Matt’s 2018 Oscar Thoughts and Predictions

Posted by Matthew on March 04, 2018
Editorial

It’s time for the 90th Annual Academy Awards tonight and that means that Simon and I will be live blogging the show! As always I’m publishing my guesses and thoughts now so that they are on the record ahead of time so that I can be held accountable for my guesses. Usually I have some pretty strong ideas of what’s going to happen but this year everything feels a bit up in the air.

Last years show was a bit bonkers what with the Best Picture mix up so the show is pretty certain to be a little less exciting at least. In any event let’s get right to my thoughts on the categories.

Best Foreign Language Film

I must confess that I haven’t seen all of these films but I have seen A Fantastic Woman and it is fantastic and it should win. Fantastically. It’s not only just a great film it’s an important one about a trans woman portrayed by a trans actress dealing with the loss of her lover, the vitriol and rejection of her lovers family, and life in general. It’s great and you should watch it.

Best Animated Feature

Let’s take a moment to marvel at the fact that The Boss Baby is even nominated and then relax and remember that Coco is Pixar’s best film in years. It’s the clear winner in my mind due to its great story, themes of family, beautiful depiction of Mexican culture, and brilliant sense of humour.

Loving Vincent might be a dark horse though as every frame of that movie is painted in the style of Vincent van Gogh and that’s not only kind of amazing but exactly the kind of thing the Academy might eat up.

Best Animated Short

I have not seen any of the short films this year so I will abstain from predicting.

Best Documentary Feature & Short

I haven’t seen any of these this year either so I will also refrain from guessing.

Best Live Action Short

Ditto for live action shorts. The annoying thing is that I probably could have seen all these this yearbut I had day job related stuff to do this year.

Best Visual Effects

And here we come to the first of our absolutely stacked categories this year. For me this category is a toss-up between Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049. The former because it uses such a perfect ratio of practical to digital effects and the blending between the two is superb, the latter because they managed to use green screens and compositing to make a believable ruined future.

So I flipped a coin and it came up Star Wars.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Here’s another one that I haven’t seen the entries from this year but also one that pretty consistently defy all expectations for me. Hell last year the amazing makeup from Star Trek Beyond lost to Suicide Squad so this year I am going to just take a shot in the dark and say that Darkest Hour is going to win for turning Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill.

Best Costume Design

Will it be Phantom Thread for all the gorgeous dresses or will it be The Shape of Water for all the pitch perfect period outfits? I’m going to go ahead and bet on The Shape of Water.

Best Production Design

As much as I want to say that I think Blade Runner 2049‘s ruined future will win this I think it will be The Shape of Water‘s not so friendly past.

Best Sound Editing & Sound Mixing

I’m grouping these two together not because I haven’t seen them but because I have and as far as I can tell these are Baby Driver‘s to lose. The act of syncing an entire movie to the songs that are playing is no easy feat and it deserves to win both.

Best Original Song

While I’d love to think that Sufjan Stevens will win this for Mystery of Love from Call Me By Your Name, pretty sure it’s Coco‘s to lose. Remember Me is a great song, but more than that it’s thematically linked to the plot and structure of the movie and sung several ways in the movie to evoke different feelings. It’s not just the best song it’s the best used song in a movie this year.

Best Original Score

Here’s another tough one because there are three scores that I love in it. I think that Hans Zimmer’s score for Dunkirk will probably win, but honestly I’d love John Williams to win for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. They’re both amazing, they’re both pretty much perfectly integrated with the films plots and themes, but I just think that Zimmer will probably take it.

Or Desplat will because I kind of expect The Shape of Water to clean up.

Best Cinematography

Just give Roger Deakins an Oscar already. All these movies are gorgeously shot but Blade Runner 2049 has some of the most stunning composition I saw all last year and if nothing else the guy is just due. This is his 14th nomination including 9 nods in the last 10 years. Just give it to him already.

Best Film Editing

Will it be Dunkirk‘s seamless weaving of three separate timelines into one thematically cohesive narrative or The Shape of Water‘s perfectly matched transitions? I, personally, vote Dunkirk.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Look, I think it would be amazing if James Mangold & company took home the statue for Best Adapted for Logan. I think that movie is an amazing example of what adaptation can be, remixing parts of several Wolverine stories and characters into a western set in a near future dystopia. It’s amazing and it’s entirely deserving of this notation and a win.

That said Call Me By Your Name is the clear front-runner here and I think it will probably win. The screenplay is nearly perfect and Michael Stuhlbarg’s monologue at the end is worthy of the award by itself.

