Oscars 2018: Final Picks

 

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
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

SHUT-OUTS: Michael Stuhlbarg earned zero nods despite gracing three of this year’s Best Picture nominees, namely, The Post, The Shape of Water, and most notably, his earth-shattering turn as Elio’s dad in Call Me By Your Name. Also conspicuously snubbed was Arnie Hammer, the chiseled half of that same film’s love team.
SURPRISE:  Woody Harrelson‘s turn as a dying cop did grow more pivotal in Three Billboards‘ latter half, but a third nomination might have been a stretch. Plummer earns props for seamlessly picking up where Kevin Spacey left off (some say: even suiting the role better).
CLOSE CONTENDER: Willem Dafoe was an early favorite for his refreshingly non-villainous turn as a motel manager, but buzz is muffled for Florida Project overall.
PICK: Sam Rockwell. Between the two actors carrying the Three Billboards banner, it was Rockwell who turned up the heat as a bigoted cop and swept this year’s awards season by storm.

BEST MAKE-UP AND HAIRSTYLING
Darkest Hour
Victoria and Abdul
Wonder

PICK: Darkest Hour. Spritely 59-year-old Gary Oldman sought no one but Kajuhiro Tsuji to transform him into the portly septugenarian Winston Churchill. The persistence will likely pay off.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria and Abdul

PICK: Phantom Thread. It’s almost logical to root for the only Best Picture nominee in this lot that deals with a neurotic fashion designer.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Icarus
Last Man in Aleppo
Strong Island

PICK: Faces Places. With the NatGeo bet Jane shockingly out of the running, the odds-on favorite seems to be this tale of an unlikely friendship

BEST SOUND EDITING
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

PICK: Dunkirk. This year’s sound nominees are the same set of films. While Christopher Nolan‘s mini-epic isn’t a top Best Picture favorite, it is expected to nab a technical award or two.

BEST SOUND MIXING 
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

PICK: Baby Driver. We have Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin, and Mary Ellis to thank for making this mix tape-cum-modern B movie the high octane sound trip that it was.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

SURPRISE: Lesley Manville scored her only nod this awards season for playing Daniel Day-Lewis’ uptight sister;  a shocking 11th hour inclusion at the expense of Holly Hunter (The Big Sick) and Hong Chau (Downsizing).
CLOSE CONTENDER:
This is arguably the pinnacle of Laurie Metcalf‘s 40-year acting career, and it’s almost regrettable that she’s nominated in the same year as another TV stalwart who played a far more devilish mom. 
PICK: 
Allison Janney. This is hers to lose.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM 
A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia)
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

SHUT-OUTS. Germany’s In the Fade was shockingly omitted despite winning the Golden Globe for the same category. Ditto for The Handmaiden which won the BAFTAs.  And Angelina Jolie‘s First They Killed My Father didn’t even make the shortlist. It’s an open race at this point.
PICK. A Fantastic Woman. The Square has its supporters, but given the anti-discrimination angle the Academy is taking this year, rewarding a film about a transgender woman seems apropos.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

PICK. Dear Basketball. Odds are favoring Kobe Bryant to add “Oscar winner” to his credentials.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

PICK. Coco. Loving Vincent was an revolutionary eye-popper, but Disney-Pixar will likely maintain its stranglehold in this category for at least another year.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

CLOSE CONTENDER: Don’t dismiss nomination front-runner Shape of Water.
PICK: Blade Runner 2049. There’s formidable competition here, but there’s clamor for Blade Runner 2049 to avenge its predecessor’s defeat in the same categories 35 years ago.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

PICK: Blade Runner 2049. See Best Production Design. 

BEST FILM EDITING
Baby Driver
Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

PICK: Dunkirk. It’s a neck-and-neck battle between Dunkirk and Baby Driver. The latter won this category in the recent BAFTAs, while both films were co-Critics’ Choice winners. But to be able to deliver emotional parallels amidst a disjointed timeframe is a feat that’s hard to ignore.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Edith + Eddie
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Heroin(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

PICK: Heroin(e).

