2018 Oscar Nominations Released: My reaction and predictions on who will win – what are yours?

There has long been a call to change the way in which Oscar Nominees are chosen, and for a change in the demographic of the members who pick the nominees. After last year’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign, those at the top were left with little choice and widespread changes were implemented to the way you gained access to the Academy. More women and people of colour were invited to join the board and membership could be revoked if you hadn’t been active in the world of film for over 10 years. These changes have apparently had an immediate impact when you see that Jordan Peele’s Get Out has been nominated for Best Picture.

 

As a huge fan of the horror genre, it shouldn’t be understated the rarity of which Horror films show up in the big categories at the Oscars. Post World War II, you can count on one hand the amount of times a horror film has been nominated for Best Picture, which means Get Out is now in the same company as The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Sixth Sense (1999) and Black Swan (2010). Even Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which many regard as the greatest horror film of all time, didn’t get a best picture nomination and the only film with a win from that list is Silence of the Lambs. So this huge moment for Blumhouse Productions, Jordan Peele and the genre as a whole.

 

With regards to the rest of the Best Picture nominations, I think in previous years you could say with some degree of certainty that a prestige film like The Post would have the best chance of taking home the win. Spielberg, Hanks and Meryl Streep are all synonymous with Oscar gold, but this year is different. It’s the year of Trump. It’s the year of Time’s Up. Will that message inadvertently move on to different aspects of the entertainment industry and voters choose to move away from obvious oscar bait movies that usually get a win? I think maybe it’s a step too far too soon for Get Out, but the fact that it’s even been nominated is a tremendous feat which shouldn’t be understated.

 

The Shape of Water  appears to be this year’s front runner, but The Post has a great chance due to it’s subject matter – another hangover from the year of Trump – as does Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It won big at the Golden Globes and has a great deal of momentum behind it, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see this take home the big prize. This is definitely a year of uncertainty, which I think is a great thing and this is the most excited I’ve been to see the outcome of a Best Picture winner in a long time.

 

A piece of history has been made with the nomination of Greta Gerwig in the Best Director category. She becomes only the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director after Lina Wertmuller for 1975’s Seven Beauties, Jane Campion for 1993’s The Piano, Sofia Coppola for 2003’s Lost in Translation and Kathryn Bigelow for 2008’s The Hurt Locker. Out of those nominees, Bigelow is the only winner. Lady Bird was a joy, but she faces some stiff competition from Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water. Unfortunately, Phantom Thread only got a wide release last week so I’m yet to see it, but all signs are pointing towards one of P.T. Anderson’s best. I hope so, because I was slightly underwhelmed by Inherent Vice and The Master. Christopher Nolan has also been nominated for Dunkirk. I don’t think he’ll win, but it’s worth noting seeing as it’s his first nomination in this category.  

 

Along with Gerwig, Rachel Morrison also made history today by becoming the first woman ever to be nominated for Best Cinematography in the 90 years of the Academy Awards. However, continuing to make history for all the wrong reasons, is Roger Deakins, who has been nominated for the 14th time in the category without a win. It’s astonishing, really, when you think of his work on films such as The Man Who Wasn’t There, No Country For Old Men and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The latter being one of the best looking films I’ve ever seen. While Blade Runner 2049 was one of the best looking films I saw in 2017, Deakins will face stiff competition from Hoyte van Hoytema who is nominated for Dunkirk, and also from Bruno Delbonnel nominated for Darkest Hour. He also shot the gorgeous Amélie and has now been nominated five times himself.

 

In the Best Acting category, this should be Gary Oldman’s year for Darkest Hour. A solid film elevated by his wonderful performance as Sir Winston Churchill. I was surprised to see Denzel Washington nominated for Roman J. Israel, Esq. Not because he didn’t give a solid performance, but because I was surprised voters could see how good he was through the wast of potential that was this movie. There’s no doubting Washington is good in everything he is in, but this feels like an #OscarsSoWhite nod. 

 

There have been lots of good films nominated this year, with The Shape of Water leading the pack with 13 nominations, Dunkirk with 8 and Three Billboards with 7. But the nomination that pleased me the most was Logan earning a Best Adapted Screenplay nod. It was fitting that Hugh Jackman’s final time playing the Wolverine resulted in the filmmakers taking the character seriously and ending up being the first superhero film to be nominated in that category. However, with a rainbow, there has to be some rain. And the fact that The Florida Project only received one nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category really pissed on my parade! The same goes for A Ghost Story and Wind River not receiving any recognition whatsoever.

