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MATTHEW LIEDKE COLUMN: 'Shaping' up to be a big night

Shape of Water movie poster. Click to enlarge.

Editorial Note: The 90th Academy Awards — the Oscars — are Sunday night. Over the last several weeks, we looked at my favorites to win the golden statues. Here are my final predictions.

So, today's the big day, Hollywood's Super Bowl.

An award season that began in in November ends Sunday, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates film and announces its selection for Best Picture.

The nominees for Best Picture are:

• "Call Me By Your Name."

• "The Shape of Water."

• "Get Out."

• "Lady Bird."

• "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

• "Darkest Hour."

• "Phantom Thread."

• "The Post."

• "Dunkirk."

Who will win: There's no doubt about it, this year is tough to predict. Right now, the race is between "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

So far, "Shape" has earned the Critics' Choice Award for Best Picture and the Best Theatrical Motion Picture Award from the Producers Guild of America. "Billboards," meanwhile, has received Best Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama. "Missouri" also took the de facto best picture award from the Screen Actors Guild, earning Outstanding Performance by a Cast.

Then, there's "Get Out," the horror film that has earned plenty of recognition this award season and could shock the world.

In the end, though, my prediction is "The Shape of Water." The film leads in total nominations with 13, and the PGA's Best Picture award has often meant good things on Oscar night. Additionally, as sad as it is, Academy voters may not vote for "Get Out" because of its genre. Also, "Three Billboards" has faced some backlash.

Who could win: Of course, this obviously means that if not "Shape of Water," the award will likely go to "Three Billboards" or the Academy could surprise everyone and give Best Picture to "Get Out."

Who should win: Five of the films nominated were in my top 10 of 2017 and others were part of my honorable mentions. There are a lot of deserving films here. However, when it comes to Best Picture I would either pick "Call Me By Your Name" or "The Shape of Water."

Category Snub: Best Picture is open to 10 slots, but the Academy only picked nine films. They should have given the 10th spot to "Blade Runner 2049."

Best Original Screenplay

So, the other categories I have to predict are related to writing, first up is Original Screenplay. The nominees are:

• "Get Out" by Jordan Peele.

• "Lady Bird" by Greta Gerwig.

• "The Shape of Water" by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor.

• "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" by Martin McDonagh.

• "The Big Sick" by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani.

Who will win: This category is made a little easier to predict as "Get Out" picked up the Best Original Screenplay award from the Writers Guild of America. That's usually a really good sign and it's why I'm giving it the edge over "Three Billboards."

Who could win: Again, this is another situation where if my pick doesn't win, it will probably go to "Three Billboards." Along with the acting, much of the praise for "Missouri" went to its writing and it wouldn't be a shock to see that get recognition.

Who should win: My favorite screenplays this year were from "Get Out," "Lady Bird" and "Three Billboards," so any one of those three I would be happy with.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The next and final category to predict is the adapted screenplay. Nominees include:

• "Call Me By Your Name" by James Ivory.

• "The Disaster Artist" by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber.

• "Logan" by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green.

• "Molly's Game" by Aaron Sorkin.

• "Mudbound" by Virgin Williams and Dee Rees.

Who will win: I'm extremely confident that "Call Me By Your Name" will win in this category. It's been one of the best received films of 2017 and the screenplay had a lot to do with that. Like "Get Out," this was shown by the WGA, which gave its Best Adapted Screenplay award to "Call Me By Your Name." Additionally, it doesn't have immense competition at the moment.

Who could win: Aaron Sorkin has won an Oscar before and the screenplay in "Molly's Game" is quite good. If there was an upset, I could see Sorkin taking it. However, I see it as unlikely at this point.

Who should win: "Call Me By Your Name" was my favorite film of 2017 so I would like it to win this one.


Those are my final predictions. If you missed my other columns, here's a quick recap of predictions for other categories:

• Best Actor, Gary Oldman for "Darkest Hour."

• Best Actress, Saoirse Ronan for "Lady Bird."

• Best Supporting Actor, Sam Rockwell for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

• Best Supporting Actress, Allison Janney for "I, Tonya."

• Best Director, Guillermo del Toro for "The Shape of Water."

The E! channel will begin broadcasting from the Oscars red carpet at noon today while ABC will begin its coverage at 5:30 p.m. The ceremony itself will begin at 7 p.m. and will run until about 10 p.m. Then, the E! channel will begin covering the after parties and press conferences at 10:30 p.m.

For the second year in a row, Jimmy Kimmel will serve as the Oscars host.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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