Oscar nominations for the March 4 ceremony will be handed out Tuesday morning, kicking off a new phase of awards season with snubs, surprises and plenty of things to argue about for the next month and a half.
Assessing the race so far, let’s look at the major Oscar categories and break down the contenders from the pretenders.
The best: After taking the best drama Globe and cast SAG honor, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is as close as we have to a front-runner, so barring something bizarre happening, that’s definitely getting a nomination. Not too far behind is The Shape of Water, armed with Critics’ Choice and Producers Guild victories for best film. And since 2012, the Directors Guild of America nominees have all ended up getting a best picture nod, which bodes well for not only Three Billboards and Shapebut also Globe winner Lady Bird, Dunkirk and Get Out.
The rest: Recent years have seen the Academy pick eight or nine films (the maximum is 10), which means SAG-nominated Mudbound and The Big Sick, as well as Globe nominees I, Tonya, The Post and Call Me By Your Name, are all in the mix. Plus, with their Producers Guild nominations, don’t count out Wonder Woman or Molly’s Game, and Darkest Hour and The Florida Project lurk as dark horses.
The best: Transformed into Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman is rolling like a tank over the competition with SAG, Critics’ Choice and Globe wins — and his path looks clear to Oscar, too. It’s safe to predict he’s getting a nod, as is Call Me By Your Name breakout Timothée Chalamet, and the Oscars will likely give retiring Phantom Thread star Daniel Day-Lewis one for the road.
The rest: The final two could be picked from Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.) and James Franco (The Disaster Artist), all of whom earned SAG and Globe spots. Nominations voting closed the week that multiple allegations of sexual misconduct emerged against Franco, which could derail his chances. Best shot at sneaking in: The Post star Tom Hanks, a Globe nominee and Hollywood favorite.
The best: Like Oldman, SAG and Globe wins make Three Billboards’ Frances McDormand a lock for a nomination — her first in the category since winning for Fargoin 1997. Lady Bird star Saoirse Ronan, who took the Globe for comedy actress, also seems to be a sure thing.
The rest: The stacked field vying for the other three slots makes this one of the most intriguing categories. Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) and Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) all have SAG and Globe nominations to their credit. Michelle Williams, a Globe nominee, could benefit from the pay inequity flap around All the Money in the World the week of voting. And Meryl Streep, vying for her 21st nomination, is a legend in a very timely true-life film (The Post), a recipe that may sway Academy voters.
The best: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards) has already snagged SAG and Globe gold, so he’s in. Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), who seems to be Rockwell’s primary competition, will be, too.
The rest: Here’s where things get somewhat exciting. A SAG nomination will help Rockwell’s Three Billboards co-star Woody Harrelson, plus Armie Hammer and/or Michael Stuhlbarg from Call Me By Your Name should squeeze into the category. If only one of the Name guys goes (or Harrelson gets snubbed), it leaves the door open for Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) or Christopher Plummer, whose heroics stepping in for Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World probably earned some goodwill.
The best:I, Tonya’s Allison Janney has run roughshod so far, picking up SAG, Critics’ Choice and Globe honors, and she, Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) and Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) seem the best bets for Oscar nods.
The rest: SAG nominees Holly Hunter (The Big Sick) and Hong Chau (Downsizing), as well as Globe contender Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water), will be jockeying for the final two slots. One major surprise could be Tiffany Haddish, thanks to her movie-stealing turn in Girls Trip.
The best: On average, three or four of the Directors Guild nominees match the final Oscar slate, so expect most of the category to come out of a bunch including Globe and Critics’ Choice winner Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Jordan Peele (Get Out), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards).
The rest: Steven Spielberg is still Steven Spielberg so The Post director could conceivably slip in, though so could Luca Guadagnino for his acclaimed Call Me By Your Name.