And the Nominees Are: Analyzing the 90th Academy Awards Nominations

Oscar nominees were announced this morning. Let’s see what it all means.

What I love about this day is that we’re no longer guessing what can or will be. Now we’re left with what is, and this is the reality going forward. So now it’s a matter of figuring out what’ll win.

But, before we move onto that, let’s look at what happened and try to figure out why it happened. And, more importantly, how I did in guessing it. Because I am nothing if not narcissistic.

Here are the 90th Academy Award nominations:

Best Picture

Call Me by Your Name

Darkest Hour


Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Nine nominees. A full Fellowship. That’s generally what we’re used to here.

The PGA only had seven of them. Despite having 11 chances to get 9, they still missed two. They had The Big Sick, I Tonya, Molly’s Game and Wonder Woman, and missed Phantom Thread and Darkest Hour. Phantom Thread, having broke late, pulled off a big coup. I’m glad. Because it deserves to be there. Darkest Hour got the kind of support you’d have expected, though we weren’t entirely sure if it could make it on. But it’s not that surprising.

The big omission seems to be The Big Sick, which capped off an inconsistent season by being left off here.

I ended up going 8/9, which is really solid. 1-7 was spot on. I had The Big Sick as 8 based on precursors. Obviously that didn’t work out. But I did have Darkest Hour at 9, so I did foresee that one. I had I, Tonya at ten, just because I didn’t think Phantom Thread could muster the support. I did have it as the alternate, though. So I feel pretty good. It was all right there.

Phantom Thread makes it on without an precursors. But on stature alone it makes sense, so no one should be overly surprised.

Now that’s out of the way, looking at what we’ve got, and how a preferential ballot might go, here’s how I see the nominees as potential winners:

9. Darkest Hour
8. The Post
7. Call Me By Your Name
6. Phantom Thread
5. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
3. Lady Bird
2. Three Billboards Outsie Ebbing, Missouri
1. The Shape of Water

This is based purely on nothing more than gut reaction. This will change drastically, I’m sure, within the next month. But based on what we know, The Shape of Water has the most nominations and won the PGA. It’s the de facto favorite until proven otherwise.

But, 8/9 here for me, which is a solid year.

Big takeaways: Phantom Thread got the support we hoped it would get. The Big Sick didn’t have the top level support to make it on. That’s really about it. This went pretty much the way we expected it to go.

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Jordan Peele, Get Out

Paul Thomas Anderson. Look at that. They left off someone from the DGA, but it turns out to have been Martin McDonagh, which I wouldn’t have expected. Now Peele and Gerwig are on, and Paul Thomas Anderson justly gets his due for his incredible work on Phantom Thread.

However, this does mean I only went 3/5 here, as I had McDonagh on and Peele off in favor of Luca Guadagnino. I did highlight a possible scenario like this, which turned out to be the case, so I’m not shocked.

Right now, barring the DGA, here’s what the category looks like for the win:

5. Peele

4. Gerwig

3. Anderson

2. Nolan

1. Del Toro

Big takeaways: Paul Thomas Anderson is on, McDonagh is off. Did he get squeezed or did they just feel like Screenplay was enough for him? Because I agreed with him not really being a great choice for Best Director. still didn’t think he’d be left off. But — Peele and Gerwig are both on, which is pretty historic. That’s really the big takeaway here, and it’s really cool. That makes 3/5 worth it.

Best Actor

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

4/5 for me, and in the end Denzel got on and James Franco did not. I agree with the choice of one over the other. Outside of that, the category went exactly how we expected it to.


5. Kaluuya

4. Denzel

3. Chalamet

2. Day-Lewis

1. Oldman

Big takeaways: None, really. Denzel is still really liked, even if not a lot of people saw his movie. But maybe they will now, which is exciting. Otherwise, Gary Oldman’s gonna win this like we all expect.

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

5/5 for me. Talk about easy. This was the only category that made sense. Who else could it have been? Jessica Chastain? This was the category.

It’s also pretty easy to parse at this point, too.


5. Meryl

4. Hawkins

3. Robbie

2. Ronan

1. McDormand

Big takeaways: That Frances McDormand is probably gonna win? Otherwise, none, really. Margot Robbie just got her first nomination, which is pretty cool. And Saoirse Ronan’s on her third, cementing her as probably the best actress of her generation. Otherwise, not a whole lot more to add.

Best Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Yeah, boy! 5/5 again.

