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Oscars 2018 Predictions: Who Should Win — and Who Will?

When we last left the Oscars, the musical La La Land had won Best Picture and the cast and crew had gathered on stage to thank their loved ones. Yippee!

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Sorry, there’s been a mistake. Moonlight won the prize.

One year later, it’s time to revisit the scene of the most embarrassing snafu in awards history. (And certainly the only one that involved a star-struck CPA). All we know for sure about the 90th annual Academy Awards is that host Jimmy Kimmel will crack some pointed zingers . . . and, yeah, Sam Rockwell will take Best Supporting Actor. Everything else is a wait-and-see-and-hope.

Of course, that unpredictability isn’t going to stop me from picking the winners in all 24 categories. Place your bets and cross your fingers that presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway will get a little redemption, Bonnie and Clyde-style.

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

Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Spoiler Alert: Get Out

After picking up top prizes at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild and the recent BAFTAs (i.e., the British Oscars), only a fool would pick against this searing drama about a mother’s quest for justice in the wake of her daughter’s murder. I pity that fool! It’s a stellar issue-oriented film with just enough backlash to make it a provocative choice.

Yet I wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy went rogue and chose Jordan Peele’s groundbreaker — which, a full year after its theatrical release, remains part of the pop-culture fabric. One more note: Had the delicate gay romance Moonlight not won last year, I’m convinced the similarly themed Call Me By Your Name would be in the conversation.

Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Focus Features

Best Actor
Timothee 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.

Will Win: Gary Oldman
Spoiler Alert: Timothee Chalamet

Can I just brag for a second? I saw Darkest Hour over Labor Day weekend at the Telluride Film Festival and predicted that Oldman had this award locked up. Impressive old-age makeup, beloved historical figure, impassioned monologues, triumphant performance . . . this is a role that screams “thank you so much!” The veteran British actor has dutifully showed up at every ceremony, shaken every hand and taken every selfie. He’s ready for his shining moment.

Breakout star Chalamet will get his due soon enough. P.S. I still can’t believe Washington ended up in this category.

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Margot Robbie Tonya Harding I, Tonya
Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.

Best 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

Will Win: Frances McDormand
Spoiler Alert: Margot Robbie

I’m a bit shocked this category hasn’t been more contested this awards season. You could make a case for any of these venerable leading ladies — in fact, there was a hot second in early December when pundits insisted Streep was taking her fourth Oscar. But McDormand has been sweeping through with relative ease. Maybe it’s because her Mildred character in Three Billboards is such a one-woman force of nature. Nobody wants to tangle with her. Man, I’d love to see her and Robbie’s Tonya Harding duke it out in a boxing ring.

Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand in the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Merrick Morton/Twentieth Century Fox Film

Best Supporting Actor
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

Will Win: Sam Rockwell
Spoiler Alert: Willem Dafoe

The only way Rockwell isn’t winning this award is if … wait, I’m thinking. Well, he did use the F-word while hosting Saturday Night Live in January. Nope, that’s not enough. Even those who rail against Three Billboard’s many loose ends agree that Rockwell’s racist, sexist, ABBA-loving police officer is a standout. Never underestimate the power of a worthy character redemption arc. Dafoe’s quiet, almost invisible performance in the low-budget The Florida Project is no match.

Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird A24

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Will Win: Allison Janney
Spoiler Alert: Laurie Metcalf

Like Rockwell, Janney has amassed quite the trophy collection over the past several months. The veteran actress and multi-Emmy-award winner is the one to beat — if only for the meta scene in I, Tonya in which her embittered character sneers to the camera, “Well, my storyline has gone to s—t!”

FWIW, I do think Metcalf has an outside shot here as Ronan’s blue-collar, put-upon mother. She’s the real heroine of Lady Bird.

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Guillermo del Toro attends the premiere of ‘The Shape Of Water’ at Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences on November 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

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

Will Win: Guillermo del Toro
Spoiler Alert: Jordan Peele

They call themselves the Three Amigos. Now friends and auteurs Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro are poised to win four of the last five Best Director awards. (Applause for Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant, respectfully.) Del Toro’s old-fashioned monster movie is visually sumptuous and a technical marvel. With The Shape of Water looking in on Best Picture, this seems like a surefire consolation prize.

Still, Peele delivered a masterpiece in his feature film debut and he would be the first African American to take it. Can Get Out go from the Sunken Place to the Big Stage? Clink-clink-clink.

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Best of the Rest

Animated Feature — Coco

Animated Short — Dear Basketball

Adapted Screenplay — Call Me By Your Name

Original Screenplay — Get Out (a tough call over Three Billboards)

Cinematography — Blade Runner 2049

Best Documentary Feature — Last Men in Aleppo

Best Documentary Short Subject — Edith + Eddie

Best Live Action Short — DeKalb Elementary

Best Foreign Language Film — A Fantastic Woman

Film Editing — Baby Driver

Sound Editing — Dunkirk

Sound Mixing — Dunkirk

Production Design — The Shape of Water

Original Score — The Shape of Water

Original Song — “This is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Makeup & Hair — Darkest Hour

Costume — Phantom Thread

Visual Effects — War for the Planet of the Apes

The 90th Annual Academy Awards air on Sunday, March 4, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC

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