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"The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle." Stanley Kubrick

2018 Academy Award Nominations

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”

Thoughts: Are there some snubs? Absolutely. Films like The Florida Project and Blade Runner 2049 deserved to get nominations here, but overall I am pleasantly surprised with these nominations. When I think of the “Best Films of the Year” I think of movies like Get Out, Lady Bird, and The Shape of Water. They are films that are unconventionally not your typical “Oscar Bait” films, but are the most unique and fresh films we got from 2017. There are also more conventional movies like The Post and Darkest Hour that could gain some buzz. There is one movie that has a lot of momentum right now which is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I personally don’t like that movie as much as the other ones, but a lot of people really seem to think it is the best of the year. Lastly, I think it’s great to see an indie like Call Me By Your Name get praised, and I think is a film that might not have gotten a nomination 20 years ago, but is proving how our cultural is slowly starting to change for the better. I will be pulling for either Get Out (the critics favorite movie of the year and a movie that is already being taught in college courses) or Lady Bird (my personal favorite movie of the year), but it’s hard not to say The Shape of Water will pull it off.

Prediction: The Shape of Water

Lead 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.”

Thoughts: First off, it’s very interesting to not see Hollywood darling Tom Hanks gain an Oscar nomination, but it’s even more interesting not to see James Franco get a nomination. I think the #MeToo movement is a huge reason why, and one can only wonder that if Manchester by the Sea came out this year, would Casey Affleck even get a nomination at all?….It’s great seeing the surprise nomination from Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out. A great performance, but from a film that normally doesn’t get nominated for Academy Awards. Also Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated, for what could be his last role as an actor. But this category probably will go down to either the fresh new-comer Timotheé Chalamet, where if he won he would become the youngest actor to ever win Best Lead Actor at the Oscars. And also the acting veteran, one of the greatest actors of all time, who surprisingly has never won an Academy Award, Gary Oldman. My heart says Chalamet, but my gut tells me Oldman.

Prediction: Gary Oldman

Lead 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”

Thoughts: In the way that last year’s Oscars was a moment of celebration for African-American artists in the film industry, it seems like this year has been a celebration for woman in film. The #MeToo movement has proven to be a large driving force in the industry all year-long, and I believe will start a turning point in Hollywood that values equality for people of both genders and all races. This year, we were not only treated with some incredible female led performances, but also very complex, original female characters we have never seen before on film. I do believe Three Billboards is pretty overrated, but my favorite thing about the film was the character and performance of Frances McDormand’s Mildred. She could become one of the great anti-heroes in film. I can go on and on about how much I loved Hawkins and Ronan in their roles, but I think McDormand has all the momentum and will take the top prize.

Prediction: Frances McDormand

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”

Thoughts: Overall, I was very pleased with the Oscar Nominations this year. More than I normally am, but I don’t agree very much with the nominees here. Michael Stuhlbarg was robbed for his brilliant work in Call Me By Your Name and even a lot of people are saying Armie Hammer should have nominated here from the same film. With that being said, Sam Rockwell has all the momentum, and I think he will win here once again.

Prediction: Sam Rockwell

Supporting Actress:

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

Thoughts: As great as Laurie Metcalf was in Lady Bird, Allison Janney has been receiving all the awards so far for this category, so it’s hard not to go with her here. I do think she was great as well in I, Tonya and delivered another darkly complex female character that we don’t see very much in Hollywood films.

Prediction: Allison Janney

Director:

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

Thoughts: This is the most fascinating category in the entire nominations. No Steven Spielberg?! No Ridley Scott?! GOOD. I love the direction that the Academy is going now. They are starting to move away from the big names that seem to get nominations no matter what they put out, and more focused on the directors who helmed some of the most well-made, and important films of the entire year. The fact that Jordan Peele was nominated is huge, and one of the smartest decisions the Academy made in the entire nominations. Very well deserved, even though his film (a social horror/thriller) is an unconventional film that typically doesn’t get nominated for much at the Oscars. Also seeing Great Gerwig, get a WELL DESERVED, nomination for Lady Bird, and also becoming the 5th woman ever to do so, is great, and I think is pointing towards a cultural change in Hollywood. Also it’s great to see Nolan, Anderson, and del Toro all get nominations. Three of the best directors of our generation, who don’t normally get nominated at the Oscars, despite multiple of other masterpieces they have put out. I honestly have no idea who will win. The obvious pick is del Toro I guess, but seeing Peele or Gerwig win for their directorial debuts would be both incredible moments. My heart says Peele or Gerwig, but my gut says del Toro.

Prediction: The Shape of Water

Animated Feature:

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Thoughts: A Pixar film that is highly rated and generally loved by everyone?!?! I don’t think there is a bigger lock in this year’s Oscars.

Prediction: Coco

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

Thoughts: Just for the thought of seeing Kobe Bryant stand on stage and make an acceptance speech for an Oscar would be so bizarre, I just feel like that is too good to not happen.

Prediction: Dear Basketball

Adapted Screenplay:

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

Thoughts: This category has a few surprises like the great superhero flick Logan getting a nom. We normally don’t see blockbusters or superhero movies nominated in this category, but it is well deserved, and proving why it is one of the great films in its genre. Aaron Sorkin is one of the great screenwriters of our generation, but only one of these films is nominated for Best Picture. I gotta go with James’ Ivory’s script in Call Me By Your Name. Who at 89, has becomes the oldest nominee to ever be nominated for an Oscar, a long with Agnés Varda who is also nominated this year!

