2018 Oscar Predictions

Story posted March 3, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment by Arts Staff.

Beloved by some and scorned by others, The Oscars are the biggest night in film each year. Here are the Art Department’s predictions on who will take home the night’s biggest awards (though not necessarily the artists that may deserve them).


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”

Prediction: "Get Out"

Another year, another list of fantastic movies all vying for the award to end all awards: Best Picture of the year. It’s a tough choice this year, but it’s clear which film deserves this coveted award: Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, “Get Out.” With sharp writing and excellent acting, “Get Out” took the box office by storm. Even a few days over a year after its release, the cultural and social relevance of “Get Out” is still very much present. “Get Out” takes a look at the world of passive racism and uses it as a crutch for the horror/thriller aspects of the film. Jordan Peele’s writing skills were evident during his time on Key and Peele and, now with a successful film under his belt, it’s clear that Jordan has a bright future as a filmmaker. – Zach Hall

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”

Prediction: Christopher Nolan - “Dunkirk”

In the past, the Academy has had a soft spot for war dramas, with notable directors like Spielberg unable to win this category until they directed a war drama. Christopher Nolan, who surprisingly has never previously been nominated for this award, will face tough competition from Guillermo del Toro, who is also a nominee in this category for the first time. But the Academy’s known love for war dramas is what gives Nolan the edge. It will be a close race between “The Shape of Water” and “Dunkirk,” but Jordan Peele could be a dark horse in this category.  - Owen Paiva

Best Original Screenplay:

Emily V. Gordan and Kumail Nanjiani - “The Big Sick”
Jordan Peele - “Get Out”
Greta Gerwig - “Lady Bird”
Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor - “The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh - “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Prediction: Jordan Peele - “Get Out”

The five screenplays nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category are some of the most emotionally gripping, unique, clever and authentic pieces of work seen in the academy in a long time. Each screenplay is such a world within itself and the stories and ideas which stemmed from these talented men and women are nothing short of creative masterpieces. However, original screenplays can sometimes seem repetitive if you remove the lines, character names, setting, etc. Sometimes, the stories for each screenplay show a similar thread to those done in the past. We’ve heard stories about a woman falling in love with an ugly creature, a spunky, vivacious girl not fitting in with her surroundings, a dysfunctional family with an even more dysfunctional issue on their hands… but there is certainly a screenplay that has never been heard of or even thought about, which was written and executed to perfection. “Get Out,” Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, features brilliant social undertones and critiques within the lines, props and even character names, which could go unnoticed without the intelligence and caution of the way they were staged. There is no doubt the academy will recognize such astounding work and award “Get Out” with the well-deserved Best Original Screenplay Oscar. - Lilly Adams

Best Adapted Screenplay:

James Ivory – “Call Me by Your Name”
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber – “The Disaster Artist”
Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green – “Logan”
Aaron Sorkin – “Molly’s Game”
Virgil Williams and Dee Rees – “Mudbound”

Prediction: Aaron Sorkin – “Molly’s Game”

This Oscar season has given us several fantastic films that have been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Out of the five nominees, “Molly’s Game” by Aaron Sorkin should be given the award. Not only is Sorkin heralded for his previous screenplays, but some have argued that this film was one of the more faithful interpretations to be brought to the big screen. Sorkin’s quick-witted and snappy dialogue is what drives his films forward while competing with the likes of “Call Me by Your Name” and “Logan.” Sorkin’s development of the characters, as well as the transitions in “Molly’s Game,” are also what make him stand out from the others. His previous films have all had this unique style of storytelling and “Molly’s Game” is no different. The fluidity of his subtext and camera directions are what makes Sorkin’s screenplays something special in itself. There are no other films that are like it and it’s a formula that will always leave the viewer entranced and entertained. – Jack Grossman


Best Actor in a Leading Role

Timothée 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.”