Also a category that made sense. Rockwell and Dafoe were gonna happen for sure. Based on the precursors and his general likability, Woody was a solid bet. Jenkins made sense on the level of film and his respect as a character actor. Plummer was the one that I saw coming. The minute he got the Globe nomination, you saw him getting nominated. And you know what? That’s cool.

Kinda wish that Stuhlbarg snuck in, but overall this makes a lot of sense.


5. Jenkins

4. Harrelson

3. Plummer

2. Dafoe

1. Rockwell

Rockwell should win this based on the precursors. If he wins BAFTA too it’s over.

Big takeaways: They’re really making a statement on the Spacey thing with Plummer. Otherwise, they liked the Three Billboards performances a lot. That’s really all you can takeaway from this.

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

The category that I expected to do badly on at the top, I did okay on. 3/5. I knew Janney and Metcalf were locked, and you had to figure Spencer would be on.

I kept holding out hope that Holly Hunter would make it, even though all signs pointed to no on her. Manville was a hopeful in my mind, but I truly didn’t think that film would get enough support to get her on this list too. That, surprised me a little bit. I had her as a dark horse, but that’s because there weren’t more than seven possibilities. Mary J. Blige gets on. She had the precursors to. No surprise, even though I really didn’t expect them to go there. Hong Chau gets left off, and Downsizing seemingly gets totally shut out.

This one is so easy to parse. It’s a two person race right now, with one way out in front.


5. Blige

4. Manville

3. Spencer

2. Metcalf

1. Janney

Big takeaways: Janney probably wins this. Phantom Thread had a lot of support (which is awesome). Mary J. Blige is now an Oscar nominee. The Big Sick got shafted. Am I missing anything? Oh, another year without an Asian being nominated for an acting award. That ought to cover it.

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

That’s another 5/5. This one was pretty easy. I thought Phantom Thread might make it on too, after the showing it had above this. I, Tonya had a shot, but these five felt like the five. So no big shocker.


5. The Big Sick

4. The Shape of Water

3. Lady Bird

2. Get Out

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Big takeaways: Unless they’re gonna go all in on Jordan Peele, McDonagh will win this because he didn’t get the Director support. They’ll funnel it all into this one. Otherwise, Shape of Water is the most well liked film of the year, based on it hitting every category so far.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist


Molly’s Game



I believe I said there were six nominees for five spots. Four of them are on this list. The fifth spot was either Logan or Wonder. I guessed Wonder, it was Logan. So yeah.


5. Logan

4. The Disaster Artist

3. Molly’s Game

2. Mudbound

1. Call Me By Your Name

Big takeaways: Logan got nominated. That’s cool. Other than that, this category is locked.

Best Editing

Baby Driver


I, Tonya

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

4/5. This went basically as I expected it to. I had Get Out managing an Editing nomination. I Tonya got it instead. I truly didn’t think two non-Best Picture nominees would make it on. But all that did was keep me from incorrectly guessing Blade Runner. Still, it went about as expected. All solid choices.


5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

4. I, Tonya

3. The Shape of Water

2. Baby Driver

1. Dunkirk

Big takeaways: If the history is to be believed, only Shape of Water and Three Billboards are the major Best Picture contenders. I guess Lady Bird could still make a play, or Get Out or something, but it’s looked like those two all along, and this category seems to shore that up.

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour



The Shape of Water

5/5. This was the obvious category. The only other possibility seemed to be Call Me By Your Name, which never really got any support here in the precursors. This one went as expected.


5. Mudbound

4. Darkest Hour

3. Shape of Water

2. Blade Runner 2049

1. Dunkirk

Big takeaways: Deakins has a shot. I’ve lost hope at this point, and am assuming Hoyte or Lautsen wins, but hey… there’s hope. Also, three nominations for Mudbound so far. That’s solid.

Best Original Score


Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

So John Williams gets on, but it’s for Star Wars and not Spielberg. Cool.

Dunkirk is on. As expected. Phantom Thread is on, as expected. Shape of Water is on, as expected.

The one minor surprise is Three Billboards, which surprised me when I saw it on the Globes list. Carter Burwell isn’t someone they’ve really ever rewarded, so it was interesting to see it make it on.

In the end, I went 3/5. John Williams was one of my guesses, so there’s that. I feel okay in all. It’s tough to go 5/5 in Score.


5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

3. Dunkirk

2. Phantom Thread

1. The Shape of Water

Big takeaways: Three Billboards got a score nomination. John Williams has 51 nominations now. And Shape of Water is winning this. Desplat’s about to win his second.

