From 'Get Out' to 'Phantom Thread': The 2018 Oscars Buzzmeter

From 'Get Out' to 'Phantom Thread': The 2018 Oscars Buzzmeter
Clockwise from top left: "The Shape of Water," "Dunkirk," "Get Out" and "Mudbound." (Twentieth Century Fox; Melissa Sue Gordon / Warner Bros. Pictures; Justin Lubin / Universal Pictures; Netflix)

It’s that time of year again when the multiplexes are crowded with prestige movies hoping to keep building that all-important buzz on the way to the 90th Oscars ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 4.

Here, our Buzzmeter panelists -- six of the most qualified Oscar pundits, film writers and critics – predict which of the nominated movies and performers will come out on top at this year's Oscar race. The winners won’t be revealed until March 4, so check back often to see who’s up and who’s down on the Buzzmeter.

Our panelists:

Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Nicole Sperling (Vanity Fair), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Glenn Whipp (The Envelope), Justin Chang (L.A. Times), Kenneth Turan (L.A. Times)

Here are their picks in the key categories, with the top vote-getters highlighted in red:

Best picture | "The Shape of Water"

'The Shape of Water'
Michael Shannon, from left, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer in "The Shape of Water." Fox Searchlight Pictures via AP

“‘Lady Bird’ is an out-on-a-limb hunch based on two things: The academy has split on picture and director four times in the last five years, and I expect it to kill on the preferential ballot.”

— Justin Chang

Critics' Picks

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri": O'Neil

"The Shape of Water": Turan, Whipp, Thompson, Sperling


"Darkest Hour"

"Get Out"

"Lady Bird": Chang

"Call Me By Your Name"

"The Post"

"Phantom Thread"

Best director | Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro, right, with Michael Stuhlbarg, left, and Michael Shannon, on the set of "The Shape of Water." Kerry Hayes / Twentieth Century Fox

“Voters have consistently rewarded wildly imaginative and ambitious work in this race. It would be a jaw dropper if Guillermo del Toro didn’t win.”

—Tom O'Neil

Critics' Picks

Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”: Chang, Turan, Whipp, Thompson, Sperling, O'Neil

Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”

Jordan Peele, “Get Out"

Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”

Best actor | Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in Joe Wright's "Darkest Hour." Jack English / Focus Features

“With only his second career nomination, Gary Oldman will take the win for his impossibly great incarnation of an all-too familiar leader, Winston Churchill. On the outside: young Timothee Chalamet, who is likely to return to Oscar contention many times over.”

— Anne Thompson

Critics' Picks

Gary Oldman, "Darkest Hour": Chang, Turan, Whipp, Thompson, Sperling, O'Neil

Daniel Day-Lewis, "Phantom Thread":

Timothee Chalamet, "Call Me By Your Name":

Denzel Washington, "Roman J. Israel, Esq.":

Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out":

Best actress | Frances McDormand, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Frances McDormand in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." Fox Searchlight Pictures

“Frances McDormand is the front-runner even without campaigning. But the fact that she is showing up and graciously accepting her prizes suggests there is no way she can lose.”

— Nicole Sperling

Critics' Picks

Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird":

Sally Hawkins, "The Shape of Water":

Frances McDormand, "Three Billboards": Whipp, Thompson, Oneil, Chang, Sperling, Turan

Margot Robbie, "I Tonya":

Meryl Streep, “The Post”:

Best supporting actor | Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'
Woody Harrelson, left, and Sam Rockwell in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." Merrick Morton/Fox Searchlight via AP

“Sam Rockwell has the momentum, but Christopher Plummer could be a potent darkhorse.”

— Kenneth Turan

Critics' Picks

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”:

Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards”: Whipp, Thompson, O' Neil, Chang, Sperling, Turan

Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”:

Woody Harrelson, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Christopher Plummer, "All the Money in the World"

Best supporting actress | Laurie Metcalf, "Lady Bird"

Laurie Metcalf, right, with Tracy Letts, in "Lady Bird." Merie Wallace/A24 via AP

“Somehow, Allison Janney is going to have to find room for an Oscar amid all those other awards.”

— Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

Laurie Metcalf, "Lady Bird" : Chang, Turan, Whipp, Sperling, O'Neil

Allison Janney, "I, Tonya" : Thompson

Octavia Spencer, "The Shape of Water"

Mary J. Blige, "Mudbound"

Lesley Manville, "Phantom Thread"

Original screenplay | "Get Out"

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Daniel Kaluuya in a scene from, "Get Out." "Star War
Daniel Kaluuya in "Get Out." Universal Pictures via AP

“A very tight three-way race among ‘Lady Bird,’ ‘Get Out’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.’ My pick could and probably will change tomorrow.”

— Justin Chang

Critics' Picks

“Get Out”: Whipp, Sperling, Chang, Thompson

“The Shape of Water”:

“Three Billboards”: O'Neil

“Lady Bird”: Turan

“The Big Sick”

Adapted screenplay | "Call Me by Your Name"

'Call Me By Your Name'
Michael Stuhlbarg, from left, Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer in "Call Me By Your Name." Sony Pictures Classics via AP

“Great movie and great story – at age 89, James Ivory will finally win an Oscar, for ‘Call Me By Your Name.’”

— Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

“Call Me by Your Name”: Whipp, Thompson, Chang, Sperling, Turan, O'Neil


“Molly's Game”

“The Disaster Artist”


Animated Film | "Coco"

Movie review: Coco
"Coco." Pixar / TNS

“I have a soft spot for ‘The Breadwinner’ but it’s not going to happen. ‘Coco’ will win.”

— Kenneth Turan

Critics' Picks

“The Breadwinner”

“Coco": Thompson, Chang, Turan, O'Neil, Sperling, Whipp


"Loving Vincent"

"Boss Baby"