And the Awards go to…
It’s time for my yearly Oscar Predictions list! Same rules as last year apply: I will first list who I think will win a specific award, followed by who I think should win said award (unless of course I get my wish of my choice also being the favored to win). Without further ado, let’s get cracking:
Best Supporting Actor:
Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World
Richard Jenkins in The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Willem Dafoe in The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Based on all the Screen Actors Guild wins, I’m going to make most of my actor-related predictions based on that awards show. That being said, this is one award I’m incredibly frustrated by, because Sam Rockwell is such a damn amazing actor with an illustrious résumé…and yet his possible award-winning role wasn’t all that great. I mean I’m not even talking about the backlash this film has undergone post-release. I mean Rockwell was a solid instrumental piece to the film; but even among his peers, I thought Dafoe turned in a surprisingly more nuanced performance that I wouldn’t be entirely shocked to see that as an upset. Especially since the rest really didn’t make much of an impact. However, I did find much stronger supporting players this year and many weren’t even nominated.
Namely, Sir Patrick Stewart from one of my favorite films of the year, Logan. There was so much to his performance that was impressive, but mostly because it was sad look at a former statesman broken by the ravages of time. His interplay off of Hugh Jackman was heart-wrenching to watch and contributed to making me feel something intense from a comic book film.
Best Supporting Actress:
Really solid choices in this category…besides Mary J. Blige in Mudbound. Nothing against her in particular, but I really have no love for that film. But Metcalf was a great addition in a cast filled with solid thespians to the point she might actually pull an upset, and even Manville had some amazing moments in Phantom Thread. But I called Allison Janney’s performance as one of my favorites of the year in my review, and it seems that every other award show agrees with me. So she gets to double as both my favored and expected to win.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Call Me by Your Name by James Ivory
The Disaster Artist by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Logan by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green
Molly’s Game by Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound by Virgil Williams & Dee Rees
Another solid category (except Mudbound obviously), but various awards conferences seem to leaning towards the popular coming-of-age romance. And honestly, it’s pretty well deserved all things considered for getting me to care about the interplay of two leads, regardless of their sexuality. Though I personally find it amusing that The Disaster Artist‘s sole nomination is in the writing department, considering A24 dropped a ton of money for a serious Oscar consideration…but that’s what happens when your lead actor/director turns out to be a creeper.
If I’m being honest with myself, Ivory’s work is actually my fourth favorite adapted screenplay of 2017. Blade Runner 2049 and Molly’s Game were pretty damn great, taking my #2 and #3 respectively; but my top choice for this category would have to be Logan. Aside from being one of my favorite comic films of all time, it’s everything I wished a serious graphic novel adaptation could be: thoughtful examination of a character, high stakes based on the character’s relationship to others, and a well thought out character arc.
Best Original Screenplay:
The Big Sick by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Get Out by Jordan Peele
Lady Bird by Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh
The other awards show featuring potential screenwriters voting in the Academy Awards all seem to be agreeing that Get Out is their favorite original screenplay of the year. Of the choices listed? Yep, it’s definitely my personal favorite and I would have picked it even if it wasn’t nominated. The other contenders were solid as well, from the humorous autobiographical nature of The Big Sick and Lady Bird to Del Toro’s penchant for dark fairytales. I even appreciated McDonagh’s work on Three Billboards, because I sincerely disagree the script was a case of undeserved redemption. It was tale of messed up people still messing up but trying to correct their mistakes…even when they keep making worse ones. But for me, Jordan Peele’s Get Out was a both an effective horror screenplay mixed with some of the best social satire we got in all of 2017.
Best Animated Feature:
It’s Coco. You know it’s Coco. I know it’s going to be Coco. Everyone around the planet knows it will be Coco. While it’s nice to see Loving Vincent get some form of recognition, I’m still pissed the Academy decided to avoid nominating yet another Lego movie, because The Lego Batman Movie was a strong contender for best of 2017. Better than the acid trip that The Boss Baby or the boring slog that was Ferdinand.
Best Foreign Language Film:
A Fantastic Woman from Chile
The Insult from Lebanon
Loveless from Russia
On Body and Soul from Hungary
The Square from Sweden
That’s fine Academy, ignore every foreign film I saw last year. It’s cool. It’s not like I watch three films a week and the Hollywood machine forces so much garbage down my throat that I miss gems from the rest of the world, BUT IT’S COOL. Wish I saw even half of the entries on this list; but going by the fact it sweeped at Cannes last year, I’m going to say The Square will take the prize home.
As far as a foreign film I DID see in 2017, going to show love to the other animated movie that I adored last year: Your Name. Beautifully touching, spoke to universal feelings of isolation and love while weaving a strong science fiction story that kept surprising you at every opportunity, it deserves to be seen.
Best Documentary Feature:
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
No friggin clue here either I’m afraid. But given that Heroin(e) deals with a strong social subject and was readily available to watch on Netflix, I’m going to count on the Academy’s laziness to pick this one as their choice.
Best Live Action Short Film:
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us
Last of these shot in the dark predictions, I swear. Going to take an educated guess and say the short about a school shooter will move Academy members to attract some votes…see the aforementioned “political statements” from above.
Best Animated Short:
Really shocked that Pixar’s submission, Lou, felt so…lifeless. I mean, I get your main character was a pile of discarded toys in a lost and found bin, but I could just not find a reason to give a damn. Negative Space packs a little emotional punch with a strong stop motion style that I’m sure Academy voters could appreciate. And hey, it’s at least short…unlike Revolting Rhymes which was about as long as that obnoxious Frozen “short” scotch-taped to the beginning of initial screenings for Coco.
