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(UPDATED: December 6, 2017)

A scent of arrogance and chill are in the air.  The chill lets us know that fall is in effect and winter is approaching.  The whiff of arrogance we detect behind that let's us know it's Oscar season.  The historic 90th Academy Awards will commence on March 4, 2018.  Between now and then, awards season trots out bouquets, standing ovations, marketing pushes, and shiny hardware of who and what they feel are the best works of the year in film.

With that, welcome back to the seventh year of Every Movie Has a Lesson's "Awards Tracker."  My goal every year is simple: Help each and every one of you win your Oscar pools.  There's a shiny Blu-ray copy of La La Land on my shelf after winning one charity contest last year (thanks Mark Dujsik of Mark Reviews Movies).  My high score was correctly guessing 20-out-of-24 back in 24.  Even with a victorious Blu-ray prize on my shelf, last year's 15 correct predictions was my lowest in six years.  It's time to get back to the 20+ threshold.  Stick with me and we'll will some prizes together!

Here's how this little page of my personal interest works.  I find value in tracking the trends and following the tea leaves of the all the minor lead-up awards before the Oscars.  I chart the winners of each category with listed winners and comments on the surrounding buzz.  If you're a fan of high quality film and awards shows, there's no better time of the year and Every Movie Has a Lesson is here to make you sharper and smarter every step of the way.  Bookmark this page as I'll update these tallies often!


BEST MOTION PICTURE

LATEST BUZZ:  As an annual tradition, The National Board of Review kicks things off with the first major award winners.  Log Steven Spielberg's The Post as the leader out of the gate for the 2018 awards season, but watch out for the NYFCC winner Lady Bird and the LAFCA winner Call Me By Your Name backing up its earlier Gotham win.  Before the 28th, all we have to go on are the leading film festivals that move the pre-release buzz.  For instance, eight of the last ten TIFF People’s Choice Award winners at the Toronto International Film Festival have gone on to Best Picture Academy Award nominations, including two eventual winners (The King’s Speech and 12 Years a Slave).  That means you can just about lock one nomination spot to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

WINNERS: 

2- Call Me By Your Name  (GIFA, LA)

1- The Post  (NBR)

1- Lady Bird  (NY)

1- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  (TIFF)

1- The Shape of Water  (Venice)

1- The Square  (Cannes)

1- I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore  (Sundance)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, Lady Bird, Get Out, The Florida Project, Mudbound, Phantom Thread, The Big Sick, The Disaster Artist

THE NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW'S TOP 10 (alphabetical): Baby Driver, Call Me by Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Downsizing, Dunkirk, The Florida Project, Get Out, Lady Bird, Logan, Phantom Thread

THE NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW's TOP 10 INDEPENDENT FILMS (alphabetical): Beatriz at Dinner, Brigsby Bear, A Ghost Story, Lady Macbeth, Logan Lucky, Loving Vincent, Menashe, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, Patti Cake$, Wind River


BEST DIRECTOR

LATEST BUZZ:  This is going to be talked about as the Year of Women and rightfully so.  Patty Jenkins, Sofia Coppola, Greta Gerwig, and Dee Rees could dominate this category if voters allowed it.  Greta Gerwig wins the first trophy here from the National Board of Review.  Let's see the boy's club pushed to the sidelines for a year.  In Los Angeles, that didn't happen with a two-way tie for their Best Director prize.

WINNERS: 

1- Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird  (NBR)

1- Sean Baker for The Florida Project   (NY)

1- Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water  (LA)

1- Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name  (LA)

1- Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled  (Cannes)

1- Eliza Hittman for Beach Rats  (Sundance)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS: Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, Steven Spielberg for The Post, Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, MissouriJordan Peele for Get Out, Joe Wright for Darkest Hour, Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread, Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman, Dee Rees for Mudbound


BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

LATEST BUZZ:  Gary Oldman proved the rumors right.  He's outstanding in Darkest Hour, but hasn't won a lead-up award yet.  In the meantime, the male ingenue of Timothee Chalamet just swept New York and Los Angeles.  Should he win the Oscar, the soon-to-be 22-year-old would shatter the mark held by Adrien Brody for the youngest winner in this category by seven years.

WINNERS: 

2- Timothee Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name  (NY, LA)

1- Tom Hanks for The Post  (NBR)

1- James Franco for The Disaster Artist  (GIFA)

1- Kamel El Basha for The Insult  (VIFF)

1- Joaquin Phoenix for You Were Never Really Here  (Cannes)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour, Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread, Kumail Nanjiani for The Big Sick, Andy Serkis for War for the Planet of the Apes, Jake Gyllenhaal for Stronger, Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel, Esq., Harry Dean Stanton for Lucky


BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

LATEST BUZZ:  Until lead-up awards shape the field, it's looking like ingenues (Ronan, Robbie, Chastain) versus veteran prior winners (McDormand, Streep, Dench).  Streep strikes first with The Post from the NBR. Watch out down the middle for a veteran who's never won in Sally Hawkins (the recent LAFCA winner).  Personally, I don't think it's every too young to honor Saoirse Ronan, who netted a big win with New York.

