Hamza Zahurullah: “The Shape of Water” — for all of my picks, the selections were done based on what I have seen and what I liked, not what I think will win.
Jacob Nierenberg: “Dunkirk”
Adrienne Chung: “Phantom Thread” — easily the most emotive among the contenders.
Zak Sharif: “Get Out” — the first thoroughly post-Trump film, the Academy will be looking for a film that reflects “the world we live in today.” Nothing better touches the cultural fractures present in America today than the thoughtful, terrifying, and all too real examination of race in Get Out.
Amir Abou-Jaoude: I predict Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” will take home the top prize because of its success in the awards season so far. Only the gifted Del Toro could make an Oscar frontrunner about a human-amphibian romance.
Hamza Zahurullah: Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water” — I do wish a mute actress could have portrayed Elisa, but Sally Hawkins did a phenomenal job. The wide range of emotions she was able to portray through a combination of sign language, facial expressions and body language made me feel for her more than I did for any other character I saw put on film in 2017.
Jacob Nierenberg: Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird”
Adrienne Chung: Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water” — Who else can make masturbating in a bathtub and having sexual intercourse with a lizard man look so wholesome?
Zak Sharif: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards “
Amir Abou-Jaoude: Saoirse Ronan is stellar in “Lady Bird.” Other actresses might have made the cocky, droll, and witty titular character into a stereotypical teenage girl. Ronan, however, looks past Lady Bird’s snide remarks and confident facade. She understands that Lady Bird is trying to find her place in the world, and she makes her search seem momentous and moving.
Hamza Zahurullah: Timothée Chalamet in “Call Me By Your Name” — Holistically, Chalamet did a fantastic job portraying Elio, as he experiences the beauty and sadness of a fleeting summer romance. But it was the last 15 minutes of the film are what showed me that Timothée Chalamet deserves to be a star. His performances during the last scene with his father (played by the criminally underappreciated Michael Stuhlbarg) and the end credits were just heartwrenching.
Jacob Nierenberg: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Adrienne Chung: If Marlon Brandon’s charisma could be distilled, bottled, and then polished by the Queen of England’s butler, you’d get Daniel Day-Lewis. But alas, the Academy was never one to resist a bad prosthetics job so this one might go to Gary Oldman.
Zak Sharif: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour” — The entire movie was more of a dud than anything, but Oldman’s year long preparation and four hour daily prosthetic work shows a deep dedication to the role. The Academy loves a good a scenery chew, and Oldman eats up the space every time he’s on screen.
Amir Abou-Jaoude: Gary Oldman will win for “Darkest Hour.” If you enjoyed Oldman’s performance, you should seek out Alex Cox’s 1985 film “Sid and Nancy.” In that biopic, Oldman plays doomed musician Sid Vicious. Over the course of the film, he reveals that the tough, rebellious Sex Pistol is nothing but a flawed, vulnerable drug addict. Oldman should have won an Oscar for that performance.
Hamza Zahurullah: Guillermo Del Toro for “The Shape of Water”
Jacob Nierenberg: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Adrienne Chung: Christopher Nolan for “Dunkirk” — he’s graduated from auteur to master. I know this because it takes a master to make Harry Styles a thespian.
Zak Sharif: Guillermo Del Toro, “The Shape of Water” — Every shot aches with a lonely longing that seeps even in the movie’s most joyful moments.
Amir Abou-Jaoude: “The Shape of Water” seems to be a return to form for Guillermo Del Toro. Del Toro has never won an Oscar, and it is about time for the Academy to honor his idiosyncratic and imaginative mise-en-scene.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Hamza Zahurullah: James Ivory for “Call Me By Your Name”
Jacob Nierenberg: James Ivory for “Call Me by Your Name”
Adrienne Chung: I’m going with “Mudbound” or “Molly’s Game” because those are the ones I haven’t seen. “Call Me By Your Name,” though beautiful, was a fluff piece. “Logan” was a joke. And “The Disaster Artist?” Please.
Zak Sharif: James Ivory for “Call Me By Your Name”
Amir Abou-Jaoude: James Ivory should win for “Call Me By Your Name.” He has had a long, illustrious career. With his partner Ismail Merchant, Ivory made excellent films based on the works of authors like E.M. Forster and Kazuo Ishiguro. These movies are almost as good as the books that inspired them. With “Call Me By Your Name,” Ivory has not lost his touch. This master at adapting works to the screen deserves a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hamza Zahurullah: Jordan Peele for “Get Out”
Jacob Nierenberg: Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird”
Adrienne Chung: Jordan Peele for “Get Out” — they say there are only 12 original screenplays in Hollywood. “Get Out” is the 13th.
Zak Sharif: Jordan Peele for “Get Out”
Amir Abou-Jaoude: Greta Gerwig’s screenplay for “Lady Bird” is superb. Gerwig focuses not only on Lady Bird but also on the people that surround her and her milieu. She gives even the most minor characters depth, and she captures all the quirks of Sacramento. There have been a myriad of movies like “Lady Bird” that tell of a girl’s journey to find herself. Still, by making her characters so fallible and her setting so specific, Gerwig makes this coming-of-age story poignant and compelling.
Contact the Screen beat writers at screen ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.