Saturday, March 3, 2018

Thoughts on Oscar Noms and Predictions

A little bit more than 24 hours from now, we'll know all the winners as well as the also-rans of the 90th Academy Awards. On the one hand, the awards season was and still is unpredictable. Does anyone really know what's winning Best Picture or which film will get the most wins? On the other hand, those acting races were way more competitive early on before the usual precursors rubber-stamped all the winners. The lesson though of last year's ceremony though is... unexpected things can still happen. Will it this year? Who knows?

  • Call Me by Your Name (4 nominations)
  • Darkest Hour (6 nominations)
  • Dunkirk (8 nominations)
  • Get Out (4 nominations)
  • Lady Bird (5 nominations)
  • Phantom Thread (6 nominations)
  • The Post (2 nominations)
  • The Shape of Water (13 nominations)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (7 nominations)

I think some people expected The Florida Project to sneak in here, but the rest had been in the conversation early enough with momentum ebbing and flowing from one film to the next. I think the three films vying for the win are Three Billboards (lots of precursor love), The Shape of Water (top nominee + slam dunk directing win), and Get Out (preferential ballot favorite + film of the year). Dunkirk is probably the dark horse and could've been the favorite a few years ago (WWII film with lots of technical wizardry).

PREDICTION: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
FINAL WORD: Can the beautifully gay indie film pull off the shocking upset again please?

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

Honestly, I love this shortlist. I probably would've replaced Anderson with Luca Guadagnino or Sean Baker, but really no actual complaints here. I mean look at these names! Just one of Del Toro, Peele, or Gerwig would've been thrilling enough, but all three? Plus this is Nolan's FIRST Oscar nomination for directing. While I think Peele should win this hands down, there's no bad choices here and the likely winner Del Toro would certainly be a wonderful champ.

PREDICTION: Guillermo del Toro
ALTERNATE: Jordan Peele
FINAL WORD: In its 90 years, Gerwig is only the 5th woman and Peele is only the 5th black director to be nominated. Damn.

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

Ronan and Hawkins picking up critical awards, Robbie getting her breakthrough moment, and Streep doing her usual best work... plus Emma Stone one-upping her Oscar winning performance last year, Jessica Chastain challenging herself, Daniela Vega being a revelation. Could've been a great race. I don't begrudge McDormand. She's awesome and I'll be happy for her to pick up her 2nd Oscars tomorrow, but what could've been.

PREDICTION: Frances McDorman
ALTERNATE: Saoirse Ronan
FINAL WORD: I actually love all of these performances but man Ronan should've been the frontrunner from the beginning.

  • Timothée 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.

I'm most excited for Kaluuya's nomination here. It helps that his film is a cultural phenomenon, but I think a lot of people miss the brilliance in his subtle performance. Also thrilled for Chalamet who has carried the "breakthrough revelation" label since the film premiered more than a year ago in Sundance. One of those two SHOULD be winning, but it'll go to Oldman because he plays Winston Churchill. He was always the favorite, sight unseen, and well yeah.

ALTERNATE: Daniel Day-Lewis
FINAL WORD: Chalamet would be a lot of people's alternate, but Oscars love Day-Lewis and for his "final film"? Weirder things.


  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

From the very beginning this was thought to be a two-woman race between Metcalf and Janney, two very well-loved veterans. In fact Metcalf did get some critical love early on, but Janney's flashier role and bigger personality made her dominant through awards season and her first Oscar will be the bow on top. Raise a glass through to some also-rans which had some buzz like Tiffany Haddish, Holly Hunter, and Hong Chau.

PREDICTION: Allison Janney
ALTERNATE: Laurie Metcalf
FINAL WORD: The Academy doesn't do ties, but think about it just this once maybe?

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards

Let's get the Kevin Spacey pink elephant out of the way. Plummer's nomination is remarkable. He filmed his scenes in NOVEMBER. Is this the Academy praising his work or sticking it to a disgraced Spacey or them giving a nod to the changing landscape. Who can say? Anyways, Three Billboards doubling up here is indicative of the movie's strength and Rockwell will take that to victory. Dafoe had some buzz early on, but as with all the other acting categories, this one is won and done.

