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Should, Could, Will, and Where: The 2018 Oscars

Oscars season, baby! Before the big show tonight, Connor Stambaugh and I are here to break down everything we want to happen and everything that actually will happen.

Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game, Mudbound

PJ

Should Win – Call Me By Your Name

Could Win – Logan, if they decided to hold the voting at Comic-Con.

Will Win – Call Me By Your Name

Where Is…Stronger?

Talk about an eclectic crop for this category this year. A movie from the Pineapple Express guys, a comic book movie, a movie that went mostly unseen (including by me), a Netflix movie…and then there’s Call Me By Your Name. Despite being a boldly and proudly gay movie, the screenplay is pretty straightforward and doesn’t feature much drama or tension. Still, it’s beautifully written and features one of best scenes of the year: the monologue delivered from Michael Stuhlbarg. Get your peaches ready, people. As for Stronger, I had pretty low expectations going into it, just because I generally dislike the “let’s make a movie about this tragedy that just happened” movies. But it is excellent. I think most of us expected this movie to mainly focus on the bombing itself or Jeff Bauman’s physical struggle in learning to walk again, but it smartly centers the drama on the psychological toll taken on heroes who unwillingly become heroes.

Connor

Should Win – Call Me By Your Name

Could Win: Absolutely nobody else.

Will Win – Call Me By Your Name

Where Is…seriously why was anyone else even nominated?

See it and fucking TRY to tell me otherwise.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Connor

Should Win – Lady Bird

Could Win – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win – Get Out

Where Is…Colossal?

This is an absolute beast of a category and a case could be made for each of the contenders. I am going with my gut here and predicting Get Out for the win. If The Shape of Water takes Best Picture, and Three Billboards takes the two acting statues, this *has* to go to Peele, right? Right?!?! If it doesn’t win here, Get Out will go home empty-handed and will singlehandedly break Twitter. I’m throwing Colossal with Anne Hathaway into the mix too because it has a ton on its mind and explores those ideas in fascinating ways. And just keep reading if you want an idea of how phenomenal I think Lady Bird is.

PJ

Should Win – Get Out

Could Win – Lady Bird

Will Win – Get Out

Where Is…Phantom Thread?

This is annually my favorite category, because it’s where the most original movies get recognized since the Academy is usually too afraid to put them in the Best Picture class. That’s the case once again with The Big Sick, but they actually decided to give major props to two of the other coolest movies of the year: Get Out and Lady Bird. I’m fairly sure Get Out will actually win, for two reasons. First, because it fucking deserves it. Second, because I don’t think it will get the serious looks it deserves elsewhere and there’s ZERO chance the Academy lets it leave the Dolby Theatre empty-handed. I think Lady Bird has a better chance than people are giving it too, for similar but non-racially charged reasons. Greta Gerwig somehow made a screenplay about a theater chick from Sacramento universally relatable. I’d say Phantom Thread has an outside chance as well, but it didn’t even get nominated. I mean, the “are you here to ruin my evening, or possibly my entire life?” line is better than the entire The Shape of Water script.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project, Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water, Christopher Plummer for All the Money in the World, Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

PJ

Should Win – Sam Rockwell

Could Win – Rockwell’s name is already engraved.

Will Win – Sam Rockwell

Where Is…Armie Hammer for Call Me By Your Name? And Jason Mitchell for Mudbound? BUT SERIOUSLY…WHERE IS ARMIE HAMMER???

I could spend this entire blog talking about how good Sam Rockwell is in Three Billboards. The humanity that he brought to piece-of-shit Jason Dixon convinced a ton of people that his character, who was fired, shunned by his small town, burnt nearly to death, and unsuccessful in his final investigation, was somehow redeemed at the end of the movie. Still, I’d rather talk more about how badly the Academy botched this category. At most they got 3 of the 5 right (there’s little defense for Harrelson and literally none for Plummer). I’d maybe let it slide if it was a down year for supporting male performances, BUT THEY MISSED SOME GREAT ONES. Armie Hammer is seriously an all-time bad snub, and Jason Mitchell deserved this spotlight too. Rockwell is winning in every single scenario, but it would’ve been great for those two guys to get their moments.

Connor

Should Win – Sam Rockwell

Could Win – Willem Dafoe

Will Win – Sam Rockwell

Where Is…Armie Hammer?

