WILL WIN: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Forget about Roman J. Israel, Esq.’s Denzel Washington — the nom’s the win for him. Don’t totally write off Daniel Day-Lewis for his last rodeo (in Phantom Thread) or Daniel Kaluuya or Timothee Chalamet for their first (in Get Out and Call Me by Your Name, respectively), as each anchors a picture nominee. But so does Oldman, who, unlike the others, has both paid his dues and never won. His transformation into Churchill — already recognized with every major precursor award — is just the sort of thing Academy members eat up.
SHOULD WIN: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Once Oscar night is over, is anyone even going to remember that Denzel Washington was in a film called Roman J. Israel, Esq.? Daniel Kaluuya’s presence is also something of a surprise, while Gary Oldman, who seems to be the odds-on favorite to win, delivers a better-than-expected impersonation of Winston Churchill while still seeming not to be genuinely suited for the role. As the Academy has demonstrated three times, it’s hard to deny Daniel Day-Lewis. But I would vote for Call Me by Your Name’s startlingly fine leading man, newcomer Timothee Chalamet.