PREDICTION: Sam Rockwell
ALTERNATE: Willem Dafoe
FINAL WORD: They couldn't have doubled up with Michael Stuhlbarg and Armie Hammer on Call Me By Your Name instead? Stuhlbarg was robbed.

  • Call Me by Your Name
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Logan
  • Molly’s Game
  • Mudbound

With the biggest films in the other screenplay category, this is the best shot for Call Me By Your Name to not walk home empty-handed tomorrow and the best shot for James Ivory to pick up his first Oscar win. He's the favorite, but some people seem weirdly put off by the film (they are dumb). I guess the question is, even if they are, which film would take its place? No one can seem to agree to that, so... win?

PREDICTION: Call Me By Your Name
ALTERNATE: Molly's Game
FINAL WORD: I might riot if James Ivory doesn't win. We all should.


  • The Big Sick
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards

With 4 Best Pictures in the mix, this is probably the most competitive category of the night. You can make a case for any one of them to win this. As an aside, I'm happy that indie hit The Big Sick got recognized here. General consensus seems to have it as a two-film race between Get Out and Three Billboards and I do hope it goes to the first since it's likely will be its one award.

PREDICTION: Three Billboards
FINAL WORD: I'm predicting to protect my disappointment, but also I want to put it out in the world that Lady Bird winning would be freaking awesome.

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

I've only seen two of them, A Fantastic Woman (amazing) and On Body and Soul (not bad at all). And have heard good stuff about the others. Shortlisted films that didn't make the cut that some people really liked included The Wound, Felicite and In the Fade which people thought could've been favored to win here. And then there's France's BPM being shocking short list omission. The Academy should feel shameful regarding that.

PREDICTION: A Fantastic Woman
FINAL WORD: I actually have no idea who's favored to win here, but I do know you should try to watch all of these.


  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Coco
  • Ferdinand
  • Loving Vincent

As someone who actually liked The Boss Baby, this category still feels awfully thin this year, doesn't it? Last year a Finding Nemo sequel which I really liked didn't get nominated and I was OKAY because the category was stacked. Anyways, Pixar's wonderful Coco is the odds-on favorite this year and is probably the lockiest win tomorrow night apart from the acting awards.

ALTERNATE: The Breadwinner
FINAL WORD: Coco should win for its gorgeous rendering of the Land of the Dead alone and making me ugly cry a lot.

  • Baby Driver
  • Dunkirk
  • I, Tonya
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards

Convention says a Best Picture film wins this and with Dunkirk being the most OBVIOUSLY edited, it's the frontrunner. And yet Baby Driver could take some of these technical awards in a surprise.

ALTERNATE: Baby Driver
FINAL WORD: Three Billboards getting in here instead of Get Out is a travesty.

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water

If the want to go with MOST then Beauty and the Beast could challenge here. If they want to go with PERIOD then Dunkirk or Darkest Hour. If they want to go with CREATIVE, perhaps Blade Runner. But I think Shape of Water has a bit of all of those so I think it'll win.

PREDICTION: The Shape of Water
FINAL WORD: Call Me By Your Name's Italian villa with its books and various fruits was perfection.

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Mudbound
  • The Shape of Water

This is the technical category everyone is excited about. And why not? We have Mudbound's Rachel Morrison as the FIRST EVER woman to ever be nominated in this category. And this year could actually be it for 14-time nominated Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049) to get his first Oscar! Dunkirk and Darkest Hour with their WWII epicness will challenge, but #Oscar4Deakins.

PREDICTION: Blade Runner 2049
FINAL WORD: Seriously, give it to Deakins already.

  • "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

Early last year I thought Celine Dion's Beauty & the Beast song had this in the bag. Thankfully the year brought us some more great choices and this shortlist is stacked with not only quality, but talent. Last year's champs Pasek and Paul are the front-runners with "This is Me," their underdog anthem that's a big hit with film and music audiences. And as much as I love that song, I'm hoping "Mystery of Love" or "Remember Me" pull off the upset. Actually, I'm good with a three-way tie.

