2018 Oscar Nominations – My Thoughts

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The nominations for this year’s upcoming Academy Awards have been announced today and we now know what has been included / snubbed. It’s not the best mix of films I’ve ever seen but then again they never are and I do have some wildly differing opinions to a few of the films that have been nominated this year. That said, I think it’s generally a stronger set of nominations compared to last year.

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

Predicted Win: The Shape of Water

Inevitably, this category is a mixed bag. This category can between 5 and up to 10 nominees depending on the Academy’s votes. I didn’t care much at all for Darkest Hour and The Post (reviews coming soon) and am quite baffled as to how they got in. Whilst I am a big advocate of director Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk is his weakest film and I would much rather have seen one of his earlier works be more recognised.

That said, five of the films here are outstanding. Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri are all brilliant and will surely feature in my end of year list.

What’s very interesting this year is how uncertain the winner here is, any of these could win. I doubt it will be Call Me By Your Name, particularly as it shares similar themes to last year’s winner, Moonlight. As for who will win, although Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri cleared up at the Golden Globes, with the backlash that’s gone against it, I’m not so sure it will strike gold twice. I think The Shape of Water is probably the most likely film to pip Three Billboards to the post or at a very long shot, Get Out, which would be a success both for it being a great film and also would further the Academy away from the #OscarsSoWhite scandal two years ago. Ultimately, anyone that wins here is going to do so for good reasons, unless it’s the aforementioned Darkest Hour or The Post.

I’d be happy with any of the five films that I loved to win. As for films that were snubbed, I would have liked to have seen All The Money In The World and Hostiles in the running and although it was very unlikely to happen, Logan, would have been deserving here too.

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Best Actor

Timothee Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out
Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel Esq.

Predicted Win: Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour

I think this is pretty much a no-brainer that Gary Oldman will win here who gives a terrific performance as Winston Churchill, even if the film he’s in is severely lacking. As for who should win, easily Daniel Day-Lewis who gives a barnstorming performance in Phantom Thread. This is mostly a good set of nominations and I’m particularly happy to see Kaluuya make the cut. My only issue is Denzel Washington – whilst I haven’t seen the film he’s nominated for yet, it hasn’t received great reviews and Washington is clearly an Academy favourite, similarly landing a nomination last year for Fences which wasn’t a brilliant film by any means. I would have liked to have seen Christian Bale nominated for Hostiles, Vince Vaughn for Brawl in Cell Block 99 and Hugh Jackman for Logan.

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Best Actress

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

Predicted Win: Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It’s a similar story compared to the men’s that I think there is one really outlandish nomination here and that is Meryl Streep. I actually found Streep quite lacking in The Post, as well as the film itself and like with Denzel Washington, she only got in here because of Academy favour. I think the competition here is between McDormand and Ronan, but I think McDormand will win based on Awards so far. As for omissions, I would have loved to have seen Jennifer Lawrence get in for mother!, Michelle Williams for All The Money In The World and Jessica Chastain for Molly’s Game.

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Best Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer for All The Money In The World
Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Win: Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project

A very good collection of nominations. This is perhaps the most unpredictable race so far. Rockwell won at the Golden Globes but he’s not a dead cert like Gary Oldman is for Best Actor and I actually think Willem Dafoe might pull through for a career-best performance in The Florida Project. My one issue with this list is the inclusion of Richard Jenkins, who although is a brilliant actor and is great in The Shape of Water, I think is overshadowed in the film by Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg. Any of these would be worthy though. I’m glad to see Harrelson nominated as I think he is better than Rockwell in their respective film and how ironic for Christopher Plummer to get in considering how late in to post-production he came in. Does he have to thank Kevin Spacey for the opportunity to star in the film?! As for who else could have been in this list, the only other nominee I’d have liked to have seen is Wes Studi, who is so brilliant in Hostiles, particuarly considering how thinly the character is written and what he manages to do with it.

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Best Supporting Actress

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

Predicted Win: Allison Janney for I, Tonya

This is a tough category, with five excellent performances – it could be anyone’s win here. I think it’s probably between Janney and Metcalf who have consistently scored nominations in this category, so as a blind stab in the dark, I will bank on Janney winning after her SAG win. Both would be deserving, but Janney’s performance really elevates what is not the best film and is a a career best for her, which is surprising considering the really shoddy performance she put in The Girl On The Train two years ago.  Rosamund Pike’s performance in Hostiles and Bria Vinaite in The Florida Project also would have been good contenders.

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Best Director

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

Predicted Win: Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

A strong set of nominations which a lot of people were trepidatious of. I think it’s the right set and if Peele or Gerwig would have been shut out, there would have been complaints of lack of diversity but also because both individuals genuinely do a great job on their respective films. I don’t think they’ll win though, I think it’s a race between Del Toro and Nolan. Although Del Toro won in the Golden Globes and I think he deserves the win in this category, I suspect Nolan wins to celebrate a brilliant career, even if again I will reiterate, Dunkirk is his weakest film.

