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The 90th Academy Awards broadcast will take place Sunday, March 4, with host Jimmy Kimmel returning for his second gig. Between gun violence, the #MeToo movement, diversity in Hollywood, Trump and of course winning ballot mix-ups, the show could be more entertaining—or uncomfortable—than usual. One thing is certain: there are definite front-runners this year, with your intrepid FlagLive! critics sharing very few differences of opinion.

Best Picture

Adrienne

Dan

Erin

Sam

Call Me By Your Name

 

 

 

 

Darkest Hour

 

 

 

 

Dunkirk

 

 

 

 

Get Out

 

 

 

 

Lady Bird

 

 

 

 

Phantom Thread

 

 

 

 

The Post

 

 

 

 

The Shape of Water

X

 

X

X

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

X

 

 

Comments

Adrienne: If the billboards had been inside Ebbing and there had been four, I think this could have won. Hard to say though because nothing beats lizard sex.

Dan: Adrienne: Ebbing has an ordinance on the books stating that billboards must be located outside city limits. And you obviously aren’t a furry. Wait, what?

Erin: Lizard sex all the way! Why don’t we see more of that in movies today? I think this race is between Three Billboards and The Shape of Water.

Sam: I think that the fantastical love story from The Shape of Water will win out over the more realistic fare, but all this talk of lizard sex is making me rethink my motives.

Directing

 

Adrienne

Dan

Erin

Sam

Christopher Nolan

Dunkirk

 

 

 

 

Jordan Peele

Get Out

 

 

 

 

Greta Gerwig

Lady Bird

X

 

 

 

Paul Thomas Anderson

Phantom Thread

 

 

 

 

Guillermo del Toro

The Shape of Water

 

X

X

X

Comments

Adrienne: Which demographic will the Oscars try to appease? Black or female artists? I think they’re going to throw Gerwig a bone because #MeToo is more recent than #OscarsSoWhite.

Dan: This is a tough one, but del Toro has been raking in the awards from other groups. But I’m not-so-secretly pulling for Peele and Gerwig.

Erin: Del Toro managed something different, but mainstream enough, to win this. Plus, Lizard Sex!

Sam: I’m with Erin and Dan on this one. Del Toro has managed to captivate a broad audience, and I think will walk away with the Oscar because of it.

Actor in a Leading Role

 

Adrienne

Dan

Erin

Sam

Timothée Chalamet

Call Me By Your Name

 

 

 

 

Daniel Day-Lewis

Phantom Thread

 

 

 

 

Daniel Kaluuya

Get Out

 

 

 

 

Gary Oldman

Darkest Hour

X

X

X

X

Denzel Washington

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

 

 

 

 

Comments

Adrienne: Gary Oldman would not take the role of Winston Churchill unless sculpture artist Kazuhiro Tsuji came out of retirement to do Oldman’s makeup. That’s some dedication to a role.

Dan: It surprises me that this is only Oldman’s second nomination (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 2011). He seems to be a sure thing.

Erin: Here’s a way to honor all of those Dunkirk-related films in one fell swoop: give Oldman the award. The Oscars love old guys who haven’t won anything before.

Sam: Gary Oldman is great in every role, so I’d like to see him wind up with an Oscar, and if he can’t do it as Churchill…

Actress in a Leading Role

 

Adrienne

Dan

Erin

Sam

Sally Hawkins

The Shape of Water

 

 

 

 

Frances McDormand

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

X

X

X

X

Margot Robbie

I, Tonya

 

 

 

 

Saoirse Ronan

Lady Bird

 

 

 

 

Meryl Streep

The Post

 

 

 

 

Comments

Adrienne: McDormy cares about the character, not Hollywood. For that kind of independence, she’s one of a handful of women who has won an Emmy, a Tony and an Oscar.

Dan: Writer/director Martin McDonagh wrote the role of Mildred with McDormand in mind. Give her the McOscar; she truly is perfect for (and in) the role.

Erin: McDormand should win this one, though Saoirse Ronan was great as the angsty teen we all once were and the kind we roll our eyes at now.

Sam: I won’t fight the crowd on this one either; McDormand seems like a shoe-in for this Oscar.