WINNERS: 

2- Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird  (GIFA, NY)

1- Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water  (LA)

1- Meryl Streep for The Post  (NBR)

1- Charlotte Rampling for Hannah  (VIFF)

1- Diane Kruger for In the Fade  (Cannes)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Francis McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Margot Robbie for I, Tonya, Jessica Chastain for Molly's Game, Judi Dench for Victoria and Abdul


BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

LATEST BUZZ:  It's early, but this category is shaping up to be like the sweeping award runs of J.K. Simmons and Jared Leto from recent years.  Dafoe is dominating and shows no signs of falling out of favor, especially with The Florida Project still winning over voters' hearts.

WINNERS: 

3- Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project  (NBR, NY, LA)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Michael Stuhlbarg for Call Me By Your Name, Armie Hammer for Call Me By Your Name, Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water, Mark Rylance for Dunkirk, Christopher Plummer for All the Money in the World, Ray Romano for The Big Sick, Christoph Waltz for Downsizing, Patrick Stewart for Logan


BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

LATEST BUZZ:  For me, this is the most powerful acting category of the four.  It's a race of three and they are all powerhouses.  Laurie Metcalf, Holly Hunter, and Allison Janney are scene-stealers and wrecking ball swingers.  All three deserve this award to represent women over 40 who never get the volume of good roles, but, gosh, they are in a year racing against each other.  I, for one, can't choose and they don't make three-sided coins to flip.  Metcalf gets early lead.  Meanwhile, you have to love that Haddish surprise win from the New York Film Critics Circle.

WINNERS: 

2- Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird  (NBR, NY)

1- Tiffany Haddish for Girls Trip  (NY)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Holly Hunter for The Big Sick, Allison Janney for I, Tonya, Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water, Melissa Leo for Novitiate, Mary J. Blige for Mudbound, Kristin Scott Thomas for Darkest Hour, Kristen Dunst for The Beguiled


BEST ENSEMBLE (non-Oscar category)

LATEST BUZZ:  Too soon in this non-Oscar category

WINNERS: 

1- Get Out  (NBR)

1- Mudbound  (GIFA)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  DunkirkThe Shape of WaterLady BirdThe PostThe BeguiledDarkest HourThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriThe Disaster Artist


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

LATEST BUZZ:  This category should be a hard-fought blood bath considering the talent involved.  Watch Jordan Peele gain steam quickly with two early wins.  Paul Thomas Anderson gets the two other biggies from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle.  The big story in the writing categories are which films just got disqualified for contention with the Writers Guild of America.  COOL LINK: You can download many of the screenplay contenders right here.

WINNERS: 

2- Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread  (NBR, NY)

2- Jordan Peele for Get Out  (GIFA, LA)

1- Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  (VIFF)

1- Lynne Ramsey for You Were Never Really Here  (Cannes)

1- David Branson Smith and Matt Spicer for Ingrid Goes West  (Sundance)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Lady BirdThe Shape of Water, The PostThe Big SickDarkest HourThe Florida ProjectDunkirk


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

LATEST BUZZ:  Unlike the stacked lineup of the original screenplay category, this one is more open for contenders.  Let's see what wins, like The Disaster Artist, in the lead-up awards.  Again, the big story in the writing categories are which films just got disqualified for contention with the Writers Guild of America.  COOL LINK: You can download many of the screenplay contenders right here.

WINNERS: 

1- Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for The Disaster Artist  (NBR)

1- Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for The Killing of a Sacred Deer  (Cannes)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Call Me By Your NameMudboundMolly's GameThe Disaster ArtistLast Flag FlyingThe BeguiledWonderstruckLogan, Stronger


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

LATEST BUZZ:  All eyes are on Disney/Pixar's Coco coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday with all the momentum.  Even a less-than-perfect film from Pixar is better than 90% of everything else out there.  A huge personal vote for me goes to Loving Vincent's sheer technical achievement as a film entirely animated by over 60,000 canvas oil paintings.  Here are the 26 films submitted to vie for this year's Best Animated Feature Academy Award.

WINNERS: 

2- Coco  (NBR, NY)

1- The Breadwinner  (LA)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Loving VincentThe LEGO Batman MovieFerdinandCaptain UnderpantsDespicable Me 3


BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

LATEST BUZZ:    It's too soon for a small category.

