A&E’s 2018 Oscars picks

The section weighs in on their dream Oscar ballot.


Harry Steffenhagen

Illustration by Harry Steffenhagen

Maddy Folstein

The 2017 Academy Awards ceremony is now infamous for the “Moonlight”-“La La Land” fiasco. Will the drama this year be as monumental? Probably not. 

There are, of course, the performances that were overlooked — James Franco’s performance as Tommy Wiseau in “The Disaster Artist,” which brought a cult classic to the forefront, and everyone loved “Baby Driver.” Michael Shannon (“The Shape of Water”) and Michael Stuhlbarg (“Call Me by Your Name”) warrant a new nomination category — best dramatic monologue in a film. 

Nevertheless, as fans and critics fight between Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele or Timothée Chalamet and Daniel Day-Lewis, A&E decided to put in our two cents. 

Here are A&E’s choices for the 2018 Oscars: 

Best picture: “Call Me by Your Name” 

Maybe we all just want a summer romance in Italy. Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name” encapsulated the intensity of desire, thanks to the performances of Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. The dance floor scene to “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs deserves an award of its own. 

Best actor in a leading role: Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”)

2017’s best horror movie had a chilling social focus, and a talented ensemble of actors. Daniel Kaluuya starred as Chris, the confused boyfriend meeting his girlfriend’s strange parents for the first time. Kaluuya’s persistence and introspection in his role drove the movie, making it one of 2017’s best. 

Best actress in a leading role: Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”)

It’s hard to believe that Saoirse Ronan is actually a 23-year-old who grew up in Ireland and not a high school senior stuck in Sacramento. Her performance as Lady Bird balanced the charm, precociousness and angst of the film’s leading teen. 

Best actor in a supporting role: Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”)

What kept “The Shape of Water” from being just the adult version of “The Little Mermaid”? The gritty reality of the Cold War era del Toro inserted at every turn. Eliza’s best friend, Giles, is an illustrator who struggles against modernity and discrimination in the tense America circa 1962, and Jenkins’s performance keeps this reality as a focus of the film. 

Best actress in a supporting role: Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)

If Ronan is going to win, then Metcalf must as well. The two co-starred as the year’s best mother-daughter duo, and Metcalf’s portrayal of Marion McPherson is equal parts “warm and scary,” as one character in the film describes her. 

Cinematography: “Dunkirk” and “The Shape of Water”

These films brought the viewer to very different worlds of war. “Dunkirk” visually inserted the viewer into the grim reality of World War II, while the Cold War setting of “The Shape of Water” is all at once lush, imaginative and shadowy. 

Director: Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”)

Sacramento has never looked sweeter. Gerwig also grew up in the California city, and her treatment of the film’s coming-of-age narrative is tender and incisive. Gerwig has made the ultimate call-your-mom movie. 

Film editing: “Baby Driver”

Watching “Baby Driver” is like being a part of one long, tumultuous road trip. Typically overlooked by the average Oscars viewer, the editing of the film helped it find its speed — a tempo that was lightning-fast and just as fun. 

Original score: “The Shape of Water”

“The Shape of Water” pulls from multiple genres — romance, sci-fi, horror, etc. Alexandre Desplat’s instrumental score features songs that layer all of these emotions, framing the romance between Eliza and the Creature in all the mystery and tenderness it deserves.