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2018 Oscars Predictions: The Experts Make Their Picks

Doug Jones as Amphibian Man in
Doug Jones as Amphibian Man in "The Shape of Water." Photo by Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • Does The Shape of Water have Best Picture in the bag?
  • Will an underdog actor like Laurie Metcalf rise to the top?
  • Our entertainment experts make their final predictions for the 90th annual Academy Awards. 

There is only one week to go until the biggest night in Hollywood, and if you’re not sure what to expect, don’t worry! You’re far from alone. The favored outcomes look much different now than they did at the outset of the season, with many of the obvious choices now sitting in the shadow of former underdogs.

If you’ve got an office pool or Oscar prop sheet to win, we’re here to help. Our two entertainment experts have come together to bring you their final picks and predictions for who will walk away victorious on March 4th.

Whether they see eye-to-eye or are about to go toe-to-toe, we are about to see. The odds listed below are from Bovada.lv.

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

Best Picture

NOMINEE ODDS
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI -115
THE SHAPE OF WATER +140
GET OUT +550
LADY BIRD +1400
DUNKIRK +3300
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME +6600
THE POST +10000
DARKEST HOUR +10000
PHANTOM THREAD +10000

Kaela Napier: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This was a hard one for me. In my mind, there are three particularly strong contenders: Three Billboards, The Shape of Water, and Dunkirk. While The Shape of Water leads the pack in total nominations (and Guillermo del Toro has been winning all the Best Director awards), Three Billboards fits the bill better in terms of what the Academy has favored in recent years. It is gritty, intimate, and poignant — not to mention, it’s currently enjoying the shortest odds over at Bovada (-115).

Trevor Dueck: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Can I say Blade Runner 2049? Oh, wait it wasn’t nominated. That glaring omission on its own should be proof enough that the 65-year-old white males who are responsible for casting votes are inept. It’s probably why the spectacularly average The Shape of Water will win here. But I do agree with my partner in crime, above. This is likely a two-horse race between Dunkirk and Three Billboards. I’m going to ride Three Billboards’ momentum and take Martin McDonagh’s creation.

Best Director

NOMINEE ODDS
Guillermo del Toro -1000
Christopher Nolan +600
Greta Gerwig +800
Jordan Peele +3300
Paul Thomas Anderson +6600

Kaela Napier: Guillermo del Toro 

I expect Guillermo del Toro to continue his awards sweep at the Oscars. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time because he directs with vision, sincerity and creativity — and, with The Shape of Water he does not disappoint, immersing us in one of the most creative love stories of all time. It feels strange to pick one movie for Best Picture and not its counterpart as Best Director, but like we said earlier, this is a bit of a strange season.

Trevor Dueck: Guillermo del Toro 

I’m going to go with director Martin McDonagh. Oh wait, he wasn’t nominated. Wow, I’m really having a tough time early on here. Look, The Shape of Water was nominated 13 times and it will be thrown at least one bone. I’ll bite on Guillermo del Toro for the win.

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour.
Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour. Photo by Focus Features.

Best Actor

NOMINEE ODDS
Gary Oldman -2500
Timothee Chalamet +1000
Daniel Day-Lewis +1500
Daniel Kaluuya +1600
Denzel Washington +3300

Kaela Napier: Gary Oldman 

I know, I know. I’m not saying anything new here. But, Gary Oldman’s name has been on everyone’s lips from the moment Darkest Hour was first screened; the buzz never quieted, and for a really good reason: Oldman as Churchill will likely go down as the crowning performance of an already-illustrious career. Other contenders have emerged, but his odds have steadily stayed the shortest. I feel the need to say that Daniel Day-Lewis is in the running with his final showing in Phantom Thread, but Oldman’s transformation is the kind of stuff the Academy soaks up.

Trevor Dueck: Gary Oldman

When you throw a little Oscar bait into the water, the sharks just gobble it up. The transformation of Gary Oldman is what made Darkest Hour watchable.

