Who will take home the Oscars this year?

Dunkirk is tipped to be named Best Picture

Dunkirk is tipped to be named Best Picture - Credit: Archant

Ahead of the official announcement of this years Oscar nominations, PAUL STEWARD predicts who has the best chance of taking home a golden statuette.

Best Picture

The race for best picture seems wide open this year.

Christopher Nolan’s World War Two epic, Dunkirk has received universal acclaim from cinema-goers and critics alike and appears to be the current favourite. However, sensual love story, Call Me By Your Name and comedy drama, Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri, directed by Brit Martin McDonagh are also among the front runners.

Jordan Peele’s mystery horror Get Out also appears to be on the Academy’s radar, however horror is not traditionally a popular genre amongst Academy voters, so must be considered an outsider.

Yet to be released films also likely to be in the running include Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water which has garnered quite a buzz from early preview screenings, and the new Paul Thomas Anderson picture Phantom Thread which stars acting heavyweight Daniel Day Lewis.

The Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour meets all the right criteria for the Academy and will almost certainly be among the nominees, while you can never discount a new Steven Spielberg picture, and his latest The Post staring Oscar veterans Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep is bound to be in the running.

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Top pick – Dunkirk

Outside bet – The Shape of Water

Best Director

The best director winner almost always comes from one of the best picture nominees, so it would be a surprise if Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Spielberg are not in the running.

However, after the white washing scandal of 2016, the academy has rightly looked to diversify its membership, making predicting the results even harder than usual.

New York City native Jordan Peele would appear to be a good bet this year.

His film Get Out has topped many best-of-the-year lists.

Spanish director Guilermo Del Toro also seems to have a great chance. After seeing the trailer for his new movie The Shape of Water, fellow director Kevin Smith tweeted: “Seeing something as beautiful as this makes me feel stupid for ever calling myself a director.”

Patty Jenkins succeeded where so many have failed and did a great job of bringing superhero Wonder Woman to the screen and would be a popular winner of the director’s prize, while Brits Martin McDonagh and Joe Wright will also hope to be in the Academy’s thoughts.

Kathryn Bigelow should not to be discounted as she looks to claim her second best director Oscar for her historical drama Detroit.

Top Pick – Guillermo Del Toro

Outside Bet – Jordan Peele

Best Actor

Gary Oldman is the front runner to take home the best actor award for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the Joe Wright directed Darkest Hour. However, he will face stiff competition from heavyweights Daniel Day Lewis and Tom Hanks.

Newcomer, Timothee Chalamet is hotly tipped to be in the running for his role in the Luca Guardiano film Call me by your Name while outsiders in the running include James Franco for the Disaster Artist, Steve Carell for Battle of the Sexes and John Boyega’s powerful portrayal of security guard Dismukes in Detroit.

Top Pick – Gary Oldman

Outside Bet – James Franco

Best Actress

Frances McDormand leads the way in the best actress category for her portrayal of a grieving mother in Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri and she’s closely followed by Sally Hawkins, who dazzles as a lonely mute in Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

Saorise Ronan’s performance in coming of age drama Lady Bird is also attracting attention while last year’s winner Emma Stone deserves plaudits for her sensitive portrayal of Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes.

In a closely fought race, other actresses not to be discounted include Meryl Streep (The Post) Jessica Chastian (Molly’s Game) and Margot Robbie for her portrayal of troubled figure Skater Tonya Harding in I Tonya.

Top Pick – Frances McDormand

Outside Bet – Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor

Front runner for the best supporting award is veteran actor Willem Dafoe, who spent a week living outside the borders of Disney world in order to immerse himself in the location of The Florida Project.

Sam Rockwell’s portrayal of harassed police officer Dixon in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is also hotly tipped, while Patrick Stewart’s excellent portrayal of an ageing Charles Xavier in James Mangolds Logan deserves to be in the running.

Others to be considered are Ben Mendelson’s performance as King George in Darkest Hour, Will Poulter’s visceral portrayal of rascist cop Krauss in Detroit and Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano for his role in comedy drama The Big Sick.

Top Pick – Willem Dafoe

Outside Bet – Patrick Stewart

Best Supporting Actress

Allison Janney leads the way in the best supporting actress race for her role as the mother from hell, Lavona Golden, in Craig Gillespie’s I Tonya.

Competition comes in the form of Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird, Mary J Blige for Netflix drama Mudbound and Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water.

Holly Hunter also appears to be attracting attention for her excellent performance in The Big Sick, playing a manic parent coming to terms with her daughter’s illness.

Top Pick – Laurie Metcalf

Outside Bet – Holly Hunter

Best Cinematography

Renowned cinematographer Roger Deakins would be a popular choice for this award.

His work on Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 was exemplary and after 13 nominations without a win, many will feel the 68-year-old’s time has come.

Looking to prolong Deakin’s wait for glory is Dutchman Hoyt Van Hoytema. This rising talent is building a reputation as one of the best in the business and after overseeing photography on Christopher Nolan’s epic Dunkirk, few would bet against him. Others in the mix are likely to be Bruno Delbonnel for Darkest Hour and Dan Lausten for The Shape of Water.

Top Pick – Roger Deakins

Outside Bet – Hoyt Van Hoytema