Prediction: Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”

Among the nomination list for Best Actor, this year’s matchups seem to be much more competitive than they actually are. Even though actors such as Daniel Kaluuya and young Timothée Chalamet performed their roles to incredible ends, they stand no chance against the total character immersion Gary Oldman displays in “The Darkest Hour.” With Oldman’s performance as Winston Churchill still continuing its fierce momentum since September, the actor is the certain victor in his category. This, matched with his unending number of honors this award season, including an easy victory of the SAG award (an almost certain fortune teller for the Oscars), makes it easy to conclude that this is Oldman’s award to lose. – JonMichael Pereira

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Sally Hawkings - “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand - “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie - “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan - “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep - “The Postman”

Prediction: Frances McDormand - “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

In the past 10 years, only three actresses who won the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role have not gone on to win the same award in the Academy Awards, with 2011 being the last time these two awards did not go to the same actress. Expect no different this year with Frances McDormand’s powerful performance in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Margot Robbie could be a dark horse since the Academy sometimes will favor a biopic in the best lead actor/actress categories. - Owen Paiva

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

William 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”

Prediction: Christopher Plummer – “All the Money in the World”

In regards to the Best Supporting Actor category, we have been given five remarkable performances that are strong and enticing enough to compete for the award. However, Christopher Plummer’s phenomenal performance in “All the Money in the World” will take home the award. In a remarkable case of last-minute changes due to the allegations of Kevin Spacey, Plummer stepped into the role of J. Paul Getty and made the role even better than what was shown prior. Not appearing too much in the film, Plummer was able to deliver a stark and realistic performance that only he could, bringing the bitterness and selfishness of the tycoon to life. The drive to provide a strong spiritual antagonist is what made Plummer shine, stacking up against other performances such as Richard Jenkins and Willem Dafoe for the running. – Jack Grossman

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Prediction: Allison Janney - “I, Tonya”

The year 2017 in film was empowering for women in the film and television industries, with the #MeToo movement playing an important role in almost all award shows this year. Not only externally did women make their voices heard, women played an important & vital role in almost every film nominated this year. The Best Supporting Actress category is one generally looked over by its superior categories, but with the performances given by the women in the films nominated, it’s getting as much attention as any other categories. The five women nominated gave the judges phenomenal pieces of work to choose from, but no woman transformed herself like Allison Janney in “I, Tonya.” Playing Tonya Harding’s abusive, psychotic mother, Janney gave the best performance of her career by completely disregarding her own self and quite literally becoming LaVona Golden. - Lilly Adams

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins - “Blade Runner 2049”
Bruno Delbonnel - “Darkest Hour”
Hoyte van Hoytema - “Dunkirk”
Rachel Morrison - “Mudbound”
Dan Lausten - “The Shape of Water”

Prediction: Hoyte van Hoytema - “Dunkirk”

As beautiful and captivating as the cinematography of “Blade Runner 2049” is, Roger Deakins will more than likely not win for the fourteenth consecutive time in a row. Instead, Hoyte van Hoytema will likely come away with the award for his stunning work in “Dunkirk.” Eschewing the normal narratives and tropes of war films, Christopher Nolan put faith in his cinematographer to help tell the story of “Dunkirk” through vivid visual storytelling. The screenplay and the performance of the actors rarely have to express the dread of the situation on screen; the visuals make the viewer feel every climactic moment as if they’re truly there. – Chandler Copenheaver

Best Film Editing

Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss - “Baby Driver”
Lee Smith - “Dunkirk”
Tatiana S. Riegel - “I, Tonya”
Sidney Wolinsky - “The Shape of Water”
Jon Gregory - “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Prediction: Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss - “Baby Driver”

While most film critics will say the best editing is the editing you don’t notice, “Baby Driver” decides to take that ideology and run it over with the best car chases on the big screen in over a decade. “Baby Driver” is just as much of a love letter to the art of film editing as it is to heist movies and music. The success of “Baby Driver” relied mostly (if not solely) on perfectly executed and timed editing, where making the cut to the next shot even a quarter of a second late could unsync an entire set piece. Sure, the other films nominated had great editing, but “Baby Driver” is the only one where every single point of praise for the film can be traced back to its flawless editing. – Chandler Copenheaver

Best Original Song
Mary J. Blige - “Mighty River” from “Mudbound”
Sufjan Stevens - “Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name”
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez - “Remember Me” from “Coco”
Diane Warren and Common - “Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall”
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul - “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”

Prediction: Sufjan Stevens - “Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name”

We can all kid ourselves with some sort of narrative of a small song by an independent artist for an independent film versus a show-stopping number from a big Hollywood musical, but at the end of the day “Mystery of Love” is as haunting and beautiful a song can feasibly achieve in the medium of music. It perfectly encapsulates the themes of the self-discovery and fear that comes with love that has made “Call Me by Your Name” such a powerful film and stands shoulder to shoulder with some of Sufjan’s best work. It may have stiff competition, but Sufjan is an artist currently at the highest point of his career to date and his song has more emotional resonance than any of its fellow nominees. – Chandler Copenheaver