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Best Original Screenplay 

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

Predicted Win: Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A good selection and I suspect McDonagh will take the win here as his script is the strongest. McDonagh has a beautiful quality with being able to craft humour that is both funny and incredibly dark at the same time and also poignant. He is also a master of profanity. As for omissions, it was never going to happen but I’d like to commend both S. Craig Zahler for his excellent work again on Brawl in Cell Block 99 and Taylor Sheridan for Wind River.

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' BAFTA film screening, New York, USA - 05 Nov 2017

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

Predicted Win: Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green for Logan

A strong set of nominations and I’m particularly impressed to see Logan sneak in here. What’s more, I actually think it has a chance of winning and would be my personal pick out of this category. Many people wanted to see Logan and Wonder Woman nominated in major categories, which of course was never going to happen (and those people were delusional) but it’s good to see Logan get a nod here and in the process become the first superhero film to ever land a nomination in this category. A win here would be a nod to the film, without it being too high-key.

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Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman
Loveless
On Body and Soul
The Insult
The Square

Predicted Win: Loveless

Rather ignorantly I must admit, I am yet to see any of these but over the past few years, there have been some excellent films nominated so I will definitely watch these at some point. I’m a little surprised to not see Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father as that has scored well with critics and featured in other nominations for this Award, as well as Fatih Akin’s In The Fade. Most surprising is the omission of The Handmaiden, one of my favourite films of last year. I suspect Loveless will win here, particularly as it is directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev who made Leviathan.

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Best Animated Feature

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Predicted Win: Coco

Coco is pretty much a dead cert to win out of this mostly uninspired set of nominations, particularly The Boss Baby. However, equally deserving would be Loving Vincent, which is one of my favourite films of last year and is revolutionary in that it is fully painted. This is as well as the fact that the film itself is quite extraordinary – a haunting, elegiac meditation of Vincent Van Gogh’s later life. As much as I love Coco, Pixar dominate this category and it would be refreshing to see a film that could do with the support win. Regardless, Coco‘s inevitable win is still deserved as it ranks very highly in their canon. Many have complained that The Lego Batman Movie was snubbed – I didn’t care for that film at all after it fell flat on its face in its second half, so I’m not too bothered to be honest.

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Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049
Bruno Delbonnel for Darkest Hour
Hoyte Van Hoytema for Dunkirk
Rachel Morrison for Mudbound
Dan Laustsen for The Shape of Water

Predicted Win: Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049

If anyone other than Roger Deakins wins this, I will have lost complete faith in humanity. Deakins is yet to win an Oscar despite being nominated 13 times prior to this for portfolio of work. Deakins’ work on Blade Runner 2049 is exemplary and every shot is meticulously crafted. Special mention must go to Rachel Morrison who becomes the first woman ever to recieve a nomination in this category. Even if it’s for Netflix… The only snub in my opinion is Larry Fong whose work on Kong: Skull Island was also similarly jaw-dropping.

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Best Editing

Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos for Baby Driver
Lee Smith for Dunkirk
Tatiana S. Riegel for I, Tonya
Sidney Wolinsky for The Shape of Water
John Gregory for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Win: Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos for Baby Driver

A tough one to call, I think Baby Driver would be a deserving winner here, especially considering how much of the film’s success relies on the editing.

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Best Production Design

Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer for Beauty and the Beast
Dennis Gassner and Alessandra Querzola for Blade Runner 2049
Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer for Darkest Hour
Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis for Dunkirk
Paul D. Austerberr, Shane Vieau and Jeffrey A. Melvin for The Shape of Water

Predicted Win: Paul D. Austerberr, Shane Vieau and Jeffrey A. Melvin for The Shape of Water

These are all worthy nominees and it’s a tough one to call. My hunch would be The Shape of Water seeing as it’s the got the most nominees and is technically very proficient. That said, it could easily go to Beauty and the Beast as quite often, mainstream films that have a couple of nominations in these kind of categories have a history of winning. We’ll have to wait and see.

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Best Costume Design

Jacqueline Durran for Beauty and the Beast
Jacqueline Durran for Darkest Hour
Mark Bridges for Phantom Thread
Luis Sequeria for The Shape of Water
Consolata Boyle for Victoria & Abdul

Predicted Win: Jacqueline Durran for Beauty and the Beast.

There’s always a film that hasn’t received any awards buzz that ends up winning an award for this kind of category and this year, I’m going to hedge my bets on Beauty and the Beast being that film, potentially as mentioned, also winning the Best Production Design Oscar. They’re all very worthy contenders though, although I am somewhat surprised to see Victoria & Abdul make it in.  That said, this could be another easy win for The Shape of Water.

