This year, I don’t know if they even have more than 7 nominees. I’m sure they do, but where do you go from here?

I guess I might consider The Big Sick for #8, but then there’s always a chance something jumps up over it. Darkest Hour feels like the only likely choice there. I would have thought Phantom Thread, but it’s got literally no support in the precursors, and despite being a Paul Thomas Anderson film (he hasn’t been nominated here since There Will Be Blood) it would be an Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close situation to have it get nominated after exactly zero precursors.

Darkest Hour and I, Tonya are the next two films with the most precursors. Darkest Hour missed PGA, but hit BAFTA and BFCA, which are the next two I place in importance below the PGA. I, Tonya has the PGA, which is big, but then only the Globes… not so much. So I don’t know.

After that — Florida Project hasn’t really hit the majors. Mudbound got SAG only and seems victim of the disrespect toward streaming. Molly’s Game has PGA and nothing else, which feels more of an inside Hollywood thing than anything else. (If I had to guess, this was one of the films that tied to get us to 11 on the PGA list.) Disaster Artist — no way I’d guess that. Wonder Woman I said from the start wouldn’t be nominated and fits the spot of the film I say every year will not be nominated despite a PGA nomination. And Greatest Showman — yeah, wouldn’t that shock the shit out of all of us?

I think you play the chalk this year. I think they’ve already shown us what they like. And, just like last year, I think we listen.

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name


Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

6. Get Out

7. The Post

8. The Big Sick

9. Darkest Hour

10. I, Tonya

First Alternate: Phantom Thread

Dark Horse: Wonder Woman

Surprise: Mudbound

Shocker: The Florida Project, Molly’s Game 

Don’t even bother: The Disaster Artist, The Greatest Showman

Would love to see: Phantom Thread, The Florida Project

I think the top six are on. I can’t see them being left off. The Post seems likely. 8-10, no idea. The Big Sick has been spotty on the precursors, despite being well-liked. This feels like a year of 8. This could be a year of 7. I don’t know. I think, no matter what happens, we should all get one wrong at most. Or maybe that’s just positive thinking.

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We’re on to Best Director.

We have to start with the DGA. The DGA almost always will get 4/5 and then you need to see who, if anyone, can get on in that fifth spot.

  • Last year, the DGA had 4/5. They nominated Garth Davis, while the Academy had Mel Gibson.
  • 2015, 4/5. DGA had Ridley, the Academy had Lenny Abrahamson.
  • 2014, 4/5. DGA had Eastwood, the Academy had Bennett Miller.
  • 2013. 4/5. DGA had Greengrass, the Academy had Alexander Payne.
  • 2012, 2/5. That was the disaster year. No Affleck, no Bigelow, no Tom Hooper. Instead, the Academy had Michael Haneke, Benh Zeitlin, and David O. Russell.
  • 2011, 4/5. DGA had Fincher, Academy had Terrence Malick.
  • 2010, 4/5. DGA had Nolan, Academy had the Coens.
  • 2009, 5/5.
  • 2008, 4/5. DGA had Nolan, Academy had Stephen Daldry.
  • 2007, 4/5. DGA had Sean Penn, Academy had Jason Reitman.

The DGA, since 2000, has only matched the Oscars 5/5 once, in 2009. 4/5 happened 12 times, 3/5 was twice (and not since 2006), and 2/5 was the once (that massacre in 2012). Generally it’s surprising if they go less than 4, but this is a year where I think it’s possible. Unlikely, but possible.

The precursors this year are:

  • DGA: Del Toro, Gerwig, McDonagh, Nolan, Peele
  • BAFTA: Del Toro, Guadagnino, McDonagh, Nolan, Villenuve
  • BFCA: Del Toro, Gerwig, Guadagnino, McDonagh, Nolan, Peele, Spielberg
  • Globes: Del Toro, McDonagh, Nolan, Scott, Spielberg

Looking at the precursors: Guillermo hit everything, McDonagh hit everything, Nolan hit everything. So that’s three. Hard to think they’d be left off, all things considered.

  • Greta Gerwig hit the DGA and BFCA
  • Luca Guadagnino hit BAFTA and BFCA
  • Jordan Peele hit DGA and BFCA
  • Steven Spielberg hit BFCA and the Globes
  • Denis Villeneuve hit BAFTA
  • Ridley hit the Globes

Typically, when someone out of the norm hits, it’s someone with a fringe Best Picture contender. It’s not uncommon for someone to hit nothing and get on. Lenny Abrahamson and Bennett Miller both got on in the past three years without any precursors. So don’t rule out someone not on this list.

The only person not there, whose films are in the conversation enough to warrant consideration — Paul Thomas Anderson. Sean Baker would shock me. Craig Gillespie would shock me. Patty Jenkins would surprise me, but not shock me. Dee Rees would surprise me. Joe Wright would surprise me. I don’t see putting these people on there. Bennett Miller was someone they’d nominated before, who they liked a lot. Lenny Abrahamson had a movie they liked a lot that did really well on nominations day. The only one I can see with that kind of support is Paul Thomas Anderson. I wouldn’t guess anyone outside of him, if you’re gonna guess him.

Looking at the DGA, plus the people with other precursors — I think you have your list there. You just need to figure out which ones it’s gonna be. I think, of the people who have precursors, Ridley has no shot, and Villeneuve has no shot.

Spielberg… The Post doesn’t seem to have the kind of support to get him on Best Director. Bridge of Spies had more visible support than The Post does, and he couldn’t crack Best Director that year. I’m just not feeling that one. I don’t think they’re gonna go ‘old white man reactionary’ this year.

Jordan Peele makes the most sense as the Oscar cast off from the DGA. The only other precursor he had was BFCA, which had every director on it. He feels like the one not likely to make it. I think they reward him in Screenplay. Screenplay, Actor, Picture. That feels like how that one goes.

So, with that, I’m left with Greta Gerwig, whose movie seemingly has some of the most support out there, and Luca Guadagnino, who has BAFTA and BFCA, his movie has support all around, and I’m also not entirely sure if he’s a DGA member and could have been nominated there. (Or maybe that doesn’t matter? I truly don’t know.) I think Guadagnino is your fifth nominee. Maybe it’s still Peele, but if that’s the case, it would be the first time in almost a decade the DGA hits all 5. Or they leave off Greta Gerwig, and do we want to see that scenario play out? I don’t. So I’m taking her.

Another thing to take into account — the person who didn’t get DGA but got the Oscar nomination in the past handful of years? Mel Gibson, Lenny Abrahamson, Bennett Miller, Alexander Payne, Terrence Malick. Four of those were big Best Picture contenders that got a bunch of major nominations. Guadagnino checks all those boxes.

Oh, to keep the trivia going — DGA, going back to 1970, has only matched 5/5 with the Oscars five times. And… going back further (when the DGA had ten nominees a year) the DGA has only matched 5/5 between 1948 and 1969 six times. And that was with double the chances to hit 5/5. They had ten chances for twenty-two straight years, and couldn’t do it a third of the time.

Also, for those who like history — the 5/5 years, post-1970, were 2009, 2005, 1998, 1981 and 1977. Pre-1970, they were 1967, 1958, 1957, 1956, 1954 and 1953. (The other fun piece of trivia? Four of those five post-1970 years involved Steven Spielberg.)

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Oh, we should also give you more info to make your decision, even if I’ve made mine. In the past decade, that one nominee that the Oscars had that the DGA didn’t have:

  • BAFTA had it (or one of the multiple) in 2012 (they had Haneke) and 2008 (Daldry)
  • BFCA had it in 2012 (Russell), 2010 (Coens)
  • And the Globes had it in 2013 (Payne), 2008 (Daldry)

No one had it in 2015, 2014, 2012 (Zeitlin), 2011 and 2007. So in ten years, BAFTA only helped twice, BFCA twice, and the Globes twice. All different except one. No one hit the same person in recent years.

So really, what this is telling me — Paul Thomas Anderson has a shot, Guadagnino has a shot, Peele could very well be that fifth spot and they go 5/5, and theoretically it could be Spielberg. Or it’s someone no one is thinking about. Not sure exactly who, unless it’s Patty Jenkins, Dee Rees or Joe Wright. You can drive yourself nuts, trying to figure this out.

My opinion is — take Del Toro, McDonagh and Nolan for sure. You should probably take Greta Gerwig, and the fifth spot should be either Jordan Peele, Luca Guadagnino or Steven Spielberg. If you wanna take a shot that they’re gonna love Phantom Thread, take Paul Thomas Anderson. Outside of that, it feels really unlikely.

Think about it — outside of all four of them, who make sense, you’re betting on Patty Jenkins, for a superhero movie (which Christopher Nolan was left off for with Dark Knight), a Netflix movie (directed by a black woman on top of that. Which… let’s not pretend like they’re totally progressive all of a sudden), or Joe Wright (who couldn’t get on for Atonement, which got more nominations than we figure Darkest Hour will get). You can take a shot, just try to be smart about it.

Best Director

Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name

Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

First Alternate: Jordan Peele, Get Out

Dark Horse: Steven Spielberg, The Post

Surprise: Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread, Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

Shocker: Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman, Dee Rees, Mudbound, Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049

Don’t even bother: Craig Gillespie, I, Tonya, Sean Baker, The Florida Project, Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World

Would love to see: Paul Thomas Anderson

This probably should be a 4/5, but there’s the possibility of a 3/5, on the chance that Peele gets on and Gerwig does not, and then the fifth spot goes to someone I didn’t pick. But you run the risk of being horribly wrong with everything, so I’m just gonna stick with what makes the most sense to me. Playing it safe is taking all the DGA nominees and knowing you’re probably gonna go 4/5 regardless. To me, Guadagnino over Peele makes the most sense, so that’s what I’m doing.

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Time for Best Actor.

For all the acting categories — SAG rules. You start with SAG and then eliminate only the ones you know aren’t gonna get on. And even then, you gotta consider them. There is no other way to do it, and to try to do it any other way you’re just pissing into the wind.

  • SAG nominated Chalamet, Franco, Kaluuya, Oldman, Denzel
  • BAFTA nominated Jamie Bell, Chalamet, Day-Lewis, Kaluuya, Oldman
  • BFCA nominated Chalamet, Day-Lewis, Franco, Gyllenhaal, Hanks, Kaluuya, Oldman
  • The Globes nominated Chalamet, Day-Lewis, Hanks, Denzel (Drama)… and Carell, Elgort, Franco, Jackman and Kaluuya (Musical/Comedy)

Here’s SAG vs. the Oscars:

  • 2016: 5/5.
  • 2015, 4/5. SAG had Johnny Depp instead of Matt Damon.
  • 2014, 4/5. SAG had Gyllenhaal instead of Bradley Cooper.
  • 2013, 3/5. SAG had Forest Whitaker and Tom Hanks instead of Leo and Bale.
  • 2012, 4/5. SAG had John Hawkes instead of Joaquin Phoenix.
  • 2011, 4/5. SAG had Leo instead of Gary Oldman.
  • 2010, 4/5. SAG had Duvall instead of Javier Bardem.
  • 2009 + 2008, 5/5.
  • 2007, 3/5. SAG had Gosling and Emile Hirsch instead of Depp and Tommy Lee Jones.
  • 2006, 5/5.
  • 2005, 4/5. SAG had Russell Crowe instead of Terrence Howard.
  • 2004, 4/5. SAG had Paul Giamatti instead of Clint Eastwood.
  • 2003, 4/5. SAG had Peter Dinklage instead of Jude Law.
  • 2002, 4/5. SAG had Richard Gere instead of Michael Caine.
  • 2001, 4/5. SAG had Kevin Kline instead of Will Smith.
  • 2000, 3/5. SAG had Benicio del Toro (who won Supporting at the Oscars) and Jamie Bell instead of Javier Bardem and Ed Harris.
  • 1999, 3/5. SAG had Jim Carrey and Philip Seymour Hoffman instead of Sean Penn and Richard Farnsworth.
  • 1998, 4/5. SAG had Joseph Fiennes instead of Edward Norton.
  • 1997 + 1996, 5/5.
  • 1995, 4/5. SAG had James Earl Jones instead of Richard Dreyfuss.
  • 1994, 4/5. SAG had Tim Robbins instead of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

So yeah, we trust SAG. They’re not automatic 5/5, but you can generally know which way to go for most of the list through them. Since 1994, they’ve matched 5/5 six times, 4/5 thirteen times, 3/5 four times. They’ve never matched less than 3/5.

BAFTA… not as close overall, but they do tend to hit the missing nominee. For instance:

  • 2015, BAFTA had Matt Damon.
  • 2014, BAFTA did not have Bradley Cooper.
  • 2013, BAFTA had both Leo and Bale.
  • 2012, BAFTA had Joaquin.
  • 2011, BAFTA had Oldman.
  • 2010, BAFTA had Bardem.
  • 2007, BAFTA did not have either Depp nor Jones (but also didn’t pick the same as SAG).
  • 2005, BAFTA did not have Terrence Howard (but they also did not pick the same as SAG).
  • 2004, BAFTA did not have Eastwood (but also didn’t match with SAG).
  • 2003, BAFTA had Jude Law.
  • 2002, BAFTA had Michael Caine.
  • 2001, BAFTA did not have Will Smith (but also didn’t match with SAG).
  • 2000, BAFTA did not have Bardem or Harris (but did match with SAG on Jamie Bell, who wasn’t nominated at the Oscars).
  • 1999, BAFTA did not have Farnsworth or Penn (but also did not match with SAG).
  • 1998, BAFTA did not have Edward Norton (though did match SAG with Joseph Fiennes, who wasn’t nominated at the Oscars).

Generally, BAFTA will pick up SAG’s slack. Especially recently.

But, to continue coming through, here’s BFCA:

  • 2015, BFCA did not have Matt Damon.
  • 2014, BFCA did not have Bradley Cooper.
  • 2013, BFCA had Bale but not Leo.
  • 2012, BFCA had Joaquin.
  • 2011, BFCA did not have Oldman.
  • 2010, BFCA did not have Bardem.
  • 2007, BFCA had Depp but not Tommy Lee Jones.
  • 2005, BFCA had Terrence Howard.
  • 2004, BFCA did not have Eastwood.
  • 2003, BFCA did not have Jude Law.
  • 2002, BFCA did not have Michael Caine.
  • 2001, BFCA had Will Smith.

So, only three times ever has an actor ben nominated for Best Actor and not been nominated by either SAG, BAFTA or BFCA:

  • 2014: Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
  • 2007: Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
  • 2004: Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby

(The Golden Globes did not have any of those three.)

So, look at the big three, and you have your list. Or some shocker is coming out of nowhere, and good luck picking that. In those three cases, Cooper I think we all saw coming on. Jones was in the conversation for Supporting in a different movie, and maybe there was talk of him getting that nomination instead of the other (I was in college, I have no idea), and Eastwood — too early for me. So I don’t know.

Looking at this year’s precursors: Chalamet hit all three. Kaluuya hit all three. Oldman hit all three. Gotta put them on your list. Of the remaining people:

  • Daniel Day-Lewis hit BAFTA, BFCA and the Globe
  • Franco hit SAG, BFCA and the Globe
  • Denzel hit SAG and the Globe
  • Tom Hanks has BFCA and the Globe
  • Jamie Bell only has BAFTA
  • Jake Gyllenhaal only has BFCA

I think we can safely leave the rest off (plus Carell seems to be going Supporting here, not lead). This is a situation where you have seven people for five spots. Put the top three on, and then figure out who gets on after that.