Best Original Song

“Mighty River,” from Mudbound

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

“Remember Me,” from Coco

“Stand Up for Something,” from Marshall

“This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman

This never ends well. I’m happy the big three came through and I managed 3/5.

Mudbound and Marshall got on, so cool. Common gets nominated again. Mary J. Blige — two time Academy Award nominee Mary J. Blige.

Is there every anything surprising about this category unless they leave something big off?

No idea where this goes at the moment.


5. “Stand Up for Something”

4. “Mighty River”

3. “Mystery of Love”

2. “Remember Me”

1. “This Is Me”

Big takeaways: Two-time Academy Award nominee Mary J. Blige. This category is wide open. You gotta give the musical the biggest shot, but truly… no idea.

Best Production Design

Beauty and the Beast

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour


The Shape of Water

5/5. Go me.

Didn’t know which way this would go, but I went with what I thought were the intuitive choices. So I’m glad that worked out.

The Post is the big one they left off. But that only managed two nominations to this point, and I doubt anything else comes up for it from here on out. So that went about as expected. No real surprises here. No Orient Express. No Phantom Thread. Chalk. Solid choices, but chalk.

No clue what they vote for here.


5. Darkest Hour

4. Dunkirk

3. Blade Runner 2049

2. Beauty and the Beast

1. The Shape of Water

Big takeaways: They nominated a war film here. That doesn’t happen often. Otherwise, this feels open. Shape of Water becomes a default favorite, but this could be one of those with a random winner. Darkest Hour could be the Lincoln of this year.

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

Darkest Hour

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Victoria & Abdul

Victoria & Abdul? That’s where that one showed up first? Okay. I thought it was gonna be Score. But okay.

Beast, Phantom Thread, Shape of Water were gonna get on. Darkest Hour came up out of nowhere. Didn’t see that coming. And Abdul… makes sense. Lotta costumes there, Indian garb. I thought it could happen. Just didn’t think the movie mattered to them as much. I forget that costumes are costumes. Honest mistake.

3/5 for me, but the big three are here. Not that it matters, because…


5. Darkest Hour

4. Victoria & Abdul

3. Shape of Water

2. Beauty and the Beast

1. Phantom Thread

Big takeaways: Not that we didn’t know this already, but Phantom Thread has this shit on lockdown.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Darkest Hour

Victoria & Abdul


2/3. Darkest Hour was always a lock, Wonder made sense. I thought I, Tonya would make it. I also thought it would get costumes too. Turns out, we got Editing and it was left off this and Costumes. Okay.

Oh, wait. I guessed Guardians and went off Tonya. Still, was wrong. But I’m glad I did go off Tonya. That makes me feel like I was somewhat close.

I’m also glad Bright didn’t make it.


3. Victoria & Abdul

2. Wonder

1. Darkest Hour

Big takeaways: This is like 2011. Meryl won for Thatcher and her team won for Makeup & Hairstyling. Same thing here. These rankings will not change throughout and this will be your category, winner and all.

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Kong: Skull Island

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

Oh boy, I wonder how I did here.

Dunkirk and Shape of Water got left off. Which, makes sense.

Blade Runner, Kong, Star Wars… Apes. Wow, I did 4/5. Go me. Glad I did put Kong on. And then Marvel gets on five, because Marvel always gets on. Makes sense.

And also we’ve hit the point where Best Visual Effects means Best CGI. Practical effects mean nothing anymore. RIP Visual Effects.


5. Kong: Skull Island

4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

2. War for the Planet of the Apes

1. Blade Runner 2049

Big takeaways: Mostly what I said up there. RIP Visual Effects. Otherwise, feels like Blade Runner wins this because it was the classiest and people liked it the most. Apes could maybe finally win this after years of people thinking it should. Should be interesting.

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049


The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Oh boy. Sound. Wonder how I did here.

Wow. 5/5.


Go me. I had this one solid all the way through.

Pretty sure I missed Mixing though. Had to.


5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

4. Shape of Water

3. Blade Runner 2049

2. Baby Driver

1. Dunkirk

Big takeaways: The war films always win? Nothing really. These five made the most sense.

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049


The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Whoa. They were exactly the same all the way through. And I know I had Wonder Woman here because I didn’t think they’d match up exactly. So I could have swept the Sound categories and deliberately went off it to try to go big. Still, 9/10 is great. I’m really happy with that.


