The 2018 Oscar Race: Which Movies Have a Shot?

For movie lovers around the world, January is arguably the most exciting month of the year. Although the movie awards seasons technically begin in November, when some of the most important film awards take place, the highlight is undoubtedly the Oscars.

This year marks the 90th year of the Academy Awards. On March 4, television host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel will once again take the stage at the Dolby Theater to host the biggest movie awards event of the year. But before we find out who the nominees are on January 23, Modern Filipina will take a stab at predicting which movies and actors are in the running for the major awards.

The Best Films of 2017

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, directed by Martin McDonagh

This dark comedy earned strong support ever since it first screened at the Venice International Film Festival in September 2017. The movie also took home the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture and Best Actress in a Motion Picture for Drama earlier this month. As far as critics are concerned, there are no “ifs” for this film — it’s sure to earn nominations for the top Oscars prizes.

The movie tells the tale of a grieving mother, played magnificently by Frances McDormand. Dissatisfied and angered by the slow investigation on her daughter’s rape and murder, she rents three billboards to call the public’s attention.

The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo Del Torro

Critics say this is Del Toro’s best film, so far, and the Golden Globes agree. Del Toro won the award for Best Director, Motion Picture. His win is unsurprising given his experience and reputation as a stellar filmmaker. This movie is a fantasy, horror, drama, and love story in one. Set during the cold war, it tells the story of a mute janitress working in a government facility who discovers a man-like sea creature held captive in the same lab. The story culminates in a fight for the creature’s survival.

Fans praise the movie’s stunning visuals, unique love story, and impressive directing. Sally Hawkins, who plays the lead character, Elisa, earned a Golden Globe nomination and a possible Best Actress nomination for the Oscars. The film has the most number of Globes nominations this year so it won’t be surprising if it leads the pack in the Oscars, as well.

Dunkirk, directed by Christopher Nolan

Fans of The Dark Knight trilogy’s director often say that The Academy has denied Nolan the top directorial award several times already. Well this year, he has another fighting chance with Dunkirk.

The film received Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Score. Movie critics also praise its screenplay and cinematography, with some saying that this is Nolan’s best work and one of the best war films ever made.

The movie centers on World War II’s Operation Dynamo (also known the Miracle of Dunkirk), which is the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France. Nolan depicts the tale using the combined perspectives of characters moving on land, sea, and air. The result is a breathtaking, historical war movie that also received nominations from the Critics’ Choice Awards and the British Academy Film Awards.

The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg

If Spielberg as a director is not enough to coax a nomination or two from The Academy, these two additional names might: Tom Hanks. Meryl Streep. Both actors received Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Motion Picture for Drama. Spielberg received a Best Director nomination, while the movie itself got a nod for Best Picture.

Based on a true story, The Post tells the story of how The Washington Post and The New York Times came to publish The Pentagon Papers — incriminating documents that revealed the US government’s flailing management of its involvement in the Vietnam War. With six Globes nominations under its belt, accolades from notable movie critics, and stellar performances from its two main leads, The Post has a good chance at the Oscars.

Call Me by Your Name, directed by Luca Guadagnino

A literary adaptation of André Aciman’s novel, this is a coming-of-age story about a love that’s not meant to be.  The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017, and it didn’t lose steam since. Critics described it as a languid and sensuous romance film.

Some are skeptical that a film depicting gay romance would once again nab the top Oscars honors (last year’s best picture, Moonlight, also featured a love story between two men), but at the very least, Call Me by Your Name has a very good chance at a Best Picture nomination.

The movie stars Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, who received Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for Drama, respectively. They gave memorable performances as Elio, a 17-year-old Jewish American living in Italy, and Oliver, a graduate student and assistant to the former’s father.

Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig

Here is another coming-of-age story, this time focusing on the turbulent relationship between a high school senior and her mother.

Since its first screening on September 2017, the film has received special mentions and nominations from some of the top award-giving bodies in film — including the Golden Globes. The film won for Best Motion Picture, as well as Best Actress in a Motion Picture for Musical/Comedy for Saoirse Ronan’s moving portrayal of Christine. Her co-star Laurie Metcalf received a Best Supporting Actress nomination, while Gerwig received a Best Director nod.

An interesting tidbit: Call Me by Your Name’s Timothée Chalamet also stars in this film.

I, Tonya, directed by Craig Gillespie

The film is a black comedy biopic about Tonya Harding and her controversial involvement in the attack to fellow Olympic skater, Nancy Kerrigan.

Critics praised Margot Robbie for her fierce portrayal of the abused and disgraced skater. She received a Best Actress nomination at the Globes, while co-star Alyson Janney, who played her mother, won the trophy for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical/Comedy. Both actresses, the film, and its director all received nominations from other award-giving bodies, including the Screen Actors Guild and the British Academy Film Awards.

Special Mentions

GIF from Giphy

To round up our Oscars prediction list, here are other award-winning films that deserve mentioning:

Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele – A horror-thriller with an amazing ensemble cast, the story of a black man meeting his girlfriend’s family for the first time suddenly takes a dark and deadly turn.

The Greatest Showman, directed by Michael Gracey – For a directorial debut, this musical earned Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture, Best Original Song, and Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for Hugh Jackman.

The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco – Franco fills the shoes of lead actor, director, and producer in this film. For his efforts, the film received a Best Picture nomination at the Globes, and he took home the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture for Musical/Comedy.

The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker – This comedy-drama received accolades from critics and its star, Willem Dafoe, received Best Supporting nominations at the Globes and BAFTA Awards.

Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright – A World War II British drama starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Oldman won Best Actor in a Motion Picture for Drama at the Globes, making him a shoo-in for the Oscars.

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