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

PICK: DeKalb Elementary. 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

CLOSE CONTENDERS: Nothing’s stopping Dunkirk from gathering consolatory technical awards, while Shape of Water never fell short of  visually arresting. And kudos to Mudbound cinematographer Rachel Morrison for scoring the first ever female nomination in this category.  
PICK: Blade Runner 2049. Again, not only is Blade Runner 2049 expected to one-up its predecessor’s Oscar performance, it’s also expected to finally give Roger Deakins his due after 13 previous nods.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer
Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood
The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, John Williams
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carter Burwell

CLOSE CONTENDERS: Hans Zimmer enhanced the tension in Dunkirkand while Radiohead‘s Jonny Greenwood is a longshot, it’s great to see him finally scoring a nomination for his fourth collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson.
PICK: The Shape of Water. The technical award Shape of Water’s likeliest to win; Desplat’s whimsical pieces swept this category throughout this awards season and will likely earn him his second Oscar since The Grand Budapest Hotel (lest we forget, he also beat himself that year.)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Mighty River” (Mudbound)
“Mystery of Love” (Call Me By Your Name)
“Remember Me” (Coco)
“Stand Up for Something” (Marshall)
“This Is Me” (The Greatest Showman)

LONG SHOT: This is the ninth nomination for Diane Warren, who deserved to win for her Lady Gaga piece two years ago. Alas, it’s an even steeper uphill climb for her Marshall composition.
CLOSE CONTENDERS: “Remember Me” was essentially what made us cry in Coco. Ditto for Sufjan StevensCall Me By Your Name love theme.
PICK: “This Is Me”. The Greatest Showman may have been a narrative non-event (come on, admit it), but its songs were indeed spectacular. In four minutes, this heart-piercing anthem encapsulated what the film struggled to convey in a hundred and six. Expect a show-stopping telecast performance as well.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

LONG SHOT: This is The Big Sick‘s sole nomination; some say it deserved more. Here, it’s reduced to a near-afterthought.
CLOSE CONTENDERS:  Lady Bird is essentially Juno sans pregnancy, which makes Diablo Cody‘s win 10 years ago a good omen for Gerwig. And with Martin McDonagh inexplicably deprived of a Best Director nod, this might just be his consolation prize.
PICK: Get Out. No other Best Picture nominee galvanized us while stuffing us symbolisms more this year than this modern horror classic, and it’s mostly thanks to Jordan Peele‘s ultra-sharp script.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory
The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

SURPRISES: The Disaster Artist earned its sole nomination after James Franco’s Best Actor shut-out – more on that later. Also, it’s interesting to see an X-Men movie in the mix.
PICK: Call Me By Your Name. James Ivory‘s visceral heartbreaker of a script (adapted from Andre Aciman’s novel) hit us where it hurts and therefore should earn the 89-year-old his first Oscar after previously losing for Best Director thrice.

BEST DIRECTOR
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water 
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out

SHUT-OUTS: Shock exclusions come dime a dozen in this major category, considering that it has fewer slots than Best Picture. Still, it’s jarring not to see Three BillboardsMartin McDonagh in the running. And what will it take for the legendary Steven Spielberg to be nominated again? 
CLOSE CONTENDERS:
 Greta Gerwig’s only the fifth woman to be nominated in this category in 90 years (!) and it probably wouldn’t even have been possible if not for Natalie Portman‘s Golden Globe swipe. And kudos to the Academy for finally recognizing Christopher Nolan‘s directorial work.
PICK: Guillermo del Toro. After the recent triumphs of Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman, The Revenant), Del Toro is now expected to complete a trifecta of Oscar-winning Mexican directors. Chances are, he will follow the footsteps of his amigos.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

SHUT-OUT: The sexual harassment claims are what most probably nipped James Franco’s chances, following his Golden Globe win. It’s also why incumbent awardee Casey Affleck‘s shying away from presenter duties. 
LONG SHOT:
People hardly even remember the critically-divisive Roman J. Israel, Esq., which makes Denzel Washington look like a male Meryl Streep here. This is also probably three-time winner Daniel Day-Lewis’ final shot at Oscar glory after announcing retirement, except he’s not the front-runner this time.
CLOSE CONTENDERS: Daniel Kaluuya
PICK: Gary Oldman 

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post
PICK: Frances McDormand. 

BEST PICTURE
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post

The Shape of Water 
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
PICK: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: chuckiechavez

Vapid musings from a self-deprecating child-at-heart.

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