Best Actress

NOMINEE ODDS
Frances McDormand -1600
Saoirse Ronan +700
Sally Hawkins +1400
Margot Robbie +2500
Meryl Streep +5000

Kaela Napier: Frances McDormand 

Seeing Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was one of the most empowering experiences of my personal 2017. Not that my personal revolution has anything to do with her chances at winning the Oscar, but by the looks of it, others agree. She has been picking up award after award this season, her commanding take as Mildred Hayes demanding the respect of her peers. As if the monologue McDormand delivers halfway through the film isn’t enough, she goes and gives us Mildred alone with her billboards: quiet, subdued, and captivating to a fault.

Frances McDormand is what we call a “slam dunk.” If anyone else steals [Best Actress], we should create a series of billboards asking what happened and blame Sheriff Willoughby.

Trevor Dueck: Frances McDormand 

Interestingly enough, they renamed this Oscar the Meryl Streep award. She could do finger puppets and she’d be nominated. She won’t be winner her eponymous award this year, though. Frances McDormand is what we call a “slam dunk.” If anyone else steals it, we should create a series of billboards asking what happened and blame Sheriff Willoughby.

Best Supporting Actor

NOMINEE ODDS
Sam Rockwell -600
Willem Dafoe +450
Richard Jenkins +1600
Christopher Plummer +2000
Woody Harrelson +3300

Kaela Napier: Sam Rockwell

I went into award season feeling sure that Willem Dafoe was going to take this one home, but I have been swayed. Sam Rockwell managed to convey the complexity of his character’s broken humanity, with a grace and an ease that is hard to match. It was one of those rare instances where I found myself watching a character, rather than an actor.

Trevor Dueck: Sam Rockwell

I fear the Academy voters will look at poor old Christopher Plummer and see what he did on short notice by stepping in for that serial dick grabber in All the Money in the World and may throw a few votes towards him. They love that kind of thespian story. My heart says Sam Rockwell but there is a chance that he will split the vote with Woody Harrelson. I smell an upset brewing here. For now, I’m going with Rockwell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to Plummer or even Dafoe.

Best Supporting Actress

NOMINEE ODDS
Allison Janney -550
Laurie Metcalf +425
Mary J. Blige +1600
Lesley Manville +2000
Octavia Spencer +2500

Kaela Napier: Allison Janney 

Full disclosure, I want Laurie Metcalf to win this one. I loved her in Lady Bird, and think that her performance, in another year, would have been a shoo-in. However, it’s not another year and she is up against Allison Janney — who I expect to take the award.

Trevor Dueck: Allison Janney 

It’s either going to go to Allison Janney or the bird that was on her shoulder.

Best Original Screenplay

NOMINEE ODDS
Get Out +110
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri +125
Lady Bird +250
The Shape of Water +1400
The Big Sick +3300

Kaela Napier: Get Out

Jordan Peele’s horror/thriller/satire/psycho-social commentary has won screenplay awards at the Critics’ Choice, LA Film Critics, New York Film Critics, and Writers Guild Awards. It might have been beaten out by Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards at the Golden Globes, but I’m going with my gut and saying that the Academy is going to honor Peele’s debut with Best Original Screenplay. It was immensely creative, poignant, terrifyingly too-close-to-home for many, and executed with precision. It’s got my vote.

Trevor Dueck: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

I can’t help but feel that politics may be at play here and the Academy wil give Get Out a nod. But if we were being honest, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the best screenplay on the list. Get Out is a brilliant film and deserves recognition, but Three Billboards was just on another level and if Martin McDonagh can’t win for best director, at least give him the Best Original Screenplay trophy.

Best Animated Feature

NOMINEE ODDS
Coco -5000
The Breadwinner +1200
Loving Vincent +1400
The Boss Baby +2500
Ferdinand +3300

Kaela Napier: Coco

Continuing on the sweep theme this year, Coco has won nearly every award in its path to this point and will undoubtedly do so again on the 4th. Pixar’s film is beautiful to watch, culturally sensitive in a time when this is not only expected, but demanded, and just simply hits you right in the feels. It is a joy to watch and deserves all the accolades it has thus received.

Trevor Dueck: Coco

Where is Lego Batman? This is a category that nominated Boss Baby and Ferdinand just so Coco can win easily.

I still can’t believe we agreed on most of these categories.

Author Image

An unabashed interest in the lives of other people and all things pop culture makes analyzing the world of entertainment an easy fit for Kaela. One of SBD's resident experts since 2017, she keeps her finger on the pulse so you can feel confident, and have fun, making informed wagers.