Of the remaining four people for the two spots — Tom Hanks seems very unlikely. BFCA and the Globe aren’t the stronger percursors to have, and he had everything in 2013 and was still left off. So I don’t see a path for him in my guesses. That leaves two spots for Denzel, James Franco or Daniel-Day Lewis. And with Day-Lewis only missing SAG, which is more populist and for a film that broke late… yeah, he’s one of the two. If BAFTA had him, I’m confident putting him on.

So really it’s a question of Denzel vs. Franco, who seem to have the same kind of precursors. Denzel has SAG, which is big, but SAG is also so big a group that he could easily be left off when you limit the voting body. I’d have felt better if BAFTA went there. Franco also has SAG, and has BFCA and the Globe, which usually means general support out there.

Okay… here’s how this is going.. I don’t want to not guess Franco if he gets on. I’d prefer Denzel in the fifth spot (well, I’d prefer both Denzel and Franco over Kaluuya, but that won’t happen), but with just SAG, he just feels like he’s gonna be left off. So I’ll take Franco there and see if they actually nominate James Franco for an Oscar for playing Tommy Wiseau.

There’s really only seven actors for five spots. I think this is the most likely scenario, with the other two possibly making a play, but seeming unlikely.

Best Actor

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

First Alternate: Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Dark Horse: Tom Hanks, The Post

Surprise: Hugh Jackman, Logan (or The Greatest Showman), 

Shocker: Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger

Don’t even bother: Robert Pattinson, Good Time, Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Would love to see: Denzel, Hugh Jackman for Logan

You’re gonna get 4/5 here at worst. The only question is who gets left off for Denzel (or Hanks, I guess), in that scenario. This one’s been straightforward all the way through. Though not as much as this next one…

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Best Actress.

Last year, just like Best Actor, this category was pretty easy. Isabelle Huppert missed the big precursors, but everyone knew she’d make it on. And Emily Blunt was your classic ’empty SAG’ nominee, where you know there’s no way in hell they’ll be nominated for the Oscar. This year won’t be as easy as that, but should be pretty straightforward.

SAG vs. the Oscars:

  • Last year, 4/5. SAG had Blunt and missed Huppert.
  • 2015, 3/5. SAG had Mirren and Silverman instead of Lawrence and Rampling.
  • 2014, 4/5. SAG had Jennifer Aniston and missed Marion Cotillard.
  • 2013, 4/5. SAG had Emma Thompson and missed Amy Adams.
  • 2012: 3/5. SAG had Cotillard and Mirren instead of Wallis and Riva.
  • 2011: 4/5. SAG had Tilda Swinton and missed Rooney Mara.
  • 2010: 4/5. SAG had Hilary Swank and missed Michelle Williams.
  • 2009: 5/5.
  • 2008: 4/5. SAG had Kate Winslet for the wrong film (though she won for it in SAG Supporting).
  • 2007: 4/5. SAG had Angelina Jolie and missed Laura Linney.
  • 2006, 5/5.
  • 2005, 4/5. SAG had Ziyi Zhang instead of Keira Knightley.
  • 2004, 5/5.
  • 2003, 3/5. SAG had Patricia Clarkson and Evan Rachel Wood instead of Keisha Castle-Hughes (nominated SAG supporting) and Samantha Morton.
  • 2002, 5/5.
  • 2001, 4/5. SAG had Jennifer Connelly (who won Best Supporting Oscar) instead of Nicole Kidman.
  • 2000 + 1999, 5/5.
  • 1998, 4/5. SAG had Jane Horrocks instead of Fernanda Montenegro.
  • 1997, 4/5. SAG (6 nominees) had Pam Grier and Robin Wright instead of Julie Christie.
  • 1996, 4/5. SAG had Gena Rowlands instead of Emily Watson.
  • 1995, 4/5. SAG had Joan Allen (nominated Supporting at the Oscar) instead of Sharon Stone.
  • 1994, 3/5. SAG had Meg Ryan and Meryl Streep instead of Miranda Richardson and Winona Ryder.

Since SAG began, they’ve matched 5/5 six times, 4/5 fourteen times, 3/5 three times. And they’ve never matched less than 3/5.

Crosschecking with BAFTA…

  • 2016, BAFTA did not have Isabelle Huppert.
  • 2015, BAFTA did not have Jennifer Lawrence or Charlotte Rampling.
  • 2014, BAFTA did not have Marion Cotillard.
  • 2013, BAFTA had Amy Adams.
  • 2012, BAFTA had Emmanuelle Riva but not Quvenzhané Wallis.
  • 2011, BAFTA did not have Rooney Mara.
  • 2010, BAFTA did not have Michelle Williams.
  • 2008, BAFTA had Kate Winslet winning both lead and supporting. Technically they had her.
  • 2007, BAFTA did not have Laura Linney.
  • 2005, BAFTA did not have Keira Knightley (and also incorrectly had Ziyi Zhang)
  • 2003, BAFTA missed the entire list except Naomi Watts (who SAG had).
  • 2001, BAFTA had Nicole Kidman.
  • 1998, BAFTA did not have Montenegro.
  • 1997, BAFTA did not have Julie Christie.
  • 1996, BAFTA had Emily Watson.


  • 2016, BFCA had Huppert.
  • 2015, BFCA had Lawrence and Rampling.
  • 2014, BFCA had Marion Cotillard.
  • 2013: BFCA did not have Amy Adams.
  • 2012: BFCA had both Quvenzhané Wallis and Emmanuelle Riva.
  • 2011: BFCA did not have Rooney Mara.
  • 2010: BFCA had Michelle Williams.
  • 2008: Kate Winslet won Supporting. So technically they had her.
  • 2007: BFCA did not have Laura Linney.
  • 2005: BFCA had Keira Knightley.
  • 2003: BFCA had Samantha Morton, but missed Keisha Castle-Hughes.
  • 2001: BFCA had Nicole Kidman.

Only twice have SAG, BAFTA and BFCA missed a Best Actress nominee between the three of them. (The third time is Keisha Castle-Hughes, who SAG had Supporting.) There are more before BFCA, but since then, it’s only happened twice. The two times were Rooney Mara in 2011 and Laura Linney in 2007. Mara did have a Golden Globe nomination, but Linney did not. Though they were generally in their races through critics awards and word of mouth.

This year:

  • SAG nominated Judi Dench, Hawkins, McDormand, Robbie, Ronan
  • BAFTA nominated Bening, Hawkins, McDormand, Robbie, Ronan
  • BFCA nominated Chastain, Hawkins, McDormand, Robbie, Ronan, Streep
  • The Globes nominated Chastain, Hawkins, McDormand, Streep, Williams (Drama)… and Dench, Mirren, Robbie, Ronan, Stone (Musical/Comedy)

Sally Hawkins, Frances McDormand, Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan hit across the board, including the Golden Globes. So that’s basically your list. So now you’re just figuring out that last spot.

  • Judi Dench has SAG and a Globe
  • Jessica Chastain has BFCA and the Globe
  • Meryl has BFCA and the Globe
  • Annette Bening only has BAFTA
  • Michelle Williams only has the Globe

The only person I would give a slight chance to (but am not guessing, because that’s nuts, unless you’re convinced it’s happening) is Diane Kruger. Foreign contender, won Cannes Best Actress… it wouldn’t shock me. But I’m not going there at all.

So now, looking at that list, I think we all know Michelle Williams isn’t happening, nor is Annette Bening happening. And I think, even if you’re not that savvy a prognosticator, you have to see that Judi Dench is an empty SAG nominee. No one’s talking about that movie, there’s no campaign for it, and she hasn’t shown up to anything. If she gets nominated at the Oscars, then they’ve completely given up and are just voting on name alone. I think that’s nuts to just guess her. If she were campaigning, then I’d say it could happen, but not even BAFTA nominated her.

So you’re left with two legitimate contenders: Jessica Chastain and Meryl Streep. And I feel like all of us, before even reading any of this, said, “Meryl.” Meryl can be nominated for this in her sleep. How can you not figure she’s gonna get this? I don’t necessarily think she should — I’d put Chastain over her. But this is the acting branch of the Academy. Who’s gonna have the edge between those two actresses? I’m taking Meryl and will just be wrong.

Best Actress

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

First Alternate: Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game

Dark Horse: Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul

Surprise: Diane Kruger, In the Fade

Shocker: Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Don’t even bother: Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman, Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Would love to see: Florence Pugh, Lady Macbeth

You’re gonna get 4/5 here, and Meryl makes it more than likely you’ll get 5/5. Worst case, Chastain gets on and you’re wrong. Oh well. If it’s not them, then it’s Dench (and why would you guess that if you know what you’re doing?) or it’s someone way off the board that only a small handful of people will have had. This feels like 5/5.

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– – – – – – – – – –

Supporting Actor. This one felt thin all season, and it also feels like this could lead to a surprise at the last minute that none of us see coming. Let’s see what we got:

  • SAG nominated Carell, Dafoe, Harrelson, Jenkins, Rockwell
  • BAFTA nominated Dafoe, Grant (for Paddington!), Harrelson, Plummer, Rockwell
  • BFCA nominated Dafoe, Hammer, Jenkins, Rockwell, Stewart, Stuhlbarg
  • The Globes nominated Dafoe, Hammer, Jenkins, Plummer, Rockwell

Hugh Grant got nominated for a BAFTA for Paddington. That’s amazing.

Here’s SAG vs. the Oscars:

  • 2016, 4/5. They had Hugh Grant instead of Michael Shannon.
  • 2015, 3/5. They had Michael Shannon and Jacob Tremblay instead of Stallone and Hardy.
  • 2014, 5/5.
  • 2013, 3/5. SAG had Gandolfini and Daniel Bruhl instead of Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill.
  • 2012, 4/5. SAG had Javier Bardem instead of Christoph Waltz.
  • 2011, 4/5. SAG had Hammer, Academy had von Sydow.
  • 2010 + 2009, 5/5.
  • 2008, 4/5. SAG had Dev Patel instead of Michael Shannon.
  • 2007, 4/5. SAG had Tommy Lee Jones instead of Philip Seymour Hoffman.
  • 2006, 4/5. SAG had Leo instead of Mark Wahlberg.
  • 2005, 4/5. SAG had Don Cheadle instead of William Hurt
  • 2004, 3/5. SAG had James Garner and Freddie Highmore instead of Alan Alda and Clive Owen.
  • 2003, 4/5. SAG had Chris Cooper instead of Djimon Hounsou.
  • 2002, 3/5. SAG had Alfred Molina and Dennis Quaid instead of Paul Newman and John C. Reilly.
  • 2001, 4/5. SAG had Hayden Christensen instead of Jon Voight.
  • 2000, 4/5. SAG had Gary Oldman instead of Benicio del Toro (who won SAG lead instead).
  • 1999, 4/5. SAG had Chris Cooper instead of Jude Law.
  • 1998, 4/5. SAG had David Kelly instead of Ed Harris.
  • 1997, 4/5. SAG had Billy Connolly instead of Robert Forster.
  • 1996, 2/5. SAG missed Armin Mueller-Stahl, Edward Norton and James Woods. (They had Hank Azaria, Nathan Lane and Noah Taylor.)
  • 1995, 2/5. SAG missed Brad Pitt, Tim Roth and James Cromwell. (They had Kevin Bacon, Kenneth Branagh and Don Cheadle.)
  • 1994, 4/5. SAG had John Turturro instead of Paul Scofield. (Same film, though.)

SAG has matched the Oscar list 5/5 three times. They’ve matched 4/5 fourteen times. 3/5 was four times. 2/5 happened twice. But both of those were over 20 years ago. You can assume at least 3/5 from them.

Crosslisting with BAFTA…

  • 2016, BAFTA did not have Michael Shannon (but they did have Aaron Taylor-Johnson from the same film).
  • 2015, BAFTA did not have Tom Hardy or Stallone.
  • 2013, BAFTA had Bradley Cooper but missed Jonah Hill.
  • 2012, BAFTA had Christoph Waltz.
  • 2011, BAFTA did not have Max von Sydow.
  • 2008: BAFTA did not have Michael Shannon.
  • 2007: BAFTA had Philip Seymour Hoffman.
  • 2006: BAFTA did not have Mark Wahlberg.
  • 2005: BAFTA did not have William Hurt. (* Only four nominees.)
  • 2004: BAFTA had both Alan Alda and Clive Owen.
  • 2003: BAFTA did not have Djimon Hounsou.
  • 2002: BAFTA had Paul Newman but not John C. Reilly.
  • 2001: BAFTA did not have Jon Voight. (But did nominate Eddie Murphy for Shrek. I’d like to mention.)
  • 2000: BAFTA had Benicio del Toro. (SAG did too, just for lead.)
  • 1999: BAFTA had Jude Law.
  • 1998: BAFTA had Ed Harris. (* Only four nominees.)
  • 1997: BAFTA did not have Robert Forster.
  • 1996: BAFTA had Edward Norton but not Mueller-Stahl or Woods. (* Only four nominees.)
  • 1995: BAFTA had Tim Roth, but not Brad Pitt or James Cromwell. (* Only four nominees.)
  • 1994: BAFTA had Paul Scofield. (* Only four nominees.)


  • 2016, BFCA had Shannon
  • 2015, BFCA had Stallone and Tom Hardy.
  • 2013, BFCA had Bradley Cooper, but not Jonah Hill.
  • 2012: BFCA did not have Christoph Waltz.
  • 2011: BFCA did not have Max von Sydow.
  • 2008: BFCA did not have Michael Shannon.
  • 2007: BFCA had Philip Seymour Hoffman.
  • 2006: BFCA did not have Mark Wahlberg.
  • 2005: BFCA did not have William Hurt.
  • 2004: BFCA had Clive Owen but not Alan Alda.
  • 2003: BFCA did not have Djimon Hounsou.
  • 2002: BFCA had Paul Newman but not John C. Reilly.
  • 2001: BFCA had Jon Voight.

There have been 7 times when someone not nominated for SAG, BAFTA or BFCA was nominated for the Oscar. If we include the Globes, we bring it down to five times, as the Globes had Wahlberg in ’06 and John C. Reilly in ’02.

Jonah Hill coming out of nowhere in 2013 made total sense to me, so I never questioned it. Max von Sydow came out of nowhere (yet somehow I had that too). Shannon came out of nowhere in 2008. William Hurt in 2005 came out of nowhere. And Djimon Hounsou in 2003 came out of nowhere.

So yeah, you can get a random one in there, and you just need to figure out who it’s gonna be, if anyone. If you are gonna look for who that can be, look to Critics awards. William Hurt won LA and NY Film Critics Circle awards. Hounsou won an Indie Spirit award, if that means anything. The critics awards went with people we expect to be nominated, so I think this is a year you stick with the board, unless you’ve got a flier you think might come in.

Dafoe and Rockwell hit across the board, so your list starts there.

  • Harrelson hit SAG and BAFTA
  • Jenkins hit SAG, BFCA and the Globe
  • Plummer hit BAFTA and the Globe
  • Hammer hit BFCA and the Globe
  • Carell hit only SAG
  • Stewart hit only BFCA
  • Stuhlbarg hit only BFCA

So now we’re presented with an interesting scenario. This one could go savage. You got 2/5 locked, and looking at the precursors, you can be pretty sure about 3 and 4, but this could go wild. And it’s exciting.

  • Harrelson, with SAG and BAFTA, seems like your number three. And that’ll mark the first double nominees in a single category for a film in like six years. The Help, I think, was the last one I’m thinking of off the top of my head.
  • Jenkins makes a lot of sense, but could easily be left off. Seems easier to have him than not, since people love him.
  • Plummer… I think the SAG miss only speaks to how late that whole thing developed. I think he makes it on. I think people seeing that performance, and the climate in general… plus the BAFTA nod… I think that almost seals it.
  • Carell present an interesting scenario in that the Globes nominated him lead. But since SAG went Supporting, we consider him Supporting. Still, I think that feels like an empty nomination, so I’m not going there.
  • Patrick Stewart, would be nice, but I doubt it. That film would need way more overall support to think about him getting on.

