Taste of Cinema previously did a way-too-early Best Picture prediction list, and to say that the choices were a little off would be an understatement. To be fair, nobody has any idea what the Oscars would look like back in the summer. In fact, people are still pretty confused about what the heck is going on this year. This is one of the most confusing Oscar years in recent memory thanks to the fact that nobody can come up with a general consensus. To be fair, the nominations are fairly consistent, but the actual winners are all over the place.
Luckily, as stated, the nominations are relatively similar across the board. Early critic awards have generally picked out the same crop of movies. As a result, it’s relatively easy to pick ten movies that have a shot of sneaking into the Best Picture category. Picking a winner is a completely different story unless the guilds can actually come up with a similar conclusion.
Still, we’ve finally made it to a point where picking actual nominations is perfectly doable. With that in mind, expect the Best Picture field to look something like this. There could be a few small changes here and there, but these predictions should be relatively close to what people will see when nominations are announced. Check back in closer to the actual Oscars to get a definitive prediction list.
Mudbound has an unfortunate burden to carry; it’s a Netflix original movie. After Almodovar and several other industry giants claimed that Netflix movies shouldn’t be in the running for various awards, movies like Mudbound were sadly thrown under a bus. Though they often carry the same sizeable budgets, big-name stars, and viewership, the lack of a theatrical release has led the more conservative academy voters to deem them non-contenders. This means that out of every movie on the list, Mudbound has the most to lose.
It’s not a lost cause though. Aside from the phenomenal reviews, Mudbound hasn’t been completely shut out of the precursor awards. It hasn’t done quite as well as several other movies, but it is earning some sort of recognition. New York Film Critics Online Awards awarded it with a Best Picture, though that’s admittedly not exactly a big deal.
The strongest thing working in its favor is its nomination for Best Ensemble at the SAG awards. While the SAG awards aren’t as consistent as other guild awards, an ensemble nomination is often a good boost for a struggling movie. The fact that it was able to beat out heavyweights like The Shape of Water, The Post, The Florida Project means people are at least paying attention.
At the same time, Beasts of No Nation did relatively well early on before getting completely shut out at the Oscars. Mudbound doesn’t look like it’ll be shut out entirely thanks to Mary J. Blige’s acclaimed performance, but its Best Picture chances are a little foggier. The movie’s fate should be sealed later on after further guild awards are announced. As of right now, it’s a possibility but hardly an inevitability.
9. Phantom Thread
Ten years following the release of his most critically acclaimed movie, Paul Thomas Anderson finally reunites with Daniel Day Lewis to deliver another critical darling. There Will Be Blood was an awards juggernaut following its release, but Phantom Thread hasn’t had the same success in terms of award performance. The reviews have been phenomenal, but it just can’t seem to capture the attention of voters. It has done relatively well, but it’s far from a serious contender at this point.
Back in 2007, it was No Country for Old Men versus There Will Be Blood versus Atonement. In other words, There Will Be Blood was one of three frontrunners to win it all. In 2017, people are more concerned with whether or not Phantom Thread will even get a nomination. The late December release date has done it no favors, but it also seems like it’s just not connecting with certain viewers. The Post is a late-game contender as well, but it’s not struggling in the same way. Phantom Thread has earned enough buzz to be labeled as a possibility, but it has some stiff competition.
8. The Florida Project
Considering how spread out these critic awards have been, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that The Florida Project has picked up quite a few Best Picture wins in the precursors. That’s definitely going to help boost the movie, but the victories have all been courtesy of the lesser known critic awards. Now that it’s game time, this poignant reflection on childhood has fallen a bit short. It couldn’t secure a Golden Globe nomination for Best Drama and it failed to earn an ensemble nomination at the SAG awards as well.
Luckily, it still seems like a pretty safe bet as long as the voters can make it up to eight nominations. Remember, the Best Picture category can feature anywhere from five to ten nominees. Assuming The Florida Project can get enough of those preferential votes, it should make its way into the highly competitive field. Generally speaking, voters tend to go for nine total nominations, which means the two movies below this one may have to duke it out. However, The Florida Project remains relatively safe. It’s just not quite as safe as something like Dunkirk.
7. Call Me By Your Name
Call Me By Your Name is one of the best reviewed movie of the year. Luca Guadagnino isn’t exactly a household name at this point, but his latest film looks to be his big break. His upcoming remake of Suspiria may have more mainstream appeal, but the general acclaim directed at this movie ensures that plenty of people will flock to see it. The coming-of-age drama has an astounding 95 Metascore, which makes it one of the best reviewed movies on the entire website.
It seems as though Call Me By Your Name and The Shape of Water have kind of switched places, which is somewhat troubling for the acclaimed movie. Although it did incredibly well during the early stages of award season, it hasn’t performed quite as strongly over the course of the past two weeks. Unfortunately, the more recent awards are generally considered to be the more important ones. If anything, this mostly means that Call Me By Your Name probably won’t win the big prize come Oscar night. A nomination still seems likely, but it has to continue to perform relatively well.
6. The Post
Spielberg recently took a break from Oscar bait dramas to direct a cute family flick about a big friendly giant. This meant that the people who were hoping to earn some Oscar attention got a nice little break for a change. That brief period of peace is now over. It looks like Spielberg is back to directing timely movies with universal themes, which means someone has to step aside and leave some room. At this point, any drama directed by Steven Spielberg is a lock for a Best Picture nomination because that’s just the way things go.
The Post has, no surprise, been an awards season hit so far. Though it failed to pick up an ensemble nomination at the SAG awards, it has done incredibly well everywhere else. The National Board of Review picked it as their best film, the Globes gave it a fair amount of attention, and the lesser critic awards are showering it with praise as well. Will the film win the Best Picture award? Probably not, but there’s no denying the fact that it will show up in most of the major categories.