5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

4. Shape of Water

3. Blade Runner 2049

2. Baby Driver

1. Dunkirk

Best Animated Feature

The Boss Baby

The Breadwinner



Loving Vincent



This is the greatest day ever.

Give that movie a cookie, because it just fucking closed.

Not sure why the fuck Ferdinand is here, but I kinda tweaked to that last night when I saw it had 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. Something just made me think, “I feel like this is getting on.”

The big three made it. No arty stuff. Wonder why. No semi-Ghibli. Which means Ghibli or GTFO for Japanese animated movies. Good to know. And they apparently didn’t see the arty stuff.

3/5 for me, but I’m good. The Boss Baby made it.

Whatever. It’s locked from here on out.


5. Ferdinand

4. The Boss Baby

3. Loving Vincent

2. The Breadwinner

1. Coco

Big takeaways: You mean, aside from Academy Award nominee The Boss Baby? That’s the first time something under 70% on Rotten Tomatoes has made it on in over a decade. That’s kind of a big deal. Otherwise, they did retweak the voting mechanisms here, so I wonder if this means it’s all populist bullshit now going forward. I guess we’ll see. Otherwise, it’s locked.

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman

The Insult


On Body and Soul

The Square

Wow. No Foxtrot. No In the Fade. Interesting.

A Fantastic Woman I thought would get on. And Loveless and The Square were always locked. Otherwise, they savaged this one.

2/5 for me. I did real bad here.


5. On Body and Soul

4. The Insult

3. A Fantastic Woman

2. Loveless

1. The Square

Big takeaways: It’s Foreign Language Film. There’s never anything to really takeaway. It just is what it is. This is mostly European with one South American movie. (Technically Russia is Asia, but it feels European.) Gotta figure The Square or Loveless wins this. Can’t see what else it could be if not.

Best Documentary Feature

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Faces Places


Last Men in Aleppo

Strong Island

Oh yeah. This isn’t good, is it?

What is it, 1/5? Yeah… okay.

Last Men in Aleppo? Really?

Abacus I knew might do it. That was my alternate. Faces Places was my dark horse. I was right there on both of those. Strong Island makes sense. Didn’t know what they’d do there. Icarus — yup.

So I got one!

No Jane. Which is interesting. And no Inconvenient Sequel. Okay.

Two Netflix entries. That’s worth noting.


5. Strong Island

4. Last Men in Aleppo

3. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

2. Faces Places

1. Icarus

Big takeaways: I fucked up. That’s really the takeaway with this one. Outside of that… no idea what wins. Icarus must be the favorite, right? With the Russia thing? Will enough people know about Faces Places to vote for it?

Best Documentary Short


Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405


Knife Skills

Traffic Stop

Oh wow. I think I did well here.

4/5. All right!

Kayayo was left off. That… was gonna be my winner. So that’s interesting.

And Traffic Stop is on, which was my sixth choice, even if I put that Ram Dass bullshit higher just because I thought they’d fuck me there.

Glad Ten Meter Tower and 116 Cameras didn’t make it. They didn’t seem interesting. I’m betting they went with the five most interesting ones. Because most of these sounded like the best ones to me.


5. Knife Skills

4. Heroin(e)

3. Traffic Stop

2. Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

1. Edith+Eddie

Big takeaways: I rebounded from the last two awful categories with a good showing here. Now watch me ruin it in the other two shorts categories.

Best Live-Action Short

DeKalb Elementary

The Eleven O’Clock

My Nephew Emmett

The Silent Child

Watu Wote/All of Us

Oh boy.

Oh, wait. No. 3/5. Good, good. I assume 2 here most years. Three is good.

Watu Wote I only guessed because I knew that would get on. Emmett and Silent Child were my two main guesses, so I’m glad to see them make it. DeKalb makes sense. And Eleven O’Clock… I know they like to get a comedic one on there when they can, so it makes sense. Sure.


5. Watu Wote/All of Us

4. DeKalb Elementary

3. My Nephew Emmett

2. The Eleven O’Clock

1. The Silent Child

Purely guessing on those. Need to see them to have an idea.

Big takeaways: 3/5 is good for me. That’s really it. What else can you take away from a category you never know to begin with?

Best Animated Short

Dear Basketball

Garden Party


Negative Space

Revolting Rhymes

Academy Award nominee Kobe Bryant. We’re breaking all sorts of barriers this year, aren’t we?

Lou is on, Negative Space is on, Revolting Rhymes is on. Garden Party looked great, that made sense. No In a Heartbeat. That’s surprising. Otherwise, I thought Lost Property Office would win this, so that’s interesting.

