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Oscar Nominations 2018: Final Predictions for Crafts and Animation Show Fierce Competition

"The Shape of Water" will dominate the crafts, and Pixar looks strong with "Coco" and "Lou."


With PGA and Critics Choice wins, “The Shape of Water” is peaking just before Tuesday’s Oscar nominations. And, thanks to its surreal, period trappings, Guillermo del Toro’s inclusive love story will dominate the craft nominations, with as many as eight to be had, which would tie “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Following close behind will be Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049.” But the biggest crafts story will be if ASC nominee Rachel Morrison also becomes the first female cinematography nominee for Dee Rees’ “Mudbound,” And it will be noteworthy if the production and costume designing team of Sarah Greenwood and Jacqueline Durran score double nominations for their work on “Beauty and the Beast” and “Darkest Hour.”


Roger Deakins (“Blade Runner 2049”)
Bruno Delbonnel (“Darkest Hour”)
Dan Laustsen (“The Shape of Water”)
Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”)
Hoyte van Hoytema (“Dunkirk”)

"Mudbound" DP Rachel Morrison

“Mudbound” DP Rachel Morrison

David Bomba

The Academy should correspond with the ASC nominations: Frontrunner Deakins getting his 14th nomination for “Blade Runner 2049,” Delbonnel collecting his fifth for “Darkest Hour,” and Laustsen (“The Shape of Water”), van Hoytema (“Dunkirk”), and Morrison grabbing their first.

Production Design

Paul D. Austerberry (“The Shape of Water”)
Nathan Crowley (“Dunkirk”)
Dennis Gassner (“Blade Runner 2049”)
Sarah Greenwood (“Beauty and the Beast”)
Sarah Greenwood (“Darkest Hour”)

Blade Runner 2049

While Greenwood eyes two nominations for “Beauty and the Beast” and “Darkest Hour,” Oscar winner Gassner (“Bugsy”) remains the favorite for the “Blade Runner” sequel. In addition, Crowley seeks his fourth nomination for “Dunkirk” and Austerberry eyes his first for “The Shape of Water.”

Costume Design

Mark Bridges (“Phantom Thread”)
Alexandra Byrne (“Murder on the Orient Express”)
Jacqueline Durran (“Beauty and the Beast”)
Jacqueline Durran (“Darkest Hour”)
Luis Sequeira (“The Shape of Water”)

“Phantom Thread”

Photo Courtesy of Focus Features

Oscar winners should dominate the category this year: Mark Bridges (“The Artist”) is the favorite for Paul Thomas Anderson’s dressmaking “Phantom Thread”; Durran (“Anna Karenina”) is in play for both “Beauty and the Beast” and “Darkest Hour;” and Byrne (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”) returns for “Murder on the Orient Express.” That leaves newcomer Sequeira competing for “The Shape of Water.”


Paul Machliss (“Baby Driver”)
Gregory Plotkin (“Get Out”)
Tatiana S. Riegel (“I, Tonya”)
Lee Smith (“Dunkirk”)
Sidney Wolinsky (“The Shape of Water”)


Unconventional cutting dominates this group, led by two-time nominee Smith for “Dunkirk’s” three-pronged narrative. Then there’s Machliss’ musically driven “Baby Driver,” Plotkin’s genre-bending “Get Out,” Riegel’s off-kilter “I, Tonya,” and Wolinsky’s retro energy of “The Shape of Water.”

Visual Effects

“Blade Runner 2049”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
“The Shape of Water”
“War for the Planet of the Apes”

“War for the Planet of the Apes”

It’s a sci-fi battle royale between “Blade Runner 2049” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” highlighted by the striking character work of Rachael (MPC) and Joi (Double Negative) in the former and Weta Digital’s remarkable Caesar (Andy Serkis) and Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) in the latter. In addition, “The Last Jedi” boasts a lot more practical effects from Industrial Light & Magic. “The Shape of Water” offers effective work on Doug Jones’ Amphibian Creature by Legacy Effects and Mr. X. And “Dunkirk” is the model of mixing practical and CG by Double Negative (especially for the realistic dogfights).