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS: None yet


BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

LATEST BUZZ:    It's too soon for a small category.

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS: None yet


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

LATEST BUZZ:  Faces Places has the Toronto momentum and is beginning to shine locally here in Chicago as well.  It carries three total wins and climbing.  Keep an eye on the Critics' Choice winner and NBR winner Jane The official submission list this year total's 170 films.

WINNERS: 

3- Faces Places  (TIFF, NY, LA)

2- Jane  (CC, NBR)

1- Strong Island  (GIFA)

1- Dina  (Sundance)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  City of GhostsKediOne of UsHuman FlowAn Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to PowerAbacus: Small Enough to JailCries from SyriaChasing CoralThe Final YearLast Men in AleppoScore: A Film Music Documentary

THE NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW'S TOP 5 DOCUMENTARIES (alphabetical): Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Brimstone & Glory, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, Faces Places, Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

LATEST BUZZ:  It's too soon for a small category.

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS: None yet


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

LATEST BUZZ:  Heads up on new voting rules this year in this category.  While you peruse that, let the National Board of Review, LAFCA, NYFCC paint the landscape with BPM, Foxtrot, Loveless, and the NBR Top 5 list in the category thereafter.

WINNERS: 

2- BPM (Beats Per Minute)   (NY, LA)

1- Foxtrot  (NBR)

1- Loveless  (LA)

THE NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW'S TOP 5 FOREIGN FILMS (alphabetical): A Fantastic Woman
Frantz, Summer 1993, The Square


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

LATEST BUZZ:  This has to be Roger Deakins' year.  The man is overdue more than any figurative library book in the world after 13 winless Oscar nominations.  He more than deserves it for Blade Runner 2049's opulent scope.  The first official winners of the year are Mudbound and The Shape of Water which aren't spelled D-E-A-K-I-N-S.

WINNERS: 

1- Dan Laustsen for The Shape of Water  (LA)

1- Rachel Morrison for Mudbound  (NY)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Blade Runner 2049, DunkirkDarkest HourCall Me By Your NameWonderstruckmother!The BeguiledA Ghost StoryThe Florida Project


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN/ART DIRECTION

LATEST BUZZ:  Keep an eye on The Shape of Water when it is released in early December.  It's factory settings merged with a palette of rainy theatre marquees is really something special.  For now, the lone winner so far was Los Angeles honoring its own fictionalized city with Blade Runner 2049.

WINNERS: 

1- Blade Runner 2049  (LA)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  The Shape of Water, Blade Runner 2049Darkest HourBeauty and the Beast, DunkirkThe Greatest ShowmanPhantom ThreadStar Wars: The Last JediThe PostVictoria and AbdulWar for the Planet of the ApesWonderstruckMurder on the Orient Express


BEST FILM EDITING

LATEST BUZZ:  Gosh, I know Christopher Nolan and his collaborators are the masters of Mobius strip time loops, but even Dunkirk got too cute with the effect.  I get the difficulty of the editing in performing that, but there are better works out there this year.

WINNERS: 

1- Dunkirk  (LA)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  DunkirkThe Shape of WaterDarkest HourBlade Runner 2049Get OutBaby DriverThe Florida ProjectThe PostThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

LATEST BUZZ:  It's too soon for a small category, but there are plenty of flashy choices to choose from already.

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Beauty and the Beast, Phantom ThreadDarkest HourThe Greatest ShowmanThe Shape of WaterVictoria and AbdulWonderstruck


BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR-STYLING

LATEST BUZZ:  It's too soon for a small category, but if we're going to pick it for the "one most amazing thing" instead of the sheer volume of something like War for the Planet of the Apes or The Greatest Showman give it to the outfit worn by Doug Jones in The Shape of Water ahead of the altered faces of Jacob Tremblay in Wonder and Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour.

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Darkest HourThe Shape of WaterWonderBeauty and the BeastGuardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2The Greatest Showman, I, TonyaItLoganWar for the Planet of the Apes, Star Wars: The Last Jedi


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

LATEST BUZZ:  Twice nominated previously in the trilogy yet never winning, it's time to reward the performance capture work on War for the Planet of the Apes.  Serkis alone should get a special Oscar for newfangled acting.  Anyone else winning this award is robbery.  For the sake of official-ness, here is the Oscar shortlist of 20 finalists for Best Visual Effects.

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  War for the Planet of the ApesBlade Runner 2049Star War: The Last JediThe Shape of WaterDunkirkBeauty and the BeastGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Wonder WomanOkjaThor: Ragnarok


BEST SOUND EDITING

LATEST BUZZ:  It's too soon for a small category.