Prediction: Call Me by Your Name

Original Screenplay:

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

Thoughts: First of all, it’s AMAZING to see Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani get nominated for Best Original Screenplay. If you’ve watched the film, you know just how incredible of a feat that is for the couple, who bravely put out to the world a story that is very personal and was very scary for them, and somehow made it a warm, charming romantic comedy. Two first time directors: Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig gave us two incredibly original stories and if I was a voter, I would vote for one of those, but Guillermo also gave us a story that is very unique and personal to him. Please Academy, do not give Martin McDonagh the Oscar in this category. I think he is a talented writer, but his screenplay for Three Billboards is highly overrated. I would be very upset if his won over the other 4 great screenplays. With all that being said, I think Peele or Gerwig will take this one, and I don’t think there has been a screenplay more culturally impactful and talked about than Peele’s brilliant screenplay for Get Out.

Prediction: Get Out

Cinematography:

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Thoughts: Will this finally be Roger Deakins’ year? The living legend has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards, and hasn’t won a single time!! It will be interesting to see if he will even show up. It’s gotta take a toll on a man, who keeps going to an awards ceremony, and continuously lose every time. However, if he does show up, wins, and stands on stage and accepts his award, it will be one of the best moments in the history of the Oscars. This year, I think it’s his award to lose, he seems to be the clear favorite and I can only hope that the Academy will finally give the man the respect he deserves. Also quick side note, it’s amazing to see Rachel Morrison be nominated for her impressive work in Mudbound. She became the first woman in the ceremony’s 90 year history to be nominated for Best Cinematography.

Prediction: Blade Runner 2049

Best Documentary Feature:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes

Prediction: Faces Places

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

Prediction: Edith + Eddie

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Prediction: The Silent Child

Best Foreign Language Film:

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

Prediction: A Fantastic Woman

Film Editing:

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

Thoughts: If Hacksaw Ridge can win the editing awards last year, I am almost certain 2017’s great war film Dunkirk can do the exact same. The way Christopher Nolan crafted this film was so masterful and the editing and sound were crucial elements of why this film was so affective.

Prediction: Dunkirk

Sound Editing:

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

Thoughts: I always get confused on what the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing is, and I’m not even gonna bother looking it up this time. I think if I was in charge of the Academy, I would combine these two categories in one, and the award will be called “Best Sound of the Year.”

Prediction: Baby Driver

Sound Mixing:

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

Prediction: Dunkirk

Production Design:

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

Thoughts: The Shape of Water was the film that received the most nominations this year for a reason. It is technically brilliant. And I think in technical categories like this one The Shape of Water will take home a lot of Oscars. However, don’t count out Blade Runner 2049, another technically brilliant film. It could be the dark horse of this category, and steal the award away from The Shape of Water. 

Prediction: The Shape of Water

Original Score:

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

Thoughts: As a huge Radiohead fan, it is awesome to see Jonny Greenwood finally get a well-deserved Oscar Nomination. The first of his career. He has become a key counterpart to director Paul Thomas Anderson, and I truly believe he gives one of the best scores of his career. However, Alexandre Desplat gave a pretty incredible score for The Shape of Water. My heart says Phantom Thread will win this category, but my gut tells me The Shape of Water will win.

Prediction: The Shape of Water

Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Thoughts: One of the biggest rushes I had reading the nominations was seeing Sufjan Stevens get a nom for his brilliant song “Mystery of Love” in Call Me By Your Name. No discredit to the other nominees, outside of “Remember Me,” but they all seem like the typical songs that always get nominations in this category. I think “Remember Me” is the clear favorite to win this category, but my heart says “Mystery of Love” will win and I’m gonna go with my heart on this one. A brilliant song that lyrically narrates the inner feelings of the main character so well. It’s one of the best songs from one of the greatest and most underrated musical artists working today. Glad to see he is finally getting more of a spotlight to show his musical brilliance.

Prediction: Mystery of Love

Makeup and Hair:

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

Thoughts: I haven’t seen Darkest Hour yet, but just watching promos for the film, and seeing all the work that was done to make Gary Oldman completely transform into Winston Churchill is enough for me to make this the clear winner to win this category.

Prediction: Darkest Hour

Costume Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle

Thoughts: I am certainly no expert in this category or just costume design in general, but there have been very few films I’ve seen where the costumes have been so crucial to the storytelling than in Phantom Thread. I can certainly see Beauty and the Beast or The Shape of Water winning this category, but Mark Bridges’ work on Phantom Thread seems like the clear winner in my eyes.

Prediction: Phantom Thread

Visual Effects:

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

Thoughts: This category seems like a heavyweight battle between 2049 and War for the Planet of the Apes. Both of those films offered some of the best visuals effects I’ve ever seen. With 2049 it was the combination of the practical and computer generated effects that were so masterful, and for War it was the performance capture visual effects that were the highlight of the entire film. It might take a little luck for War to defeat giants like Blade Runner and Star Wars, but I think enough voters can appreciate the visual mastery that was being done in War and how important they were to the overall film.

Prediction: War for the Planet of the Apes

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