Annual Oscar Post – 2018

For the first time in years, I saw every movie nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Most years, there’s something too violent that I don’t want to see, but there really wasn’t anything like that this year. I did wait until it was on cable to see Get Out, only because it was marketed like a horror movie and I don’t see those in the theater. The three films from last year that impressed me the most were Three Billboards, Shape of Water & Get Out. I liked Phantom Thread the least because it was mostly unpleasant people glaring at one another while mostly dressed beautifully. Lady Bird was mostly charming, The Post was interesting despite knowing the ending, Dunkirk and Darkest Hour were fascinating looks from different directions at the year 1940 in wartime Britain. Call Me By Your Name was a great character study. And supporting actor Michael Stuhlbarg (you might remember him as the time-confused alien in Men in Black 3) was outstanding in 3 different Best Picture Nominees – as a scientist in Shape of Water, as Abe Rosenthal in The Post and as the father in Call Me By Your Name – a Trifecta!

2017 had many good movies, but it didn’t really seem to have great movies. When I saw Birdman, Spotlight and Moonlight, I knew that I was seeing the best movie of that year, and each did go on to win the Best Picture Oscars for their year. I really loved Wonder Woman last year and was sad it was completely ignored by Oscar. And yet, Logan, which was kind of a mess of a movie, got a Best Original Screenplay nomination.

So here are my “should wins” and “will wins” for the Oscars, which I’ll be watching from my living room for the first time in a few years now that Hollywood Theater sadly has new ownership and isn’t doing their annual Oscar watching party.

Best Picture

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water” WON
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” should win, will win
It’s been pointed out that the winner of the Indie Spirit for Best Picture has won the Oscar for Best Picture the last few years, which should mean a win for “Get Out.” That’s certainly possible, though I still give the edge to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” which was an absorbing look at tragedy and anger mismanagement in a small town. While I was rooting more for “Three Billboards,” I did enjoy “Shape of Water” and it was neat to see a movie that was an odd mix of fantasy, science fiction & spy thriller named the best movie of the year!

Lead Actor

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour” WON, should win, will win
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Tricky category, but Oldman’s Winston Churchill was outstanding. I expect both Chalamet & Kaluuya will probably win an Oscar in the future (and probably Washington will win another as well). Even though Day-Lewis has said he’s retiring, I suspect he won’t retire for too long (or may leap to theater).

Lead Actress

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” WON, should win, will win
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Another tricky category. Everyone was very good, but McDormand was absolutely on fire in “Three Billboards.”
McDormand did one of the best things by acknowledging all women nominees in all Oscar categories! Classy! #InclusionRider

Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” WON, should win, will win

Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” WON, should win, will win
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
I’m torn as I liked them all, but it’ll probably be Allison Janey

Director

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro WON, should win, will win

Animated Feature

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson WON should win, will win
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Animated Short

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant WON
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata should win
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

Adapted Screenplay

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory WON
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin should win, will win
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
“Molly’s Game” was sharp and interesting. However, I hadn’t realized that James Ivory had never won a screenplay Oscar before. It seemed he must have as he’d been involved in so many brilliant screenplays in the past.

Original Screenplay

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele WON
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh should win, will win
This is probably the toughest category of them all. They were all wonderful scripts. I think if “Get Out” doesn’t win anything else, it will win this, but if it wins either Director or Picture, “Three Billboards”
will win.

Cinematography

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins WON
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema should win, will win
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
Another interesting category. “Mudbound” marks the first time a woman has been nominated for Best Cinematography, and the difference between the feel of this movie, and the feel of her next movie (“Black Panther”) is quite extraordinary. “Blade Runner 2049” had great photography but wasn’t a very good movie. “Dunkirk” did a great job of putting you in the middle of a war. It turned out Deakins had been nominated many times but had never won until the 2018 Oscars.

Best Documentary Feature

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan (should have realized a Russian expose would win!)
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen should win, will win
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel WON
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

Best Live Action Short Film

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton WON
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Best Foreign Language Film

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile) (Won)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)

Film Editing

“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss should win, will win
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith WON
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like “Baby Driver” (no fan of power driving flicks), but the editing was amazing. I have mixed feelings about “Dunkirk” winning as I thought a lot of scene dragged.

Sound Editing

“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King WON, should win, will win
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing

“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo WON
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern should win, will win
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Production Design

“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau WON, should win, will win
Still disappointed that “Wonder Woman” was not nominated for its outstanding production design, but since it wasn’t…

Original Score

“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat WON should win, will win
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell
I was very underwhelmed by the music this year…but…

Original Song

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez WON should win
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul will win
This is probably between “Remember Me” and “This Is Me.” I really like the way “Remember Me” changed in character during the movie. I didn’t see “The Greatest Showman” but see how “This Is Me” is becoming
a “stand up for yourself” anthem. I met one member of the “This is Me” ensemble singers – Loren Allred lived in Pittsburgh in the ’90s and I sang in a choir her Dad, Brady Allred, directed (Bach Choir of Pittsburgh). Loren also performed the vocals for Jenny Lind in the movie.

Makeup and Hair

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick WON, should win, will win
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten
You really can’t see Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill without the make-up!

Costume Design

“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges WON (all I can say is “Damn!”)
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle should win, will win
While I have a bad feeling that Phantom Thread will win only because it’s ostensibly about dress design,
“Victoria and Abdul” had terrific costumes whether they were in India or England.

Visual Effects

“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer WON
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan should win, will win
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist

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