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Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick for Darkest Hour
Daniel Phillips and Louila Sheppard for Victoria & Abdul
Arjen Tuiten for Wonder

Predicted Win: Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick for Darkest Hour

Following the inappropriate win of Suicide Squad in this category last year, which DC can now annoyingly call an Oscar-winning film, this year is a lot less controversial.  I think Darkest Hour is the clear winner here, particularly with regards to Gary Oldman’s performance and part of that was the use of prosthetics and make-up to make Oldman unrecognisable in the part.

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Best Original Score

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

Predicted Win: Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water

A mixed bag. Firstly, how did John Williams get in here (let me think, the same way as Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington I suspect) and if he had to get here, couldn’t he at least have been nominated for the better score which was The Post? Secondly, whilst Hans Zimmer and Carter Burwell are one of the best composers out there, I don’t think these films were their best work musically. Jonny Greenwood and Alexandre Desplat have earned their place here, Desplat in particular with a beautiful score for The Shape of Water. There were loads of snubs in this category that could have dramatically improved this – Brian McOmber for It Comes At Night, Clint Mansell for Loving Vincent, Marco Beltrami for Logan, Max Richter for Hostiles, Michael Giacchino for War for The Planet of the Apes are all great and more deserving. Whilst what I’m about to say may be extremely controversial, I think Jed Kurzel’s score for Assassin’s Creed, a film critically reviled, was brilliant. I suspect Desplat wins here seeing as he won the Golden Globe and to add to the total haul. I’d be happy if he does because his score is fantastic.

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Best Original Song

‘The Mystery of Love’ in Call Me Be Your Name
‘Remember Me’ in Coco
‘Stand Up For Something’ in Marshall
‘Mighty River’ in Mudbound
‘This Is Me’ in The Greatest Showman

Predicted Win: ‘This Is Me’ in The Greatest Showman

I’m not really sure here, so I’m going to go with the film that won the Golden Globe and especially considering the effect The Greatest Showman has had on its audiences.

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Best Sound Mixing

Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater for Baby Driver
Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth for Blade Runner 2049
Gregg Landaker, Gary Rizzo and Mark Weingarten for Dunkirk
Michael Semanick, David Parker, Stuart Wilson and Ren Klyce for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Christian T. Cooke, Glen Gauthier and Brad Zoern for The Shape of Water

Predicted Win: Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater for Baby Driver

A tough one to call here but again, I would say Baby Driver could have a shot seeing as how much of that film depends on sound. All would be worthy winners though.

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Best Sound Editing

Julian Slater for Baby Driver
Mark A. Mangini and Theo Green for Blade Runner 2049
Richard King and Alex Gibson for Dunkirk
Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira for The Shape of Water

Predicted Win: Julian Slater for Baby Driver

Once again, I think Baby Driver has the best shot here.

Ansel Elgort;Jon Hamm;Jamie Foxx;Eiza Gonzalez

Best Visual Effects

John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover for Blade Runner 2049
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Daniel Sudick for Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Michael Meinardus for Kong: Skull Island
Ben Morris, Michael Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist for War for the Planet of the Apes

Predicted Win: Ben Morris, Michael Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A very intersting field and a tough one to call. I’m very happy to see Kong: Skull Island in particular get a nomination and if it were up to me, this is the film that should win. Sadly, I don’t think it will. I think it’s a toss-up between Blade Runner 2049, War For The Planet Of The Apes and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with the latter potentially the most likely. Any of these other than Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 would be worthy winners.

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Overall

So based on my predictions, I’m predicting The Shape of Water to be a very dominant presence with potentially Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri following in its footsteps. What is particularly exciting this year, with regards to the Best Picture category is how unpredictable this category is. There isn’t a certain winner like there has been in previous years and it really could be anyone’s game. In the technical categories, Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049 potentially pose the biggest threat but The Shape of Water could still sweep here too. It’s generally a rather safe set of nominations and nothing too outlandish in terms of snubs.

That said, I’m very happy that the Academy have at least nominated 5 films that I loved for Best Picture and in recent memory, this list probably is nearest to my own feelings for these films.

There are a few films that, inevitably, have been overlooked. These include:

  • Hostiles – no nominations at all despite getting good reviews and being released in Awards seasons
  • All The Money In The World – only one nomination for Plummer when it’s actually Ridley Scott’s best film in a long while
  • Logan – other than one nomination, this could have been nominated elsewhere
  • Brawl In Cell Block 99 – my personal favourite film of 2017, although this was never going to get a nomination
  • The Handmaiden – another one of my personal favourites, this should have got into the Best Foreign Language Film category at the very least

But other than these, a generally sound set of nominations and it’ll be interesting to see who goes home with what award.

The Academy Award Winners will be announced on Sunday 4th March

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4 thoughts on “2018 Oscar Nominations – My Thoughts

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