As dominating as Frances McDormand is when she’s onscreen (and she is), Sam Rockwell’s bumbling, racist cop is usually the one you can’t keep your eyes off of. He has the greatest character arc of anyone in the film (not that he changes *that* much) and leaves his mark as a villain who might want to be a hero but has no idea how, or if, anyone will let him. Dafoe grounds the entirety of The Florida Project and I wouldn’t be mad in the slightest if he got his “career” Oscar for this little gem. Everyone knows Armie Hammer has the movie star looks, charisma, and build of a leading man. But this is almost a two-hander with Timothee Chalamet and the two of them exhibit some of the greatest chemistry I’ve ever seen in a film. Or anywhere. It’s a thing of beauty and I hope he rests easy knowing—nomination or not—he’s redefined his career.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Mary J. Blige for Mudbound, Allison Janney for I, Tonya, Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread, Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird, Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water

Connor

Should Win – Laurie Metcalf

Could Win – Laurie Metcalf

Will Win – Allison Janney

Where Is…Holly Hunter for The Big Sick?

Everyone loves Allison Janney. She knows how to work a room better than anyone in Hollywood and she’s looking very solid here. Can someone tell me exactly what Octavia Spencer did in The Shape of Water to steal this nom from Hunter? I love Spencer but come on. Highway robbery. In what is technically the most wide-open acting category (not really), watch out for Laurie Metcalf in the heartbreaking role of her life. This should be hers. Yes, Janney has the flashy lines and comedic chops, but honestly have you ever seen a more realistic depiction of a working class mother? I haven’t. She grounds the entire film while Lady Bird has her head in the clouds. The reason the phone call is as powerful as it is at the end of the film is more of a testament to Metcalf than it is to Ronan—and that’s saying something.

PJ

Should Win – Laurie Metcalf

Could Win – Laurie Metcalf

Will Win – Allison Janney

Where Is…Tiffany Haddish for Girls Trip?

You nailed it. I have no idea why Metcalf isn’t the runaway favorite for this award. Honestly, I probably think it was the best overall performance of the year. (Not “overalls” performance, which clearly goes to Frances McDormand). Usually when I feel this strongly about a candidate, I eschew what the “experts” are predicting to roll with what I think is right. But Janney has won EVERYTHING leading up to the Oscars. And look, I am way more into I, Tonya than most people. Janney is outrageously funny in this role…but that’s really all the role is. Besides those two, this category is super weird. Octavia Spencer did nothing special for me in The Shape of Water, and I guess Mary J Blige is solid in her like 8 minutes of screen time in Mudbound? Connor already covered the deserving Holly Hunter, so how about Tiffany Haddish’s star-making performance? Girls Trip made a ton of money, but I feel like it was still overlooked because this movie is just as, if not more, funny than Bridesmaids. Melissa McCarthy got an Oscar nom for her breakout role in that movie, and Haddish deserved the same treatment here.

 

Best Actor

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

PJ

Should Win – Daniel Day-Lewis

Could Win – Timothee Chalamet

Will Win – Gary Oldman

Where Is…Jeremy Renner for Wind River?

I feel like this is a pretty underwhelming group for what is often the can’t-miss category of the night. Maybe that’s unfair, because I love three of the nominated performances, but Gary Oldman’s inevitable win is probably why I can’t shake that feeling. And that’s coming from a HUGE Gary Oldman fan. That’s Sirius motherfucking Black. I just feel like Darkest Hour shouldn’t be bringing home any important hardware, even if Oldman fully committed and nailed Churchill’s quirky mannerisms. It’s a boring take on my part, but Day-Lewis should absolutely win. We’ve reached the Michael Jordan effect here. Just like Jordan should’ve won MVP for every season he played in the 90s, DDL should win Best Actor whenever he graces the screen with his presence. Even if he wasn’t at his Daniel Plainview heights, he got me to deeply care about an idiosyncratic dressmaker in the 50s. As for snubs, Gyllenhaal was probably the worst, but I’ll give a quick shoutout to Jeremy Renner for playing a silently grieving father to a T.

Connor

Should Win – Timothée Chalamet

Could Win – Timothée Chalamet

Will Win – Gary Oldman

Where is…Jake Gyllenhaal for Stronger?