That leaves the most interesting possibilities — Call Me By Your Name. Armie Hammer got BFCA and the Globe, which are valid precursors to get on the final list. Plus, in a Best Picture contender that has one acting nomination already… if they spark to it hard, it could get on a second acting nomination. Armie Hammer makes the most sense at first glance, since he’s the other part of the romance. However, Armie Hammer has a very curious history at the Oscars. Remember J. Edgar? SAG nomination, precursors, then nothing. Now, this is different, but that does stick on the resume. Do they respect him enough to nominate him? I don’t know. My gut says no.

Stuhlbarg, on the other hand… boy does he check a lot of boxes. First off, he’s in The Shape of Water, which keeps him on people’s minds. He’s an actor people really respect who’s never gotten his due (remember A Serious Man when people thought it was criminal he be left off the nominations list?). This could be his year. Plus, he delivers the best monologue of 2017 and has his Oscar clip built in. If anyone’s gonna make it on, he feels like the one. With just BFCA… man, that just feels right. So many ‘just BFCA’ nominees make it on. I remember calling Tom Hardy straight up a few years back with just BFCA. That happens a bunch. I think I’m gonna stick with Jenkins, who also fits the ‘respected actor who never quite got his due’ mold (I doubt they remember the Visitor nomination he got ten years ago), and is in a film that will undoubtedly lead nominations. But if I’m gonna pick an alternate/dark horse — it’s Stuhlbarg. Not anyone else.

Anyone else to mention? Doubt Ben Mendelsohn comes out of nowhere for such a thankless role in a movie where one performance is eating up all the oxygen. Ray Romano never got any love anywhere and seems doubtful. Dunkirk doesn’t seem like it’ll jump up with an acting nomination. I’d love Idris Elba, but who can confidently pick that one?

Dafoe, Rockwell, then Harrelson, then Jenkins and Plummer. That feels right. Stuhlbarg is my 6th man.

Best Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

First Alternate: Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

Dark Horse: Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name

Surprise: Idris Elba, Molly’s Game

Shocker: Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes, Patrick Stewart, Logan

Don’t even bother: Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour

Would love to see: Michael Stuhbarg, Idris Elba

I think you’re getting 3/5 for sure, probably 4/5, but I couldn’t tell you just exactly where that’s coming from. You might even get 5/5 if you’re lucky. And if that happens, you know it’s gonna be a good morning.

I’ve got my eye on a potential Stuhlbarg surprise. That would definitely make me feel good, seeing that.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Now Best Supporting Actress, which is generally pretty reliable.

  • SAG nominated Blige, Chau, Hunter, Janney, Metcalf
  • BAFTA nominated Janney, Manville, Metcalf, Scott Thomas, Spencer
  • BFCA nominated Blige, Chau, Haddish, Hunter, Janney, Metcalf, Spencer
  • The Globes nominated Blige, Chau, Janney, Metcalf, Spencer

So much for reliable. This year’s gonna be a bloodbath.

SAG vs. the Globes:

  • 2016, 5/5.
  • 2015, SAG matched 4/5. They had Helen Mirren instead of Jennifer Jason Leigh.
  • 2014, 4/5. SAG had Naomi Watts instead of Laura Dern.
  • 2013, 4/5. SAG had Oprah instead of Sally Hawkins.
  • 2012, 3/5. SAG had Nicole Kidman and Maggie Smith instead of Amy Adams and Jacki Weaver.
  • 2011, 5/5.
  • 2010, 4/5. SAG had Mila Kunis instead of Jacki Weaver.
  • 2009, 4/5. SAG had Diane Kruger instead of Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  • 2008, 4/5. SAG had Kate Winslet (nominated for Best Actress) instead of Marisa Tomei.
  • 2007, 4/5. SAG had Catherine Keener instead of Saoirse Ronan.
  • 2006 + 2005: 5/5.
  • 2004, 4/5. SAG had Cloris Leachman instead of Natalie Portman.
  • 2003, 3/5. SAG had Keisha Castle-Hughes (nominated for Best Actress) and Maria Bello instead of Shohreh Aghdashloo and Marcia Gay Harden.
  • 2002, 4/5. SAG had Michelle Pfeiffer instead of Meryl Streep.
  • 2001, 1/5. They only had Helen Mirren and missed Maggie Smith, Jennifer Connelly (nominated SAG lead), Marisa Tomei and Kate Winslet.
  • 2000, 4/5. SAG had Kate Winslet instead of Marcia Gay Harden.
  • 1999, 3/5. SAG had Cameron Diaz and Julianne Moore instead of Samantha Morton and Toni Collette.
  • 1998, 5/5.
  • 1997, 4/5. SAG had Alison Elliott instead of Joan Cusack.
  • 1996, 2/5. SAG had Marisa Tomei, Gwen Verdon and Renée Zellweger instead of Joan Allen, Barbara Hershey and Marianne Jean-Baptiste
  • 1995, SAG had Stockard Channing and Anjelica Huston instead of Joan Allen (nominated SAG lead) and Kathleen Quinlan.
  • 1994, 2/5. SAG had Jamie Lee Curtis, Sally Field and Robin Wright instead of Jennifer Tilly, Helen Mirren and Rosemary Harris.

Since SAG began, they’ve matched Supporting Actress 5/5 five times. They’ve matched 4/5 eleven times. They’ve matched 3/5 four times. They’ve matched 2/5 two times (1994, 1996), and they’ve matched 1/5 (!) once, in 2001. Though there, Jennifer Connelly won SAG lead even though she won the Supporting Oscar. So that’s partially to blame. Generally, at least 3/5 is pretty certain.

Crosslisting with BAFTA…

  • 2015 BAFTA had Jennifer Jason Leigh.
  • 2014, BAFTA did not have Laura Dern.
  • 2013, BAFTA had Sally Hawkins.
  • 2012, BAFTA had Amy Adams but not Jacki Weaver.
  • 2010, BAFTA did not have Jacki Weaver.
  • 2009, BAFTA did not have Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  • 2008, BAFTA had Marisa Tomei.
  • 2007, BAFTA had Saoirse Ronan.
  • 2004, BAFTA had Natalie Portman.
  • 2003, BAFTA did not have Shohreh Aghdashloo or Marcia Gay Harden.
  • 2002, BAFTA had Meryl.
  • 2001, BAFTA had Jennifer Connelly, Maggie Smith and Kate Winslet. They did not have Marisa Tomei.
  • 2000, BAFTA did not have Marcia Gay Harden.
  • 1999, BAFTA did not have Toni Collette or Samantha Morton.
  • 1997, BAFTA did not have Joan Cusack. (* Only four nominees.)
  • 1996, BAFTA had Marianne Jean-Baptiste. They did not have Joan Allen or Barbara Hershey. (* Only four nominees.)
  • 1995, BAFTA had Joan Allen. They did not have Kathleen Quinlan. (* Only four nominees.)
  • 1994, BAFTA missed all four nominees.


  • 2015, BFCA had Jennifer Jason Leigh.
  • 2014, BFCA did not have Laura Dern.
  • 2013, BFCA did not have Sally Hawkins.
  • 2012, BFCA had Amy Adams but not Jacki Weaver.
  • 2010, BFCA had Jacki Weaver.
  • 2009, BFCA did not have Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  • 2008, BFCA had Marisa Tomei.
  • 2007, BFCA did not have Saoirse Ronan.
  • 2004, BFCA had Natalie Portman.
  • 2003, BFCA had Marcia Gay Harden They did not have Shohreh Aghdashloo.
  • 2002, BFCA had Meryl.
  • 2001, BFCA had Marisa Tomei and Jennifer Connelly. They did not have Maggie Smith or Kate Winslet.

Only five times since 2000 (it’s rough before then) where someone was nominated without SAG, BAFTA or BFCA: Laura Dern in 2014 (came out of nowhere to join Reese. Complete shocker), Jackie Weaver in 2012 (coming along with Silver Linings out of nowhere), Maggie Gyllenhaal in 2009 (coming along with Jeff Bridges), Shohreh Aghdashloo in 2003 (coming along with Ben Kingsley) and Marcia Gay Harden in 2000 (who missed every precursor and somehow won). (Aghdashloo did have NY+LA+Online Critics wins, while Harden only had NY Critics.) The Globes missed all five of those.

Before 2000 (since I am nothing if not thorough): Toni Collette in 1999 missed everything. Samantha Morton in 1999 got a Globe nomination. Joan Cusack got a Globe nomination in 1997. Joan Allen and Barbara Hershey got Globe nominations in 1996. Kathleen Quinlan got a Globe nomination in 1995. And 1994, the first year of SAG, Harris, Mirren and Tilly all missed everything. So, the Globe is more helpful here than most, is what that tells me. And while this is more prone to have random nominees happen, generally you feel pretty good about your chances based on the precursors.

This year, only Janney and Metcalf hit everything. All the others are just a smattering of various ones. Start with those two and move out from there.

  • Mary J. Blige has SAG, BFCA and the Globe
  • Hong Chau has SAG, BFCA and the Globe
  • Octavia Spencer has BAFTA, BFCA and the Globe
  • Holly Hunter has SAG and BFCA
  • Lesley Manville has only BAFTA
  • Kristin Scott Thomas has only BAFTA
  • Tiffany Haddish has only BFCA

So yeah. That’s where we’re at. I don’t see anyone else jumping up out of nowhere and am not gonna waste the effort trying to figure it out. I’d rather just be wrong.

  • Hitting everything but SAG, and being a favorite of theirs (and a nominee last year) in what will be the most nominated film, I feel safe taking Octavia Spencer. So she’d be my #3.
  • Holly Hunter with SAG is enough for me to take her. I keep getting that sinking feeling that she’ll be left off, but I’m sticking with her. I think they like her and it’ll be a nice way to keep her in the loop. And in a year like this, she’s got more stature than everyone else. So she’s fourth.
  • Hong Chau steals her movie, but the movie wasn’t liked and is divisive. Is this the token nomination for it? Also… they don’t particularly love Asian actors here. That could be a drawback.
  • Mary J. Blige… I just can’t see that really happening. SAG is a huge body, the critics don’t carry real weight, and the Globes are starfuckers. Is a more concentrated acting body (with a lot of BAFTA voters funneled in there, who did not take her) gonna vote for that performance? They could. Seeing the options, I’m not gonna be surprised if she gets on. I just don’t know if I can bring myself to go there.
  • Lesley Manville doesn’t feel like she’s gonna get on. I know, with spots open, and the BAFTA nomination, you think she can slip right in there. But here’s two things to chew on: one — they don’t really know who she is. And two — is the film really gonna be that embraced? You’re talking a somewhat difficult film. Remember Nocturnal Animals last year? Or Nightcrawler in 2014? Sure, those were darker… but you get my point. This is a nomination that’s not guaranteed at all. Logically, I would take the two improbable nominees above her before I went here. I’d love to see it, but there’s not a lot of reason as to why this is gonna happen.
  • Scott Thomas was a BAFTA special and will never happen, and Haddish never caught any momentum after BFCA. She never got the Melissa McCarthy love. So I doubt that happens. There’s also really no one else. I can’t figure out which way this goes if not the people we already have.

With Spencer and Hunter on my list, I’m left with either Blige, Manville or Chau. Not crazy about any of those options, and I want to try to figure out an alternative. But that’s not an option here. So…

Manville would make me feel best, but that’s the least likely, in my mind. Blige… I just can’t. So I guess I’m taking Hong Chau. That does make a modicum of sense, and she’s got some precursors to back it up. Mary J. Blige does have the same precursors, but I feel more comfortable going with the scene stealer than the ‘mother’ role that critics were talking up that isn’t really as present in the movie as people think. I’m sure I’ll be wrong, but at least I’ll be comfortably wrong.

Best Supporting Actress

Hong Chau, Downsizing

Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

First Alternate: Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Dark Horse: Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Surprise:  Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour

Shocker: Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip

Don’t even bother: Most other people, I guess. I mean, who else could you pull?

Would love to see: Lesley Manville or Julianne Nicholson, Novitiate

I feel like this is a 3/5. Maybe I can sneak 4, but I’m assuming bad things here. I just don’t have a handle on this one at all. Hunter and Spencer make the most sense. But that fifth spot… hell if I know what happens there. This could be another Laura Dern scenario. Which means someone is taking someone with them. Manville, Scott Thomas, maybe Catherine Keener? Good luck.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Now we’re onto the Screenplays. So we’ve lost our precursor safety blanket. Not entirely, but there are more variables when it comes to these. The individual guilds are helpful, but now you have to take into account the Academy voting in the big contenders and ineligibles and things of that sort.

Starting with Original Screenplay:

  • WGA nominated The Big Sick, Get Out, I Tonya, Lady Bird and The Shape of Water
  • BAFTA nominated Get Out, I Tonya, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water and Three Billboards
  • BFCA nominated The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Post, The Shape of Water and Three Billboards

For what it’s worth, the Globes, in their single category, had Shape of Water, Three Billboards, Lady Bird and The Post. Also of note, Martin McDonagh wasn’t eligible for the WGA, which is why he wasn’t nominated.

Almost everything here hit everything. And the only other script to consider is Darkest Hour. (Phantom Thread feels like a stretch, as does Dunkirk.) The Post only hit BFCA and is fading. Screenplay seems unlikely there, for a film that would have been considered a lock like three months ago. You now have six nominees for five spots, and need to figure out who’s getting squeezed.

Three Billboards hit basically everything and is gonna be a major Best Picture player. It’s on. Lady Bird and Get Out — do you really think they’ll leave those off? So that’s three. And The Shape of Water is gonna be nominated for everything else. It would be weird to leave that off.

Really the question is — do you leave off The Big Sick, which has had a weird, bumpy road toward the Oscars, or I, Tonya? I, Tonya has more momentum, but feels like it might be the weaker choice. The Big Sick, though, feels like it might end up getting Holly Hunter and nothing else. I don’t know.

My gut says stick with The Big Sick and see if it can take down the one category it seemed to have from the start, even though I, Tonya also has the same kind of precursor love and could easily make it on too. It’s 50/50. Unless The Post or Darkest Hour are getting on, I think you’re looking at 4/5 and a toss up for that last spot.

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

First Alternate: I, Tonya

Dark Horse: The Post

Surprise: Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread

Shocker: Dunkirk

Don’t even bother: What else is there? DownsizingBattle of the Sexes?

Would love to see: Honestly, any of the top nine contenders are fine by me.

Unless we get savaged here, with The Post and Darkest Hour both getting on, then I think you’re looking at 4/5. I, Tonya or The Big Sick — I’ve got no idea. Truly don’t. It’ll be a good category whichever way they go, but I couldn’t say for sure which it’ll definitely be.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Now Adapted Screenplay.

  • WGA nominated Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game, Mudbound
  • BAFTA nominated Call Me By Your Name, The Death of Stalin, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Molly’s Game, Paddington 2
  • BFCA nominated Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Mudbound, Molly’s Game, Wonder

And the Globes had Molly’s Game.

It’s weird to have a year that’s entirely Original and not Adapted. There’s like, nothing else out there. All the Money in the World? Wonder Woman? Blade Runner? You’re gonna have to piece together from what we got, methinks.

Fortunately, some of them are locked. Call Me By Your Name is a certainty. Molly’s Game is a certainty. Mudbound is basically a certainty. And you have to feel pretty good about The Disaster Artist, given everything else around it. So that’s four. Now just figure out five and you’re good.

