The 2018 Oscar® Nominations – A Few Thoughts!

The 2018 Oscar® Nominations were announced at Ungodly O’clock this morning and there were a few surprises. More than a few, actually – but some really big ones.

Here is the list of nominations with my thoughts included:

2018 Oscar® Nominees:

Actor in a Leading Role
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.

Denzel Washington is being rewarded for a substandard (for him) performance in a film that’s hovering just above terrible as a whole.

It’s time to acknowledge motion capture performances – Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes is a match for any performance listed here – and better than at least two…

Actor in a Supporting Role
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 have no problem with this category, though it would have been nice to see Armie Hammer make the cut. I just hope Sam Rockwell or Richard Jenkins take home the little gold guy.

Actress in a 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

I’m sorry, but Meryl Streep simply doesn’t cut it this year. The Post isn’t deadly dull, but it really average – as is her performance.

Considering how good Gal Gadot was as Wonder Woman – and how completely snubbed the film was, I think Gadot should have taken Streep’s place here.

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

I’d like to have seen Lucy Fry nominated for playing Etta Candy in Wonder Woman – she added a crucial element of wit to balance some of the film’s darker moments and was splendid doing so.

Who would she replace? Probably Leslie Manville.

Animated Feature Film
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

Coco should win in a walk. It would not been out of place as a Best Picture nomination.

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

All brilliant examples of the cinematographic art, but it’s time to just give Roger Deakins the award already!

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

I cannot imagine anyone other than Jacquline Durran winning this for Beauty and the Beast.

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

I get the feeling that Paul Thoma Anderson got the nomination because Phantom Thread is Daniel Day-Lewis’ last film.

I also suspect that Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins wasn’t nominated because that would make two women nominated in the same year.

Documentary (Feature)
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman
Faces Places – Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda
Icarus – Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan
Last Men in Aleppo – Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen
Strong Island – Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Documentary (Short Subject)
Edith+Eddie – Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 – Frank Stiefel
Heroin(e) – Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon
Knife Skills – Thomas Lennon
Traffic Stop – Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

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 should win this. Editing is so crucial to that story it’s practically a character.

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

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

Music (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

Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water enhances the story so perfectly – and without ever calling attention to itself – that it should win here.

Music (Original Song)
Mighty River from Mudbound; Music and Lyric by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson
Mystery Of Love from Call Me by Your Name; Music and Lyric by Sufjan Stevens
Remember Me from Coco; Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Stand Up For Something from Marshall; Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Lonnie R. Lynn and Diane Warren
This Is Me from The Greatest Showman; Music and Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Chances are that Remember Me will win (it’s from a brilliant Disney animation after all), but This Is Me is the better song (and one of the few things about The Greatest Showman that is actually great).

Best Picture
Call Me by Your Name – Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges and Marco Morabito, Producers
Darkest Hour – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten and Douglas Urbanski, Producers
Dunkirk – Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
Get Out – Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers
Lady Bird – Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill, Producers
Phantom Thread – JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi, Producers
The Post – Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri – Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers

The Post is a lackluster affair that simply does not belong on this list.

Even so, the Academy could choose up to ten films in this category and stopped at nine – excluding the critically acclaimed and massively popular Wonder Woman. That is to quote Eleanor Shelstrop from NBC’s The Good Place, just a load of bullshirt!

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

Once again, all worthy entries. Dennis Gassner and Alessandra Querzola should win for Blade Runner 2049.

Short Film (Animated)
Dear Basketball – Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant
Garden Party – Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon
Lou – Dave Mullins and Dana Murray
Negative Space – Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata
Revolting Rhymes – Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

Short Film (Live Action)
DeKalb Elementary – Reed Van Dyk
The Eleven O’Clock – Derin Seale and Josh Lawson
My Nephew Emmett – Kevin Wilson, Jr.
The Silent Child – Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton
Watu Wote/All of Us – Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen

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

Both sound editing and sound mixing should go to Baby Driver. Sound is a character in the movie.

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

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

I, personally, prefer the visual effects in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – but I could see any one of these films win here.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Call Me by Your Name – Screenplay by James Ivory
The Disaster Artist – Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Logan – Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold
Molly’s Game – Written for the screen by Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound – Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Call me crazy, but I’d love to see Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green win for Logan.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
The Big Sick – Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Get Out – Written by Jordan Peele
Lady Bird – Written by Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water – Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri – Written by Martin McDonagh

None of these would be an upset if it won. Personally, I’m torn between three of them – The Big Sick, The Shape of Waters and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.