skip to Main Content
Who Will Win This Year’s Oscars?

Who Will Win This Year’s Oscars?

I came out even last year with my Oscar predictions for the four main categories: correct for Director and Lead Actress but missing Best Picture and Lead Actor. The predictions are based on a statistical model that I developed that uses information on factors associated with past winners (such as other Oscar nominations, total number of Oscar nominations, previous Oscar nominations/wins, Golden Globe wins, Guild wins). See my Oscar Prediction Website for further details of how the predictions are made.

My overall success rate over the last 12 years stands at 81%. Here are my nominations for this year.

Best Picture

The Shape of Water with 13 overall nominations and the Producer’s Guild win is shaping up to take home the Oscar for Best Picture. However, don’t rule out Dunkirk (which has 8 nominations), Lady Bird (which has 5 nominations and the Golden Globe for Musical or Comedy), or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (which has 7 nominations and the Golden Globe for Drama). Phantom Thread (6 nominations) and Get Out (4 nominations) both have all-important Best Director nominations (which, interestingly, Three Billboards lacks), so they’re in with a distant shout. It would be a major surprise if any of the remaining three films were to win Best Picture.

  • The Shape of Water – 88%
  • Dunkirk – 5%
  • Lady Bird – 2%
  • Phantom Thread – 1%
  • Get Out – 1%
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – 1%
  • Darkest Hour – <1%
  • Call Me By Your Name – <1%
  • The Post – <1%


Even if his movie doesn’t win Best Picture, it is very likely that the director (and writer and producer) of The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro, will win the Best Director Oscar. He’s in a strong position as he’s already won the Director’s Guild and Golden Globe Director awards. The remaining nominees have outside chances of winning: Christopher Nolan directed the second most nominated film, Dunkirk, while Paul Thomas Anderson receives a small boost from his previous nomination for directing There Will Be Blood (2007). Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig would be popular winners having directed critic favourites, Get Out and Lady Bird, respectively.

  • Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water – 97%
  • Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk – 1%
  • Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread – 1%
  • Jordan Peele for Get Out – 1%
  • Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird – <1%

Actor in a Leading Role

If Guillermo del Toro seems a sure thing for Best Director, Gary Oldman would appear to have Best Actor in a Leading Role locked down for his performance in the Winston Churchill biopic, Darkest Hour. He’s already won the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe for Drama Best Actor awards, and he’s also received a Best Lead Actor Oscar nomination before, for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), which increases his chance of winning this year. First-time nominees, Daniel Kaluuya and Timothée Chalamet, have a slim chance of causing an upset. Six-time nominees, Denzel Washington, previous winner for Training Day (2001), and Daniel-Day Lewis, previous winner for My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2007), and Lincoln (2012), are unlikely to win again this year.

  • Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour – 99%
  • Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out – <1%
  • Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name – <1%
  • Denzel Washington in Roman J. Israel, Esq. – <1%
  • Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread – <1%

Actress in a Leading Role

This category is the toughest of the four major ones to call this year. Frances McDormand scores high for Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe (drama) awards for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. If she were to prevail, it would be her second Lead Actress Oscar, after previously winning for Fargo (1996). Her stiffest competition comes from Saoirse Ronan, who won the Lead Actress Golden Globe (musical or comedy) for her performance in Lady Bird, and Sally Hawkins, who is nominated for her performance in front-running The Shape of Water. Margot Robbie and two-time winner Meryl Streep (for 1982’s Sophie’s Choice and 2011’s The Iron Lady) are not really in the running to win this year.

  • Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – 71%
  • Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird – 17%
  • Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water – 9%
  • Margot Robbie in I, Tonya – 2%
  • Meryl Streep in The Post – 1%

Oscar® and Academy Awards® are the trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This post is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Iain Pardoe is an online university instructor who enjoys the movies of Hayao Miyazaki even more than the kids and loves rewatching favourites from his youth with his family when he’s not playing soccer or skiing.