Academy Awards nominees, 2018

I am late in making this post, just like last year, but to be honest the Oscar contenders tend to come out really late in France! And I need to see most of them before writing this post. Anyway here are my thoughts on this year’s Oscar nominees.

Best Picture
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Best Picture race this year is such a close call, I feel like it hasn’t been this uncertain for years! With 13 nominations and the DGA Award, the Shape of Water feels like the frontrunner, but the Golden Globes (which split Drama and Comedy) gave their main awards to Three Billboards and Lady Bird respectively. Then there is the question of Get Out which has been the underdog, not to be underestimated, this year. And there’s always a tiny possibility of Dunkirk winning, as the preferential ballot gives a lot of weight to films that are #2 or #3 on the voters’ ballot. Ultimately I feel like the Shape of Water has the most momentum, so would be the safest bet, but three weeks ago, Three Billboards and Lady Bird had a lot of momentum as well… Of course my personal vote would go to Dunkirk, then the Post, then Call Me By Your Name! But I still haven’t seen the Shape of Water or Lady Bird. Phantom Thread was absolutely gorgeous, Get Out was of course an absolute surprise and Three Billboards was great, but in my opinion not strong enough to get the Best Picture prize.

Best Director
Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
Guillermo Del Toro – The Shape Of Water

Yay for a Chris Nolan nomination! I wish he could win this year but the Academy seems to dislike him. A very strong list of names, with Paul Thomas Anderson sneaking in, I think he might have stolen Steven Spielberg’s slot… But the favourite here is clearly, and deservedly, Guillermo del Toro, who I think has the most splendid filmography, and won the DGA last week. And Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig, both as first-film nominees, feel like a breath of fresh air in what is indeed a very tough and competitive category. Well done to both of them.

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.

I wish, oh how I wish Timothée Chalamet could win this one but Gary Oldman is a lock – has been for ages, there’s just no way he doesn’t win this one. Daniel Day Lewis’ performance in my opinion is much stronger than Gary Oldman’s, but as we all know, the Academy loves to reward a make-up heavy performance and he is so long overdue. Denzel Washington’s nomination here feels like the odd one out – the film’s only nomination, but it’s good to see him among the nominees.

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins – The Shape Of Water
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saorise Ronan – Lady Bird
Meryl Streep – The Post

The Best Actress race is quite close this year, but undoubtedly the Golden Globes put Frances McDormand as the frontrunner here, with Saoirse Ronan very close behind, and Sally Hawkins is also getting the strongest reviews of her career. Meryl Streep is, deservedly, recognised here and Margot Robbie gets the ‘A-list’ nomination for I, Tonya. Overall Frances McDormand is still quite a few steps ahead though.

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

Very interesting category this one – sadly, no Call Me By Your Name actors, as I think Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg must have split the vote. Willem Dafoe was the frontrunner for a little while, and then with the Golden Globes and SAG going Sam Rockwell’s way… I think he will probably win it, despite the ‘backlash’ and controversy about his character. And the inclusion of Christopher Plummer here was one of the biggest surprises of the year.

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Leslie Manville – Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water

This race is also quite close – with Allison Janney in theory being the frontrunner but also Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird is close behind. The addition of Leslie Manville here is quite a surprise – she was astonishingly good in Phantom Thread and Mary J. Blige was also very impressive in Mudbound. Octavia Spencer is surely the most underrated actress in Hollywood right now. But the Oscars logically should go the way of the SAG’s for the four actors, meaning Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney as the winners.

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

The Best Original Screenplay category this year is crowded with frontrunners – the Shape of Water, Get Out, Lady Bird… Will Get Out win this one as a consolation prize? I should think so, and what a screenplay it is. Can Three Billboards also win this one as a compensation for no Best Director nod? Also possible. Sadly it will all probably mean that Greta Gerwig will go home empty-handed, which feels like a massive injustice. But the WGA went to Get Out so in all logic, the Screenplay Oscar should follow.

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

I am very glad to say, this one is Call Me By Your Name’s to lose. Firstly because the Academy will want to reward a legend like James Ivory and secondly because it won the WGA for Adapted Screenplay and it was always the frontunner in this category. Nice inclusion of Logan here, and also a great nod for Mudbound and Aaron Sorkin, excellent as always.

Best Foreign-Language Film
A Fantastic Woman, Chile
The Insult, Lebanon
Loveless, Russia
On Body and Soul, Hungary
The Square, Sweden

A Fantastic Woman is getting rave reviews but I think there’s only one frontunner here: Sweden’s the Square, which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes. Sad not to see 120 BPM (Beats per Minute) in this category, such a shame that it’s not getting the award recognition it deserves.

Best Animated Film of the Year
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent

Coco won very big at the Annie Awards, so the safest bet is on this one, even if Dreamworks is probably very pleased to see two of their films here, and the independents being represented with the Breadwinner and Loving Vincent. However I think we can safely say Pixar will win this one, and what a film – I absolutely adored Coco.

Best Documentary Feature
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Last Man in Aleppo
Strong Island

Quite a snub here for Jane, which I thought was a shoo-in for Best Documentary, but perhaps it wasn’t eligible? Agnes Varda just won an honorary Oscar, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see her Faces Places win here, unless the Academy chooses to go fully political with another choice. Icarus looks really amazing too.

Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast – production design by Sarah Greenwood; set decoration by Katie Spencer
Blade Runner 2049 – production design by Dennis Gassner; set decoration by Alessandra Querzola
Darkest Hour – production design by Sarah Greenwood; set decoration by Katie Spencer
Dunkirk – production design by Nathan Crowley; set decoration by Gary Fettis
The Shape of Water – production design by Paul Denham Austerberry; set decoration by Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin

This year’s technical noms are incredibly strong: here I have a slight preference for Blade Runner 2049 which simply looked amazing, but they won the Art Director Guild Awards alongside the Shape of Water, making these two the strongest contenders. There’s no denying that all five nominees would be deserving: Beauty and the Beast was gorgeous in terms of production design, Dunkirk was so perfectly and amazingly detailed and Darkest Hour also had a very strong showing.

Best Cinematography
Blade Runner 2049 – Roger Deakins
Darkest Hour – Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk – Hoyte van Hoytema
Mudbound – Rachel Morrison
The Shape of Water – Dan Laustsen

My favourite category, and I so hope this one goes to Roger Deakins. He is a living legend, and it baffles me that he hasn’t won this Oscar yet (14 nominations!!), but with the ASC award win, this one should be a lock. Just want to recognise a long-awaited female nominee in this category, Mudbound’s Rachel Morrison, and Hoyte von Hoytema’s superb work in Dunkirk. Nonetheless, this one is Roger Deakins’ to lose…

Best 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

Two nominations for Jacqueline Durran, but will she win the award? The Costume Designer Guild Awards is in a couple of days, but the dresses in Phantom Thread were nothing short of phenomenal, and don’t underestimate the Shape of Water here, as it has the historical element going for it, just like Darkest Hour.

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

Editing last year, I was reminded, didn’t go to the Best Pic winner at all, and so this year, the trend should continue: the Eddie award went to both Dunkirk and I Tonya, which, hurray, has a female editor. I think they’re the strongest contenders and either one winning would make me happy to be quite honest, even if Dunkirk will always have the top spot in my mind. The inclusion of Baby Driver here is quite noteworthy, and I think there’s a bit of a snub for Blade Runner 2049 here as well.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Darkest Hour – Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
Victoria & Abdul – Daniel Phillips, Loulia Sheppard
Wonder – Arjen Tuiten

This category is a lock for Darkest Hour, I think, considering how much it helped Gary Oldman’s performance. It might go to Wonder which must have had extensive prosthetic work, and we won’t really know until the guild awards are held (in a couple of days as well), but I still think Darkest Hour has the edge here.

Best Music (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

One of my fave categories and of course all five are outstanding composers, absolutely. I wish Hans Zimmer would win this one, and Jonny Greenwood’s score for Phantom Thread was just so incredibly tailored to the film, but Alexandre Desplat is probably the favourite here? Although he won two years ago for the Grand Budapest Hotel? I’m not really sure. Of course there is overwhelming love for John Williams in this category, and I really liked the Last Jedi’s score even though people complained that there weren’t any new cues. I am not really sure, will Alexandre Desplat get this one, or can Hans Zimmer pull off an upset?

Best Music (Song)
Mighty River – Mudbound (Mary J Blige, Raphael Saadiq & Taura Stinson)
The Mystery of Love – Call Me By Your Name (Sufjan Stevens)
Remember Me – Coco (Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)
Stand Up for Something – Marshall (Common & Diane Warren)
This Is Me – The Greatest Showman (Benji Pasek & Justin Paul)

I REALLY HOPE CALL ME BY YOUR NAME WINS THIS ONE, Sufjan’s song is just absolutely gorgeous but I’m scared the Academy will go for the stupid Greatest Showman song (the Golden Globe winner, although Call Me By Your Name wasn’t nominated). I feel like Coco’s Remember Me also has a good chance of winning, unless they would give this one as a consolation prize to Mudbound? That’d be quite a surprise, my bet is on Coco.

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

The sound mixing guild hasn’t held their awards yet, but there are a lot of familiar names up there, I think they’re all really quite close. In all logic, this one should go to Dunkirk, such outstanding sound mixing, but Baby Driver has a strong showing in the sound tech category and you can never underestimate Skywalker Sound techs for Star Wars. Blade Runner 2049 is also a very strong contender for all the tech categories, really, it’s a tough one. I still think Dunkirk should and will win here.

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

The sound editing guild awards ceremony is tonight – again I am expecting Dunkirk to win here, but what about Blade Runner 2049 which had a really strong sound universe of its own, and Baby Driver, same than sound mixing, which was truly outstanding? A difficult one to say really, but I am hoping Dunkirk can get a couple of awards here.

Best Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049 – John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert & Richard R Hoover
Guardian 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, Neal Scanlan & Chris Corbould
War for the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon & Joel Whist

Ooooohh I really hope War of the Planet of the Apes gets this one, I mean really, the VFX there were just out of this world. They won the VES awards so hopefully that’s a good sign for them. However Blade Runner 2049’s special effects were just so amazing, and what about the Last Jedi and those spectacular scenes? I think this one, deservedly, will go to Apes.

And finally, as usual:

Best Documentary Short
Edith + Eddie
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Best Animated Short Film
Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Best Live Action Short Film
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmet
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

That’s it for this year – we will get the answer to Best Pic very soon, I still think the Shape of Water with its 13 nominations will be this year’s biggest winner. See you in a couple of weeks!