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Scott R. Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Update: My 2018 Academy Award Predictions (for movies released in 2017)

As I wrote way back on January 24, the main thing to remember is that I made my predictions (see below) way back on January 24.

Now that we all remember that, what is the actual point of actually remembering that? Well, even back then someone like me was able to accurately forecast eight of the major categories. Why is that? Because of the internet. Also, there is a fair degree of predictability in most categories because the voting population is relatively small and well-known. People in a particular job are voting for people doing good work in the same job. The hard one to get each year is Best Picture. That is because the voting population is much larger and diverse professionally. Because all Academy members get to vote on Best Picture, I guess you could call that one “the popular vote.” Except it’s not the popular vote, is it? The winner of the popular vote is Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi with nearly 619,000,000 votes or, as they are called in the real world, dollars.

As you go down the list of the finishers in the popular vote or, as it is called in the real world, box office returns, you have to go pretty far down the list to find any titles that show up in the major prestige categories I have listed below. You have go all the way down to number 15 (with 188,000,000 dollar/votes) to find Dunkirk, which was a nominee—but not a real contender—for Best Picture and came away with awards for Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. In terms of box office, the actual Oscar winner, The Shape of Water, comes in at number 66, just behind A Bad Moms Christmas and three places behind its closest Oscar contender, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This is why we will probably once again be seeing the usual hand-wringing journalistic accounts of the continuing decline of Oscar night viewer ratings. I mean, for once I had seen eight of the nine Best Picture nominees in advance, and I still had to force myself to stay awake to watch the whole thing. How hard must it be for people who have seen only a few or maybe none of the movies being celebrated?

Actually, the reason to watch was never really because you had seen all or even most of the movies. For most of my life, mainly because of the way studios handle the releases of prospective Oscar contenders, I rarely had the opportunity to see most of the movies before the ceremony. You watch the show because the show itself is entertaining on its own terms. And, frankly—in my opinion anyway—it is the continuing Jimmy-Kimmel-ization of the awards shows that is driving viewers away.

What is the answer to bridging the gap between the broad landscape of America and the so-called Hollywood elites? Here’s a thought. The artists on display at the ceremony show admirable and passionate concern for diversity. That is good. They should bear in mind, however, that in addition to diversity in the way people look and their places of origin and their various orientations, it might be a good idea to also pay more attention to diversity of ideas and ways of thinking—even when it comes to people who enjoy watching The Fate of the Furious (number 3 in the 2017 box office race).


Most Likely to Win

Most Deserving to Win

Obious winners in hindsight

Best Picture

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


The Shape of Water

Best Actor

Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)

Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)

Best Actress

Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Best Supporting Actress

Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

Best Director

Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)

Best Original Screenplay

Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)

Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)

Jordan Peele (Get Out)

Best Adapted Screenplay

James Ivory (Call Me by Your Name)

James Ivory (Call Me by Your Name)

Best Animated Feature


Loving Vincent

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

The Square (Sweden)

Total Scores

times I nearly fell asleep

times I lifted my glass (in addition to all the other times)

times I was too tired (or had no reason really) to argue

Color Key to Actual Results:
Winners, but in an alternative universe