Over the years, I've written about the diminishing impact of the Academy Awards and I have no desire to rehash old observations about the dizzying growth of entertainment options that compete with movies or the way celebrity over-exposure has taken much of the thrill out of seeing the stars come out for an evening of high style.
Still, it's the Oscars and the name still evokes nostalgic memories of movie primacy, even as we wonder about the future of big-screen entertainment. And for all the commentary about the ascendance of great and important TV, I wonder if there's an actor or director alive who'd trade an Oscar for an Emmy if given the choice.
But enough of all that.
Among other things, the arrival of Oscar means it's time to make a few predictions, and, as usual, I'll throw in my two cents, which happens to be a little more than I think most Oscar predictions are worth.
So, for what it's worth here are my picks, along with selections of what might happen if I'm wrong.
Lots of observers see this as a too-close-to-call race between Shape of Water and Three Billboards. Wouldn't it be great if vote splitting pushed Get Out to the front of the line?
Will win: I lean toward Shape of Water, but the late ascendance of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri makes the race the most difficult to predict.
Will win: Francis McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Possible upset: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Will win: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Oldman's strongest oppposition: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Best supporting actress
Will win: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Janney's strongest opposition: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Best Supporting Actor
Will win: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Rockwell's strongest opposition: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Will Win: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Biggest possibility for an upset: Jordan Peel, Get Out
Best Original Screenplay
Will win: Get Out
Equally strong: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This is a category that's worth special note as Oscar's evening unfolds. If Three Billboards wins best original screenplay, it may signal that the movie has a real chance to take home best picture.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will win: Call Me By Your Name
Possible upset: Mudbound
Will win: Blade Runner 2049
In the running: Dunkirk
Will win: Coco
Possible upset: None
Foreign Language Film
Will win: A Fantastic Woman
Possible upset: The Insult
Will Win: Icarus
In contention: Faces Places
As of this writing, weather forecasters are predicting a cold wet evening in Los Angeles for Oscar Sunday. I encourage one and all (myself included) to resist all attempts at metaphor-making.