First 2018 Predictions
Steve Carell "Battle of the Sexes"
Lucas Hedges "Lady Bird"
John Hurt "Darkest Hour"
Jason Mitchell "Mudbound"
Michael Shannon "The Current War"
Other Contenders - Oscar Isaac "Suburbicon", Josh Brolin "Suburbicon", Sterling K. Brown "Marshall", Ed Harris "Mother!", Zac Efron "The Greatest Showman", Idris Elba "Molly's Game", Christoph Waltz "Downsizing", Alec Baldwin "Downsizing", Neil Patrick Harris "Downsizing", Woody Harrelson "The Glass Castle", Woody Harrelson "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri", Sam Rockwell "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri", Bruce Dern "Chappaquiddick", Kenneth Branagh "Dunkirk", Tom Hardy "Dunkirk", Cillian Murphy "Dunkirk", Mark Rylance "Dunkirk", Harry Styles "Dunkirk", Will Poulter "Detroit", Jack Raynor "Detroit", Mark Hamill "Star Wars: The Last Jedi", Joaquin Phoenix "Mary Magdalene", Chiwetel Ejiofor "Mary Magdalene", Garrett Hedlund "Mudbound", Jeffrey Tambor "The Death of Stalin", Harrison Ford "Blade Runner 2049", Michael Shannon "The Shape of Water", Richard Jenkins "The Shape of Water", Patrick Stewart "Logan", Ben Foster "Hostiles", Ray Romano "The Big Sick", Michael Stuhlbarg "Call Me By Your Name", Kevin Kline "Beauty and the Beast", Josh Gad "Beauty and the Beast", Jacob Tremblay "The Book of Henry", Ben Mendohlson "Darkest Hour", Javier Bardem "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"
Commentary - In the Supporting Actress race, I mentioned the power of nostalgia. Like Carrie Fisher, John Hurt has been under-rewarded by major awards, and with only a measly two Oscar nominations to his name, one of his final roles, as Neville Chamberlain, may get him some posthumous recognition. Steve Carell has managed to make his way from a sitcom star to Oscar nominee, and his role opposite Emma Stone with the Little Miss Sunshine duo at the helm seems like a perfect formula for Oscar gold. Jason Mitchell broke out with his role in Straight Outta Compton, and word is, he is fantastic in Dee Ree's Sundance breakout Mudbound. Michael Shannon actually has several options this year, and his surprise nomination for Nocturnal Animals reminds us that he is a beloved among these actors. I think the historical drama The Current War is a safer bet. Finally, Lucas Hedges was a breakout star in Manchester By the Sea. This year, Greta Gerwig's second directorial effort Lady Bird, could return him to the Oscar race. Those top five have some stiff competition. Suburbicon offers two big roles from Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin, Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown has a meaty role in the Thurgood Marshall biopic, Idris Elba meats Aaron Sorkin, Woody Harrelson has two great roles, and there are plenty of great contenders from the casts of Dunkirk and Downsizing, both huge Oscar potentials. Zac Efron might make the leap to Oscar contender in Greatest Showman, Mark Hammill might pull a Alec Guinness, Bruce Dern returns, and there is the pair of Joaquin Phoenix and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Mary Magdalene. Also be on the lookout for Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jacob Tremblay, Sam Rockwell, Richard Jenkins, and Ben Mendelsohn. Finally, don't forget the genre contenders like Harrison Ford, Patrick Stewart, the Beauty and the Beast guys, and Javier Bardem, who might sneak in.