So I actually woke up at 8:20 this morning to watch the Oscar nominations live because…I had to work in an hour anyway. Plus, it’s just exciting as a film fan to see who gets nominated for the most prestigious awards of the year. Yeah, none of this really matters in the end, but it does bring attention to smaller films that the mainstream audience isn’t necessarily clamoring to see. As always, there are surprises and snubs that make me both excited and a little upset. Let’s talk about it; I’m going to address each category individually.
P.S. Yes, I still haven’t seen a lot of the nominated films, but I’m also going off the articles I read and the buzz surrounding certain movies.
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
No real shockers here, but I’m completely baffled by how many nominations Phantom Thread received despite it not garnering much attention overall. It’s probably down to The Shape of Water and Three Billboards, though I’m secretly hoping Get Out wins (similar to how I wanted Mad Max: Fury Road for Best Picture a few years back).
Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Jordan Peele (Get Out), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)
Words can’t express how happy I am that Jordan Peele is on this list. Same goes for fellow first-time nominees Nolan and Gerwig; del Toro is the heavy favorite though. If it were up to me, I would remove PTA and put in Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards or even Denis Villeneuve for Blade Runner 2049.
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.)
It’s probably the worst-kept secret about the Oscars: Gary Oldman is going to win here. Not just for the physical transformation, but also the fact that he’s been sweeping every other award bodes well for Commissioner Gordon. I think Denzel is slowly working his way toward Meryl Streep status (see below); as long as he’s in a movie, odds are it’s getting nominated. I thought James Franco would be the fifth one instead, but recent allegations and the Academy’s bias against comedy were probably too great to overcome.
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)
All right, now I’m mad. Does the Academy have something against redheads? First Amy Adams in Arrival, now Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game? She literally carried that movie, delivering Sorkin dialogue to perfection. But guess who they decided to pick for the 21st time? Look, Meryl Streep is probably at her usual best in The Post (certainly a more deserved nomination than Into the Woods), but why do we keep rewarding her for the status quo? Shouldn’t we be rewarding actors for going above and beyond their craft? Whatever, that’s my one rant. McDormand’s taking this one and deservedly so.
Best 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)
I guarantee Plummer got nominated on the strength of replacing Kevin Spacey and shooting all his scenes in two weeks. I just saw Three Billboards yesterday and while I 100% agree with the Rockwell nod, Harrelson plays a much smaller role that isn’t necessarily Oscar-worthy. Sure, he’s solid, but I thought for sure Armie Hammer would get it for Call Me by Your Name.
Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)
Really wanted to see Holly Hunter for her hilarious turn as the mom in The Big Sick, but alas life’s not fair. Phantom Thread surprises again, but there’s no doubt who the top two contenders are: Janney and Metcalf.
Best Original Screenplay
The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I mean, how do you argue with anything on this list? All five would be deserving winners, but I predict that whoever doesn’t win Best Picture between the above two frontrunners will earn a consolation prize here. Get Out for the upset, please?
Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me by Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game, Mudbound
Logan, a comic book movie, got one for writing? Almost makes up for the Chastain snub, even though it probably has no chance of winning. My money’s on Call Me by Your Name since I don’t see it winning much else.
Best Animated Feature Film
The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent
Let me amend that statement about only having one rant. The Boss Baby? Are you kidding me? How low have your standards sunk to nominate essentially a montage of poop and fart jokes? Meanwhile, The Lego Batman Movie is just sitting in the corner along with the first Lego Movie and thinking, “What are we doing wrong?” Absolute travesty. Thankfully, nothing will stop Coco.
Best Original Score
Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Not much to say about a great group, but did you know that John Williams now has an unbelievable 51 Oscar nominations? Probably won’t help Star Wars pull out a victory though.
Best Original Song
“Mighty River” from Mudbound, “Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name, “Remember Me” from Coco, “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall, “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman
All great songs, but I’m having a hard time picking between my two favorites “Mighty River” and “Remember Me.” Hopefully, one of them wins.
Best Sound Editing/Mixing
Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
I’ve done the research, but it’s still hard to distinguish between sound editing and sound mixing, especially when the nominees are the exact same for both categories. Rooting for a Baby Driver double victory; no other film in recent memory has mastered the art of sound quite like it.
Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water
Period pieces and fantasy settings reign supreme, so who knows what will ultimately prevail? Blade Runner 2049 deserves way more attention than it’s currently receiving, so I’ll lean that direction.
Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Mudbound, The Shape of Water
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a momentous occasion. For the first time in Oscar history, a woman has been nominated for Best Cinematography. Congratulations are in order for Rachel Morrison (who’s also shooting Black Panther) and any other year, I would pick her to win. But mark my words: if Roger Deakins somehow doesn’t end his unexplainable losing streak, I’m never writing anything about the Oscars again.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Darkest Hour, Victoria & Abdul, Wonder
Probably the least interesting category I’m mentioning since there’s only three nominees. Although it certainly wasn’t boring last year if you catch my drift…since Darkest Hour is already winning something else, why not show some love to Wonder, the feel-good movie of the year?
Best Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Victoria & Abdul
Similar to production design, a lot of period pieces here. Phantom Thread solely focuses on fashion though, so…early favorite?
Best Film Editing
Baby Driver, Dunkirk, I, Tonya, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Another one where I’m rooting for Baby Driver, my favorite film from last year. The editing for the action sequences alone…my God, why can’t the rest of you learn?
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
Some questionable choices here; I don’t even think Guardians 2 was the most visually stunning MCU movie of last year (ahem, Thor: Ragnarok). You’ve already heard me rage against Kong: Skull Island and while the effects are fine, didn’t the Peter Jackson version of King Kong basically do the same thing already? Speaking of Andy Serkis, it would warm my heart to see War for the Planet of the Apes finally win one for the amazing reboot trilogy.
Finally, in this incredibly long post, let’s reflect on the films that didn’t score even a single nomination and I want to talk about three in particular:
- Detroit: If nothing else, I thought it would get Best Sound Editing/Mixing nominations, seeing as how Kathryn Bigelow’s previous films accomplished the same feat. Even though it was a long shot, I also would’ve loved to see Will Poulter in the Best Supporting Actor category. No one can refer to him as the “creepy eyebrows kid from Maze Runner” anymore; he is legitimately terrifying in this movie and it’s a shame almost no one saw it.
- Wind River: Best Original Screenplay maybe (even though it’s hard to knock any of those five off)? Cinematography even? I mean, it’s just as tense as Taylor Sheridan’s other Oscar-nominated script Hell or High Water. Again, no one saw this movie, hence the lack of Oscar buzz, but you can help correct that ASAP.
- Wonder Woman: I understand the comic book bias, but with Logan breaking that mold, I thought perhaps the most culturally important movie of 2017 would follow suit. Patty Jenkins for Best Director (another long shot, but look at the obstacles she had to overcome) would’ve been nice, but I predicted it would at least get Costume Design (those Amazonian costumes are downright stunning).