By Bailey Brammer | Editor-in-Chief
After a year of exceptional filmmaking, Oscar night is nearly upon us. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel will take the stage Sunday evening as host of the 90th Academy Awards, as will many well-known and decorated actors, actresses, directors, producers, composers and other individuals involved in some of the best movies the world has seen.
While the Academy certainly has some difficult decisions ahead, with no clear front-runners in any category, I’ve done my best to sort through the nominations, as well as analyze previous winners and I’ve compiled my predictions as to who will take home awards on Sunday in the “Big Three” categories, as well as a few others.
Best Picture: “The Shape of Water”
Although the premise of this movie can appear a little strange at first, Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” is a beautiful tale of romance, misunderstanding, mythology and mystery.
The film has been classified as an “adult fairy tale” of sorts, has garnered special attention from almost all awards and news outlets, and received a whopping 13 nominations at the Oscars alone.
Although it’s up against plenty of great films like “Lady Bird,” “Darkest Hour” and “Phantom Thread,” this movie does so many things right, including telling a tragically poetic love story, that I could certainly see it taking home the big prize.
Best Lead Actor: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
In a movie that is no doubt one of my favorite nominees, Chalamet portrays a young man named Elio Perlman in a coming of age story filled with love, adventure and personal discovery. “Call Me by Your Name” itself is also up for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and while I’m not sure the movie can overtake some of the other big names in alternative categories, Chalamet definitely deserves recognition for his performance, especially given the fact that he received this nomination at the young age of 22.
Best Lead Actress: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Another young professional up for a big award is Ronan, whose performance in “Lady Bird” brought men and women everywhere to tears, simultaneously reminding them to call their mothers and tell them they love them. Ronan is charming, witty and endlessly relatable, and does an admirable job of portraying a lovestruck high-schooler who’s just trying to figure out how to survive. The film itself is also up for other awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress, but Ronan’s dedication to the role and to the story definitely merit a win in this category.
Best Animated Feature: “Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
Having grown up on Disney and Pixar, living with a family of six, “Coco” was no doubt a big name on our “must-watch” list for the year. The colorful, musical and cultural flick did not disappoint, and, like most Disney productions, this movie is enjoyable for people of all ages. “Coco” is also up for an award in the category Best Original Song, and could easily end up going home with both of these awards.
Best Original Screenplay: “Get Out,” Jordan Peele
In an entrancing commentary on racism both past and present, “Get Out” combines an interesting storyline with some terrifying twists. The talented Daniel Kaluuya plays a young black man who is ready to meet his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time, but the situation quickly becomes strange. Peele takes his viewers on a wild ride through the South and through the mind, leaving viewers guessing until the very end while still incorporating symbolism and satire into every scene. Although the other names in this category are equally as deserving of this award, today’s social climate and racial tension gives “Get Out” all the more reason to secure the trophy for Best Original Screenplay.
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
If you’re looking for a director that can combine suspense, mystery, self-discovery and poker all into one film, look no further than Sorkin’s directing debut in “Molly’s Game.” Even if you didn’t grow up playing poker, which I did not, this movie will keep you engaged until the very end. Jessica Chastain does excellently portrays the story of the “Poker Princess,” Molly Bloom, and could easily have been nominated for Best Lead Actress. While Sorkin is known for his writing and has worked on superb projects such as “The Newsroom,” and “The West Wing,” I’m excited to see what he can do from the director’s chair in addition to adapting the screenplay for “Molly’s Game.”