Thinking Out Loud, Vol. 1 – The 90th Oscars®!

The Oscars® – Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones and Guillermo Del Toro celebrate The Shape of Water’s win as Best Picture – ABC/Eric McCandless/Courtesy of ABC.

A lot of things went right at the 90th Oscars® last night – from the faux forties newsreel style opening to Jimmy Kimmel’s solid opening; from hitting the important themes (Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek; Frances McDormand’s incredible acceptance speech/demand of Hollywood’s studios, directors and producers); from the comic bits (the jet ski thing with Helen Mirren as the game show prize model? Inspired!) to the actual awards (The Shape of Water for the win!) to Warren Beatty’s ‘Good evening. It’s wonderful to see you all again,’ there was so much Good Stuff that it (mostly) didn’t feel like the show ran 40 minutes long.

Following are some thoughts on the 90th Oscars®…

Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time addressing last year’s Best Picture debacle before moving on to describe Oscar® as the perfect Hollywood man and nailing Harvey Weinstein and the Academy over Weinstein’s punishment.

As a monologue it was much better (and more pointed) than I was expecting – without sacrificing a handful of belly laughs.

As for the awards themselves…

THE OSCARS(r) – The key cast and crew of The Shape of Water – Photo by Eric McCandless/Courtesy of ABC.

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

The Post did not belong on the list of nominees – it’s possibly the most boring movie to be nominated in this category.

My personal favorite film won, but there were a number of films that would not have disappointed me (Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, Dunkirk).

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

I really hoped Sally Hawkins would win here. Her performance was the most nuanced and effective – and she did it without the benefit of speech.

On the other hand, Frances McDormand was very good in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and gave a wonderfully fiery acceptance speech.

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
** WINNER: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

The only other winner that would have acceptable was Timothee Chalamet.

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

This was not a surprise – Janney has been cleaning up for the entirety of awards season.

Neither Laurie Metcalfe nor Mary J. Blige would have been a disappointment.

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
** WINNER: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’ve always liked Sam Rockwell (well, ever since Galaxy Quest), but I’d still have preferred to see Richard Jenkins win.

Dunkirk, Christoper Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Ladybird, Greta Gerwig
Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
** WINNER: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

This! Definitely!

Film Editing
Baby Driver
** WINNER: Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I would have preferred to see Baby Driver win (I wonder how many of the voters actually even saw it!).

None of these would have been a disappointment, though.

Foreign Language Film
** WINNER: A Fantastic Woman
The Insult
On Body and Soul
The Square

Original Score
Phantom Thread
** WINNER: The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Alexandre Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water was genuinely magical.

John Williams should not have been nominated – his score was same old, same old.

Original Song
Mighty River, Mudbound
Mystery of Love, Call Me By Your Name
** WINNER: Remember Me, Coco
Stand Up for Something, Marshall
This Is Me, The Greatest Showman

As you could see during the performance, This Is Me was a real showstopper. It’s also a better standalone song than Remember Me (though not by a lot). It was also just about the only truly memorable part of The Greatest Showman.

Remember Me would have been my second choice.

Production Design
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
** WINNER: The Shape of Water

The only other real contender had to be Blade Runner 2049.

Visual Effects
** WINNER: Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

I fully expected The Last Jedi to win here. I’m so glad I was wrong.

Adapted Screenplay
** WINNER: Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game

I don’t think a comic book movie will ever win this category, but I think it would have placed third on my ballot (had I had one) behind the winner and Mudbound.

Original Screenplay
The Big Sick
** WINNER: Get Out
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Jordan Peale won the Quentin Tarantino… I mean, the Original Screenplay award. It’s kind of the runner-up prize but since it went to a groundbreaking film it’s also a groundbreaking award this year.

Animated Feature Film
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
** WINNER: Coco
Loving Vincent

As if there was any doubt – Coco is one of PIXAR’s two or three best films ever.

** WINNER: Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Roger A. Deakins for the win!

In most years, this would be a make-up award. Fortunately, Deakins’s work on Blade Runner 2049 was as deserving as anyone on this list.

Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
** WINNER: Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

Documentary Feature
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
** WINNER: Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Documentary Short Subject
Edith and Eddie
** WINNER: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Makeup and Hairstyling
** WINNER: Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul

Look at Gary Oldman. Then, look at Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill.

Nuff said.

Animated Short Film
** WINNER: Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

I was hoping for anything but Kobe Bryant’s narcissistic love letter to himself (and basketball). And, given his past, I couldn’t possibly have imagined him winning in this of all years.

Live-Action Short Film
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
** WINNER: The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

Sound Editing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
** WINNER: Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Again, how many voters actually saw Baby Driver?

Sound Mixing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
** WINNER: Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

See Sound Editing.

Penultimate thought: the show could have been kept under three-and-a-half hours by excising the Audience in the Theater Next Door’ bit – and cutting the number of montages in half might have brought it home on time (which usually means about ten minutes long).

Final thought: once again, cheers for Warren Beatty’s lovely handling of being back to present Best Picture after last year’s screw up.