It’s been almost a whole year since Faye Dunaway announced the wrong Best Picture winner on the Oscars stage. But unlike last year’s contentious race, this awards season isn’t split down the middle by two movies; it’s more like four, or five, or maybe eight, who knows! The 2018 Academy Awards could go a number of directions, favoring Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri over Get Out, or perhaps adoring The Shape of Water over Lady Bird. But this week, the nominations will finally shine a light on the path to Oscar Sunday, and give us an idea of what to expect.

Before the nominees are announced Tuesday morning, ScreenCrush editors Matt Singer, E. Oliver Whitney, and Britt Hayes have summoned their Oscar tea leaves. Relying on their own trusty insight, all the guild nominations, and their magical soothsaying powers, here are their best predictions for this year’s Oscar nominees.

Best Picture

Get Out Daniel Kaluuya
  • Dunkirk
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The last several awards seasons have given us head-to-head races between two clear frontrunners, but this year, it’s all up in there air. All but one of the five films we’re predicting have been awarded Best Picture prizes by various guilds and critic groups so far (Dunkirk hasn’t); at this point, it’s anyone’s best guess what will take home the prize come Oscar night. But based on those guild and critic awards, we can bet Get Out, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, Lady Bird, and Dunkirk are sure to be nominated. The Academy can recognize anywhere from five to ten nominees each year though, so if anything else squeezes in it could likely be I, Tonya, which has swept up an admirable seven guild nominations, and Call Me By Your Name, bound to nab two nominations in the acting categories. There is hope for The Post as well, though it got snubbed by the PGA and WGA awards, Darkest Hour, and The Florida Project. It’s a crowded season, so surprises are expected. – E. Oliver Whitney

Other Contenders: Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, The Florida Project, I, Tonya, The Post.

Best Director

Fox Searchlight
Fox Searchlight
  • Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Guillermo del Toro has officially crept into the awards season race with his fantastical fish-man love story. Following recent multiple nominations and wins (including, most notably, a Golden Globe for Best Director), del Toro’s practically a shoo-in for an Oscar nom. The rest of this year’s noms feel all but certain at this point: Greta Gerwig directed a near-unanimously beloved film with Lady Bird, and ditto for Jordan Peele, whose Get Out was easily the most talked-about movie of 2017. (It will also very likely be the first horror film to enter the Oscar race since Black Swan.) The backlash to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri may have only increased Martin McDonagh’s odds, while the subversive structure of the handsomely-shot Dunkirk undoubtedly impressed voters into rallying around Christopher Nolan, making this his first Best Director nomination.  – Britt Hayes

Other Contenders: Steven Spielberg (The Post), Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), Joe Wright (Darkest Hour).

Best Actress

Fox Searchlight
Fox Searchlight
  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

Despite Hollywood’s continued gender inequities and the general lack of interesting roles for women, 2018’s Best Actress race is another good one, making it difficult to narrow the nominees down to just five. Frances McDormand’s nomination seems inevitable, but it’s also incredibly deserved; her performance as a tough but compassionate mother seeking justice for her daughter’s murder in Three Billboards is as complex as that description sounds (and then some). The lingering glow around Lady Bird should cement Saoirse Ronan’s inclusion (though a win seems doubtful), while frequent Oscar fave Meryl Streep (and that glorious caftan) is sure to earn her 21st nomination for The Post. Rounding out the top five are Sally Hawkins for her gracefully wordless performance in The Shape of Water, in which she essentially plays a more baller version of Amelie, and Margot Robbie, who matched Tonya Harding’s fierce commitment as the disgraced figure skater in I, Tonya.  – BH

Other Contenders: Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game), Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul).

Best Actor

Sony Classics
Sony Classics
  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • James Franco, The Disaster Artist
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Maybe we’ll be proven completely wrong about this one, but we’re pretty confident in our Best Actor picks. Certainly Oldman, Chalamet, and Day-Lewis are absolute locks; if any of those three miss the cut, we’re demanding a recount and looking around for the Matt Damon-looking dude who gave Warren Beatty the wrong Best Picture envelope last year. Daniel Kaluuya has garnered Oscar talk since last February, and though he’s probably a long shot to win, a nomination feels pretty solid. And James Franco already won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for The Disaster Artist, although the recent allegations of sexual misconduct against him could hurt his chances. The potential spoilers: Tom Hanks, America’s favorite everyday hero, as a crusading newspaper editor in the not-at-all-timely The Post, and Jake Gyllenhaal, for his critically acclaimed (but little seen) work in Stronger. – Matt Singer

Other Contenders: Tom Hanks (The Post), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger).

Best Supporting Actress

SURPRISE #3: Mary J. Blige for Mudbound
  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Predictions always get tricky when we get to the supporting categories, but we feel confident about two actresses: Allison Janney and Laurie Metcalf. Janney won the Golden Globe for her razor-sharp depiction of Tonya Harding’s acerbic, abusive mother LaVona. Metcalf brings a different kind of mother to life in Lady Bird, a stubborn woman navigating a fraught relationship with her teenage daughter. Beyond those two, the next likely nominees are Mary J. Blige, who gives a shattering performance in Dee Rees’ searing historical drama Mudbound, Holly Hunter for her affecting portrait of mother trying to hold it together in The Big Sick, and Octavia Spencer, who deserves better than the supporting roles she’s often stuck in, even if she’s still a delight in The Shape of Water. If there’s a surprise here, it may be Hong Chau for her controversial performance as a Vietnamese activist in Downsizing. – EOW

Other Contenders: Hong Chau (Downsizing), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread).

Best Supporting Actor

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me Be Your Name
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The big question in this category is whether the movies with several great supporting performances will split their votes and cancel each other out. Will the Academy go for Michael Stuhlbarg or Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name? Will enough people vote for Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri instead of Sam Rockwell to hurt the latter’s chances? We’re guessing not, but it could happen. In the end, we think this will come down to a race between Rockwell and Dafoe, who’ve been dominating the early season awards. But don’t count Christopher Plummer out; he not only gave a memorable performance in All the Money in the World, he did so under the kind of adverse circumstances (shooting his entire part in a matter of days after replacing Kevin Spacey late into post-production) that Oscar voters often find irresistible. – MS

Other Contenders: Armie Hammer (Call Me Be Your Name), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).

Check back here on Tuesday morning when the full list of nominees are announced, beginning at 8:22AM ET, and through March for all our Oscar predictions and coverage. The 2018 Oscars air on ABC on March 4 at 8PM ET.

Gallery – Terrible Movies That Somehow Won Oscars:

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