Paddington 2 and Death of Stalin are ineligible (aren’t they? Because one just came out two weeks ago and the other is coming out in the U.S. in April), so that’s two out. And you’re left with Logan, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and Wonder. And one of them doesn’t seem very likely at all.

So Logan or Wonder. Take your pick. I’ll take Wonder because it made money, even though Logan seems like it might be more in people’s minds. We’ll see.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Molly’s Game



First Alternate: Logan

Dark Horse: Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Surprise: Blade Runner 2049, Wonder Woman

Shocker: Stronger, Victoria & Abdul

Don’t even bother: Trying to figure out an alternative. There are either no possibilities or too many.

Would love to see: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. That’s right, I said it.

There’s no foreign nominee or anything like that this year that could change this. There’s nothing else out there that I can think of. So you’re probably certain for 4/5. And it’s really just where that last one goes. Logan or Wonder seem like the probables. If not those — good luck. Because then they’re going off the board.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Best Editing now.

I like to start by showing you what the last 15 categories were:

  • 2016: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Moonlight
  • 2015: The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • 2014: American Sniper, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Whiplash
  • 2013: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity
  • 2012: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
  • 2011: The Artist, The Descendants, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball
  • 2010: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, The Social Network
  • 2009: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious
  • 2008: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire
  • 2007: The Bourne UltimatumThe Diving Bell and the ButterflyInto the Wild, No Country, There Will Be Blood
  • 2006: Babel, Blood DiamondChildren of Men, The Departed, United 93
  • 2005: Crash, Cinderella ManThe Constant Gardener, Munich, Walk the Line
  • 2004: The Aviator, Collateral, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray
  • 2003: City of GodCold Mountain, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Master and Commander, Seabiscuit
  • 2002: Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, The Pianist

The reason I do this is because — Best Editing is the key to Best Picture. Outside of Birdman (whose trick was that the editing was hidden), the last movie to win Best Picture without an Editing nomination was Ordinary People in 1980. So all the big Best Picture contenders are gonna get on Editing. Which makes it tricky, especially with some great edited films also vying for spots on there. Look at the bolded films above. Those were non-Best Picture nominees. Not a whole lot. So unless they’re completely sold on one or two films and are willing to disregard the rest, look to three or four Picture nominees getting Editing nominations too.

But let’s do guild stuff before we get into all that. This year’s ACE nominees are:

(Dramatic) Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Molly’s Game, The Post, The Shape of Water

(Musical/Comedy) Baby Driver, Get Out, I Tonya, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

And now BAFTA and BFCA…

BAFTA: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

BFCA: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Post, The Shape of Water

This is rough. Usually I’m guessing stuff throughout for this, but here, I need all the information before I can start figuring stuff.

ACE vs. the Oscars:

  • 2016: 5/5.
  • 2015: 4/5. ACE didn’t have Spotlight.
  • 2014: 5/5.
  • 2013: 3/5. ACE didn’t have 12 Years a Slave or Dallas Buyers Club.
  • 2012 + 2011: 5/5.
  • 2010: 4/5. ACE didn’t have 127 Hours.
  • 2009: 3/5. ACE didn’t have Inglourious Basterds or Precious.
  • 2008: 5/5.
  • 2007: 4/5. ACE didn’t have The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
  • 2006: 3/5. ACE didn’t have Children or Men or Blood Diamond.
  • 2005: 4/5. ACE didn’t have Cinderella Man.

I’m gonna go further, just to be safe…

  • 2015, BFCA had Spotlight.
  • 2013, BAFTA and BFCA had 12 Years a Slave. Neither had Dallas Buyers Club.
  • 2010, BAFTA and BFCA both had 127 Hours.
  • 2009, BAFTA and BFCA had Inglourious Basterds. Neither had Precious.
  • 2007, 2006, 2005 — there was no BFCA Editing category, and BAFTA didn’t have any of the missed nominees.

So yeah. What that tells me is that, unless a movie is gonna jump up and be really liked by them, it’ll be on one of the lists. Precious and Dallas Buyers Club were Best Picture nominees that jumped up and got extra support in Editing. Everything else was on a precursor list in recent years. So I think we can get a decent handle on this. (I hope.)

Precursor breakdown:

  • Baby Driver — ACE, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Blade Runner 2049 — ACE, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Dunkirk — ACE, BAFTA, BFCA
  • The Shape of Water — ACE, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri — ACE, BAFTA
  • The Post — ACE, BFCA
  • Get Out — ACE
  • I, Tonya — ACE
  • Lady Bird — ACE
  • Molly’s Game — ACE

Now you gotta look at what, if any, Best Picture contenders could really jump up and get that Editing nomination. To me.. Call Me By Your Name and that’s it. The Big Sick is a no. Darkest Hour is a no. Phantom Thread doesn’t seem like it’s gonna start getting all these nominations out of nowhere. So I think you have the ten above and throw in Call Me By Your Name and that’s it. That’s the list.

This is the first category where you’re gonna have to make some hard decisions.

To start, take off Molly’s Game. That would shock all of us, I think. And then put Call Me By Your Name on there, because that is possible. And then you have ten. Now you just gotta knock off five.

You should for sure start with Dunkirk. Best Picture contender or not, it’s a war film, and they love war films in this category. Then, what are the two biggest Best Picture contenders that we know of? Three Billboards and Shape of Water. So that’s three.

Now what are you left with?

  • Non-Best Picture contenders: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049
  • Possible Best Picture contenders: I, Tonya, The Post
  • Definite Best Picture contenders: Get Out, Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name

Of those The Post would shock me. So I’m leaving that off. Blade Runner… while it did hit all the precursors, this list tends to stretch toward Best Picture contenders. So unless that’s gonna be nominated for Picture and Editing out of nowhere, I have a hard time thinking that’s just gonna be on. Especially because the other non-Best Picture contender, Baby Driver, is all about the editing, and is way more showy in that regard. So if I’m gonna pick one of those, it’s that.

So assuming Baby Driver is the fourth — can I, Tonya manage an Editing nomination without a for-sure Picture nomination. My gut says no. I think it needed BAFTA support to make that. So I’m gonna err on the side of no for that.

I think the fifth is one of the Best Picture candidates they liked a lot. My gut reaction says Lady Bird, but I can see all that love not ending up with an Editing nomination. Call Me By Your Name becomes the second one I gravitate toward, because, like Dallas Buyers Club, it feels like a good candidate to get support in all the right places.

But then I end up with the one I keep coming back to… I feel like they might nominate Get Out here. I feel like that might shock us all by getting that Editing nomination. So I’m gonna play that hunch and take it as my fifth. Blade Runner feels like it could be the alternate if not. Though I’m hesitant taking two non-Best Picture nominees, since that hasn’t happened in ten years.

Best Editing

Baby Driver


Get Out

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

First Alternate: Blade Runner 2049

Dark Horse: Lady Bird

Surprise: I Tonya, Call Me By Your Name, The Post

Shocker: Mudbound, Detroit, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread

Don’t even bother: Molly’s Game, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman

All bets are off. But also don’t be stupid. Stick to Best Picture, especially with two possible non-Best Picture choices in there.

Would love to see: Phantom Thread

Your safest bet for doing well in this category is taking four Best Picture choices (if not straight up five) and then putting on either Blade Runner or Baby Driver. The history doesn’t favor both of those getting on. The only question is which Best Picture contender you put on — Lady Bird, Get Out, Call Me By Your Name. You could end up 3/5, but that’s always a possibility. Smart money based on all the information is four Best Picture nominees and one outlier, if not five Best Picture nominees outright. Choose wisely.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Onto Cinematography.

ASC vs. the Oscars:

  • 2016: 5/5.
  • 2015, 4/5. ASC missed The Hateful Eight in favor of Bridge of Spies.
  • 2014: 4/5. ASC missed Ida in favor of Imitation Game.
  • 2013: 5/5.
  • 2012: 4/5. ASC had Les Mis, missed Django.
  • 2011: 4/5. ASC had Tinker Tailor, missed War Horse.
  • 2010: 5/5.
  • 2009: 4/5. ASC had Nine, missed Half-Blood Prince.
  • 2008: 4/5. ASC had Revolutionary Road, missed Changeling.
  • 2007: 5/5.
  • 2006: 3/5. ASC had The Good Shepard and Apocalypto, missed Pan’s Labyrinth and The Prestige.
  • 2005: 4/5. ASC had King Kong, missed The New World.
  • 2004: 3/5. ASC had Collateral and Ray, missed House of Flying Daggers and Phantom of the Opera.
  • 2003: 3/5. ASC had Last Samurai and Return of the King, missed City of God and Girl with a Pearl Earring.
  • 2002: 4/5. ASC had Frida, missed Chicago.
  • 2001: 4/5. ASC had Pearl Harbor, missed Black Hawk Down.
  • 2000: 4/5. ASC had The Perfect Storm, missed Malena.

Crosslisting with BAFTA…

  • 2015, BAFTA missed Hateful Eight.
  • 2014, BAFTA had Ida.
  • 2012, BAFTA missed Django.
  • 2011, BAFTA had War Horse
  • 2009, BAFTA missed Half-Blood Prince
  • 2008, BAFTA had Changeling.
  • 2006, BAFTA had Pan’s Labyrinth but missed The Prestige.
  • 2005, BAFTA missed The New World
  • 2004, BAFTA had House of Flying Daggers but missed Phantom of the Opera
  • 2003, BAFTA had Girl with a Peal Earring but missed City of God.
  • 2002, BAFTA had Chicago.
  • 2001, BAFTA had Black Hawk Down.
  • 2000, BAFTA missed Malena.

And BFCA, as far as we can:

  • 2015, BFCA had The Hateful Eight.
  • 2014, BFCA did not have Ida.
  • 2012, BFCA did not have Django.
  • 2011, BFCA had War Horse.
  • 2009, BFCA missed Half-Blood Prince.

So since 2009, only twice did both BAFTA and BFCA miss alongside ASC. One was Django, which…. seems like t was obvious at the time. Richardson. And then Harry Potter, which… don’t remember back then. Before my time picking nominees. But sure. This year’s precursors are:

ASC: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Mudbound, The Shape of Water

BAFTA: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

BFCA: Blade Runner, Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, Mudbound, The Shape of Water

I’m seeing a trend here. The only other one I’d look at as maybe getting on is The Post, but that seems like a really long shot given the landscape of this year. Bridge of Spies was left off. I think they’re done with desaturated Spielberg.

Oh… first off — I’ve been hearing all throughout this process that Phantom Thread is ineligible for this category because there is no credited cinematographer. So if that is the case, then fine (even though it had the most gorgeous cinematography of the year). But I swear to god, if somehow it gets nominated here, I’m calling horse shit and giving myself a correct tally for that, because if it has any shot at being voted for, I’d put it on my list. Until then, I’m sure I have good information.

Anyway… Blade Runner, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk and Shape of Water hit all three. So let’s just say those are on and you already have 4/5 right.

And now that fifth spot is between Mudbound (which hit ASC and BFCA) and Call Me By Your Name, which has BFCA only. I guess you could consider Three Billboards, but that’s BAFTA only, and I don’t see that one going through.

Six nominees for five spots, and Mudbound hit the guild. Call Me By Your Name feels like it needed BAFTA to really be in consideration. Still could, since it’s clearly six for five spots. But I’m taking Mudbound until it doesn’t get on.

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour



The Shape of Water

First Alternate: Call Me By Your Name

Dark Horse: The Post

Surprise: WonderstruckThe Lost City of ZDetroit

Shocker: Mother!, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Don’t even bother: Go nuts if you think you can call it. I think this one’s pretty limited.

Would love to see: Phantom Thread!

Can’t see how you don’t get 4/5 here, if not 5/5. There really are only six possibilities here without us all getting it wrong.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Best Original Score time. We’re off the deep end now. There’s no guild precursor. You can piece together a winner from everything before it (namely BAFTA, BFCA and the Globes), but picking a category? That’s where the fun comes in.

There are 141 eligible scores this year. I don’t think we have any major ineligibles, so it’s all fair game.

I’ve made a table of all the precursors going back to 2005 to see which ones had the Oscar nominees correct. It’s too big to post, but I’ll try to break them down year by year. (Note: I’m ignoring the scores deemed ineligible.)

  • 2016 — La La Land and Lion appeared on all three lists and was nominated. Jackie and Moonlight appeared on two (BAFTA and BFCA) and were nominated. Passengers missed all the precursors and was nominated. 4/5. (Extras: Hidden Figures, Nocturnal Animals.)
  • 2015 — The Hateful Eight appeared on all three lists and was nominated. Sicario appeared on two (BFCA and BAFTA) and was nominated. Carol appeared on two (Globes and BFCA) and was nominated. Star Wars only got a BAFTA, but was nominated. Bridge of Spies only got a BAFTA but was nominated. All five nominees appeared in the precursors. (Extras: Spotlight, Steve Jobs, The Danish Girl.)
  • 2014 — Interstellar appeared on all three lists and was nominated. The Theory of Everything appeared on all three lists and was nominated. The Imitation Game was on two (Globes, BFCA) and was nominated. The Grand Budapest Hotel was only on BAFTA and was nominated. Gone Girl was on two lists and was NOT nominated. Mr. Turner did not appear on any list. That was missed all around. 4/5. (Extras: Under the Skin, Gone Girl x 2.)
  • 2013 — Gravity appeared on all three lists and was nominated. Saving Mr. Banks appeared on two (BAFTA, BFCA) and was nominated. The Book Thief appeared on two (Globes, BAFTA) and was nominated. Her appeared on one (BFCA) and was nominated. Philomena was missed by all. 12 Years a slave was on all three lists and was NOT nominated. 4/5. (Extras: 12 Years a Slave x 3, All Is Lost, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Captain Phillips.)
  • 2012 — Argo appeared on all three lists and was nominated. Life of Pi and Lincoln both also appeared on all three lists and were nominated. Anna Karenina appeared on two (Globes, BAFTA) and was nominated. Skyfall appeared on one (BAFTA) and was nominated. 5/5 (Extras: Cloud Atlas, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom.)
  • 2011 — The Artist, Hugo and War Horse appeared on all three lists and were nominated. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy appeared on one list (BAFTA) and was nominated. Tintin was missed by all. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo appeared on all three lists and was NOT nominated. (Extras: W.E., Drive, Dragon Tattoo x 3.) 4/5.
  • 2010 — Inception and The King’s Speech appeared on all three lists and were nominated. The Social Network and 127 Hours appeared on two lists and were nominated. How to Train Your Dragon appeared on one list (BAFTA) and was nominated. Alice in Wonderland appeared on two lists and was NOT nominated. (Extras: Black Swan, True Grit, Alice in Wonderland x2.) 5/5.
  • 2009 — Avatar (Globes, BAFTA), Up (Globes, BFCA), two lists. Sherlock Holmes (BFCA), Fantastic Mr. Fox (BAFTA) one list. The Hurt Locker was missed by all. The Informant! was on two lists (not sure if eligible or not) as was Where the Wild Things Are (same). 4/5.
  • 2008 — Benjamin Button was on all three and was nominated. Slumdog was on two (Globes, BFCA), Defiance, Wall-E and Milk on one each. 5/5. (The Dark Knight missed despite being on two lists.)
  • 2007 — Atonement hit all three. The Kite Runner hit two, 3:10 to Yuma hit one. They missed Michael Clayton and Ratatouille entirely. (Grace Is Gone hit two lists and missed a nomination.)
  • 2006 — Babel all three, nominated. The Queen and Good German one each. They missed Notes on a Scandal and Pan’s Labyrinth entirely. (The Da Vinci Code and The Fountain missed despite two nominations.)
  • 2005 — Brokeback all three, nominated. Memoirs of a Geisha two, nominated. Nothing else was nominated more than once.

