Who has the best chance of winning Best Picture?

So which film is gonna win one of the beauties? (Prayitno/Flickr Creative Commons)

The race for Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards seems to be cooling down the closer we get to the big night. “The Shape of Water” has separated itself from the rest of the field and become the consensus to take home the top prize. However, there are eight other titles up for contention and the Academy has been less and less predictable in recent years. What would it take for another film to knock off the frontrunner?

Darkest Hour  

Likelihood of Winning: Extremely Low

How It Could Win: The only way “Darkest Hour” wins Best Picture is if the Russians sabotage the envelope process again in a continued effort to stir chaos and disorder in our most beloved institutions. With the full scope of Russian meddling further revealed in last Friday’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals, it has become feasible to believe that last year’s Best Picture fiasco was orchestrated by Russian operatives. What’s more, Warren Beatty, the man who read the misleading envelope last year, once appeared as a communist in the film “Reds,” so checkmate I guess.

The Post

Likelihood of Winning: Extremely Low

How It Could Win: Spielberg/Hanks/Streep call upon their collective lifetimes of clout to get this film the Best Picture. In subsequent years, all three are forced to helm the now-defunct Transformers series to make good on their debts incurred from bribing Oscar voters.

Phantom Thread

Likelihood of Winning: Quite Slim

How It Could Win: The Academy continues its trend towards smaller, more art-house fare for the top prize. With “Birdman” and “Moonlight” in recent years, the voting body has seemed more accepting of auteur films and “Phantom Thread” is surely that. However, if this trend does hold in 2018, I do not believe the Paul Thomas Anderson vehicle will be the film that prospers. Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” looks to be the choice if the Academy is in fact moving towards strong writer-director voices behind the camera. On the off chance that “Phantom Thread” does win, come to Celeron. I will be the person inciting a celebratory riot.

Call Me By Your Name

Likelihood of Winning: Quite Slim

How It Could Win: “Call Me By Your Name” would have to be carried by its performances, most importantly newcomer Timothée Chalamet and Hollywood’s unsung hero Michael Stuhlbarg. The latter of the two delivers a speech perfect for the short clips shown at the Oscars.

Lady Bird

Likelihood of Winning: Quite Slim

How It Could Win: Best Picture winners have rarely been “small” and “Lady Bird,” with its laser focus on one character over one year of her life, is the smallest of the nominations. In addition, the breezy indie-comedy vibe of the film does not bode well with a voting body that has favored serious titles over the years. For “Lady Bird” to win, the Academy would need to vastly change its voting criteria and taste towards the top prize.

Get Out

Likelihood of Winning: In Conversation

How It Could Win: See “Phantom Thread” section.

Dunkirk

Likelihood of Winning: In Conversation

How It Could Win: This would have to be the Christopher Nolan lifetime achievement award and I do not think he has achieved enough in his career to warrant one at this time. The film will probably do well in technical categories, which gives it some power in the Best Picture race, but the lack of strong lead characters will be a detractor for the voting body.

3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Likelihood of Winning: In Conversation

How It Could Win: As the strongest challenger to “The Shape of Water,” “3 Billboards” will need its cast to carry it to the promised land. With two nominations in the Supporting Actor category and a Screen Actors Guild award for best cast, this film has proven to be an acting powerhouse. Irish playwright turned screenwriter-director Martin McDonagh is fighting an uphill battle with this outsider take on American society. This angle worked very well with the voting body of The Golden Globes where “3 Billboards” took home Best Drama, but there is no crossover between that body and the Academy. The Academy will need to focus on the performances of Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson if they are to award “3 Billboards” with Best Picture.


Teddy Craven is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.craven_jr@uconn.edu.