Actor in a Supporting Role

 

Adrienne

Dan

Erin

Sam

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

X

X

X

X

Comments

Adrienne: Rockwell has been an under-the-radar character actor for so long that it seems Hollywood thinks it’s his time. However, Harrelson gave an equally nuanced performance.

Dan: Sam Rockwell is this year’s Casey Affleck for me. He’s truly wonderful in the role, and his acting has been underappreciated for years. Thankfully, Rockwell hasn’t been revealed to be a jerk. Yet, at least.

Erin: Rockwell has been winning all of the awards so far for his role. Willem Dafoe could slip in—both Woody Harrelson and Rockwell competing for the same prize may split the vote.

Sam: Sam Rockwell is one of my favorite actors, and I also feel he is underappreciated. I imagine he’ll get some recognition this time around.

Actress in a Supporting Role

 

Adrienne

Dan

Erin

Sam

Mary J. Blige

Mudbound

 

 

 

 

Allison Janney

I, Tonya

X

X

X

X

Lesley Manville

Phantom Thread

 

 

 

 

Laurie Metcalf

Lady Bird

 

 

 

 

Octavia Spencer

The Shape of Water

 

 

 

 

Comments

Adrienne: I would love it if Metcalf won. I loved her as Roseanne’s acerbic, troubled sister on Roseanne and as harsh of a mother as she is in Ladybird, she’s also sympathetic.

Dan: Lesley Manville would be my dark horse pick this year, but I don’t think anyone can beat Janney’s darkly acidic take on Worst Mother.

Erin: Allison Janney is getting all the awards so far. She is likely to win. Metcalf has a chance to win it, though. 

Sam: Allison Janney is the favorite to win this award, and I don’t think we’ll see an upset when they hand out this category’s Oscar.

Animated Feature Film

Adrienne

Dan

Erin

Sam

The Boss Baby

 

 

 

 

The Breadwinner

 

 

 

 

Coco

X

X

X

X

Ferdinand

 

 

 

 

Loving Vincent

 

 

 

 

Comments

Adrienne: It’s not that the only contenders were better, but I think Coco’s laudable focus on Latino characters overshadowed its weak points in story structure and character.

Dan: I must confess I’ve seen exactly none of this year’s nominees, but I don’t think anyone can overtake the Disney Pixar machine. Viva Coco!

Erin: Coco had me tearing up by its end, and I wasn’t the only one in the theater feeling the same way. With its ability to give you all the “feels” AND its gorgeous design AND that it surprised everyone with its success, Coco should win this one.

Sam: Looks like I am going with the crowd again this time, but Coco is hitting all of the right notes to be the front-runner this year.

General Comments

Adrienne: Admittedly, I didn’t see all of these films because some of the topics didn’t appeal to me, but I’m most excited by the competition among directors. You’ve got heavy hitters like del Toro, Nolan and Anderson, who all are known for their unique, ambitious styles. Pitted against them are a black man and a white woman, two demographics largely underrepresented among Hollywood directors, and they both created equally ambitious, unique films. Whoever wins this award will deserve it. And good for Hollywood for seeing through Spielberg’s hackneyed handling of The Post.

Dan: I’m usually struck by how many films or people I feel should not win in their respective categories, but this year I’m rooting for a lot of underdogs (Peele, Gerwig, etc.). At the same time, as much as I loved Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread and The Shape of Water, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards is so audaciously bold and unapologetic and gasp-inducingly hilarious, I hope it cleans up. And though it’s not on our category list for the FlagLive! picks, I hope cinematographer Roger Deakins finally wins on his 13th nomination!

Erin: It’s a good roster of nominees this year, which makes up for those years where you use all your voodoo tools at your command to ensure something does NOT win. Some of the movies are so different from the usual type of nominated film that cheering them on feels good. Like Dan, I’d like the underdogs to get some love, but the “overdogs” are all deserving too. Any of the nominees could win and it wouldn’t end my world.

Sam: As usual, I’m a bit lost when it comes to Oscar picks. I go to the movies to escape for a couple of hours, and the hard-hitting drama that tends to dominate the Oscar race doesn’t always appeal to me. As a result, I seem to watch embarrassingly few of the nominated films each year and either mark down the front-runners or take a wild stab in the dark when I make my picks. Don’t get me wrong, I understand they are all worthy nominees and deserve recognition, but honestly, I’m just here for the popcorn.

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