Best Original Score:
God knows why John Williams is nominated…I mean it’s the same bloody score he’s been using since 1977. But likely, the Academy just wanted to fill some space. While the scores for Phantom Thread and The Shape of Water were solid, I seriously couldn’t recall them. And hell, the music from Three Billboards at all. So, I’m going to predict the most talked about composer, Hans Zimmer, will likely take Oscar Gold given just how instrumental the score was to Dunkirk‘s impressive pacing. And the fact that I dug the hell out of it is a nice bonus for yours truly.
Best Original Song:
“Mighty River” from Mudbound by Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name by Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from Coco by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from Marshall by Diane Warren & Common
“This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Tough one. Probably won’t be “This is Me” since the writing pair for the song just won an Oscar for last year’s La La Land. Gonna have to say it’s between the affecting “Remember Me” from Coco, given how critical it was to the film’s climax and final message; or “Mystery of Love” which was practically plastered all over Call Me by Your Name‘s trailers. I’ll give the edge to “Remember Me” ultimately, as it was used in various different contexts throughout the film, subtly changing its composition before the tear jerker of an ending…which I just reminded myself and I started swelling up. Excuse me, while I sob into a corner…again.
Best Sound Editing:
Just going to quote myself from last year on this one. “Sound editing” is the art of creating sounds besides music. This might not sound like a big deal, but check out this video on the art of “foley,” that is to create the sound effects so it “feels” right when you watch a movie. Most cameras and microphones can’t capture the sounds of waves, wind, and rain the way certain foley artists can make them sound, so this is an important category to honor as you’re effectively rewarding someone on being able to not appear obvious.
So with that in mind, I’m going to say The Shape of Water had some of the biggest challenges to create sound effects whenever the film decided to underwater or in getting that sea creature to do his thing.
Best Sound Mixing:
So “sound mixing” is the art of mixing the aforementioned sound effects into the film so that the cues sync with what you’re witnessing on screen. Knowing this, I’ll say it was a toss up between Dunkirk and Star Wars: The Last Jedi in successfully getting you to figure out what to focus your ears on in the middle of chaotic battlefields. I’ll give the edge over to Star Wars due to the multitude of environments they needed to work out.
Best Production Design:
Alright, gonna say it’s Blade Runner 2049 on this one as it easily had the most amazing set designs on display all year. I’d only say Beauty and the Beast could top it…but I was so thoroughly unimpressed with that film, that I gotta give the favorite over to a film that actually made me give a damn.
Very odd not seeing Phantom Thread nominated in this category, as the film boasted some very strong techniques. Still, this list is crowded with fierce competitors, but I do appreciate me much of the composition of Dunkirk. Even as I adored Blade Runner 2049‘s chops, Dunkirk still feels like the technical big shot of the gang.
Best Film Editing:
Again, my love for Dunkirk‘s technical accomplishments cannot be overstated enough, which is going to make the directing category all the more tragic when I get there. Still, I think the Academy is pretty good at recognizing the best on the behind-the-scenes, and Dunkirk‘s editing is absolutely crucial to telling its unconventional narrative.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
I still can’t believe Suicide Squad took this award last year. Goddamn unforgivable. Still, I mentioned in both my Darkest Hour and Wonder review at the impressive makeup jobs on display, and it turns out the Academy agreed with me…for once. I’ll say Darkest Hour will likely take this on account of the variety of make-up and hairstyling on display.
Best Costume Design:
I mean…my choice for this category is from film that is about a dressmaker. I think Phantom Thread might take this, given the volume of ornate dresses and period appropriate outfits. And I’m not saying that because I want to keep dissing Beauty and the Beast…well not just because of that anyways.
Best Visual Effects:
Solid choices this year, and I don’t have any issues with the front runners. Three of the nominees made my Top Ten of 2017 and, save for Darkest Hour, the rest made my runner up favorites of the year. So, all of these were strong contenders for best film of 2017. But the Best Picture Award is the only category chosen by a preferential voting system, which means I have to change up the analysis. See, the winner is NOT who has the most votes, but who wins in a very odd structure statistics game. Basically, each Academy member ranks who they want to see win Best Picture from 1-9 and then the winner is determined by process of elimination of the lowest counts of votes. This has the effect of secondary choices getting a chance at selecting the winner if a member’s first choice was eliminated in an earlier round. It’s a bit confusing, but this article here does a decent enough job at explaining the math.
So given this weird set up, I strongly suspect Get Out will take the award for the same reason Moonlight and Spotlight pulled off their surprise wins in the previous two shows: it’s a well-liked contender that the median voter will gravitate towards. Personally, if we’re going by the preferential system, this is pretty much how I would have ranked the nominees from least favorite to most favorite:
9. Darkest Hour
8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
7. The Post
6. Phantom Thread
5. Call me by Your Name
4. The Shape of Water
3. Lady Bird
1. Get Out
Sadly, my absolute favorite film of 2017 was not nominated. But once I develop mastery over time and space as I become the God Emperor of the Universe, I will bestow the Best Picture of 2017 to Blade Runner 2049. I’ve sung this movie’s praises up and down. It’s one of only two films in 2017 that earned my highest possible rating. I adore this movie, and it will stay in my heart for years to come.
Enjoy the list? Don’t forget to share among your friends and debate my choices. Also bookmark this page to tell me how wrong I am come March 4, 2018.
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