Commissioner Gordon is going to get his. And it really is a great show he puts on. Also, Jake Gyllenhaal deserved so much more recognition than he got for Stronger. But no other performance this year made me *feel* as much as Chalamet’s. He learned Italian, piano, guitar, and does it all so effortlessly that I kept forgetting how young he is (youngest Best Actor nom in something like 80 years). So deserving. It’s an honor just to be nominated alongside these guys but for my money he should be installing a shelving unit for this hardware. Good luck looking at a fireplace ever again after you see this.

 

Best Actress

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

Connor

Should Win – Saoirse Ronan

Could Win – Sally Hawkins or Saoirse Ronan

Will Win – Frances McDormand

Where Is…Vicky Krieps for Phantom Thread?

Another absolute lock here. McDormand redefines “powerhouse” in what has to be one of the craziest, angriest scripts of the century. Her Mildred does unspeakable things, and is in no way redeemable, but McDormand brings enough raw pathos to the role that you are on her side all the way. Hawkins has the most challenging role of the bunch (mute janitor who loves fish monster) and this is easily Ronan’s best of her young career, but nothing will get in the way of Mrs. McDormand…except maybe herself—she publicly said the Academy should reward a younger actress…(I’ll let you talk Krieps).

PJ

Should Win – Sally Hawkins or Frances McDormand

Could Win – Sally Hawkins

Will Win – Frances McDormand

Where Is…Vicky Krieps for Phantom Thread?

Like Connor said, McDormand is winning this award. And I think that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because she is absolutely ferocious, hilarious, and occasionally heartbreaking in this role. Mildred Hayes is probably the character of the year. On the other hand, this is such a loaded category this year so it’s unfortunate that the other four nominees will receive consideration more as a formality than anything. It might be kinda obvious by now that I think The Shape of Water is a pretty overrated contender, but Sally Hawkins is by far my favorite part of that movie. Not just because she brilliantly plays a mute woman, but she actually convinces the audience that her love with a fish man makes any sense despite the fact that all they did together was dance one time and eat a few eggs. I’d be psyched if she won. The same goes for Ronan, who had to do more in her movie than anyone else, and Streep, whose performance I feel like is somehow being underappreciated. I thought Margot Robbie was really good as Tonya Harding (even if she looked absolutely nothing like her), but I’m not too sure what she’s doing here. I would have rather seen Gal Gadot recognized for her breakout role as Wonder Woman, or especially Vicky Krieps for doing the impossible by going the distance in an acting boxing match with Daniel Day-Lewis.

 

Best Director

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

PJ

Should Win – Jordan Peele

Could Win – Jordan Peele

Will Win – Guillermo del Toro

Where Is…Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name?

Major props to the Academy, because they crushed this category. I probably would have handpicked the same five. But there isn’t really much intrigue here, because del Toro is winning. Part of the inevitability is because this category is often used as somewhat of lifetime achievement recognition. More than that though, it’s because GDT turned this insane vision into a good movie, and the 13(!!!) total nominations proves just how well rounded and technically masterful the voters think The Shape of Water is. I’ll still be rooting for Peele, but I can get more into that in a second.

Connor

Should Win – Christopher Nolan

Could Win – Nada

Will Win – Guillermo Del Toro

Where Is…Edgar Wright for Baby Driver?

Look, nobody is taking this away from Guillermo. He’s incredibly beloved within the industry (while people have trouble connecting to Nolan’s coldness). He’s won every precursor. It’s his. Fine. But the sheer audacity of what Nolan tried to do — and completely achieved — should not go unnoticed. This is his first directing nomination, but, almost certainly, it will not be his last. Also, Edgar Wright deserves a shoutout for the technical wizardry and pure cinematic rush of Baby Driver.

 

Best Picture

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

Connor

Should Win – Get Out or Lady Bird

Could Win – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win – The Shape of Water

Where is…The Big Sick?