3/5 for me. Garden Party was my alternate. So I’m good.


5. Dear Basketball

4. Revolting Rhymes

3. Garden Party

2. Lou

1. Negative Space

Big takeaways: None? I hope Pixar just doesn’t start winning this all over the place, because without In a Heartbeat, that might be where we are.

– – – – – – – – – –

Okay, so let’s see where we are with all of that.

Nominations tally:

  • The Shape of Water — 13 nominations (Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Score, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
  • Dunkirk — 8 nominations (Picture, Director, Editing, Cinematography, Score, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — 7 nominations (Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Editing, Score)
  • Phantom Thread — 6 nominations (Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Score, Costume Design)
  • Darkest Hour — 6 nominations (Picture, Actor, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling)
  • Lady Bird — 5 nominations (Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay)
  • Blade Runner 2049 — 5 nominations (Cinematography, Production Design, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
  • Call Me By Your Name — 4 nominations (Picture, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Song)
  • Get Out — 4 nominations (Picture, Director, Actor, Original Screenplay)
  • Mudbound — 4 nominations (Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Song)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi — 4 nominations (Score, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
  • I, Tonya — 3 nominations (Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing)
  • Baby Driver — 3 nominations (Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
  • The Post — 2 nominations (Picture, Actress)
  • Coco — 2 nominations (Song, Animated Feature)
  • Beauty and the Beast — 2 nominations (Production Design, Costume Design)
  • Victoria & Abdul — 2 nominations (Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling)
  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.
  • The Florida Project
  • All the Money in the World
  • The Big Sick
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Logan
  • Molly’s Game
  • The Greatest Showman
  • Marshall
  • Wonder
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
  • The Boss Baby
  • Loving Vincent
  • Ferdinand
  • The Breadwinner
  • A Fantastic Woman
  • The Insult
  • Loveless
  • On Body and Soul
  • The Square

– – – – – – – – – – –

Tally by # of nominations;

13 nominations — The Shape of Water

8 nominations — Dunkirk

7 nominations — Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

6 nominations — Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread

5 nominations — Blade Runner 2049, Lady Bird

4 nominations — Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, Mudbound, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

3 nominations — Baby Driver, I Tonya

2 nominations — Beauty and the Beast, Coco, The Post, Victoria & Abdul

– – – – – – – – – – –

Biggest surprises (in no particular order):