 

And finally, a fun fact for all you sports fans is that Kobe Bryant of all people has been nominated in the Best Animated Short category. But seeing as this is 2018, we can’t have nice things, and this has been tainted by the fact Bryant has also been accused of sexual misconduct. So maybe this won’t be a slam dunk for the former player. Slam dunk? Nobody…

 

Right, here are the nominees for most of the categories and my predictions for each one. Let me know if you agree or what you would choose instead.

 

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name; Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges and Marco Morabito

Darkest Hour; Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten and Douglas Urbanski

Dunkirk; Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan

Get Out; Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele

Lady Bird; Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill

Phantom Thread; JoAnne Sellar, P.T. Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi

The Post; Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger

The Shape of Water; Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh

 

Like I said earlier, this could well be a tough year to predict. I think the three front runners are The Shape of Water, Three Billboards and Get Out. I think it might be a case of ‘too much too soon’ for Get Out, so I’m going to go with The Shape of Water with Three Billboards fighting all the way.

Winner: The Shape of Water

 

Best Director

Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan

Get Out, Jordan Peele

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig

Phantom Thread, P.T. Anderson

The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

 

In my mini review for The Shape of Water, I said it was a “good old-fashioned, fantastic tent pole blockbuster … and clearly felt like Del Toro’s love letter to cinema.” That’s got Oscar gold written all over it.

Winner: The Shape of Water

 

Best Actor

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.

 

Daniel Day-Lewis is great in everything he’s in. And with this being his last on screen performance, do you give him the Oscar as a final farewell? I say no. He’s already got three. It’s time to share the love.

Winner: Gary Oldman

 

Best Actress

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

 

I thought Saoirse Ronan was great in Lady Bird, as was Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water, but you just can’t fight the heat Frances McDormand has after playing Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards.

Winner: Frances McDormand

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory

The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Logan, James Mangold, Scott Frank, and Michael Green

Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin

Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

 

Disclaimer: Even though it’s on Netflix, I still haven’t seen Mudbound, which is quite frustrating as it’s done rather well this year. All four of the movies I did see were very good, and you would expect an Aaron Sorkin screenplay to win 9 times out of 10. But that’s the easy option.

Winner: Call Me By Your Name

 

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

 

Again, a really, really strong category which you would think would be incredibly close to call. However, if I were a betting man, I would say the Oscar goes to…

Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

 

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 bet Christopher Plummer can’t believe his luck. Comes in for 10 days work on short notice and walks away with an Oscar Nomination making history in the process! At 88 years old, he is now the oldest person to receive an acting nomination. Elsewhere, I’d love to see Willem Dafoe win, but I think all signs point to Sam Rockwell despite, in my opinion, Woody Harrelson being the better of the two in Three Billboards.

Winner: Sam Rockwell

 

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

 

I thought Laurie Metcalf was excellent in Lady Bird. A very understated performance. But after seeing I, Tonya, I thought Allison Janney was excellent and the Best Supporting Actress I’ve seen this year. Wait for either Lesley Manville or Mary J. Blige win and make me look a tit.

(Fun fact: Mary J. Blige has become the first person to be nominated in for acting and best song in the same year!)

Winner: Allison Janney

 

Best Animated Feature

The Boss Baby, Tom McGrath and Ramsey Naito

The Breadwinner, Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo

Coco, Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson

Ferdinand, Carlos Saldanha

Loving Vincent, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart

 

Sorry fans of Boss Baby and Coco, Vincent Van Gogh has you beat.

Winner: Loving Vincent

 

Best Original Score

Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer

Phantom Thread, Johnny Greenwood

The Shape of Water, Alexander Desplat

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, John Williams

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carter Burwell

 

No idea. So I’ll say…

Winner: The Shape of Water.  That opening scene was beautiful, so it should win just for that.

 

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049, Roger A. Deakins

Darkest Hour, Bruno Delbonnel

Dunkirk, Hoyte van Hoytema

Mudbound, Rachel Morrison

The Shape of Water, Dan Laustsen

 

Again, another tough category with a few worthy winners. If it’s not The Shape of Water, and I wouldn’t mind if it was, I’d really like to see Roger Deakins FINALLY win an Oscar. I wouldn’t have necessarily have given him one for this film, but he deserves one none the less so this could be his time. And if you think the Oscars don’t really work that way, then look at Martin Scorsese’s body of work and think to yourself, “Is The Departed really his “best” film?”

Winner: Roger Deakins

 

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast, Jacqueline Durran

Darkest Hour, Jacqueline Durran

Phantom Thread, Mark Bridges

The Shape of Water, Luis Sequeira

Victoria & Abdul, Consolata Boyle

 

Sorry costume designers, but I don’t really care about this one as invariably the category revolves around period pieces, which aren’t really my cup of tea. However, I really enjoyed Victoria & Abdul and that film seemed to have the most “costumiest” costumes, so I’ll go with that.