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  DunkirkBlade Runner 2049Star Wars: The Last JediBaby DriverWar for the Planet of the ApesThe Shape of WaterWonder Woman, Beauty and the BeastOnly the BraveGet Out


BEST SOUND MIXING

LATEST BUZZ:  It's too soon for a small category.

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  DunkirkThe Shape of WaterBlade Runner 2049Baby DriverStar Wars: The Last JediBeauty and the BeastWar for the Planet of the ApesWonder WomanThe PostThe Greatest ShowmanDetroit


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

LATEST BUZZ:  I'm a bit of a film score nut and I consider this race wide open.  I've seen nice flourishes in some films, but no outright perfection.  On my ballot, Wonderstruck and War for the Planet of the Apes are the closest.  Michael Giacchino shows another layer to his range with the ethic infusion for Coco.  Like everyone who bows at the altar of John Williams, all ears are waiting for Star War: The Last Jedi.  Does the 85-year-old legend with 50 career Oscar nominations and five wins have one more opus (maybe even two with The Post) up his composer's sleeve.  I haven't seen, well heard, Greenwood's work from Phantom Thread.  I've not been a fan of his shrill and lifeless scores.

WINNERS:

1- Jonny Greenwood for Phantom Thread  (LA)

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  Dunkirk, The Shape of WaterDarkest HourStar Wars: The Last JediThe Post, Blade Runner 2049WonderstruckCocoWar for the Planet of the Apes


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

LATEST BUZZ:  I called Beauty and the Beast's showstopper "Evermore" the proverbial winner back in March and then "Remember Me" from Coco hit me like a ton of bricks.  It's the best original song from a Pixar film in the studio's history (and, yes, I mean better than Randy Newman's warbly "You've Got a Friend in Me").

WINNERS: None yet

ANTICIPATED FRONT-RUNNERS:  "Remember Me" from Coco, "The Mystery of Love" from Call Me By Your Name, "Evermore" from Beauty and the Beast, "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman, "Stand Up for Something" from Marshall, "It Ain't Far" from Detroit, "Mighty River" from Mudbound


ACRONYM KEY FOR AWARD GROUPS

African-American Film Critics Association (AA), ACE Eddie Awards (ACE), Art Directors Guild Awards (ADG), Annie Awards (Annie), American Film Institute (AFI), American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), Austin Film Critics Association (AUS), British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Black Film Critics Circle (BF), Boston Society of Film Critics (Boston), Boston Online Film Critics Associaion, (BO), Cannes Film Festival (Cannes), Cinema Audio Society (CAS), Costume Designers Guild (CDG), The Cesar Awards (Cesar), Chicago Film Critics Association (Chicago), Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC), Critics Choice Awards (CC), Central Ohio Film Critics Associations (CO), Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association (DC), Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association (DFW), Denver Film Critics Society (DEN), Detroit Film Critics Society (DET), Directors Guild of America (DGA), Dublin Film Critics Circle (DUB), Alliance of Women Film Journalists/EDA Awards (EDA), European Film Awards (EFA), The Film Art Awards (FA), Florida Film Critics Circle (FL), Georgia Film Critics Association (GA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association/Dorian Awards (GAL), Gotham Independent Film Awards (GIFA), Hollywood Foreign Press Association/Golden Globes (Globe), Hollywood Film Awards (HFA), Houston Film Critics Society (HOU), Iowa Film Critics Association (IA), Indiana Film Journalist Associations (IND), International Documentary Association (IDA), Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KC), Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LA), London Film Critics Circle (London), Las Vegas Film Critics Association/Sierra Winners (LV), Makeup and Hair-styling Guild (MHG), National Board of Review (NBR), North Carolina Film Critics Association (NC), National Society of Film Critics (NSFC), North Texas Film Critics Association (NT), Nevada Film Critics Society (NEV), New York Film Critics Circle (NY), New York Online Film Critics Association (NYO), Oklahoma Film Critics Circle (OK), Online Film Critics Association (Online), The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Academy Awards (Oscar), Producers Guild of America (PGA), Phoenix Critic Circle (PCC), Phoenix Film Critics Society (PHX), Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG), International Press Academy/Satellite Awards (Satellite), San Diego Film Critics Society (SD), San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SF), Southeastern Film Critics Association (SE), Seattle Film Critics Association (SEA), Independent Spirit Awards (Spirit), St. Louis Film Critics (STL), Sundance Film Festival (Sundance), Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Toronto Film Critics Association (TOR), USC Libraries Scripter Award (USC), Utah Film Critics Association (UT), Vancouver Critics Circle (VAN), Venice International Film Festival (VIFF), Visual Effects Society Awards (VES), Village Voice Film Critics Poll (VV), Writers Guild of America (WGA), Womens Film Critics Circle (WF)

MASTER CALENDAR OF ANNOUNCEMENTS

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