Oscars 2018 predictions slugfest: ESPN’s Adnan Virk vs. Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil and Chris Beachum

ESPN’s Adnan Virk joined our Gold Derby Experts just over a year ago and has proven to be one of most accurate predictors for both film and television. He hosts that company’s Cinephile podcast, discussing his take on the latest movies and awards. Weeks ago he thought “Lady Bird” would be the Best Picture winner this year since it should rank high on most ballots and isn’t divisive. But with recent victories at BAFTA and especially SAG Awards, Adnan has switched over to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” for the top category at the 2018 Oscars ceremony on March 4. Watch our video above or listen to the audio podcast below.

In our new slugfest battle between Adnan, Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil and myself, he reveals, “The actors are the biggest branch of the Academy, and so I think its going to be ‘Three Billboards.’ That undercurrent of backlash about the Sam Rockwell character being redeemed as a racist character is not really the case. I don’t think there is enough of that backlash to ultimately knock it out.”

SEE MORE VIDEOS with Experts battling over their gutsy Oscar predictions

Tom responds: “Up until BAFTA there was really ugly backlash against ‘Three Billboards’ in Hollywood. Wherever I would go and chit-chat with industry people, there was this angry backlash against this movie that was vaguely reminiscent of the ‘La La Land’ backlash in the home stretch there. But that minor aspect compared to the genius of the whole movie shocked me with the negativity. And now all of a sudden the tide has shifted, and that’s the cool movie and there’s a rush over to it.”

I certainly think it is a close competition between “Three Billboards” and “The Shape of Water.” But the lack of a Best Director nomination for Martin McDonagh, the clear frontrunner status of Guillermo del Toro in that category, and the preferential ballot for Best Picture (meaning 2nd place and 3rd place votes will really matter), have me still going with “Shape” for the top prize.

During our discussion, we all say that the four acting categories are probably safe wins for Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards”), Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”), Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) and Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards”). They’ve all won at the SAG Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA and Critics’ Choice in recent weeks. My only hesitation in the webchat: “The only thing I wonder about is that with it being an Olympics year, the Oscars are a week later. Voting started after BAFTA happened, so I just wonder if there’s a little mischief out there. If enough voters in some category going ‘Don’t tell me what to do! I’m going to vote for who I want!’ That might cause an upset for one of these four.”

We also discuss both screenplay races, with everybody predicting “Call Me By Your Name” prevailing for Best Adapted Screenplay. Both Adnan and Tom think Best Original Screenplay will clearly go to “Three Billboards,” but I think a win with the Writers Guild and a cool factor for Jordan Peele could lead to a victory for “Get Out” in that category.

Our slugfest also includes some of the toughest battles to predict, including Best Original Song (“Coco” vs. “Remember Me”), Best Cinematography (“Blade Runner 2049” vs. “The Shape of Water”), Best Visual Effects (“Blade Runner 2049” vs. “War for the Planet of the Apes”) and the always hard-to-predict shorts that can make or break your prediction score.

See Adnan’s current Oscar predictions plus the ones for Tom and myself. Compare to the rankings of 25 other top Experts. Make your predictions to see if you can beat us both and prove that you are the smartest Oscarologist on the planet.

Below: Listen to our audio podcast. Do a search for GoldDerby at iTunes to subscribe to our podcast channel.

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