ALTERNATE: "Remember Me"
FINAL WORD: I cannot wait for all of these performances!

  • Dunkirk
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Three Billboards

John Williams could get his 6th win for Star Wars, but I think it's a two-man race between Alexandre Desplat's delicate work on The Shape of Water and Hans Zimmer's bombastic work on Dunkirk. If Three Billboards win here, it'll probably take Best Picture.

PREDICTION: The Shape of Water
FINAL WORD: Congrats on Johnny Greenwood's first nomination for Phantom Thread.

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

I'd probably replace either Guardians or Kong for Thor: Ragnarok and I was a bit surprised by the exclusions of The Shape of Water and Dunkirk, but overall a nice list. It's also hard to predict since "most" in this case is pretty much all of them plus all of them got good reviews.

PREDICTION: Blade Runner 2049
ALTERNATE: War for the Planet of the Apes
FINAL WORD: They haven't felt the need to reward Apes franchise yet (a bummer). Could this be the year?

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

These are two different categories, but since they have the same nominees, I thought I'd put them together. Plus I think this year the same film is going to win them both. I have no idea what it'll be. Dunkirk is the obvious choice, but I think Baby Driver and Blade Runner are right there.

PREDICTION (for both): Dunkirk
ALTERNATE (for both): Baby Driver
FINAL WORD: One of these days I'll remember the difference.

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Darkest Hour
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Victoria & Abdul

Frankly I was more partial to the pitch perfect period stylings of Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name not to mention the wonderfully flash and trashy costumes in I, Tonya, but alas. This is an easy win for Phantom Thread, right?

PREDICTION: Phantom Thread
ALTERNATE: Beauty and the Beast
FINAL WORD: Is Doug Jones' creature a costume? If so, maybe they should win for dat ass alone.

  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Wonder

These were all a bit expected once the finalists were named, but I, Tonya really should've been here. A moment of silence for the makeup artist for Kevin Spacey on All the Money in the World.

PREDICTION: Darkest Hour
ALTERNATE: Victoria & Abdul
FINAL WORD: Can't wait to never see Oldman as Churchill ever again.

  • Abacus Small Enough to Jail
  • Faces Places
  • Icarus
  • Last Men in Aleppo
  • Strong Island

Three of these films are available on Netflix so go binge them now! That's how I saw Icarus and Strong Island, both very good, though I really liked Icarus. Might see Last Men in Aleppo tomorrow. Agnes Varda could win for Faces Places. Who do you got?

PREDICTION: Faces Places
FINAL WORD: Varda's cardboard cutout was the awards seasons VIP.

  • Edith+Eddie
  • Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
  • Heroin(e)
  • Knife Skills
  • Traffic Stop

Haven't seen any of these, but Heroin(e) is on Netflix so I might before the ceremony. Not sure if any of the others are readily available. (ETA: Knife Skills and Heaven is a Traffic Jam are on YouTube).

PREDICTION: Traffic Stop
ALTERNATE: Heroin(e)

  • Dear Basketball
  • Garden Party
  • Lou
  • Negative Space
  • Revolting Rhymes

Anyone know if any of these are available to stream? (ETA: Garden Party is online, Lou is on YouTube, Revolting Rhymes is on Netflix). Anyways, I've heard people like Revolting Rhymes. Dear Basketball has big names attached to it which usually means the win. I certainly don't know.

PREDICTION: Dear Basketball
ALTERNATE: Revolting Rhymes

  • DeKalb Elementary
  • The Eleven O’Clock
  • My Nephew Emmett
  • The Silent Child
  • Watu Wote/All of Us

I just saw these today and I'm happy to report there's not a dud among them. It makes it that more difficult to pick a winner though DeKalb Elementary might have a leg up for being (unfortunately) timely. Watu Wote is probably the most emotional one. And there's The Eleven O'Clock which is the one humorous one amongst some heavy drama.

PREDICTION: DeKalb Elementary
ALTERNATE: Watu Wote/All of Us

And so now we wait until tomorrow. My picks for who should win is here.

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