Crystal ball-gazing for the Oscars

The 90th annual Oscar awards will get under way on Monday (Australian time) with television host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel running the show.

The YourLifeChoices team has seen many of the movies and performances that have made the short list, so here are our predictions for the big four: best picture, lead actor, lead actress and director.

Nominations for 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

Our pick
It simply has to be Three Billboards. Why? Because this savagely funny black comedy/drama surely encapsulates modern America and how it has lost its way. The story of a mother (Mildred Hayes played by Frances McDormand), who just won’t give up on the search for her daughter’s killer, could have been all about the mum. But this deeply moving film is actually a three-hander which reveals the journey to enlightenment for three main characters: Mildred, local police chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and hapless law enforcement officer Jason (Sam Rockwell). The plot is anything but predictable and the redemption of the protagonists is extremely moving. One of the most humane movies we have seen in a very long time.

Trailer (language warning)

Nominations for lead 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.

Our pick
Some super strong performances here mean the competition is really stiff. The sentimental favourite seems to be Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, but we think Daniel Day-Lewis will take the prize for his role in Phantom Thread. If successful, it will be his fourth award for best actor – and his last as he has announced it was his last film. Day-Lewis’ portrayal of couturier Reynolds Woodcock is subtle, nuanced and entirely convincing. Oldman’s Churchill is strong and stirring, but can veer a little towards caricature, so the divine Daniel is our pick.


Nominations for lead 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

Our pick
The money is on Frances McDormand here as the angry, anguished mother in Three Billboards. And she will deserve it if she wins. Meryl Streep is the sentimental favourite, in her 21st nomination, for her role of Katherine Graham in The Post. Again, a fabulous performance and a deserving winner. But our pick is Australian Margot Robbie for sheer guts – she has actually climbed a higher mountain than the other contenders. It is not easy to play a grieving mother, but it is understandable mental territory. Similarly, a Washington socialite publisher is not a ridiculous leap of the imagination. But for an Aussie girl to convincingly play the ‘white trash’ American skating phenomenon in homemade outfits, snarling and swearing her way across the rink – now that’s a tough gig. Go Margot!  

Nominations for director:
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Our pick
The Shape of Water has 13 nominations and Dunkirk has eight. So sooner or later they will win a few, maybe for best director. But we prefer a smaller scale, quirkier offering of Lady Bird and that the award for best director to go to Greta Gerwig. Her tale of Christine (Lady Bird), the troubled high school girl and her mother Marion (Lawrie Metcalf), is so real it hurts. This is how parenting works – and then doesn’t. Gerwig has managed to extract the very best performances from her cast, in particular Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird and Ms Metcalf as Marion.  Gerwig joins four other women who have been nominated as best director across the 90 years of Oscars. As the #MeToo #TimesUp movement gathers pace, a woman may just come through the pack to claim this award.  


How many Oscar-nominated movies have you seen this year? Who do you think will in?

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Written by Kaye Fallick


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