Winner: Victoria & Abdul

 

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver, Julian Slater

Blade Runner 2049, Mark Mangini and Theo Green

Dunkirk, Richard King and Alex Gibson

The Shape of Water, Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

 

 

I don’t think a sound award should be given to something just because you notice it more in one film that you did in another, but the best thing about Baby Driver was it’s use of sound. The sound in Dunkirk put you on the edge of your seat, but I was in the minority that thought Dunkirk was, “fine.” Therefore…

Winner: Baby Driver

 

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis

Blade Runner 2049, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth

Dunkirk, Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo

The Shape of Water, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson

 

**CRASSSSHHHHH** What’s that sound? Something dropped? What was it? Oh, don’t worry, it’s just the sound of these names I’m dropping…

I worked with Stuart Wilson on Harry Potter and he’s a lovely bloke, so I’d like to see him win. (Plus a big shout out to his boom op, ORIN BEATON!) If not, definitely…

Winner: Baby Driver (but I doubt it will win anything.)

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Darkest Hour, Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick

Victoria & Abdul, Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard

Wonder, Arjen Tuiten

 

Gary Oldman WAS Winston Churchill, so it has to be Darkest Hour. But fair play to Wonder. The little film that could keeps on keeping on.

Winner: Darkest Hour

 

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049, John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick

Kong: Skull Island, Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

War for the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist

 

Surprisingly, I rather enjoyed Kong: Skull Island, and that was mainly due to it’s VFX. So it would be hilarious to see that beat off the other nominees, but let’s face, it’s never going to happen. War for the Planet of the Apes is most likely the slight favourite, but I thought it was the worst of the trilogy so I’m not too keen to champion it. So that leaves me with…

Winner: Blade Runner 2049

 

Best Film Editing

Baby Driver, Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos

Dunkirk, Lee Smith

I, Tonya, Tatiana S. Riegel

The Shape of Water, Sidney Wolinsky

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Jon Gregory

 

Baby Driver and I, Tonya are the flashier, more obvious of the five. But obvious doesn’t always win you oscars in these categories. I would love Baby Driver to get something, but I have a sneaky feeling Nolan-Time is going to see this one through.

Winner: Dunkirk

 

Best Production Design

Beauty and the Beast – Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

Blade Runner 2049 – Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola

Darkest Hour – Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

Dunkirk – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis

The Shape of Water – Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin

 

Winner: The Shape of Water

 

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

The Insult (Lebanon)

Loveless (Russia)

On Body and Soul (Hungary)

The Square (Sweden)

 

Here would have been the moment to make myself look extremely intellectual, but alas, I haven’t seen a single one of the foreign film nominees. In the Fade won at the Golden Globes, but I’ve only heard good things about The Square. So I’m going to go with that and hope it wins so I can say I knew what I was talking about all along.

Winner: The Square

 

And while I like to think I generally know what I’m talking about when it comes to movies, it’s worth pointing out that the top four movies in my “Best Films of 2017” only got one Oscar nomination between them. So I’d hold off on using this article for your oscar betting spread.

 

However, while this demonstrates that my tastes can sometimes veer away from the mainstream, I have no problem with that at all as the rest of my list had close to 30 nominations between them. And I still stand by the fact that mother! was one of the best films of the year. It just happened to be one of the most polarising. I don’t know a single person that thought it was just, “okay.” You either loved it or hated it. Same goes for The Killing of a Sacred Deer. The Lobster didn’t receive much recognition from the Academy, so it should come as no surprise that Yorgos lanthimos’ follow up didn’t fare any better.

 

And while it may be frustrating to know that your tastes aren’t in line with the biggest film ceremony in the world, we must remember that at the end of the day, the Oscars are essentially a bunch of people from one industry patting themselves on the back, telling each other how great they are. Film is subjective, and these awards shows are no different to something like The Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Awards (yes, this is a real thing. Last year’s winner was 12-year old, Connor, from Eagle River, AK…) they just have a bigger following and a lot more emphasis placed on their outcome. Mainly for financial gain for all involved. But again, film is subjective. There is no right or wrong answer. So if your favourite in each category doesn’t win, it doesn’t mean you opinion isn’t as valid as the Academy’s. Remember Adrian Brody? What’s he up to now? Remember when Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain? When was the last time you watched Crash? I can’t remember. But do you know what? I’ll be watching mother! again next week and I suggest you do too. Unless you hate weird films that are allegories of the bible and eat children alive. Then yeah, in that case, I’d give mother! a miss.

 

This year’s Oscars will be broadcast  on ABC, March 4th at 6:30pm.

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