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Which films could lead the Academy Award nominations this year?

Voting for the Oscars has ended. The ballots are in. Now, we wait. In the meantime, why not ponder some possibilities? Today, we’re going to be looking at movies that could end up the overall nomination leader once the Academy makes their announcement. It’s an interesting thing to ponder, as one title really seems the far and away favorite to at least get double digit nominations, while a lot of other flicks could score big wins, but will do so with fewer nominations. For example, both Get Out and Lady Bird are legitimate contenders for Best Picture, won’t be able to break a half dozen nods on nomination morning. Below you’ll see a handful of films that could do so, with one in particular looking at noms approaching or even exceeding a dozen. Go figure.

Here now are the five films that could potentially lead with Academy Award nominations this year:

Blade Runner 2049 – There’s a day where this sequel gets as many as eight nominations, all without a Best Picture citation to do with it. I wouldn’t bet on Blade Runner 2049 leading the day, but it could certainly come in second. At the moment, I only have it getting five nominations, but that certainly could come in on the lower side. We shall see how Denis Villenueve’s film does in about a week.

Dunkirk – Earlier this year, it made sense to peg Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic as the likeliest to lead with Oscar, but things have changed. Now, it still seems pretty solid for big nominations in Best Picture and Best Director for Nolan, but how it does below the line will ultimately determine its fate. A half dozen seems the bare minimum, but can it push for double digits? Right now, my predictions (look for them soon) have Dunkirk getting nine, so if something like Best Original Screenplay for Nolan or Best Costume Design can come though, ten is still a possibility…

The Shape of Water – The odds on favorite to lead with nominations, the question might end up being if Guillermo del Toro’s crown jewel can try and match what La La Land did last time around? Double digits shouldn’t be a huge problem, so we’ll just have to watch for how much further it can soar. My predictions have it with an even dozen, and you can make the case that I’m being conservative, since I have it missing in Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer. The fate of The Shape of Water is actually one of the more interesting stories to follow next Tuesday morning, so sleep on it at your own risk!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – A big of a longer shot, you can never count out box office juggernauts from having a strong showing below the line. Rian Johnson’s contribution to the Star Wars saga probably does nothing above the line, but watch out for it to sneak in a bit more than you might expect. In my predictions, it manages four, but a half dozen is within reach. Star Wars: The Last Jedi as an Academy Award (nomination total) shocker? Don’t bet on it, but stranger things have happened.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Depending on how things go, some folks might end up wishing they hadn’t tempered expectations about this Best Picture frontrunner. Sure, it might doing the sort of five to six nomination range that seems to be trendy for winners of late, but Martin McDonagh’s film might go way beyond that. Double digits? Probably not, but right now I have it scoring in six categories for a total of seven nominations, with potentially another one in sight. It won’t lead the day, but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri might just be the runner up, nomination total wise. If it does, it might prove to be hard to beat. Sit tight to find out…

Stay tuned to see which movie manages to lead the Oscars!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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