Best Original Screenplay

I think that this is a toss-up between Lady Bird and Get Out to be honest and I think whichever wins it the other will have a much greater shot at best director. However, my personal pick is for Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon to take home the trophy for telling the story of their courtship, for introducing us to Emily’s parents, and for making the best 9/11 joke of all time in The Big Sick.

Best Supporting Actress

The front-runner here is Allison Janney, she’s won basically every other award there is for I, Tonya and deservedly so. I don’t think that train is going to stop any time soon but if it does I actually really hope that Laurie Metcalf wins for Lady Bird.

It’ll be Janney though.

Best Supporting Actor

A note on this category: If they were going to nominate two people from one movie it should have been Michael Stuhlbarg and Armie Hammer from Call Me By Your Name and it should be Michael Stuhlbarg taking it home. Of these five though? I would like Richard Jenkins to win for The Shape of Water. He gives a brilliant performance, is by far the MVP of the film if you ask me, and much like Janney he is due.

Willem Dafoe is my backup here because he’s similarly great in The Florida Project and is also overdue.

Then again Sam Rockwell is winning all the awards so it’s probably gonna be him. He’s deserving and overdue but he’s also been better in other things. So yeah. Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards is the probable winner.

Best Actress

This really feels like Frances McDormand’s award to lose and honestly she is good in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri but also honestly she’s been better in other stuff and much like Rockwell this one is kinda like a free kick.

So I really hope it goes to Saoirse Ronan instead.

Best Actor

I don’t even know where to start with this one. Day-Lewis has given another career defining performance. Oldman transformed himself into a historical figure. Washington is Washington. But Timothy Chalamet has poured his heart and soul out into the celluloid and Daniel Kaluuya has given the most subtle and nuanced performance of the year. In case you can’t tell, I think that it should be Chalamet or Kaluuya, preferably Kaluuya.

Oldman will probably take it though.

This is probably the toughest one to call for me. There are five outstanding directors of five immaculately directed films. I think that Guillermo del Toro will probably win for The Shape of Water though. He’s already won a bunch of awards for it and it feels like the most natural distillation of his style and sensibilities, and of the stories he likes to tell.

But hopefully it will be Jordan Peele since Get Out is the best picture of the nominees.

Whoops, kinda spoiled that didn’t I? So rather than vote for one I’m going to rank them from bottom to top like the Academy voters do. So here we go:

  • Darkest Hour
  • Phantom Thread
  • Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • The Post
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Dunkirk
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Get Out

I have not seen Darkest Hour. Oldman is apparently great in it but from what I understand it’s just another period piece. I haven’t seen Phantom Thread either. Without going into too much detail I think that Three Billboards is well acted but also pretty deeply problematic and emblematic of the fallacy that we can only care about one thing at a time.

The Post is another low-key masterpiece from Steven Spielberg. No joke, the dude just churns them out these days. If it were directed by anyone else we’d be heralding them as the next big thing but since it is Spielberg we seem to have let it pass us by. There’s a bigger conversation there for another time but either way The Post isn’t the best picture of the year.

Lady Bird is an autobiographical story of a young woman’s last year of high school in early 2000s Sacramento. It’s honest and heartfelt and adorable but it isn’t the best movie of the year.

The Shape of Water features a disabled woman, a woman of colour, a gay man, and a monster fighting back against the patriarchy of 1950s America. It’s pretty on point, to say the least, and I know it’s the front-runner but while it was one of my favourite movies of the year I don’t quite think that it’s the best picture of the year.

Dunkirk is the culmination of Christopher Nolan’s entire career. It’s by far the most technically achieved of the nominees, perfectly weaving together multiple stories taking place over different amounts of time into a perfect crescendo. It isn’t the best picture of the year though.

Call Me By Your Name is a story of first love and finding a soul mate. It’s passionate and empathetic, it’s heartfelt and heartbreaking and heart affirming, and the ending will leave you a crying mess unless your heart is made of stone. It’s the second best film of the year.

Get Out is the best movie of these options by far. It’s sharply written, precisely edited, superbly acted, and captures a moment in the cultural zeitgeist of 2017 like no other movie nominated even came close to doing.

Conclusion

The Oscars are later today and in accordance with Awesome Friday tradition Simon and I will be live blogging the show. I’ve made predictions in 20 of the 24 categories. I have a historical average of getting about a third of my guesses right so we’ll see if I come in above or below that tonight. See you all at 5pm Pacific Time!

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