Best Sound Editing
Julian Slate – “Baby Driver”
Mark Mangini, Theo Green – “Blade Runner 2049”
Richard King – “Dunkirk”
Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira – “The Shape of Water”
Ren Kylce, Matthew Wood – “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Prediction: Richard King – “Dunkirk”

One of the easiest categories to predict every year, that movie that usually takes home the Oscar for sound editing is a war movie. Despite the fact that other movies do incredible things with the way they edit sound, it seems to be that they always lose out. “Blade Runner 2049” and “Baby Driver” will likely fall victim to this again as “Dunkirk” is the clear favorite to win. – David Arroyo

Best Sound Mixing

Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slate, Tim Cavagin – “Baby Driver”
Mac Ruth, Ron Barlett, Doug Hephill – “Blade Runner 2049”
Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo – “Dunkirk”
Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern – “The Shape of Water”
Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick – “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Prediction: Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo – “Dunkirk”

If a movie were to unseat “Dunkirk” in a sound category, it could very well be “Baby Driver” here. Sound, alongside the way it was edited, were key components to what made “Baby Driver” such a successful film. An award here would validate the decision to make sound such a central focus, but don’t bank on a war movie (especially one as popular as “Dunkirk”) losing out. – David Arroyo



Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.

Owen Paiva is a freshman majoring in film/video. To contact him, email owenpaiva@sbcglobal.net.

Lilly Adams is a freshman majoring in film/video. To contact her, email lillyadams11@gmail.com.

Jack Grossman is a sophomore majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jackdgrossman@gmail.com.

JonMichael Pereira is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jqp5759@psu.edu.

Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email chandlercopenheaver@gmail.com.

David Arroyo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email arroyodavid01@gmail.com.

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About the Contributors

David Arroyo's photo

David Arroyo

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

David Arroyo currently serves as one of two General Managers for CommRadio. David is a former arts & entertainment director, social media director and editor for the station. He has produced for multiple Penn State sports while in CommRadio, has done play by play for Penn State sporting events such as football, basketball and volleyball and co-hosted and produced his own talk show. During the fall of 2017, David was an anchor, producer and reporter for the Centre County Report. David most recently interned at WPVI-TV, 6abc in Philadelphia during the summer of 2018. While at 6abc he was a programing intern and helped in the production of their weekly show “FYI Philly.” David has interned at B94.5 (State College) and Center City Film and Video (Philadelphia). Follow him on Twitter (@_arroyodavid) or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

ChandlerCopenheaver's photo


Senior / Public Relations

Chandler Copenheaver is a Production Director and Arts Director of CommRadio who has been a member of CommRadio since the spring of 2015. Chandler’s responsibilities entail managing the production department, managing the arts department, creating audio commercials for CommRadio and external organizations, scheduling commercial blocks, and writing editorial content related to the arts. Chandler Copenheaver has worked most recently at Arlington Thrive in Arlington, VA as a Development & Program Intern, WellSpan Health in South Central PA as a Public Relations & Marketing Intern and served as a teaching assistant for the Penn State course BiSci 3 Environmental Science. Chandler aims to work in the fields of Public Relations, Communications Strategy or Communications Management. Follow him on Twitter @C_Copenheaver or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Owen Paiva's photo

Owen Paiva

Senior / Film/Video

Owen Paiva is a senior majoring in film-video. He currently serves as a social media director at CommRadio. In the past, he interned at both WPSU as a sports production intern and at Shadowbox Studios as a production intern.  f you want to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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JonMichael Pereira

Freshmen / Telecommunication

JonMichael is a writer and contributor for the Nittany Record Club, the first music analysis talk show at ComRadio. Before Penn State JonMichael was the director and head of production for his daily high school news show. He is always looking to forward his experience in the field of production, you can reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Lillian Adams

Junior / Film/Video Studies

Lillian Adams is a writer and contributor for the Nittany Record Club, a department in CommRadio dedicated specifically to the analysis and reviews of current albums of the year, and the former albums of the past. as well as current films released. In addition to this, she hosts her own talk show on Commradio called “Reel Talk.” She is currently a member of the Student Film Organization as well as Commradio. She also is a regular PA on multiple student films on campus, and works as a Videographer for Commagency. She is always looking to expand her knowledge in the fields of cinema and music, and is excited to see what opportunities Penn State will bring her. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).