Oscars 2018 Predictions: Forget this year — what movies will win big next year?
But I'm getting bored. What's the 2018 Oscar race looking like?
For the pure fun of it, I'm gonna take a preliminary crack at predicting the 2018 Oscar nominations. This is based entirely on conjecture and buzz, having seen exactly zero of these movies. I will be proven very wrong come January 2018. But as we zero in on the movies nominated this year, it's nice to remember we'll eventually stop thinking about La La Land, Lion and Manchester by the Sea — and a new set of favorites will consume the buzz.
A couple of caveats: First, I'm unconvinced gay drama Call Me by Your Name has long-term Oscar chances. The film, an adaptation of the 2007 André Aciman novel of the same name, earned raves at the Sundance Film Festival — but those only go so far. Moonlight feels like an Oscar miracle, but just last year, a lavish, devastating queer love story (Carol) got shut out of both the best picture and best director races. I'm including Call Me by Your Name in the big contests here, but I could easily see it becoming a critical favorite without substantial Oscar support, à la Jackie.
Secondly, as you peruse this list, you'll notice a dearth of actors of color represented. Keep in mind that around this time last year, Hidden Figures hadn't been announced, Fences didn't have a 2016 release date and Moonlight wasn't on anyone's radar. There's plenty of time for other films to make a showing. But it's possible they won't; again, 2017's Oscar nominees didn't fix #OscarsSoWhite. Sadly, it's unlikely 2018's lineup will be as historic.
With those notes out of the way, here are my absurdly early picks for the 2018 Oscars.
Call Me by Your Name
The Glass Castle
The Greatest Showman
Untitled Detroit project
Possibles: The Florida Project, Mudbound
Downsizing, by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences favorite Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Nebraska), presents the director with a real chance at winning best picture boosted by a great cast (Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig). It feels like the winner here, unless something like Darren Aronofsky's Mother can go all the way in a manner his Black Swan couldn't.
We're waiting to see what Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal's third collaboration — the untitled Detroit project — has in store, but they have their win already in The Hurt Locker. If The Glass Castle or The Greatest Showman is truly impressive, they could be threats. The same goes for The Florida Project and Mudbound from directors Sean Baker and Dee Rees, respectively. But at this very early stage, it feels like Payne's time.
Early pick to win: Downsizing
Darren Aronofsky, Mother
Kathryn Bigelow, untitled Detroit project
Destin Daniel Cretton, The Glass Castle
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name
Alexander Payne, Downsizing
Possibles: Sean Baker, The Florida Project; Dee Rees, Mudbound
If this is indeed Payne's year, he's also likely to win here. But let's throw a curveball and hope for a split. Even if Mother is too much for the academy, it may reward the rather singular vision of its director. Aronofsky got nominated for Black Swan; it's easy to see him going the distance this time around.
Early pick to win: Aronofsky
Colin Firth, The Mercy
Matt Damon, Downsizing
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Possibles: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project; Idris Elba, The Mountain Between Us
Did you know Hugh Jackman has never won an Oscar? His only nomination is for the movie adaptation of Les Miserables, which feels like a distant memory. If his P.T. Barnum biopic is a critically acclaimed hit, this could be his moment. If I'm wrong about Call Me by Your Name, however, this could easily be Hammer.
Early pick to win: Jackman
Jessica Chastain, Molly's Game
Viola Davis, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree
Brie Larson, The Glass Castle
Jennifer Lawrence, Mother
Kristen Wiig, Downsizing
Possibles: Penélope Cruz, untitled Asghar Farhadi project; Kate Winslet, The Mountain Between Us
I have Penélope Cruz down as a potential nominee here, but I have a suspicion Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's newest project is going to receive much more attention: Farhadi made headlines over the weekend for declining to attend this year's Oscars after Donald Trump issued an executive order on immigration. Cruz could benefit from the additional media coverage.
Along with Lawrence, Davis will be an Oscar winner by the time nominations are announced next year, but never count them out for repeat victories. Wiig's nomination would be the win — though it's possible she'll be in the supporting actress category instead, dependent on the size of her role — while Jessica Chastain looks like the "it's time" candidate here.
Early pick to win: Chastain
Best supporting actor
Zac Efron, The Greatest Showman
Woody Harrelson, The Glass Castle
Ed Harris, Mother
Garrett Hedlund, Mudbound
John Hurt, Darkest Hour
Possibles: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name; Christoph Waltz, Downsizing
Posthumous nominations are less common than people think — as a winner, Heath Ledger was even rarer — but if Darkest Hour, the British war drama featuring John Hurt as Neville Chamberlain, takes off, it could be a nice way to remember the late Hurt.
Elsewhere, expect Zac Efron to get long-awaited Oscar traction for The Greatest Showman, while playing an alcoholic dad in The Glass Castle should finally send Woody Harrelson onto the Oscar stage.
Early pick to win: Harrelson
Best supporting actress
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Nicole Kidman, The Beguiled
Julianne Moore, Wonderstruck
Naomi Watts, The Glass Castle
Michelle Williams, The Greatest Showman
Possibles: Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled; Michelle Pfeiffer, Mother
Like Cruz, I wouldn't be shocked if Michelle Pfeiffer shows up in 2018 despite her placement in the possibles. She's appearing in a ton of projects this year, ending her four-year absence from the screen. It really just depends on how much there is for her to do in Mother. (Notably, Pfeiffer still doesn't have an Oscar.)
If Pfeiffer doesn't break through, don't be shocked if another Michelle takes it home: Williams. She's been nominated four times; the fifth time may be the charm.
Early pick to win: Williams