“And the winner is…” I love those words! It’s Oscar time once again.
This Sunday night I’ll be tuned in and switched on to the Oscars, the awards show that drives some people batty but which cannot be ignored in terms of artistic talent, the national mood, and cultural commentary. As for me, I just love film, and while I’m a supporter of Indies and so look on the big studio work with a certain measure of mocking envy, I’m also aware of how impressive the work of these artists can be. I will cheer – or groan along with everyone else. While 2017 was not a great year in film, there are some excellent performances and films to not only enjoy but be inspired and informed by. It’s an ‘artistic’ year, with Blockbusters largely ignored. Nothing unusual there, but one could wish for more compelling stories in a time of such upheaval.
I’m obviously not a member of the Academy and not waiting up for the phone call to join, but if I were, here are my choices in the major categories.
“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Shape of Water is favored, but the unusual voting process employed for Best Picture in the past few years has resulted in some ‘upset’ wins because of cumulative points. The word on the street is that Phantom Thread is getting surprisingly strong support from voters, and of course Three Billboards won BAFTA and won’t be a shock winner. My vote, however, goes to Dunkirk – which really has no chance to win. My prediction: Get Out, in an upset.
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.”
Look, I appreciate everyone else getting a tux and coming out for the night, but Gary Oldman is the winner in this category for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Kaluuya is superb and Day-Lewis is Day-Lewis, but Oldman wins. My vote: Gary Oldman. Prediction: Gary Oldman
Here are the Nominees for Best Actress in Leading Role
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”
Hawkins turns in a courageous performance in the weird but wonderful Shape of Water, but the silence works against her winning; Robbie is amazing, as is Ronan; Streep is nominated again, but that wasn’t her best work. McDormand is getting all the ink this year for Three Billboards, and yes, it’s a superb performance, though her iconic work in Fargo is still better. My vote would go to Margot Robbie. Prediction: Frances McDormand
On other categories:
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”
Plummer is a slap at Kevin Spacey. Jenkins deserves it. I haven’t seen Dafoe; Harrelson is good but overshadowed by Rockwell.
My vote: Richard Jenkins. Prediction: Sam Rockwell
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
I think Mudbound should’ve been nominated for Best Picture and the Academy can right the wrong by awarding the statue to Blige. They should. They will. Mary J. Blige
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
I believe Nolan deserves it, but then I also think Dunkirk is the Best Picture. Here’s what we know. Guillermo del Toro is going to win. UNLESS Academy voters have been moved off of him by late-breaking accusations of plagiarism… we shall see. If he doesn’t get it, it’ll be Nolan. Oh I might as well go out on a limb: Christopher Nolan
On to the show! Get the popcorn and let’s hope they open the right envelope this year.
“And the Oscar goes to…” – We shall soon see.
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