Alexandre Desplat (“The Shape of Water”)
Jonny Greenwood (“Phantom Thread”)
Dario Marianelli (“Darkest Hour”)
John Williams (“The Post”)
Hans Zimmer (“Dunkirk”)

Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones in the film THE SHAPE OF WATER. Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

“The Shape of Water”

Fox Searchlight

Golden Globe winner Desplat is the favorite for his haunting score for “The Shape of Water,” and Greenwood should collect his first nomination for his best work with Anderson on “Phantom Thread.” Marianelli musically adds to the emotional turmoil of “Darkest Hour,” Zimmer goes for an abstract departure with “Dunkirk,” and John Williams should score his 51st nomination for Steven Spielberg’s newspaper drama, “The Post.”

Original Song

“Evermore” from “Beauty and the Beast”
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me By Your Name”
“Remember Me” from “Coco
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall”
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”

Josh Gad Chadwick Boseman Marshall


Barry Wetcher

The popularity of “Beauty and the Beast” (Alan Menken and Tim Rice) and “Coco” (Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez) will help propel “Evermore” and “Remember Me,” while the “La La Land” win for Benj Pasek and Justin Paul will do the same for “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.”Diane Warren should land her ninth nomination for the stirring “Stand Up for Something” with Common, and Sufjan Stevens’ “Mystery of Love” perfectly captures the romance of “Call Me By Your Name.”

Sound Editing

“Baby Driver” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood
“The Shape of Water” Nathan Robitaille

Sound Mixing

“Baby Driver” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick
“The Shape of Water” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern

Baby Driver Ansel Elgort

“Baby Driver”

TriStar Pictures

“Dunkirk” and “Baby Driver” will be nominated for their innovative soundscapes behind overlapping narratives and musical heists. “Blade Runner 2049” will be there for creatively mixing sound and score into its dystopian world. “The Last Jedi” should be included for its sonic action and notable 10 seconds of silence, and “The Shape of Water” relies on sound to enhance its fairy-tale love story about two mutes.

Makeup and Hairstyling

“Darkest Hour” Ivana Primorac, Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“I, Tonya” Deboray Lamia Denaver, Adruitha Lee
“Wonder” Naomi Bakstad, Robert A. Pandini, Arjen Tuiten

“Darkest Hour”

Given the dramatic force of SAG winner and Oscar frontrunner Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, you can guarantee a nomination for the remarkable work in “Darkest Hour.” Likewise, Jacob Tremblay’s stunning transformation as the youngster in “Wonder” with the rare medical facial deformity will also earn a nomination. That leaves Oscar-contending Margo Robbie’s terrific transformation as notorious skater Tonya Harding getting the third nod for “I, Tonya.”

Animated Feature

“Loving Vincent”
“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“The LEGO Batman Movie”


Pixar’s frontrunning “Coco,” with its unifying Día de los Muertos theme, will be in there, and so will two indies: GKids’ politically conscious “The Breadwinner,” and the innovatively painted “Loving Vincent.” And, with the Academy inviting more members into the branch along with new preferential voting, look for DreamWorks’ “The Boss Baby” and Warner Bros.’ “The LEGO  Batman Movie” to round out the nominees.

Animated Short

“Dear Basketball” (Director: Glen Keane, Glen Keane Productions)
“Fox and the Whale” (Director: Robin Joseph, Robin Joseph)
“Lou” (Director: Dave Mullins, Pixar Animation Studios)
“Negative Space” (Director, Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, Ikki Films)
“Revolting Rhymes” (Director: Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer, Magic Light Pictures)

“Dear Basketball”

Pixar’s “Lou” (about schoolyard bullying) and Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball” (directed by Disney hand-drawn legend Glen Keane) are the favorites. They will be joined by “Negative Space,” a French stop-motion work about the bond between father and son over suitcase packing, “Revolting Rhymes,” the British-German CG adaptation of Roald Dahl poems, and “Fox and the Whale,” an exquisite hybrid about curiosity and survival.

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