  1. The Shape of Water, 13 nominations. Hard not to start with that. Only 13 films ever have managed 13 or more Oscar nominations. That’s a huge tally. 10-12 happens a bunch, but 13 is really big. That means they really liked this movie. (Also of note, 7 of the 13 won Best Picture. The most recent film with 13 or more nominations that did not was La La Land last year. Before that, Benjamin Button had 13 and lost. So it’s still not a done deal yet.)
  2. Phantom Thread shows up big. Best Picture, PTA for Director. Lesley Manville Supporting Actress. Six nominations overall. This could have ended up with just three — Actor, Score and Costumes. Six is big. Picture and Director — it broke late, but immediately reviews came out that it was a masterpiece. I wasn’t sure how people were gonna respond to this, but… we got our answer.
  3. The Post… goes out of print. (*puts on sunglasses* YYYYEEEEEAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!) What seemed like a huge contender, guaranteed to get the big five or six — Picture, Actor, Actress, Screenplay, maybe Director, probably Score or something like that, maybe a stray tech nomination… two nominations. Picture and Meryl. Meryl because she’s Meryl and Picture because it was good and I think some people might have felt they should. But man, this just limps in. Spielberg hasn’t had a movie designed for this season stumble this badly in a while. Even War Horse got six nominations. Six for Bridge of Spies. Lincoln was 12. Munich got 5. That’s a surprise. This should have at least got 4 in its sleep. (Some awards strategist is gonna get fired.)
  4. Darkest Hour coming in hot. Six nominations, and it gets on the Best Picture list. We always knew Oldman and the makeup team were locks. And we probably figured it could get on for Cinematography. Picture was no guarantee, so that was a good show of support. And then it manages Production Design and Costumes. A good showing and solid support for a film that could have easily ended up with 2 nominations.
  5. The Big Sick falls out. What seemed like a decent Best Picture contender and Supporting Actress contender with Holly Hunter, turns into a film that limps in with just a Screenplay nomination. Which is great. I’m glad it at least got that. But man, after a bunch of spotty precursors, it rallied with a PGA nomination, but couldn’t get it done in the end. A shame, for one of the most original films of the year.
  6. Mudbound gets 4 nominations. The disrespect people have for Netflix apparently only sticks in Best Picture. Because this got an acting nomination, Cinematography, Screenplay and Score. A big haul for a film you’d think would be unceremoniously left off everywhere but Cinematography because people viewed it as a glorified TV movie.
  7. Which, while we’re here — two-time Academy Award nominee Mary J. Blige. An acting nominee and a Song nominee. Not surprising because the song was in contention and she had the precursors, it’s just surprising because… she’s Mary J. Blige.
  8. No Best Director nomination for Martin McDonagh. Three Billboards is one of the most liked films of the year. It managed the third most nominations, and seems to be the biggest contender for Best Picture next to The Shape of Water. And yet… no Best Director nomination. Does this matter? Not necessarily. Remember Argo. They’re still willing to take stuff. It’s just interesting because you’d think they’d find a way to get him on. Two other writer-directors are on the list (technically four, if we include Guillermo and PTA). Seems weird that Gerwig and Peele are here and he’s not.
  9. And while we’re there — Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig, both in. Two nominations for both. Director and Screenplay. They’re both the fifth African-American and female (respectively) directors to be nominated for Best Director. This is historic. It’s a huge deal, and looks good on the Academy (for once).
  10. Victoria & Abdul, still alive. A bunch of precursors, for Judi Dench and things of that sort, and yet the film never really got noticed
  11. Blade Runner does well. Five nominations overall. All techs. Cinematography for Deakins (who could win!), which was expected, both Sound categories, which isn’t surprising, Visual Effects, which was expected, and then it got on for Production Design, which is a bonus. A film that people seemed to like that gets its due respect.
  12. Denzel is on. All right! Not a surprise, but definitely not a guarantee, and it does get the film, which I thought was a real hidden gem, some notice. And Denzel gets another nomination for one of his best performances of the past twenty years. I think this one will hold out well. I’m pleasantly surprised this happen.
  13. James Franco is off. The Disaster Artist, despite all the noise, manages a single measly Screenplay nomination. Franco felt like he could have gotten on, but in the end, just a SAG nomination because SAG is so big. In a way, it’s probably best that Tommy Wiseau wasn’t nominated at the Oscars, but still, somewhat of a surprise, in its own little way.
  14. Christopher Plummer nominated for Supporting Actor. Not a surprise per se, but a statement. I wasn’t sure they were gonna go there, and they did. They get the best of both worlds, because not only is the performance great, but they also get to make a statement against Spacey and all that stuff to boot. A win-win for everyone.
  15. Four black actors get acting nominations. It feels like almost every year there are like none, or one, and people are saying, “What the hell?” Here, we got four. still no Asians, but one thing at a time.
  16. Logan gets a Screenplay nomination. One of the more respected films of the year that people thought could make some noise at the Oscars (yet was ultimately forgotten because it came out so early), gets some respect in the form of a script nomination for what is still one of the best superhero movies ever made. So that was a nice little surprise.
  17. Best Editing — no real Best Picture nominees. This category is usually all about the major Best Picture contenders. And yet… only three, and one is Dunkirk, which is a war film and doesn’t feel like a real contender to win the whole thing. Usually this just means that the big favorite is gonna take it home. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Who knows? It was still surprising to see I, Tonya there over any number of possible contenders (Lady Bird, Get Out, Call Me By Your Name). Seems like we’re heading into a really anticlimactic year.
  18. Three Billboards gets a Score nomination. Not the biggest surprise in the world, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to see that. The real surprise is that Carter Burwell goes from no nominations after years of great work in the Coen brothers films and things of that sort, gets his first nomination for Carol (which almost feels like they had to nominate him, despite not wanting to), and now here’s his second. Good for him.
  19. RIP Visual Effects. No Dunkirk, no Shape of Water. CGI fests instead. Practical effects are dead at the Oscars, and now it’s all about who has the most CGI. Damn shame.
  20. Sound categories matched exactly all the way through. That has never happened since the categories were both five nominees. If we go back before 2005, when it was 5 for Mixing, 3 for Editing, then 2004 was the last time it happened. But 5/5 and 5/5 straight up? First time that’s ever happened. That surprised me.
  21. How badly I did on Foreign Language and Documentary. Holy shit, dude. 1/5 on Documentary. Granted, it was a boring year, but man. ONE?!!! I had to have lucked into a second one. Granted, I left Faces Places off, so I did it to myself. But fuck. And then Foreign Language. No In the Fade. No Foxtrot. Random Hungarian movie no one’s heard of. Just so bad for me this year. How did I do better on the shorts categories than I did on these? Man…
  22. Speaking of Shorts… In a Heartbeat doesn’t get on Animated Short. That short went viral over the summer. And they left it off in favor of just another so-so Pixar entry. I guess it’s not that surprising, but I just was hoping for better.
  23. Best Animated Feature, boring. The big three get on, but the other two go populist. Even though there were some cool, more arty choices to go with. Have they broken this category?
  24. Academy Award nominee The Boss Baby. I could leave that alone, but it actually is a big deal. It only has 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s the first time in over ten years (and the fifth time ever) a film below 70% on Rotten Tomatoes has been nominated in the Animated Feature category. That is a surprise. But also — Academy Award nominee The Boss Baby.
  25. Academy Award nominee Kobe Bryant