The Cliff Notes version of my Score article I linked to up there is — there are only like 15 or so scores that theoretically have a shot at this. They are:

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Coco
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Jane
  • Mudbound
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Wonderstruck
  • Wonder Woman

I guess I could go to 20, but even the 15 is stretching it. Here are the precursors:

(Globes) Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

(BAFTA) Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water

(BFCA) Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water seems like a de facto winner, so that’s on. Jonny Greenwood is eligible and hit every precursor. So why would you leave him off? Dunkirk hit everything, and Zimmer hit the last two original Nolan films in this category. So that’s three. What’s left:

  • Blade Runner hit BAFTA and BFCA
  • Darkest Hour hit BAFTA and BFCA
  • The Post hit the Globes and BFCA
  • Three Billboards hit the Globes

And of the 15 I said have a shot, there are seven left:

  • Coco — Giacchino has only been nominated twice, both for Pixar scores, but not since 2009. Pixar hasn’t been nominated here since then and no animated film has been nominated since 2011 (and it was Tintin/John Williams).
  • Jane is Philip Glass, who has three nominations (Kundun, The Hours and Notes on a Scandal). Gorgeous score, but it’s a documentary score, and no documentary has been nominated for Original Score since… unless I missed one while skimming… 1975. So yeah. Not likely.
  • Mudbound probably needed a precursor to really be considered. That movie seems like it’ll get Screenplay and Cinematography and nothing else. (Maybe Supporting Actress, and maybe I guess Costumes or Production Design, but I doubt it.) Score isn’t on there.
  • Wonder Woman — do we think Score will happen? Nah, didn’t think so.
  • Wonderstruck — would have had a shot… if the film did anything. But Carter Burwell has Three Billboards. That’ll be what they go for, if anything (despite the fact that his only nomination came for a Todd Haynes film).

Now for the two that actually matter:

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi. You’d think it’s crazy that a John Williams Star Wars movie wouldn’t be nominated. But no precursors. And he really wasn’t nominated for the prequels. The Force Awakens nomination seems like a ‘welcome back’ nomination in the fervor for that movie when it came out. Plus, he’ll get nominated for The Post, most likely. So the dual nominations seems unlikely, despite being possible.
  • Now there’s Victoria & Abdul. Why do I mention it? Because it’s Thomas Newman. He’s been nominated four out of the past five years. Passengers, Bridge of Spies, Saving Mr. Banks, Skyfall. They love him. Don’t rule it out (but also probably don’t take it, because that seems nuts. Then again, so did Passengers, so disregard the first half of this parenthetical).

Okay, cool, so we can stick with the precursors. That’s what I got out of that.

I’m not leaving a John Williams score for a Steven Spielberg movie off. So he’s four. That just leaves Blade Runner versus Darkest Hour. And with Marianelli a previous winner for a Joe Wright movie (and three-time nominee, all for Joe Wright movies), I’m gonna lean toward him. I guess they could go with Zimmer for the double nomination, but I’m thinking it’s classy chalk. Look at this category and tell me that doesn’t look exactly like what you’d expect this category to end up looking like:

Best Original Score

Darkest Hour


Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

First Alternate: Blade Runner 2049

Dark Horse: Victoria & Abdul

Surprise: Mudbound, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Shocker: Jane, Coco, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Don’t even bother: Wonder Woman, Wonderstruck

Would love to see: Jane

4/5 seems almost assured here. It looks like chalk all the way. And if it’s not, it’s a Thomas Newman situation where he gets on because of who he is. But look at what I’m guessing: Desplat, Zimmer, Williams, Marianelli and Greenwood. Greenwood is the outlier, and that seems like a lock. The other four are mainstays. So I think you’re good.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

And now Best Original Song. Yeah, boy.

I did all the heavy lifting here, where I went over all the eligible songs I could find at the time. I’m sure more of them are finable, but trust me, it won’t matter. Pulling the 20 songs I think have a shot, here they are:

  • “A Little Change in the Weather,” from Downsizing
  • “If I Dare,” from Battle of the Sexes
  • “The Promise,” from The Promise
  • “The Star,” from The Star
  • “Tell Me How Long,” from Chasing Coral
  • “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” from Beauty and the Beast
  • “Tuff Love (Finale),” from Patti Cake$
  • “PBNJ,” from Patti Cake$
  • “Prayers for This World,” from Cries from Syria
  • “Visions of Gideon,” from Call Me By Your Name
  • “It Ain’t Fair,” from Detroit
  • “Truth to Power,” from An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
  • “Evermore,” from Beauty and the Beast
  • “Never Forget,” from Murder on the Orient Express
  • “Stand Up for Something,” from Marshall
  • “You Shouldn’t Look at Me That Way,” from Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
  • “Mighty River,” from Mudbound
  • “Mystery of Love,” from Call Me By Your Name
  • “Remember Me,” from Coco
  • “This is Me,” from The Greatest Showman

This is one of those categories that’s pretty much subjective. You have to go by what you think they’re gonna do. You never have any real idea and there are no precursors to go by. the Golden Globes category is pure starfucker horse shit, so don’t even bother with that. They did change the voting to make it friendlier to the overall better songs (it’s a ranking system rather than that system where they rate out of five and songs need to hit a certain number to qualify), but still, this is a tough one to truly gauge.

We’ll start with the major ones — “This Is Me,” I’d be shocked if that didn’t make it on. It’s the big song from the original musical. They love that. And it was written by the guys who did La La Land. It’s on. And then “Remember Me.” It feels like an automatic nominee for them. The guy who did Book of Mormon and won for Frozen — feels like a solid guess. And if not, it’s not something I’m gonna leave off, because it’s as good a bet as anything. And then — Call Me By Your Name. Tough to know which, if either (or if not both), gets on. “Mystery of Love,” to me, is the better song, but “Visions of Gideon” plays over that great final shot. They could nominate both. You have no idea. Maybe you take both and hope for the best. I’m gonna stick with the one I feel gets on and will just be wrong.

Now, I have no idea. I’m gonna guess one of the Beauty and the Beast songs, because it’s Alan Menken and Tim Rice. Not sure they go there, but they’re as good a bet as anyone. So that’s four.

Fifth spot — no clue.

I have, in years past, taken stuff like “Mighty River” and “It Ain’t Fair” and “Stand Up for Something.” But almost always (unless it’s clearly the favorite, like “Glory” from Selma) they get left off. So I’m not going there. I really like “Never Forget,” but that just feels like the red herring I take that never gets on.

I’m gonna play my hunch of the documentary song and take “Prayers for This World.” Diane Warren wrote it, and Cher sings it. Seems like the kind of thing I’d get wrong every year, so why be different now? (Note: You could take the Inconvenient Sequel route, since the first one won this category. That also would be a documentary.)

At this point, there are so many choices, you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Best Original Song

“Evermore,” from Beauty and the Beast

“Mystery of Love,” from Call Me By Your Name

“Remember Me,” from Coco

“Prayers for This World,” from Cries from Syria

“This is Me,” from The Greatest Showman

First Alternate: “Mighty River,” from Mudbound

Dark Horse: “Visions of Gideon,” from Call Me By Your Name

Surprise: “You Shouldn’t Look at Me That Way,” from Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool; “Stand Up for Something,” from Marshall; “The Promise,” from The Promise; “Tuff Love (Finale),” from Patti Cake$; “PBNJ,” from Patti Cake$; “Truth to Power,” from An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Shocker: “A Little Change in the Weather,” from Downsizing; “Tell Me How Long,” from Chasing Coral; “It Ain’t Fair,” from Detroit; “Never Forget,” from Murder on the Orient Express; “The Star,” from The Star; “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” from Beauty and the Beast

Don’t even bother: With the ones that just do not make sense. This category is about picking the safe choices and hoping enough of them get on that you do well.

Would love to see: Either Patti Cake$ song get on.

No clue with this. You always fly blind here, and you have to figure you’ll do badly and be happy with anything above 2/5. Just remember — nobody knows anything. We’re all just throwing darts.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Now Best Production Design. Here’s where all the tech categories begin.

ADG vs. the Oscars:

  • 2016, 5/5.
  • 2015, 5/5.
  • 2014, 4/5. They missed Mr. Turner.
  • 2013 + 2013, 5/5.
  • 2011, 3/5. They missed War Horse and Midnight in Paris.
  • 2010, 5/5.
  • 2009, 2/5. They missed Dr. Parnassus, Nine and The Young Victoria.
  • 2008, 3/5. They missed The Duchess and Revolutionary Road.
  • 2007 + 2006, 5/5.
  • 2005, 3/5. They missed Goblet of Fire and Pride & Prejudice.
  • 2004, 4/5. They missed A Very Long Engagement.
  • 2003, 4/5. They missed Master and Commander.
  • 2002, 4/5. They missed Frida.
  • 2001, 4/5. They missed Gosford Park.
  • 2000, 3/5. They missed Quills and Vatel.


  • 2014, they had Mr. Turner.
  • 2011, they had War Horse, but missed Midnight in Paris.
  • 2009, they had Dr. Parnassus, but missed Nine and The Young Victoria.
  • 2008, they had Revolutionary Road, but missed The Duchess.
  • 2005, they missed both Goblet of Fire and Pride & Prejudice.
  • 2004, they missed A Very Long Engagement.
  • 2003, they had Master and Commander.
  • 2002, they missed Frida.
  • 2001, they had Gosford Park.
  • 2000, they had Quills but missed Vatel.

BAFTA tends to match pretty well themselves a lot of the time. And they pick up the majority of the slack most of the time, especially recently. BFCA has only had a category since 2009, and since then, the only category they picked up that the other two did not was 2009, where they had Nine. Generally they’re in line with the other two.

Since 2009, when BFCA started handing out for Production Design, only twice did all three, ADG, BAFTA and BFCA, miss a film. 2011, with Midnight in Paris, and 2009, with The Young Victoria. Before BFCA, ADG and BAFTA both missed five times, which still isn’t that bad, all things considered.

This year:

  • ADG Period: Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Murder on the Orient Express, The Post, The Shape of Water
  • ADG Fantasy: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman
  • ADG Contemporary: Downsizing, Get Out, Lady Bird, Logan, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
  • BAFTA: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Shape of Water
  • BFCA: Beauty and the Beast, Dunkirk, Murder on the Orient Express, Phantom Thread, Shape of Water

Beauty and the Beast hit all three. Blade Runner hit all there. Dunkirk hit all three. Shape of Water hit all three. The rest:

  • Darkest Hour — ADG, BAFTA
  • Murder on the Orient Express — ADG, BFCA
  • The Post — ADG
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi — ADG
  • War for the Planet of the Apes — ADG
  • Wonder Woman — ADG
  • Phantom Thread — BFCA

I’ve left off all the Contemporary ones, since Contemporary films never get nominated in this category. Technically La La Land was Contemporary, but I think we all understand that one.

This one is interesting, because I see seven choices in all. They could always throw a curveball, but if the voting body is typically made up of guild and BAFTA members, then it stands to reason that what they liked would be nominated.

Beauty and the Beast and Shape of Water I’m not leaving off.

Dunkirk — they generally don’t go war films here. War Horse was the last one, and that was Spielberg (who does tend to end up on here… Bridge of Spies, Lincoln won this, War Horse). However… Nolan also gets on here. Inception, The Prestige, Interstellar. So that’s also something to take into account. I think I gotta include Dunkirk as much as my gut tells me it could be left off.

Blade Runner… everyone has it. I’m not 100% it gets nominated, but I think I’m more apt to leave it on than off.

Then… Darkest Hour hit the guild and BAFTA… I think that’s gotta be five. However, it comes to my attention that the same woman did both Darkest Hour and Beauty and the Beast. Will the voters be aware of that and only vote for one over the other? I don’t know. It might influence the vote (either yours or theirs). I’m choosing to ignore it and see how it goes. The same person was nominated twice in this category as recently as 2014, so it’s not that impossible. Granted, that was a set decorator and not the production designer proper, but it is something. Though, you know what… they haven’t nominated the same production designer twice in the same category in at least twenty years (I stopped after a while). That might get me to ultimately change my vote. I don’t know. Which of the two do you not pick? Maybe I’ll keep them and see what happens.

Orient Express feels like it should be there, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it got on instead of Blade Runner or Dunkirk. The Post… Spielberg. Also not surprising if that makes it on. And Phantom Thread… I don’t know if that can make it. They don’t seem to be impressed with its sets. I’ll keep it as a surprise more than anything, but without either major voting body and just BFCA, it’s not looking great. I don’t really see anything else besides those making it. It’s just a matter of figuring out which of the five they go with.

I’m going with the four that hit all three and Darkest Hour, even if it means Sarah Greenwood is nominated twice. The Post makes the most sense as the alternate, since Spielberg manages to get these kinds of nominations. Orient Express is the dark horse if not that. That should cover most of the possibilities, unless Phantom Thread sneaks in and surprises.

Best Production Design

Beauty and the Beast

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour


The Shape of Water

First Alternate: The Post

Dark Horse: Murder on the Orient Express

Surprise: Phantom Thread, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman, Mudbound

Shocker: Really, not that much will shock me, unless it’s Get Out or Lady Bird.

Don’t even bother: With anything contemporary.

Would love to see: Phantom Thread, Dave Made a Maze, Lady Macbeth

Feeling pretty good about this one. Because even if I get one or two wrong, I know my top three alternates will be what makes it on instead. Sometimes you don’t have to be right, you just need to be close.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Costume Design.

CDG vs. the Oscars:

  • 2016, 4/5, Missed Allied.
  • 2015, 4/5, Missed The Revenant.
  • 2014, 4/5. Missed Mr. Turner.
  • 2013: 3/5. Missed The Invisible Woman and The Grandmaster.
  • 2012: 5/5.
  • 2011: 4/5. Missed Anonymous.
  • 2010: 4/5. Missed I Am Love.
  • 2009: 4/5. Missed Bright Star.
  • 2008: 4/5. Missed Australia.
  • 2007: 4/5. Missed Across the Universe.
  • 2006: 5/5.
  • 2005: 3/5. Missed Mrs. Henderson Presents and Pride & Prejudice.

Generally solid. Though they do have three full categories to pick from, which does cover most of what can get on there.


  • 2016, they had Allied.
  • 2015, they missed The Revenant.
  • 2014, they had Mr. Turner.
  • 2013, they had The Invisible Woman but missed The Grandmaster.
  • 2011, they missed Anonymous.
  • 2010, they missed I Am Love.
  • 2009, they had Bright Star.
  • 2008, they missed Australia.
  • 2007, they missed Across the Universe.
  • 2005, they had both Mrs. Henderson Presents and Pride & Prejudice.

BAFTA is typically pretty solid on their own and will definitely call whoever the guild doesn’t have. And they do it in a single category, not three.


  • 2016, they had Allied too.
  • 2015, they also missed The Revenant.
  • 2014, they had Mr. Turner too. They actually nailed all 5.
  • 2013, they also missed The Grandmaster.
  • 2011, they also missed Anonymous.
  • 2009, they had Bright Star too

Mostly they confirm the other two. They’ve yet to pick up on what the other two have missed.

