Graham: Predicting who’s in and who’s out at the Oscars

The sure things, the close calls and everything else leading into Tuesdays’s Oscar nominations

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Awards season hits its peak Tuesday morning with the announcements of this year’s Academy Awards nominees.

Who will be in and who will be left out in the cold? Here are the best guesses in the year’s top races:

This image released by NBC shows Frances McDormand accepting the award for best actress in a motion picture drama for her role in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Best Picture

In: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The Shape of Water,” “Lady Bird,” “Dunkirk,” “Get Out”

On the bubble: “The Florida Project,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “I, Tonya,” “The Post,” “The Big Sick,” “Darkest Hour,” “Molly’s Game,” “Wonder Woman,” “Mudbound,” “Phantom Thread”

The big picture: How many nominees will there be? The Academy can nominate up to 10 films in the Best Picture field, but haven’t done so since 2010. But in a year thick with potential players, look for the full 10, with “The Florida Project,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “I, Tonya,” “The Post” and “The Big Sick” rounding out the field. If only nine make the cut, “The Big Sick” gets the ax.

Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer in "Call Me By Your Name"

Best Actor

In: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour,” Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name,” Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread,” Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

On the bubble: James Franco, “The Disaster Artist,” Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” Tom Hanks, “The Post”

The big picture: Franco is the one to watch in this race. He was considered a lock in the category, but ballots went out to Academy members just as allegations of sexual misconduct were lobbed against him in the aftermath of the Golden Globes, and that has hurt his chances at a nomination. (Ballots were sent out on Jan. 5 and due back Jan. 12; the Globes aired Jan. 7.) If Franco is out, look for Washington to slide into his place, collecting his fifth Best Actor nomination (and second in a row, following last year’s “Fences”).

Howard Simons (David Cross), left, Frederick “Fritz” Beebe (Tracy Letts), Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), Kay Graham (Meryl Streep), Arthur Parsons (Bradley Whitford), Chalmers Roberts (Philip Casnoff), Paul Ignatius (Brent Langdon), and Meg Greenfield (Carrie Coon, seated) are featured in “The Post.”

Best Actress

In: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird,” Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water,”

On the bubble: Meryl Streep, “The Post,” Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya,” Michelle Williams, “All the Money in the World,” Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”

The big picture: Can you really bet against Streep? This would be her 17th nomination in the Best Actress field, and things just wouldn’t feel right without her. Williams was the subject of a major brouhaha over her salary for reshoots for her film, a story which hit just as Academy members were finalizing their ballots. Still, Robbie has the edge (and the splashier role), and stands to collect her first-ever Oscar nomination for her portrayal of figure skating bad girl Tonya Harding.

Willem Dafoe, left, was named the Best Supporting Actor by the Detroit Film Critics Society for his work in “The Florida Project.”

Best Supporting Actor

In: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project,” Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water,” Armie Hammer, “Call Me By Your Name”

On the bubble: Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World,” Michael Stuhlbarg, “Call Me By Your Name,” Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”

The big picture: Plummer really rocked the boat with his eleventh hour (and fifty-ninth minute) entry into the race, replacing Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty in Ridley Scott’s kidnapping drama. He’ll likely wind up pushing out Stuhlbarg, who plays a deeply understanding father in “Name” and has the year’s most affecting scene. A late surge of support for “Three Billboards” could land Woody a nod, but look for Plummer to join the field and for the others to be stuck looking through the window.

Tiffany Haddish stars in the film “Girls Trip” and has had recurring roles in TV series “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “If Loving You Is Wrong” and “The Carmichael Show.”

Best Supporting Actress

In: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya,” Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird,” Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”

On the bubble: Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip,” Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water,” Hong Chau, “Downsizing,” Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound,” Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”

The big picture: The room will erupt with the biggest applause of the day if Haddish makes the cut, but the Academy is famously straight-faced when it comes to comedy. Spencer may ride a wave of love for “Water” to her third nomination in the category (and second in a row, following “Hidden Figures”), while it remains to be seen if enough Academy voters watched the Netflix drama “Mudbound” to invite the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul into the party. Count on Spencer, and cross your fingers for Haddish.

Saoirse Ronan, left, and Laurie Metcalf star in “Lady Bird.”

Best Director

In: Guillermo Del Toro, “The Shape of Water,” Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird,” Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

On the bubble: Jordan Peele, “Get Out,” Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk,” Sean Baker, “The Florida Project,” Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread,” Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me By Your Name,” Steven Spielberg, “The Post,” Ridley Scott, “All the Money in the World”

The big picture: The year’s toughest, most crowded field will leave a lot of worthy candidates on the outside looking in; you can create a whole category from the also-rans and still have a very qualified body. Having landed noms from the Directors Guild, Peele and Nolan are likely in. That leaves out masters like Spielberg and Scott — or maybe it doesn’t? We will find out on Tuesday. Start popping the popcorn.

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The 90th Academy Awards


8:22 a.m. Tuesday

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