– – – – – – – – – – –

And now for the big moment… how did I do?

  • 8/9 on Best Picture.
  • 2/3 on Makeup & Hairstyling
  • Six 5/5s this year, which I think bailed me out. Those were Actress, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Sound Editing.
  • Six 4/5s this year. Much less than last year, but still okay. Those were Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Documentary Short.
  • Eight 3/5s this year. More than last year. Lot more. They were Director, Supporting Actress, Score, Song, Costume Design, Animated Feature, Live-Action Short, Animated-Short.
  • One 2/5. Foreign Language Film. I had two of those last year, so actually I think I might have evened out.
  • One 1/5. Documentary. The extra 5/5s bailed me out. I might have done okay.

One thing to point out before we add it all up…

  • Best Picture, my First Alternate made it on, even if it wasn’t in my top ten.
  • Best Director, one First Alternate. One I missed.
  • Best Actor, the First Alternate made it.
  • Best Supporting Actress, the First Alternate and Dark Horse made it.
  • Best Adapted Screenplay, the First Alternate made it.
  • Best Editing, I missed.
  • Best Original Score, I missed. But, I had one of the composers right but for a different film, so there’s that.
  • Best Original Song, the First Alternate made it on. And the second one I missed.
  • Best Costume Design, I missed.
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling, I missed.
  • Best Visual Effects, my Dark Horse made it on.
  • Best Sound Mixing, the First Alternate made it on.
  • Best Animated Feature, I missed.
  • Best Foreign Language Film, the First Alternate made it on, the rest I just missed.
  • Best Documentary, the First Alternate and Dark Horse made it, but unfortunately I failed so badly that was almost assured.
  • Best Documentary Short, the Dark Horse made it on.
  • Best Live-Action Short, the Dark Horse made it on. The other one I missed
  • Best Animated Short, the First Alternate made it on. The other one I missed.

So ten First Alternates made it on, up from last year. And five Dark Horses. Which is also up. Which means that overall, I was closer this year. The ones I missed were the latter categories, which admittedly I did not put the kind of thought into that I would have in other years. So that would somewhat explain how badly I did. I like that I didn’t go below 3 on any major category.

But anyway, out of a total of 122 overall nominees, I guessed… 91 of them.

WOW. That’s great. I did 94 last year. I’m down, but I’m not way down. I thought I was gonna drop a full five percent. I’m at 74.5%. That’s amazing. I’m so happy about that. Wow. I didn’t see that coming.

Previous years:

  • 2016: 77% (94/122)
  • 2015: 78.5% (95/121)
  • 2014: 71.9% (87/121)
  • 2013: 76% (92/121)
  • 2012: 71% (87/122)
  • 2011: 68% (81/119)

I’m at 3/4 of them. That’s all I can ask for. If I’m hovering at 3/4, then I’m doing my job right. This is so great. That’s the best news I got all week.

– – – – – – – – – –

So there are your nominees. I’m gonna start digesting and pretty soon we’ll start breaking down all the categories and see who’s gonna win.