This year:

  • CDG Period: Dunkirk, Murder on the Orient Express, Phantom Thread, The Greatest Showman, Shape of Water
  • CDG Fantasy: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman
  • CDG Contemporary: Get Out, I Tonya, Kingsman, Lady Bird, Three Billboards
  • BAFTA: Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, I Tonya, Phantom Thread, Shape of Water
  • BFCA: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Phantom Thread, Shape of Water, Wonder Woman

Filtering that into an easier way to analyze:

  • Beauty and the Beast — CDG, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Phantom Thread — CDG, BAFTA, BFCA
  • The Shape of Water — CDG, BAFTA, BFCA
  • Blade Runner 2049 — CDG, BFCA
  • I, Tonya — CDG, BAFTA
  • Wonder Woman — CDG, BFCA
  • Dunkirk — CDG
  • The Greatest Showman — CDG
  • Murder on the Orient Express — CDG
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi — CDG
  • Thor: Ragnarok — CDG
  • Darkest Hour — BAFTA

The other contenders — The Post, Victoria & Abdul, maybe The Beguiled, maybe Mudbound. The latter two’s designers have never been nominated. So that tempers my expectations on those.

We’re in the tricky situation this year where we know our winner before we know our nominees. So you have one spot… well, two… locked. Actually, no. Three spots locked. Beauty and the Beast, Phantom Thread and Shape of Water hit all three. Gotta assume those make it. So yeah, you’re in as solid a spot as you always are. Here, you can be pretty sure that those three are gonna get on. And since I never expect more than 3/5 here, I’m feeling pretty good. Those last two spots are house money for me.

Let’s go through everything that I can think of that has a shot:

  • Victoria & Abdul’s designer was previously nominated last year for Florence Foster Jenkins and also for The Queen. It’s stuffy royal dresses, and Indian garb. They generally like that shit. Without precursors, I’m not gonna guess it, but it could happen.
  • The Post’s designer was nominated four times, winning for The English Patient and also being nominated most recently for The Hours. Are they gonna go all in on that caftan? We’ll see. I don’t see it.
  • Thor has a CDG nod, but I can’t see that ever happening. Same for Star Wars.
  • Darkest Hour could make it, but it doesn’t feel like it’ll get on. That would need more broad support to make it. Plus — World War II politicians and stuff… they prefer period dresses to that.
  • Dunkirk — it’s war. War movies don’t generally do well here. Allied was a period drama, not expressly a war movie. Atonement was only partially a war movie. You have to go back a long way to see a war movie get nominated here.
  • The Greatest Showman certainly has the most costumes, but with no real support anywhere, it would feel a bit weird to see it just get costumes and Song. Not sure I’d guess that.
  • Murder on the Orient Express certainly fits here. It has the guild nomination, which is really all it needs. Definitely gonna be in my top six or seven.
  • Blade Runner… I don’t know. BFCA is hit or miss, and the guild has so many categories it makes sense. Not sure this makes it on the final list. I’m probably erring on the side of this not making it.
  • I, Tonya… that one has the guild and BAFTA, which is big. There is the question of whether or not it’s period or contemporary, but with a guild and BAFTA, pretty sure that’ll be my fourth.
  • And Wonder Woman… that might crack costumes. Her costume is pretty iconic, plus there’s all the battle stuff, and that dress she wears, and the memorable outfit when she has the makeover. They’re pushing for it, so this might be the place it breaks through. This could be a savvy choice.

So I think, alongside Beauty and the Beast, Shape of Water and Phantom Thread, I’ll take I Tonya, and then Murder on the Orient Express. I think Wonder Woman might be the smarter choice, but I’ll go with the period piece that’s all about costumes and sets. I think if anywhere, this will be where that movie breaks through.

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

I, Tonya

Murder on the Orient Express

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

First Alternate: Wonder Woman

Dark Horse: Blade Runner 2049

Surprise: Victoria & Abdul, The Post, The Greatest Showman

Shocker: Mudbound, The Beguiled, Darkest Hour

Don’t even bother: Dunkirk

Would love to see: Me go 5/5 here.

I always do poorly on costumes. This is another one I figure to get 2/5 or 3/5 at best. Anything higher, I’m thrilled. You pretty much just have to hope for the best here. The biggest word of advice I can give you — Wonder Woman might get this.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Best Makeup & Hairstyling. This is easy because we have a shortlist.

  • Bright
  • Darkest Hour
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • I, Tonya
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Wonder

Of the seven, three will be nominated. There is a guild for this, and both BAFTA and BFCA hand out awards for it, so there are precursors to look at. Even though most of it is strictly intuitive.

  • Makeup & Hairstylists Guild: Darkest Hour (both + effects makeup), Bright (Makeup), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Hair + effects makeup), I Tonya (both), Wonder (both + effects makeup)
  • BAFTA: Darkest Hour, I Tonya, Victoria & Abdul, Wonder
  • BFCA: Darkest Hour, I Tonya, Wonder

Darkest Hour’s gonna win this, so that should be #1 no matter what. Then, Wonder is all about the kid’s makeup. I would think they nominate that.

I, Tonya make the most sense after that (especially since it made all three lists, but before we automatically do that, let’s see the rest of the shortlist, if anything else can make a play for it.

Ghost in the Shell — not a chance. I don’t see it, and I’d never guess it. So that’s one off. Victoria & Abdul — ehh. Would be a pretty boring choice. Given the shiny alternatives, I can’t see them going there. So that’s two off.

So that leaves the two big elephants in the room. First, Bright. Critically reviled, yes. But this is the team behind Academy Award winner Suicide Squad, which won this category last year. So don’t rule it out. Of course, then we have Academy Award nominee Bright, which would go down alongside Academy Award nominee Kobe Bryant (more on that later) as the most interesting possibilities of the year.

Then there’s Guardians. The first one was nominated here in 2014, losing to Grand Budapest. There are a lot of green and gold and whatever Drax is people. Plus Mantis. Actually, you know what? I’m gonna take Guardians and leave off I, Tonya. There’s always one you think will be on that doesn’t make it, and I think that’s the one. I feel like this is four for three, so we’ll see which one they leave off.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Darkest Hour

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


First Alternate: I, Tonya

Dark Horse: Bright

Surprise: Ghost in the Shell, Victoria & Abdul

Shocker: N/A

Don’t even bother: N/A

Would love to see: N/A

I think you’re guaranteed two of the three. The only question is if that third spot is I, Tonya or Guardians. Or maybe it’s both and Wonder gets left off. Who knows?

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Visual Effects. We’ve got a shortlist for this one:

  • Alien: Covenant
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Okja
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • War for the Planet of the Apes

VES vs. the Oscars:

  • 2016, the main category (what I call “Effects Driven” even though it’s an outdated name) had 3/5. Deepwater Horizon was nominated in “Supporting Effects” and Kubo got in a bunch of their Animated categories.
  • 2015, Effects-Driven 3/5. Ex Machina wasn’t nominated and The Revenant got in Supporting.
  • 2014, the Effects-Driven category had 4/5. Captain America got lesser nominations.
  • 2013, Effects-Driven had 4/5 and Supporting had the last one.
  • 2012, Effects-Driven had 4/5. The fifth nominee wasn’t shortlisted and the actual nominee wasn’t nominated by VES.
  • 2011: Effects-Driven had 3/5, Supporting had 1. #5 wasn’t nominated by VES.
  • 2010: Effects-Driven had 4/5, Supporting had the other one.
  • 2009: 3/3 Effects-Driven.
  • 2008: 2/3 Effects-Driven. (Dark Knight was kinda nominated by them.)
  • 2007: 3/3 Effects-Driven.

Generally you can reason your way into most of them through the guild alone (and basic logic). But…


  • 2016, 3/5, missing Kubo and Deepwater.
  • 2015, 4/5, missing The Revenant.
  • 2014, 4/5. Missed Captain America.
  • 2013, 4/5. Missed The Lone Ranger.
  • 2012, 4/5. Missed Snow White and the Huntsman.
  • 2011, 3/5. Missed Real Steel and Transformers.
  • 2010, 3/5. Missed Hereafter and Iron Man 2.
  • 2009, All 3 were nominated.
  • 2008, All 3 were nominated.
  • 2007, 2/3. Missed Transformers.

BAFTA is really good at this category on their own. So they’ll definitely help you shore up your guesses.


  • 2016, 2/5. Missed Deeepwater, Kubo and Rogue one.
  • 2015, 4/5. Missed The Force Awakens.
  • 2014, 3/5. Missed X-Men and Captain America.
  • 2013, 4/5. Missed The Lone Ranger.
  • 2012, 3/5. Missed Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman.
  • 2011, 3/5. Missed Real Steel and Transformers.
  • 2010, 3/5. Missed Hereafter and Iron Man 2. (Four nominees.)
  • 2009, All 3 were nominated.

And outside of last year, BFCA is also pretty good. Which means we can basically tell most of the nominees just by looking at them.

This year:


  • Outstanding Effects: Blade Runner, Guardians Vol. 2, Kong: Skull Island, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Supporting Effects: Darkest Hour, Downsizing, Dunkirk, Mother!, Only the Brave
  • Animated Performance: Blade Runner, Kong: Skull Island, War for the Planet of the Apes (x2)
  • Created Environment: Blade Runner (x3), War for the Planet of the Apes (x2)
  • Virtual Cinematography: Beauty and the Beast, Guardians Vol. 2, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok
  • Effects Simulations: Kong: Skull Island, Only the Brave, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (x2), War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Outstanding Composition: Blade Runner, Kong: Skull Island, Thor: Ragnarok, War for the Planet of the Apes


  • Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes


  • Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Shape of Water, Thor: Ragnarok, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman

Blade Runner hit all three (and did great with the guild). Apes hit all three. Don’t leave those off. Star Wars missed BFCA, but they also missed BFCA when they were nominated in 2015. So that’s three. Two spots left.

Looking at everything else:

  • Don’t bother with Okja. Just let it get on and shock you. No support anywhere, can’t see why that would make it.
  • Alien: Covenant just doesn’t feel like it’ll make it on. Prometheus did, and Ridley’s films command some respect in this category, but is there anything there that makes you think they’d go there? Not for me. So I’m willing to be wrong on that.
  • Guardians — the first one made it on, and Marvel does seem to make it more than not. However, do we really remember a lot of the effects from this? I guess the big Kurt Russell planet thing at the end? I don’t know. I feel like it won’t be nominated, even though I could see it happening. This feels more like a dark horse for me.
  • Kong: Skull Island did well at the guilds. But a couple of things about it give me pause — Legendary doesn’t have a great track record in this category. No Godzilla, no Pacific Rim. It makes sense for a lot of reasons, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the final list, but I don’t know. Something’s telling me it might not happen.
  • The Shape of Water has BAFTA and BFCA. That’s not the end-all, be-all, but it does help. It’ll get nominated a bunch and could easily manage this. However, where are the effects in this? Isn’t it all makeup?
  • Dunkirk is a war film nominated for Best Picture and I feel like they’ll probably go for it. It hit Supporting Effects at the guild as well as BAFTA and BFCA. I feel comfortable rolling with it.
  • And finally, Valerian. Possible Academy Award nominee Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. This has the feel of that surprise nominee that comes out of nowhere to be nominated. Remember The Lone Ranger? Only there, there were some practical elements to the stunts.

I think, here — you start with Blade Runner, Star Wars and Apes, and then work out from there. Dunkirk feels likely, so probably take that. They could leave both the Best Picture contenders off, which is entirely possible. However, I couldn’t tell you which two they take in their place, so I’m gonna put at least one of them on. And that’s Dunkirk.

Now, for the fifth spot — I’m not taking Okja, I’m not taking Alien, I wouldn’t take Valerian, as much as that would amuse me. So that leaves Shape of Water, Guardians or Kong. All three could make it. But despite Shape of Water being a big contender, I just can’t see where the effects are, and I feel like the branch is savvy enough to know when not to take something. So I’ll go with one of the blockbusters. Marvel also does make sense, but I’ll take Kong. The guild love swayed me, even if I think I’m walking into a trap. Let’s see what happens.

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049


Kong: Skull Island

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

First Alternate: The Shape of Water

Dark Horse: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Surprise: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Shocker: Alien: Covenant, Okja

Don’t even bother: N/A

Would love to see: Valerian. Just for shit and giggles.

I’m feeling 3/5 here. I don’t know. I just think they’re gonna go totally off the board with some of these and fuck everyone’s day up.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Now for the Sound categories. MPSE announced their nominees today, which made my life so much more difficult because I had to wait until now to think about it. Also, Editing and Mixing generally go hand in hand for the most part, so we can use CAS as somewhat of a guidepost too.

To get it out of the way, even though it’s unhelpful at the moment, here’s what MPSE did the past couple of years:

  • 2016, MPSE had Arrival and Hacksaw Ridge in all three categories and they were nominated. La La Land was in the Musical category, Sully was in Dialogue + ADR and Deepwater Horizon was in Effects + Foley.
  • 2015, MPSE had Mad Max, The Martian, The Revenant and Star Wars in all three categories and all four were nominated. Sicario hit the main two and was nominated.
  • In 2014, Birdman hit all three (nominated), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes made two (not nominated), as did Interstellar (nominated), American Sniper and Unbroken hit one (both nominated). And The Hobbit wasn’t nominated at all. In either guild. So that was a surprise.
  • 2013: Of the three categories of MPSE, one Oscar nominee (Gravity) made all three, then three more (Hobbit, Lone Survivor, Captain Phillips) made two of the three. And one (All Is Lost) only made one. (12 Years a Slave hit all three and wasn’t nominated. American Hustle hit two but wasn’t nominated. Iron Man had CAS too.)
  • 2012: Three Oscar nominees hit all three MPSE (Skyfall, Life of Pi, Argo). One (Django) hit two of three. (Zero Dark wasn’t nominated at all by MPSE.)
  • 2011: Super 8 hit all three MPSE but went unnominated. Dragon Tattoo hit 2/3. As did Dark of the Moon, War Horse and Drive. Hugo got one.
  • 2010: Inception hit all 3. True Grit hit 2. Toy Story got an animated one, but only one. Tron only got one. Unstoppable only got one. (Social Network and Black Swan got 2 but were unnominated. As did Deathly Hallows. See what I mean when I say you also have to look at CAS here too? It’s a lot to do.)

More importantly — most of the time, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing match for 4 out of the 5 nominees. Sometimes it’s less, but usually it’s 4/5. Very rarely is it 5/5. So that’s something to keep in mind.


  • 2016, BAFTA had 3/5 in Sound Mixing and 4/5 in Sound Editing. (They had Fantastic Beasts, which a lot of people did.)
  • 2015, BAFTA had 5/5 in Sound Mixing and 4/5 in Sound Editing.
  • 2014, BAFTA had 3/5 in Mixing and 2/5 in Editing. (They had Grand Budapest and Imitation Game, which were odd Sound choices. Which is good. That can help us.)
  • 2013, BAFTA had 3/5 in Mixing and 3/5 in Editing. (They had Rush, which missed entirely. And then they had the split between Llewyn Davis and All Is Lost, but didn’t have Lone Survivor anywhere.)
  • 2012, BAFTA had 3/5 in Mixing and 3/5 in Editing. (They missed Argo entirely in both and had The Hobbit on which missed both at the Oscars.)
  • 2011, BAFTA had 2/5 in Mixing and 2/5 in Editing. Only Hugo and War Horse. Otherwise they had The Artist (?) and Deathly Hallows, which missed. And Tinker Tailor, which missed.
  • 2010, BAFTA had 3/5 in Mixing and 2/5 in Editing. That was a weird year, I remember that one. So that’s fine.
  • 2009, BAFTA had 3/5 in Mixing and 4/5 in Editing. They missed Inglourious Basterds entirely. (Quentin gets those Sound nominations, doesn’t he?)

