2018 Oscars predictions slugfest: ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ will dominate craft categories [WATCH]

Everyone loves to debate the marquee races at the Academy Awards like Best Picture, Actor and Actress, but getting the winners right in categories such Best Cinematography and Best Production Design are just as important to a good Oscar predictions score. Gold Derby contributors Riley Chow, Jeffrey Kare, Zach Laws and Tony Ruiz convened via Google Hangout (watch above) to debate these 10 below-the-line categories:

00:10 — Best Cinematography
06:35 — Best Costume Design
15:40 — Best Production Design
19:30 — Best Film Editing
25:15 — Best Makeup & Hairstyling
30:10 — Best Visual Effects
33:45 — Best Sound Editing
35:10 — Best Sound Mixing
40:55 — Best Original Song
46:30 — Best Original Score

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The Shape of Water” is expected to lead by landing nominations in eight of these categories, the exceptions being Best Makeup and Best Original Song, as it was not on the announced shortlists for either. Chow is skeptical of the film as a powerhouse, predicting a snub in Best Visual Effects, as well as warning of vulnerability in Best Costume Design and Best Sound Editing. He contends, “It’s about janitors who are wearing these very drab costumes, made on an indie budget.” The costuming branch of the academy usually shies from science fiction and Laws wonders if “The Shape of Water” is even the most likely contender from the genre. He explains, “This could be a place where they honor ‘Wonder Woman’ with a nomination or also ‘Blade Runner.’ It’s not typically the kind of stuff that gets in, but ‘Mad Max’ won this award a couple of years ago.”

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Ruiz asks, “Is ‘Darkest Hour’ as safe as we think it is?” That film is favored for five technical below-the-line nominations: Cinematography (despite a Critics’ Choice snub), Costume Design (despite a Costume Designers Guild snub), Makeup, Production Design (despite a Critics’ Choice snub) and Score (despite a Golden Globes snub). Ruiz continues, “It’s vastly, vastly underperformed at a lot of places. Could that film be vulnerable or the fact that that’s a big period piece — World War II — could that conceivably just make it safe because of that?”

Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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