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Oscars preview: Ladybird, Shape of Water, Three Billboards and more

88Nine's Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film's Kristopher Pollard are buds, they like cinema—they're Cinebuds. This week, they have our 2018 Oscars preview ahead of the show on Sunday.

First, they talk about how the heck this award show works and if/why it's even important. Also, drawing from Kristopher's theory on how to predict the Oscars that he wrote in the 8th grade, they give their picks and predictions for the winners.

Listen to the full Cinebuds segment below.
Love them or hate them, lots of people watch the Oscars. It's easy to want to write them off after #OscarsSoWhite in 2015, because neither the recognition nor the Academy have ever been very diverse. They can place a skewed importance onto the year's best movies. But, the importance the Academy Awards puts onto films can be a good thing. It makes people watch movies that they might not have seen otherwise.

We saw that last year with "Moonlight." It was a smaller movie that (deservedly) won Best Picture and blew up afterward. Now all those filmmakers will go on to make more things, which shows that the Oscars can be a positive thing for the industry, especially when the nominations get broader and more diverse. And, while the "Moonlight" wins were a triumph last year, the Oscars still have a long way to go. On Sunday, we'll see how far. Here are the nominees:

Best Actor

Up for best actor is Timothée Chalamet for "Call Me by Your Name," Daniel Day-Lewis  for "Phantom Thread," Daniel Kaluuya for "Get Out," Gary Oldman for "Darkest Hour" and Denzel Washington for "Roman J. Israel, Esq."

The obvious pick is easily Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour." The role reeks of an Oscar nom. And, it's in line with Kristoper's theory that anytime someone plays a real person, overcomes a hardship and is British, they'll win the award.

Best Actress

The nominees are: Sally Hawkins for "The Shape of Water," Frances McDormand for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," Margot Robbie for "I, Tonya," Saoirse Ronan for "Lady Bird" and Meryl Streep for "The Post."

Saoirse Ronan is the favorite here. "Lady Bird" was such an outstanding movie and we wouldn't be upset if it won all the awards. But, we'd be cool with any of these actresses winning this award, except maybe Meryl Streep. Sorry Meryl, we love you, but you don't need another Oscar.

Best Director

The nominees are Kristopher Nolan for "Dunkirk," Jordan Peele for "Get Out," Greta Gerwig for "Lady Bird," Paul Thomas Anderson for "Phantom Thread" and Guillermo del Toro for "The Shape of Water."

While Kristopher and Jordan think Guillermo del Toro will win, they would love to see Greta Gerwig honored for her genius directing of "Lady Bird." For a long time Best Picture and Best Director always went together, according to Kristopher; but more and more, they're going to different nominees. It seems like when there's two really good candidates for Best Picture, they'll give one Best Picture and other Best Director. They think if "The Shape of Water" doesn't win Best Picture, Guillermo del Toro might win Best Director instead.

Best Picture

That brings us to who is going to win Best Picture. The nominees are "Call Me by Your Name," "Darkest Hour," "Dunkirk," "Get Out," "Lady Bird," "Phantom Thread," "The Post," "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." That's a lot of choices.

"Darkest Hour," "Dunkirk," "The Post" are the most Oscar-y Oscar movies, meaning they're intense, dramatic and based on real things. But, Kristopher thinks "Three Billboards" might win for reflecting some themes of current events. On the other hand, Justin thinks it might be "Shape of Water" because it's an escape from those events.

We'll see on Sunday.