Your MPSE nominees this year are:

Dialogue + ADR: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Detroit, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, War for the Planet of the Apes

Effects + Foley: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Logan, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Shape of Water, Thor: Ragnarok, War for the Planet of the Apes

Music: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, The Lost City of Z, The Shape of Water, Transformers: The Last Knight, Wonder Woman

Musical: Beauty and the Beast, Coco, The Greatest Showman

Animation: The Breadwinner, Cars 3, Coco, Despicable Me 3, Ferdinand, The Lego Batman Movie

Your CAS nominees this year were:

Baby Driver, Dunkirk, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Shape of Water, Wonder Woman

And BAFTA, which has one sound category:

Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Just looking at MPSE alone, and then using CAS and BAFTA to further cement my choices…

Baby Driver, Dunkirk, Blade Runner and Shape of Water hit all three of their categories. It hit CAS and BAFTA. Pretty sure those are gonna make both. Blade Runner might only get one of the two, but still, that’s a really solid start for Editing.

Now… what’s the fifth nominee? Is it Star Wars? Force Awakens got both? Is this one liked enough to get both? Well, what else is there? Detroit is always a possibility. For Editing more than Mixing. Bigelow won this category for her last film. Apes got two MPSE noms, but none of the others were nominated. Wonder Woman, I think can manage one of the Sound categories. Which one, I don’t know. I guess Mixing, based on CAS.

I think the last spot is between Star Wars, Wonder Woman and Detroit. Which brings us to the eternal struggle — do I go 5/5 with both Sound categories, with all likelihood being that I get 8/10 or 9/10, since they almost invariably get one off each year, or do I split them, and then run the risk of putting the one that goes on Mixing on Editing and vice versa and getting them both wrong?

I really want to split them, because it’s in my nature to say fuck it and go for broke, but I also haven’t slept in a while and can’t think straight anymore, so I might just leave them the same. I don’t know. We have one more category to decide.

For here — I’ll take Star Wars as the fifth, just because it makes sense. Wonder Woman or Detroit could be the fifth nominee. I’ll be wrong there. Because at least I’ll have had those near the top.

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049


The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

First Alternate: Detroit

Dark Horse: Wonder Woman

Surprise: War for the Planet of the Apes, Coco, Logan

Shocker: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Don’t even bother: Nothing, to be honest. Maybe Get Out or Lady Bird or something like that.

Would love to see: 5/5 in both Sound categories. Don’t know if I’ve ever done that.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Now Sound Mixing.

Let’s just look specifically at the amount of times Mixing and Editing matched as categories. Or rather, how many times films got nominated in both.

  • 2016, they matched 3/5. Arrival, Hackasaw Ridge, La La Land. (Deepwater Horizon and Sully got on Editing and Rogue One and 13 Hours made Mixing.)
  • 2015, they matched 4/5. Mad Max, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars. (Sicario got on Editing and Bridge of Spies got on Mixing.)
  • 2014, 4/5. American Sniper, Birdman, Interstellar and Unbroken got both. (Mixing had Whiplash and Editing had The Hobbit.)
  • 2013, 4/5. Gravity, Captain Phillips, The Hobbit and Lone Survivor got both. (Mixing had Llewyn Davis and Editing had All Is Lost.)
  • 2012, 3/5. Argo, Life of Pi and Skyfall got both. (Editing had Zero Dark and Django, and Mixing had Les Mis and Lincoln.)
  • 2011, 4/5. Hugo, Dragon Tattoo, Transformers and War Horse got both. (Editing had Drive and Mixing had Moneyball.)
  • 2010, 2/5. Inception and True Grit had both. (Editing had Toy Story 3, Tron Legacy and Unstoppable. Mixing had The King’s Speech, Salt and The Social Network.)
  • 2009, 4/5. The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Inglourious Basterds and Star Trek got both. (Editing had Up and Mixing had Transformers.)
  • 2008, 4/5. Dark Knight, Slumdog, Wall-E and Wanted got both. (Editing had Iron Man and Mixing had Benjamin Button.)
  • 2007, 4/5. Bourne Ultimatum, No Country, Transformers and Ratatouille got all four. (Editing had There Will Be Blood and Mixing had 3:10 to Yuma.)
  • 2006, 4/5. Apocalypto, Flags of Our Fathers, Blood Diamond and Pirates got all four. (Editing had Letters from Iwo Jima and Mixing had Dreamgirls.)

Before then, Editing only had three nominees. But we’ll go back to 2002 anyway.

  • 2005: King Kong, War of the Worlds and Memoirs of a Geisha had both.
  • 2004: The Incredibles, The Polar Express and Spider-Man 2 got both.
  • 2003: Master and Commander and Pirates got both. (Editing had Finding Nemo.)
  • 2002: Two Towers and Road to Perdition got both. (Editing had Minority Report.)

All the history points to only 4/5 matching. But again, if you play those odds, you gotta get the one that’s different right. Fuck it. No guts, no glory.

Baby Driver should make both. Car chases and music. That’s the total package. Dunkirk should get both. It’s a big, loud war movie with a good score. Shape of Water will get both to pad its nominations total. Blade Runner might not get both, but I’m willing to say that it does.

I’m taking Wonder Woman here. Let’s fuck up the tally!

Though it is worth mentioning — CAS did nominate Star Wars over Blade Runner, but I feel like the increased BAFTA contingent/less overall members in the Academy lead toward Blade Runner making it on over Star Wars.

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049


The Shape of Water

Wonder Woman

First Alternate: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Dark Horse: Detroit

Surprise: The Greatest Showman

Shocker: Nothing. Though I guess same as above. Get Out and Lady Bird. Stuff like that.

Don’t even bother: Going way different in the two categories. They will be at least 3/5 the same, and odds are those three will be Dunkirk, Shape of Water and either Baby Driver or Blade Runner.

Would love to see: Again, me go 5/5 in both Sound categories. That’s rarified air. Especially if I’m not going uniform in both.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Animated Feature.

26 films eligible. I’ve seen all 26.

  • The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales
  • Birdboy: The Forgotten Children
  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie
  • Cars 3
  • Cinderella the Cat
  • Coco
  • Despicable Me 3
  • The Emoji Movie
  • Ethel & Ernest
  • Ferdinand
  • The Girl Without Hands
  • In This Corner of the World
  • The Lego Batman Movie
  • The Lego Ninjago Movie
  • Loving Vincent
  • Mary and the Witch’s Flower
  • Moomins and the Winter Wonderland
  • My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea
  • Napping Princess
  • A Silent Voice
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village
  • The Star
  • Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale
  • Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming

Only like eight or nine of these have any real chance at it. Before we get into that, here’s how the other places went:

  • BAFTA: Coco, Loving Vincent
  • BFCA: The Breadwinner, Coco, Despicable Me 3, Lego Batman Movie, Loving Vincent
  • Globes: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent

None of that particularly matters. This category is so intuitive.

Of the 26, the ones that will not be nominated are:

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children, The Emoji Movie, The Lego Ninjago Movie, Moomins and the Winter Wonderland, Napping Princess, A Silent Voice, Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Star, Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale, Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming

That leaves 16 possibilities. Of the ones left, here are the ones I can be pretty confident will not be nominated:

The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, Despicable Me 3, Ethel & Ernest, In This Corner of the World, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea

(Big Bad Fox is by the people who did Ernest & Celestine, so if it happens, look to that as the reason, and My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea feels more like something that would have made Animated Short and not Feature. But that’s just me.)

So we’re down to eleven. I can also give you most of the list right now. Because Coco, The Breadwinner and Loving Vincent will be nominated. And if they’re not, then you shouldn’t not have them on your nominees list, because these are the closest things to locks that we have. So that leaves 8 films for two spots.

  • The Boss Baby — as much as I’d love to see this nominated, it doesn’t hit the 70% threshold on Rotten Tomatoes, and there hasn’t been a movie below 70% in like thirteen years or something in this category. So that’s a huge strike against it.
  • Cars 3 — Cars 2 was left off, and Pixar sequels generally don’t do well. Plus, two Pixar movies in one year? Highly doubt it. I’d put better odds on them going on their more ‘arty’ stuff in one of the spots than this.
  • Captain Underpants — it fits the threshold for Rotten Tomatoes. It was generally liked. Doesn’t feel like it fits the category, though. I’m gonna leave this one off and just let it get on if its gonna.
  • Ferdinand — this barely hit the 70% threshold. A month ago I’d have said no way. I’m still basically saying no way, but technically it could. I’m gonna let it beat me. Doesn’t fit how the branch votes. They like arty stuff in years like this.
  • Cinderella the Cat — cue the arty stuff. This was lovely, but might be… well, nothing is too small for them. This could make it. I’d go with the next film for the arty choice, but this definitely could make it. Remember Chico & Rita? This is right up that alley. Do not rule this one out.
  • The Girl Without Hands – this is everything they like. Remember Boy and the World? They go for this. This is gonna be my fifth choice. We haven’t even gotten to four yet, but this will be five.
  • The Lego Batman Movie — a lot of people will assume they’ll go here because it did well and people liked it. But I don’t see it. they didn’t even nominate the first Lego Movie, and it’s not like this is so close to that where it’ll be a makeup scenario. I just don’t see it and won’t be picking it.
  • Mary and the Witch’s Flower — this is all the Ghibli animators starting their own company and doing a sort of Ghibli movie. This feels like they’ll spark to it, and it’s my fourth choice. I think this should make sense as a choice without much effort.

Best Animated Feature

The Breadwinner


The Girl Without Hands

Loving Vincent

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

First Alternate: Cinderella the Cat

Dark Horse: The Lego Batman Movie

Surprise: The Boss Baby, Ferdinand, The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, Captain Underpants

Shocker: Cars 3, Despicable Me 3, Ethel & Ernest, In This Corner of the World, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea

Don’t even bother: The rest.

Would love to see: That exact category that I guessed. Or else ‘Academy Award nominee The Boss Baby’.

I think I could go 5/5 here. 4/5 at worst. They’ll have one of my two ‘arty’ nominees. The question is which one. I’d be surprised if more than one populist film makes it on past Coco. Ferdinand would surprise me. Captain America would slightly surprise me. Lego Batman would be boring. Cars 3 would shock me because they went double Pixar after for years looking to leave them off.

Still rooting for The Boss Baby, though.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Foreign Language Film now. We’re in the home stretch.

Your shortlist:

  • A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
  • In the Fade (Germany)
  • On Body and Soul (Hungary)
  • Foxtrot (Israel)
  • The Insult (Lebanon)
  • Loveless (Russia)
  • Félicité (Senegal)
  • The Wound (South Africa)
  • The Square (Sweden)

Nine contenders, five will be nominated. Pretty good odds.

I’ve seen 4/9, with two more that I have and just haven’t been able to watch yet.

Of what I’ve seen — A Fantastic Woman was fine. Foxtrot was very good. The Insult I didn’t particularly care for. And same for The Wound. I have Loveless and The Square and just haven’t been able to watch them yet.

BAFTA nominated Loveless, while BFCA nominated A Fantastic Woman, In the Fade and The Square. The Globes nominated In the Fade, A Fantastic Woman, Loveless and The Square.

I think we can all safely assume that In the Fade, The Square and Loveless are on. The latter two should make it, and In the Fade won the Globe, and is generally pretty liked. I’m not leaving any of those off, even if a curveball could happen. Then, Foxtrot was very good and fits everything about what this category is, so that’s four.

Now, on that alone — Germany, Russia, Israel, Sweden. Not bad, somewhat diverse. But they like to fit in other places. Which means I guess Chile could get on with A Fantastic Woman. Not sure. Doubt they add Lebanon to the mix. Same for Hungary. That leaves Senegal, who just had their first submission this year and got shortlisted, which happens a lot. Something tells me that ends there. However, South Africa — that might make it. So on a hunch, I’ll take The Wound as my fifth choice.

I know that feels arbitrary, but that’s how they vote. Mauritania got on here a few years ago. (Which means Senegal could easily make it too.) Plus, the subject matter of The Wound makes sense, so I’ll take that.

Best Foreign Language Film


In the Fade


The Square

The Wound

First Alternate: A Fantastic Woman

Dark Horse: Félicité

Surprise: On Body and Soul, The Insult

Shocker: N/A

Don’t even bother: N/A

Would love to see: Me get 5/5 here.

Nothing would shock me here. On Body and Soul might surprise me a little bit. And The Insult would seem a bit out of left field. But outside of that, I’m prepared for pretty much anything they throw at me.

Unless they massacre the favorites, I think you should get 3/5 easy, if not 4/5.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Best Documentary time.

15 finalists:

  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail — A small financial institution called Abacus becomes the only company criminally indicted in the wake of the United States’ 2008 mortgage crisis.
  • Chasing Coral — Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.
  • City of Ghosts — A documentary that follows the efforts of “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.
  • Ex Libris: The New York Public Library — A look within the walls of the New York Public Library.
  • Faces Places — Director Agnes Varda and photographer/muralist J.R. journey through rural France and form an unlikely friendship.
  • Human Flow — Human Flow is director and artist Ai Weiwei’s detailed and heartbreaking exploration into the global refugee crisis.
  • Icarus — When Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller involving dirty urine, unexplained death and Olympic Gold-exposing the biggest scandal in sports history.
  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power — A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution.
  • Jane — Using a trove of unseen footage, the film tells the story of Jane Goodall’s early explorations, focusing on her groundbreaking field work, her relationship with cameraman and husband Hugo van Lawick, and the chimpanzees that she studied.
  • LA 92 — Twenty-five years after the verdict in the Rodney King trial sparked several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles, filmmakers examine that tumultuous period through rarely seen archival footage.
  • Last Men in Aleppo — After five years of war in Syria, Aleppo’s remaining residents prepare themselves for a siege. Khalid, Subhi and Mahmoud, founding members of The White Helmets, have remained in the city to help their fellow citizens-and experience daily life, death, struggle and triumph in a city under fire.
  • Long Strange Trip — A look at the 30-year career of The Grateful Dead.
  • One of Us — Penetrating the insular world of New York’s Hasidic community, focusing on three individuals driven to break away despite threats of retaliation.
  • Strong Island — Examining the violent death of the filmmaker’s brother and the judicial system that allowed his killer to go free, this documentary interrogates murderous fear and racialized perception, and re-imagines the wreckage in catastrophe’s wake, challenging us to change.
  • Unrest — When Harvard Ph.D. student Jennifer Brea is struck down by a fever that leaves her bedridden, she sets out on a virtual journey to document her story as she fights a disease that medicine forgot.

I’ve seen 14 of these. Go me. Of them:

  • Haven’t seen: Ex Libris
  • Loved: Icarus, Jane
  • Liked a lot: Faces Places, LA 92, One of Us
  • Was fine: Abacus, An Inconvenient Sequel, Long Strange Trip, Strong Island, Unrest
  • Ehh: Chasing Coral, Last Men in Aleppo
  • Did not like: City of Ghosts, Human Flow

Doesn’t mean anything, especially since I don’t like documentaries, but there we are.

The precursors are never helpful here. So let’s just narrow it down, bit by bit. The films that I will not be guessing, are:

  • Last Men in Aleppo — It’s basically longer White Helmets. I think they’re over this and can’t see them repeating themselves so soon.
  • Long Strange Trip — nothing in my experience makes me think a four hour Grateful Dead documentary is something they’d go for.
  • Chasing Coral — nature/environmental documentaries generally don’t get on here. And if they do, they’re of the Al Gore variety.
  • Unrest — could happen, but I’m not guessing it. Just doesn’t fit.
  • Ex Libris — specifically not guessing it because I want it to get on. I want to be happily incorrect if this makes it.
  • Strong Island — could make it, but I’m just not picking it. Feels too slight for them.
  • Human Flow — could make it, I just won’t guess it. No reason why except — just not feeling it. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

Eight left. Five of these will be my category. That’s easy enough.