It’s a three-horse race at this point between The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, and Get Out. Shape has clearly captured the hearts of the older voters with its love letter to old Hollywood (man, it feels like that’s *all* you need to go for to score a nom these days) and Three Billboards is the actors’ favorite, so watch out. But of the three Get Out is the only one that changed the game. Its lack of an editing nom spells almost certain doom but there’s a groundswell of support for it and it’s a true underdog worth rooting for. The Big Sick was robbed in several categories, this being the most notable. (Really? Darkest Hour?) And then there’s Lady Bird. I’ve gushed over this film for months and after repeat viewings I’m here to tell you that it’s still an all-timer. Arguably the greatest exploration of the mother/daughter relationship ever put to film, Lady Bird’s success is just one of many signs that the tides are changing in Hollywood. Great Gerwig is here to stay and Saiorse’s third nom before age 25 proves that she is the greatest actress of her generation. It’s as close to perfect as anything 2017 had to offer. In other words — it’s hella tight.

PJ

Should Win – Get Out

Could Win – Get Out, Lady Bird, or The Shape of Water

Will Win – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Where Is…I, Tonya?

I have zero clue how on earth Darkest Hour – this year’s second best movie about the Dunkirk evacuation – scored a nomination. I really would have liked to have seen I, Tonya in its place or as a tenth nominee, because I think it’s objectively terrific and arguably the most entertaining movie of the year. Yes, the movie overlooked some important information and essentially chose a side despite aiming not to. But I loved the way that it leaned into the unreliable narrations and absurdity of the whole situation, all while offering a brutally honest look into American classism and condemning our society’s need for a villain to hate. Still, I’m not gonna complain about this group. I think the Academy went 8/9 here, which is WAY better than they usually do.

Biggest award of the night is the biggest tossup. I think there are four legitimate possibilities. I’m buying that Lady Bird actually has a chance, even if it’s an outside one. It would need to win Original Screenplay first, and I already covered how I don’t think that will happen, so we’ll cross it off. I’m scrapping The Shape of Water too, even though it’s probably the most common pick and has the most nominations by a mile. I expect it to land between third and fifth on a lot of ballots, but are there really enough voters who think this was the best movie of the year? I’m guessing not. So that leaves Get Out and Three Billboards, two radically different movies but my two favorites from this group. Get Out is my absolute favorite though, and I think it’s the *best* movie of the year too. It had me laughing out loud at times and on the edge of my seat at others, but it also just so happens to be one of the smartest and sharpest movies on racism ever made. Jordan Peele pulled off a masterpiece, plain and simple. Still, it technically falls within the comedy and horror genres, probably the two least popular within the Academy. I think conventionality wins out and Three Billboards nabs the main prize. While I wouldn’t exactly call it a conventional movie with its zigzagging script and some of the most vulgar dialogue ever put on the big screen, it has already won big at other awards shows and is a lock in at least two major categories. Some people do not like this movie at all, but I’m betting on way more people loving it.

 

Nominee From Another Category That Needs To Win

PJ

Best Original Song

“Remember Me” from Coco

It’s embarrassing how livid I will be if “Remember Me” doesn’t win. For starters, Coco kicks ass. The song kicks ass. Just so much ass kicking. But more importantly for the sake of defending its award credentials, the song is CRUCIAL to the movie. If you weren’t teary-eyed or completely bawling when Miguel sings it with Coco at the end of the movie, there is actually something wrong with you. Seriously, give this award to that stupid song about PT Barnum with a chorus of “OH OH OHHHHH” and see what happens.

Connor

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049

Went in with sky-high expectations, left completely satisfied. No film looks better this year, except *maybe* the final shot of Tom Hardy’s plane on the beach in Dunkirk.

 

Best Picture Ballot

Connor PJ
1. Lady Bird 1. Get Out
2. Get Out 2. Call Me By Your Name
3. Call Me By Your Name 3. Lady Bird
4. Three Billboards 4. Three Billboards
5. Dunkirk 5. Dunkirk
6. The Shape of Water 6. Phantom Thread
7. The Post 7. The Shape of Water
8. Darkest Hour 8. The Post
Phantom Thread* (haven’t seen) 9. Darkest Hour

 

Personal Top 10 of 2017

Connor PJ
1. Baby Driver 1. Get Out
2. The Big Sick 2. The Disaster Artist
3. Lady Bird 3. Three Billboards
4. Call Me By Your Name 4. I, Tonya
5. Three Billboards 5. The Big Sick
6. The Florida Project 6. Lady Bird
7. Get Out 7. Phantom Thread
8. Dunkirk 8. Coco
9. The Disaster Artist 9. Wind River
10. Stronger 10. Call Me By Your Name

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