10 responses

  1. lacourseauxetoiles

    Great analysis. I ended up going 7/9 for Best Picture (I had I, Tonya and The Big Sick instead of Darkest Hour and Phantom Thread), 4/5 for Best Director (I had McDonagh instead of Anderson), 4/5 for Best Actor (I had Franco instead of Washington), 5/5 for Best Actress, 5/5 for Best Supporting Actor, 3/5 for Best Supporting Actress (I had Hunter and Chau instead of Blige and Manville), 5/5 for Best Original Screenplay, 4/5 for Best Adapted Screenplay (I had Wonder instead of Logan), 4/5 for Best Editing (I had Blade Runner 2049 instead of I, Tonya), 5/5 for Best Cinematography, 3/5 for Best Original Score (I had The Post and Blade Runner 2049 instead of The Last Jedi and Three Billboards), 3/5 for Best Original Song (I had Evermore and Truth to Power instead of Mighty River and Stand Up for Something), 3/5 for Best Costume Design (I had Murder on the Orient Express and I, Tonya instead of Darkest Hour and Victoria & Abdul), 2/3 for Best Makeup & Hairstyling (I had I, Tonya instead of Victoria & Abdul), 4/5 for Best Visual Effects (I had Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but I had it instead of Kong: Skull Island), 5/5 for Best Sound Editing, 5/5 for Best Sound Mixing, 3/5 for Best Animated Feature (I knew they’d go mainstream, but I had Despicable Me 3 and The Lego Batman Movie instead of The Boss Baby and Ferdinand), 3/5 for Best Foreign Language Film (I had Foxtrot and Loveless over The Insult and On Body and Soul), 1/5 for Best Documentary (I had your list. I’m also truly surprised by Abacus making it on since it’s a Stephen James documentary. If Hoop Dreams and Life Itself couldn’t get nominated, how did this?), 3/5 for Best Documentary Short (I had Kayao and 116 Cameras instead of Heroin(e) and Traffic Stop), 3/5 for Best Live-Action Short (I had Icebox and Rise of a Star instead of DeKalb Elementary and Watu Wote), and 3/5 for Best Animated Short (I actually had Dear Basketball since it got an Annie nomination, but I had In a Heartbeat and Lost Property Office instead of Revolting Rhymes and Garden Party).

    Overall, I got 92/122.

    January 24, 2018 at 12:35 am

    • lacourseauxetoiles

      It was also my first year predicting the nominees, so I’m glad I did that well. This blog helped a lot in getting interested in this sort of stuff, so thanks for helping me get to this point.

      January 24, 2018 at 9:15 pm

  2. I’m really depressed about the best animated picture category. I mean, yes, the winner was nearly always Disney (because they happen to be the best and most mainstream), but at least the nominations were usually spot on. With the new voting system they ruined it! It was always the one category I really cared about because 1. I am an animation fan and 2. it was always a good way to figure out which ones of the more obscure releases might be worth a closer look. If it is now pandering to the mainstream, it becomes useless.

    January 24, 2018 at 2:37 am

    • The B+ Movie Blog predicted that the new voting system would have at least carried a delay in its eventual mainstream lean. The new voting system still requires an initial opt-in and thus carries some responsibility in ensuring that voters watch the minimum number of eligible animated films.

      I guess B+’s prediction didn’t pan out. The mainstream lean was already there and waiting to steal the remaining two slots (since The Breadwinner, Coco, and Loving Vincent were considered locked for nominations at this point).

      January 24, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      • lacourseauxetoiles

        The Breadwinner and Loving Vincent were probably also helped by them being English-language films. I bet that we’ll see significantly fewer foreign-language animated films at the Oscars now.

        January 24, 2018 at 9:14 pm

  3. Devin

    Aw, man. Almost got you in my first year, 86/122. 72.8%

    When it comes to McDonagh getting snubbed, I think of it as another case of Afflecking at the Oscars. Though, beacuse of that, I hope Three Billboards pulls off an Argo and wins it all.

    January 24, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    • lacourseauxetoiles

      I don’t think that will happen. Argo also won every precursor award throughout the season, including all of the directing precursors. Three Billboards has lost both the PGA and Critics Choice Award and McDonagh hasn’t won any directing awards yet.

      January 24, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      • Timing also won’t help Three Billboards. All the precursor awards that awarded Argo and Affleck occurred after his Oscar snub was established. Most don’t predict McDonagh emerging victorious at DGA. Other than the natural passage of time and perhaps the few remaining below-the-line guilds that haven’t awarded yet, there’s practically nothing between now and the Oscar telecast to generate an Argo-esque groundswell of support for McDonagh and his film.

        January 24, 2018 at 11:34 pm

  4. Devin

    *88/122, 72.1%. Just re-checked it, did my math wrong, lol.

    January 24, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    • lacourseauxetoiles

      That’s still pretty good. I guess we’re both on our first years doing this. Just curious, what were your predictions?

      January 24, 2018 at 9:12 pm

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