For people obsessed with Hollywood awards — which includes most of Hollywood — this is a big weekend.
On Sunday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will be handing out the 75th annual Golden Globes, which have become a star-studded event and a bigger-than-necessary harbinger of the awards that really matter: the Academy Awards.
The Academy Awards won’t be handed out until March 4, and a pop-culture columnist could go long on the ridiculousness of a governing body taking two months for its voting process in the age of the internet. The same columnist imagines his readers’ eyes glazing over at the prospect of such a screed and thinks better of it.
This weekend is a milestone in the Oscars’ long march, because Friday is the first day Academy members can send in their ballots for nominations. Voters have a week to fill out their ballots, which then will be tabulated, and the nominees announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
Movie critics don’t vote for the Oscars, but we can try to nudge Academy members toward films and artists they might not have considered. Here are my predictions for who and what will get nominated in the major categories, and whom I’d vote for if I had a ballot:
The favorites: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”; Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name.”
Also likely: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”; James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”; Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out.”
Please consider: Andy Serkis has pioneered performance-capture acting over the years, and he takes it to another level in his portrayal of the ape leader Caesar in “War for the Planet of the Apes.” He proves that the CGI of such a character is no more an enhancement than the makeup work that, say, Oldman wears in “Darkest Hour.”
The favorites: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”; Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Also likely: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”; Meryl Streep, “The Post”; Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya.”
Please consider: I’m a big proponent of nominating Gal Gadot for her multilayered performance in “Wonder Woman,” but I’d make a pitch here for Daniela Vega, the Chilean transgender star who pours a ton of personal experience into her fearsome performance in “A Fantastic Woman.”
The favorites: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”; Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water.”
Also likely: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”; Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”; Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Please consider: Many might dismiss him because he’s in a blockbuster, but Mark Hamill delivers a soulful performance as the aged, jaded and ultimately redeemed Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” building on 40 years of familiarity to deliver something deeply felt.
The favorites: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”; Allison Janney, “I, Tonya.”
Also likely: Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”; Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”; Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water.”
Please consider: The subtlety of Allison Williams’ performance as the girlfriend in “Get Out” is, like the character she plays, something that doesn’t reveal itself fully until things are really intense — but if you go back and look again, all the clues are there.
The favorites: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”; Jordan Peele, “Get Out.”
Also likely: Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, “The Shape of Water”; Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, “The Post”; Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Please consider: Married writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon mined their personal history for “The Big Sick,” creating a romantic comedy that was intimately personal and universally relatable.
The favorites: James Ivory, “Call Me by Your Name”; Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, “Mudbound.”
Also likely: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, “The Disaster Artist”; Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”; Stephen Chbosky and Steven Conrad and Jack Thorne, “Wonder.”
Please consider: Rian Johnson did something in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” that I didn’t think a “Star Wars” movie could do anymore: surprise us.
The favorites: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”; Guillermo Del Toro, “The Shape of Water.”
Also likely: Steven Spielberg, “The Post”; Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”; Luca Guadadnino, “Call Me by Your Name.”
Please consider: Patty Jenkins stretched the boundaries of the blockbuster in “Wonder Woman,” delivering an action epic that was also personal.
The favorites: “Dunkirk,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Lady Bird,” “The Post.”
Also likely: “Get Out,” “The Shape of Water,” “Darkest Hour,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “The Florida Project.”
Please consider: I picked “Wonder Woman” as the best movie of 2017, and I stand by that. It transcended the superhero genre and the DC Extended Universe, becoming an icon of power, optimism and inspiration for a generation.