Which Movies SHOULD Win Oscars? Critics Weigh In on Academy Awards

We asked more than 40 critics to pick their winners — but their choices probably won't help you win the Oscar pool.

By definition, the Oscars can’t please everyone. Come Sunday, one movie will win every category, and fans of the others will claim they were robbed. Pundits have made educated guesses about the frontrunners for weeks, but there’s often a difference between which movies will win and those that should, as IndieWire’s annual critics survey proves to a fault. More than 40 participants voted on which movies deserved the gold — and the results probably don’t bear much resemblance to a winning Oscar pool.

Best Picture

While the best picture race has been widely interpreted as a duel between “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “The Shape of Water” (with “Dunkirk” as a potential spoiler), critical consensus centered on the movie that found acclaim and successes before all of them. No matter what happens at the actual ceremony, “Get Out” has already won best picture in IndieWire’s survey — echoing the outcome of IndieWire’s year-end critics survey in December 2017 — and also topped best original screenplay, while Jordan Peele tied for best director with Paul Thomas Anderson for “Phantom Thread.”

“Get Out” won 34% of our critics for best picture. The runner-ups aren’t considered frontrunners in any major categories: Another 22% voted for “Call Me By Your Name,” while “Phantom Thread” took third with 17% of the vote.

Best Actor and Actress, Lead and Supporting

Other big differentiations from Sunday’s expectations came from the acting categories. “Call Me By Your Name” breakout Timothée Chalamet dominated the best actor category by a wide margin, consuming 46% of the vote. He was trailed by “Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya (29%) and Daniel Day-Lewis (15%) for his purported final role in “Phantom Thread.” Gary Oldman, widely expected to win, received only 10% of the vote.

"Call Me By Your Name"
“Call Me By Your Name”Sony Pictures Classics

The best actress category followed a similar pattern. “Lady Bird” star Saoirse Ronan took the top spot (29%), followed by “I, Tonya” stunner Margot Robbie (24%). Frances McDormand is expected to win the prize on Sunday, but she only garnered 20% of the vote in IndieWire’s survey, tying with Sally Hawkins for her mute performance in “The Shape of Water.”

Meanwhile, while Sam Rockwell has been the frontrunner for best supporting actor for his bumbling cop in “Three Billboards,” a vast majority of critics felt that the prize belonged with Willem Dafoe for his warm-hearted motel manager in “The Florida Project” (73%). Richard Jenkins received 15% of the vote for his gentle painter in “The Shape of Water,” while Rockwell received 10%.

And even though Allison Janney seems like a lock in the supporting actress category for playing the exuberant mother of Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya,” many critics felt that the real winner was Laurie Metcalf for her turn as a neurotic mother in “Lady Bird” (56%). She was trailed by Lesley Manville as Day-Lewis’ stern sister in “Phantom Thread” (22%) and Janney (20%).

Best Adapted Screenplay, Song, and More

Elsewhere, critics’ choices aligned more closely with the expected outcomes on Sunday. James Ivory was the popular favorite for best adapted screenplay for “Call Me By Your Name” (73%), with “Logan” trailing far behind in second place (10%) and “Mudbound” in third (7%).

Most critics also supported the popular favorites for best animated feature, with 58% of the vote going to “Coco,” and best foreign language film, with 42% going for “A Fantastic Woman.” While many pundits have deemed the documentary category to be a tight race, critics were largely unanimous in their support for Agnes Varda and JR’s “Faces Places” (59%).

Pundits also believe that the legendary Roger Deakins will finally score an Oscar for his cinematography work on “Blade Runner 2049, and a majority of critics think it’s about time (44%).

One of the most notable deviations came from the original song category, where “Coco” earworm “Remember Me” seems to be a frontrunner alongside “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.” Critics are more keen on Sufjan Stevens, for his gentle ballad “Mystery of Love” from “Call Me By Your Name” (63%).

“Dunkirk” wasn’t forgotten, topping categories for editing (56%) and sound editing (50%), while nearly everyone thinks that Mark Bridges deserves the prize for his costume work on “Phantom Thread” (85%).


IndieWire also asked participants to vote on three major categories in the Independent Spirit Awards, which take place on Saturday. “Get Out” once again won the top prize, best feature (29%), though more critics felt the best director prize belonged with a notable Oscar snub — “The Florida Project” director Sean Baker (34%). For the Spirits’ Cassavetes prize, which goes to a movie made for under $500,000, many critics felt that David Lowery’s Sundance sensation “A Ghost Story” belonged at the top of the list (65%).

Head to the next page for the full results in every category, as well as a complete list of participants in the survey.

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