— Jane should be on. That just won the PGA and makes a whole lot of sense.

— Icarus makes a lot of sense too. Gonna guess that.

— City of Ghosts is by the guy who did Cartel Land. Gonna guess that to not be wrong. If it’s not, I’m happy. So win-win for me.

— Faces Places fits, but something tells me they might not nominate it. So let’s wait.

— LA 92 makes sense for them. Footage is great, and it subtly has shades of today. They might go here.

— An Inconvenient Sequel… I feel like they’ll go for this just as a statement against Trump. Nominate but not win. I’m not leaving this off my list to be safe.

— Abacus feels like they might do it. That should be my fifth.

But… I think I’m going LA 92. Don’t know why. Feels like the right choice. Those are my five.

Best Documentary

City of Ghosts


An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power


LA 92

First Alternate: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Dark Horse: Faces Places

Surprise: Last Men in Aleppo, Ex Libris: The New York Public Library, Human Flow, One of Us

Shocker: Unrest, Strong Island, Long Strange Trip, Chasing Coral

Don’t even bother: N/A

Would love to see: Me do reasonably well here.

I think you can feel good with Jane, City of Ghosts and Icarus. I also feel confident on An Inconvenient Sequel. If those come in, it’s 4/5 automatically and I don’t feel bad. Let’s see how it goes.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Documentary Short.

Ten shortlisted films. We just need to pick five. Here they are:

  • Alone — About a woman marrying a man in prison.
  • Edith+Eddie — Edith and Eddie, ages 96 and 95, are America’s oldest interracial newlyweds. Their love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear the couple apart.
  • Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 — Mindy Alper is a tortured and brilliant 56 year old artist who is represented by one of Los Angeles’ top galleries. Acute anxiety, mental disorder and devastating depression have caused her to be committed to mental institutions undergo electro shock therapy and survive a 10 year period without the ability to speak. Her hyper self awareness has allowed her to produce a lifelong body of work that expresses her emotional state with powerful psychological precision. Through interviews, reenactments, the building of an eight and a half foot papier-mache’ bust of her beloved psychiatrist, and examining drawings made from the time she was a child, we learn how she has emerged from darkness and isolation to a life that includes love, trust and support.
  • Heroin(e) — Three women fight to break the cycle one life at a time.
  • Kayayo, the Living Shopping Baskets — In the capital of Ghana, 10,000 girls from the ages of 6 work as real life shopping baskets – called Kayayo, carrying heavy loads on their head (from 130 to 220 pounds), earning very little and some end up in prostitution to make ends meet. This documentary is about Bamunu, an 8-year old girl who hasn’t seen her family since she was sent away from home two years ago to work as a Kayayo to support her family. We follow her incessant longing to get away from the harsh markets, her journey back home and what awaits there.
  • Knife Skills — What does it take to build a world-class French restaurant? What if the staff is almost entirely men and women just out of prison? What if most have never cooked or served before, and have barely two months to learn their trade? We follow the hectic launch of Edwins restaurant in Cleveland. In this improbable setting, with its mouth-watering dishes and its arcane French vocabulary, we discover the challenges of men and women finding their way after their release. We come to know three trainees intimately, as well as the restaurant’s founder, who is himself haunted by his time in jail. These men and women all have something to prove, and all struggle to launch new lives, an endeavor as pressured and perilous as the ambitious restaurant launch of which they are a part.
  • 116 Cameras — Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss preserves her story interactively so that she will be able to tell it forever.
  • Ram Dass, Going Home — A profound and poetic encounter with cultural and spiritual icon Ram Dass, at his home on Maui toward the end of his life.
  • Ten Meter Tower — On a 10-meter high diving tower, fear of taking the jump is pitted against the personal loss that would arise if you didn’t dare. What do we look like when we hesitate and when we make a decision? What does it look like when we overcome our fear?
  • Traffic Stop — Traffic Stop tells the story of Breaion King, a 26 year-old African-American school teacher from Austin, Texas who is stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalates into a dramatic arrest.

I’ve seen… some of these.

  • Alone — that’s the one I just can’t see being nominated. (So naturally it will.) This is the last film in the category I’d guess.
  • Ten Meter Tower — it’s just people jumping into a pool. Or not. Will they really go here? I’m not guessing it.
  • Heroin(e) was fine. But it’s Netflix, and they won this last year, so that’s something to consider. Plus these real life medical things they seem to go for.
  • 116 Cameras is Holocaust, but it’s basically a woman telling her story and being filmed by a bunch of cameras. Not sure this will resonate. There’s no emotional angle here.

So yeah. Heroin(e) is the only one of these I’d guess.

  • Edith+Eddie feels like this category to a tee. So that’s one.
  • Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 — same. So that’s two.
  • Kayayo — again, same. That’s three.
  • Knife Skills sounds awesome, so that’s probably four. (I’m not putting thought into this. Overthinking it is pointless.)
  • Ram Dass could make it, but it feels like the one I don’t guess that makes it on anyway. But, as always, I won’t guess it.
  • Traffic Stop is an unknown to me, and can easily make it. It’s timely. Not sure how it ends, so I’ll not guess it on a hunch and see what happens. I think.

So yeah. Definitely Edith+Eddie, definitely Heaven Is a Traffic Jam, definitely Kayayo. Gonna do Knife Skills because I need one based on what I think is good. I’m sure they’ll leave that off.

Fifth spot… either Traffic Stop or Heroin(e). And I think I’m gonna go Netflix and guess Heroin(e). It’s Documentary Short. Assume the worst, hope for the best.

Best Documentary Short


Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405


Kayayo, the Living Shopping Baskets

Knife Skills

First Alternate: Ram Dass, Going Home

Dark Horse: Traffic Stop

Surprise: Alone, Ten Meter Tower, 116 Cameras

Shocker: N/A

Don’t even bother: N/A

Would love to see: N/A

I think I can do 3/5 here. That feels like how I usually do. 2/5 is acceptable, but I’d want better. 3/5 is average, 4/5 is great. Not even gonna think I’m going 5/5, because that’s almost impossible. We’ll see.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –

Best Live-Action Short. The hardest category to pick every year.

Your shortlist.

  • DeKalb Elementary — Inspired by an actual 911 call placed during a school shooting incident in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The Eleven O’Clock — The delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes he is actually the psychiatrist. As they each attempt to treat each other the session gets out of control.
  • Facing Mecca — Pensioner Roli comes to Fareed’s assistance when the Syrian refugee is faced with the burial of his Muslim wife. Together they stumble into a bewildering forest of Swiss bureaucracy to which Roli finds beautifully simple answer.
  • Icebox — Oscar, a young boy from Honduras, is caught crossing the US border and sent to a juvenile immigrant processing facility. The film captures the experience of life inside the ‘Icebox’ and a young boy’s journey through the US immigration system.
  • Lost Face — Subienkow is in mortal danger. The fort he and his fellow fur thieves have erected in the snow is in flames – attacked by the very tribe they enslaved to build it – now only he and Big Ivan remain. As Ivan is tortured before him Subienkow must think fast to escape the terrible, protracted death that awaits him. He calls over the chief, Makamuk, and begins to bargain…
  • My Nephew Emmett — At 2:30AM on August 28, 1955 in the most racially divided state in the country, 64 year-old Mose Wright tries to protect his 14 year-old nephew Emmett Till from two racist killers out for blood. Based on the true story of the 1955 murder of Emmett Louis Till.
  • Rise of a Star — Emma is about to be the new Ballerina. But something upsets her. A secret. A secret liable to undermine what she has spent a whole life on.
  • The Silent Child — The Silent Child centres around a profoundly deaf four year old girl named Libby who is born into a middle class family and lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication.
  • Watu Wote: All of Us — For a decade Kenya has been targeted by terrorist attacks of the Al-Shabaab. An atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust between Muslims and Christians is growing. Until in December 2015, Muslim bus passengers showed that solidarity can prevail.
  • Witnesses — Stéphane, a freelance war photographer, is covering the Syrian conflict. She follows the daily existence of a young couple: Farah, a schoolteacher, and Omar, a doctor. During fighting, Stéphane takes a photo of Omar. A photo that could make headlines in the western media. Omar, convinced that the publication of this photo will put his life at risk, asks Stéphane not to send it off. But given the urgency, Stéphane has already forwarded her photos to her press agency in France: it is too late, the photo is released, altering the lives of both Stéphane and Omar.

As per usual, I’ve seen none of them. So I’m basing this on the trailers and the synopses.

  • DeKalb Elementary seems so on brand for this category that I’m feeling like it might not be nominated. School shootings are tough to show on screen. This seems like it’s a recreation based on the 911 calls. Not sure they’re gonna go for this. Consider it, but I’m not totally sold this gets on.
  • The Eleven O’Clock seems like a comedy short. They tent to like one of those. This might make it.
  • Facing Mecca… could work. 50/50.
  • Icebox definitely feels like them. So that’s one.
  • Lost Face looks very well produced. I think a lot of people are gonna guess this one. Maybe it gets on. I’m thinking maybe not.
  • My Nephew Emmett sounds like it can be really powerful. I’m guessing it, even though I’m sure they’ll find a way to leave it off.
  • Rise of a Star fits with what they go for. That’s on.
  • The Silent Child also feels like them. So that’s on.
  • Watu Wote feels like the one I don’t guess and it gets on. So I think I’ll guess it this year.
  • And Witnesses — ehh.

So yeah. Icebox yes, Emmett, sure, Rise of a Star yes, Silent Child yes, and Watu Wote because I just know they’ll nominate it. That’s five. It’s all guesswork anyway.


Best Live-Action Short


My Nephew Emmett

Rise of a Star

The Silent Child

Watu Wote: All of Us

First Alternate: Lost Face

Dark Horse: The Eleven O’Clock

Surprise: Witnesses, DeKalb Elementary, Facing Mecca

Shocker: N/A

Don’t even bother: N/A

Would love to see: N/A

There’s nothing to say here. If there’s one category where you truly have zero idea of what they’re gonna do, this is the one. If you consistently get 4/5 here, then congratulations, you’ve got a leg up on the rest of us.

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And finally, Best Animated Short.

Here’s the shortlist:

  • Cradle — Returning to the USA after losing both arms overseas, a young veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics, and memories of his pre-war life while reaching for a sense of normalcy.
  • Dear Basketball — An animated telling of Kobe Bryant’s poem ‘Dear Basketball’.
  • Fox and the Whale — The tale of a curious fox who goes in search of an elusive whale. A journey of pursuit and longing.
  • Garden Party — In a deserted rich house, a couple of amphibians explore their surroundings and follow their primal instincts.
  • In a Heartbeat — A boy has a crush on another boy that he is too shy to confess, but his heart is not so reticent.
  • Life Smartphone — The phenomenon of increasing smartphone addiction can be attributed to today’s cutting-edge technology. Staring at glowing screens instead of exploring the vast expanse of life, people are gradually alienating themselves from the richness, depth, and loveliness of life.
  • Lost Property Office — Sometimes people can get lost in their work.
  • Lou — A Pixar short about a lost-and-found box and the unseen monster within.
  • Negative Space — About a boy who connects with his father by learning to pack a suitcase.
  • Revolting Rhymes — Two half-hour animated films based on the much-loved rhymes written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake.

There is a legitimate chance we could have Academy Award nominee Kobe Bryant. So keep that one in mind. I’m not going there, but it’s a possibility.

As is the case with all the shorts categories, you can only go based on what you’ve seen and how they usually vote. It’s all just gut feeling and hoping for the best.

I’ve seen seven of these, and should be able to see eight before announcements tomorrow morning. So I feel pretty well-versed in this one. The three I currently need to see are Garden Party, Lost Property Office and Revolting Rhymes. Rhymes is the one I should be able to see later today.

Based on what I’ve seen — no way do I think Dear Basketball makes it. Cradle… ehh. Wouldn’t guess it, but it could happen. Life Smartphone is very short and doesn’t seem to have a point to it. “We’re too tied to our cell phones.” But you get that immediately and it doesn’t go anywhere after that. Can’t see that being nominated.

Fox and the Whale is nice. Could go either way. Garden Party looks gorgeous and without having seen it, I have no idea. Lost Property Office, sight unseen, looks exactly like the kind of short that wins this category, so that’s one for sure. Lou is Pixar, and you can never not guess Pixar here in the nominations stage, so that’s another one for me. In a Heartbeat is adorable and made a bit of a splash when it came out. I think that’s enough to get it on. It’s not Disney, so there’s not that Disney/Pixar thing we sometimes have. (The two never make it on at the same time.)

I feel like you have to take Lou and In a Heartbeat no matter what you do. My experience here tells me Lost Property Office is right up their alley. So that’s three.

Next is Negative Space. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it’s personal. And it’s stop-motion. I feel comfortable putting that on my list.

And finally, there’s Revolting Rhymes. I have so many questions about this — namely it’s based on two half-hour shorts presented on the BBC. So I’m not sure which part counts and how they figured out what makes up the short they’re gonna nominate. But, regardless, the directors of this made The Gruffalo and No Room on the Broom, two shorts that were nominated. So I think you need to make that your other choice. They seem to reward people who’ve been there before. If they weren’t nominated before, I probably wouldn’t put them on. But there we are. I’ll make Garden Party the alternate and Fox and the Whale the dark horse. Those two definitely feel like they could make it. Then again, so could Cradle. It’s Animated Short. It’s a crap shoot. We know this.

Best Animated Short

In a Heartbeat

Lost Property Office


Negative Space

Revolting Rhymes

First Alternate: Garden Party

Dark Horse: Fox and the Whale

Surprise: Cradle, Dear Basketball, Life Smartphone

Shocker: N/A

Don’t even bother: N/A

Would love to see: N/A

– – – – – – – – – –

So that’s that. I haven’t really looked at this at all or if I even finished some of them. So I might go back and reread this later if I can and possibly alter some stuff. We’ll see.

Nominations are at 5:30 PT tomorrow morning.


One response

  1. lacourseauxetoiles

    I agree with most of your predictions, with a few exceptions. I have the same first 7 Best Picture nominees as you, but then would predict I, Tonya at 8, The Big Sick at 9, and Darkest Hour at 10. I think the DGA will match 5/5. I think Blade Runner 2049 gets on for Best Editing. I think Truth to Power gets nominated for Best Original Song instead of Prayers for This World. I think I, Tonya gets nominated for Best Makeup & Hairstyling instead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and I think Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gets nominated for Best Visual Effects over Kong: Skull Island. I think The Last Jedi gets nominated for Best Sound Mixing over Wonder Woman. I think Despicable Me 3 and The Lego Batman Movie will be nominated for Best Animated Feature over Mary and the Witch’s Flower and The Girl Without Hands (the category changed its rules so that the entire Academy votes on the nominees now, which means that a category with only 1 mainstream film probably won’t happen. I also think that The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales is more likely than either Mary and the Witch’s Flower or The Girl Without Hands since it got nominated at the Annies and those movies didn’t). I think A Fantastic Woman will be nominated over The Wound. I think 116 Cameras will be nominated for Best Documentary Short over Heroin(e). I think The Eleven O’Clock will be nominated for Best Live-Action Short over Watu Wote. And I think Dear Basketball will be nominated over Revolting Rhymes (the Annies nominated Dear Basketball).

    January 22, 2018 at 10:52 pm

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