HomeMoviesBest Picture Race: One of the Closest Best Picture Races in Years

Best Picture Race: One of the Closest Best Picture Races in Years

Welcome back to The Pop Break’s third annual Oscar predictions series. Like the previous two years, the site’s film editor, and Oscar guru Daniel Cohen, takes a deep dive into the major races, and examines not only who might walk away with the Oscar on March 4, but the realistic chances of everyone else nominated.


A couple months ago, this movie was supposed to put the hammer down as the clear cut “Cancel the Oscars” Best Picture winner.  It’s one of those movies where the trailers plaster all the festival accolades and critic quotes of “Movie of the Decade” onto the screen as cliché indie movie music plays over it.

While this film no doubt hit a homerun with audiences and critics, it’s just not there.  Much like The Florida Project, it has a passionate group of supporters.  Unlike The Florida Project, it did get nominated.

This movie definitely has the Oscar moments.  While Timothee Chalamet has a chance to take Best Actor, its lack of Supporting Actor nominations speaks to how the Academy feels about this film.  They like it, but weren’t blown away.  While I never saw Armie Hammer as a viable Oscar candidate, Stuhlbarg’s one big scene at the end is something the Academy would typically nominate.  Him and Woody Harrelson are similar in that they share limited screen time, but the fact they gave Harrelson the nomination instead of Stuhlbarg shows the film isn’t as strong a candidate for Best Picture.

Call Me by Your Name is lucky to be in Best Adapted Screenplay, which is the NBA Eastern Conference when compared to the Western Conference that is Best Original Screenplay.  It will win Adapted Screenplay, but that’s probably it.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? Barely

Chances of Winning: Middle of the Pack


As we all know, this is one of two surprise Best Picture nominees, the other being Phantom Thread.  We’ll get to that later.  I thought we were all in agreement that Gary Oldman was great, but the rest of the movie was mediocre.

This is one of two Best Picture movies that has 0% chance of winning.  I’ll give director Joe Wright credit for a few noteworthy moments that are more than just Gary Oldman acting all over the screen.  He also gets another great performance from Ben Mendelsohn, who got completely ignored.

I can certainly understand why Darkest Hour would be a Best Picture nominee, and to be fair, it got a healthy dose of nominations (six).  While it has no chance at winning Best Picture, it’s most likely going to walk away with two Oscars (Actor, Make-Up).  That’s not a bad day at the office.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? No

Chances of Winning: Low


Out of all the movies on the list, this would be my personal pick.  It’s the best movie on here.  In case I haven’t made it clear in previous articles or our Oscar Podcast, I love this movie.  Everything that can be said about Dunkirk has been said, but it can’t be said enough.  Christopher Nolan made a war movie for the ages.  The end.

As far as its chances go at Best Picture, it’s got a shot.  This one’s pretty simple – if Nolan can pull off the Best Director upset, all bets are off.  If Nolan loses that award, I can’t imagine Dunkirk winning Best Picture.  If you believe Dunkirk is Best Picture, but don’t have Nolan for Directing, that line of thinking seems very questionable.  He is the movie!

As we discussed on the podcast, this movie would have swept the Oscars 10-15 years ago.  Epics like this don’t win anymore.  Dunkirk could pull off a miracle because it’s such a unique epic, and it’s projected to win a handful of technical awards, including Best Editing.

At the end of the day, it’s a long shot.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? Yes

Chances of Winning: Middle of the Pack


If Get Out loses Best Picture, it won’t be for lack of effort.  As a Los Angeles native, I’ve seen the Get Out “For Your Consideration” posters EVERYWHERE.  Universal Pictures is pushing hard for this.  I’ve never seen an Oscar campaign like it in my entire life.  It could very well prove victorious.

When Jordan Peele got the Directing nomination, the Get Out dream was cemented as a reality.  The Academy has bought in.  They love this film.  For a movie as wonky as Get Out to win Best Picture would truly be a sight to behold.  The Academy has definitely gone the social commentary route recently, especially when you look at a movie like Moonlight winning last year.  The difference is Moonlight was a grounded story, whereas Get Out is fantasy horror, albeit with A LOT to say.

It’s going to be tough, but Get Out is right in the thick of it.  As I mentioned in the podcast though, no Editing nomination raises my eyebrow.  As great as Get Out is, be emotionally ready for this movie to walk away with absolutely nothing.

It could happen.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? Yes

Chances of Winning: High


The hype on Lady Bird has certainly subsided, but no doubt it has left a lasting impression.  As we discussed in the podcast, Lady Bird and Get Out are the two universally loved fan-favorite movies.  While Get Out’s lasting impression has been more impressive based on the fact it came out a year ago, don’t ignore the bird.  If this movie won, people would go insane.  It could happen.

The road to victory is a tough one.  Lady Bird NEEDS to win Best Original Screenplay.  It just has too.  If Lady Bird can take that award, get ready for a suspenseful end to Oscar night.  While a Best Picture win is legit, this would also be shocking.  These movies don’t win Best Picture.

Much like Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig’s ability to add such a unique style to a very simple piece is extraordinarily impressive.  The odds are not great, but Lady Bird winning would be a very cool story.  And for one last time, I’ll say this – it’s a much better Juno.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? Yes

Chances of Winning: Middle of the Pack


The Phantom Thread nomination run was a surprise because it was ignored at all the guilds.  Even Daniel Day-Lewis didn’t get a SAG nomination.  Looking back, this was probably a case of the movie coming out ridiculously late.  Bill Bodkin said it best in the podcast: It’s Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis.  It’s just common sense.

Even though the film has a directing nomination, its chances of winning are very low.  If Phantom Thread had a Screenplay nomination, my eyebrow would be raised as this being a possible spoiler.  I’m just thrilled the movie got in.  As this is a Paul Thomas Anderson film, it certainly has its darkness and oddball sensibilities, but it’s one of the funniest movie he’s ever made, in a very unexpected way.  Bottom-line: This is just an exquisitely made film on all levels.  If the directing pool wasn’t so stacked this year, he’s someone who really could take it.  The man is certainly do.

Thankfully, Phantom Thread won’t go away empty handed, as it’s a lock to win Costume Design.  I’ll just reiterate what I said in the podcast – go see the movie.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? Yes

Chances of Winning: Low


If there was ever a movie that was grandfathered into the Best Picture race, it’s The Post.  I’m not saying it’s bad.  It’s a good movie, but let’s put the honesty caps on: If you got the exact same movie with the exact same performances, but replaced Spielberg as director, and Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in the lead roles, this movie wouldn’t have been nominated for Best Picture.  Tell me I’m wrong.

It also doesn’t help that two years ago we got a spectacular movie about the newspaper industry with Spotlight that appropriately won Best Picture.  Ironically enough, the same writer, Josh Singer, had a hand in writing this.  The movie definitely has some great moments.  The Meryl Streep phone pause is why she got nominated.  With James Franco being exiled from Best Actor, Tom Hanks should have been in instead of Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.).  It’s a vintage Hanks performance.

The weakness is surprisingly Spielberg, who gets annoyingly heavy-handed at the end.  For further examination on that, you can read my review.

At the end of the day, I have no issue with it being nominated, but it’s obviously not a Best Picture winner.  As I said in the podcast, it’s the only movie nominated for Best Picture that’s guaranteed to win nothing.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? No

Chances of Winning: Low


I initially saw this movie right as it opened when the hype was at its highest.  I came out liking it, but never in a million years did I think it would be a Best Picture front-runner, and that del Toro would be considered the lock to win Best Director.  It honestly never crossed my mind.  I drove myself crazy thinking about what I missed with this film.  I went to see it again with an open mind, completely removed from the hype.  I feel the exact same way.

I understand why it got all these nominations.  It’s weird, because while I have no problem with the film taking any of those awards, as a whole, it’s just not great.  Again, I like the film, but this isn’t a Best Picture winner.  It’s just not.  I know it won the PGA, but ask La La Land and The Big Short how that worked out.

There’s no doubt The Shape of Water is a huge front-runner, and could certainly win a lot of awards.  There’s no question about it.  Hollywood loves this movie, and they love del Toro.  As much as this film could own the night, it could easily drown under all its nominations.  Bill Bodkin convinced me on the podcast that Best Score is not a lock.  If you really break down every category it’s nominated for, it could theoretically lose everything.

That would be quite a story.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? Barely

Chances of Winning: High


We’ve reached the end of the Best Picture mountain with what is considered the official front-runner.  How fitting.  Much like The Shape of Water, I also saw this a second time.  While I enjoyed this movie a lot on first viewing, something was lacking.  I’m not sure what it was.  When I saw it again though, everything clicked.  This truly is a magnificent motion picture.  While a lot of these other movies are bombastic, epic, stylized and polished, Three Billboards is a straight forward, albeit complicated character piece, and I love it for that.

As the movie doesn’t have an earth shattering style, it’s easy to see why Martin McDonagh got snubbed for directing.  His lack of a nomination is the only reason why people are a little skittish on this movie taking it all.  While the film has some naysayers, everyone I talk to that has seen it can’t get over how good it is.  I get the sense the Academy feels the same way.

When I really think about Three Billboards and the ridiculously great writing, as well as all the elite performances, it really does have OSCAR written all over it.  While it might lose Best Original Screenplay to Get Out because the Academy is willing to honor creativity/originality a little more in that category, Three Billboards is going to be real tough to dethrone for Best Picture.

There’s a reason why it’s the front-runner.

Is This Movie Worthy of Best Picture? Yes

Chances of Winning: High

Daniel Cohen
Daniel Cohen
Daniel Cohen likes movies and bagels, and that’s pretty much it. Aside from writing Box Office predictions, Daniel hosts the monthly Batman by the Numbers Podcast on the Breakcast feed. Speaking of Batman, If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.

Most Recent

Stay Connected