This is going to be an interesting year for the Oscar’s. The first year without Harvey Weinstein. His influence on the Oscars was legendary, he could and did make a lot of unlikely films and actors nominees and winners. For 13 straight years he had at least one Best Picture nominee and his movies won over 140 Oscars over the years. If you ever wondered how mediocre films like Chocolat, Life is Beautiful and Shakespeare in Love had their Oscar success, its the Weinstein Factor. Good riddance.
I have not seen a lot of the movies this year. My pics are based on a lot of reading from Critics and Movie insiders and various websites.
Best movie for me this year, that I have seen, Get Out narrowly edging Logan.
This does not seem to be the year of a sweep or a runaway winner. Three Billboards with 3-4, The Shape of Water with 3-4 and the rest very spread out.
I thought Jimmy Kimmel was a weak host last year and I am quite surprised he is back. Perhaps he can do something this year other than Trump and Matt Damon jokes.
All that said, here are my picks.
THE 8 MAJOR CATEGORIES
It’s a two way race between Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and The Shape of Water. Vastly different films. There has been negative talk associated with 3BB of late and Guillermo del Toro is a much loved director. Also, in a two way race, never count out the third horse, which this year is Get Out. It is fashionable lately to given the Actors film best pic and the Special Effects film best Director. I see that continuing this year.
Dan’s Pick: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
What a strong category. I am still in awe that Jordan Peele is an nominee. Greta Gerwig made a well loved, touching real life movie. Christopher Nolan has the Midas Touch and should have an Oscar by now. Paul Thomas Anderson makes consistently interesting and original films. Guillermo Del Toro has made some questionable films but never a bad or dull one. Hellboy, Blade II and Pacific Rim and all super fun even if they are not high art. Pan’s Labrynth is among my Top 100 favourite films, its pure genius. He is well liked and will take home the trophy.
Dan’s Pick: Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Here is one where you bet the farm.
Dan’s Pick: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
There is more talk in this category than any other of the majors. Margot Robbie made a sympathetic character out of Tonya Harding. Sally Hawkins is a brilliant actress, long overlooked. Meryl is Meryl, perhaps the greatest of all time and can never be counted out. Saorise Ronan gained acclaim and her third nomination for Lady Bird and she is brilliant. Her time will come. Frances McDormand as an all new kind of grieving mother will win.
Dan’s Pick: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Best Supporting Actor
For the longest time, everyone favoured Willem Dafoe in the Florida Project. I love his work but that small film did not mount much of a campaign. Sam Rockwell now seems to have momentum.
Dan’s Pick: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Best Supporting Actress
Everything I read everywhere points in one direction. If there is a upset it will be Laurie Metcalf in Ladybird
Dan’s Pick: Alison Janney, I, Tonya
Logan created a superhero film that defies the genre with heart and pathos. It will not win but perhaps should. The Disaster Artist is out of the question. Look here for Call My By Your Name to win its one and only award.
Dan’s Pick: Call Me By Your Name
Wide open, I think. The Big Sick will not win, any of the outer four could. I see the Academy wanting to honour Jordan Peele’s fascinating and horrifying Get Out. Either that or Ladybird.
Dan’s Pick: Get Out
The Runner Up Categories
If you have seen more than 10 movies in the last 20 years, chances are one was filmed by Roger Deakins. Proflic and brilliant, he has 13 prior nominations and could have won for any of them. He should have won for Fargo and Skyfall and arguably Shawshank. He is long overdue and his work here is among his best. Possible upset, Rachel Morrison, the first ever-female nominee in this category for Mudbound. (She also filmed Black Panther).
Dan’s Pick: Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
Best Costume Design
I am going to take the easy route and pick the film about a clothing designer
Dan’s Pick: Mark Bridges, The Phantom Thread
I almost always get this wrong so maybe I should go against my instincts. The team of Katie Spencer and Sarah Greenwood have done some brilliant work and are nominated twice this year. Blade Runner 2049 was close to perfect. The team from Shape of Water are all first time nominees in a category of Oscar veterans. I see them winning:
Dan’s Pick: The Shape of Water
Hard to pick here. For decades, editing and best picture went together. Not so much in recent years. Coin toss for Baby Driver, Dunkirk and The Shape of Water. Lee Smith should have won for The Dark Knight.
Dan’s Pick: Lee Smith, Dunkirk.
Best Original Song
The year was short on musicals. This is Me from The Greatest Showman is the only real musical song nominated. Wouldn’t it be great to say “Oscar Winner Mary J Blige”?? That said, Common has won before, but Diane Warren is 0 for 8 coming into this show.
Dan’s Pick: Common and Dianne Warren, Stand for Something from Marshall
There is zero change John Williams will win but the music for Last Jedi was perfect. Alexandre Desplat seems to score one out of very three movies these days. Carter Burwell has done most of the Coen Brother’s films but is rarely acknowledged. This is also a tough category.
Dan’s Pick: Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
I have not seen it yet but Pixar’s Coco got great reviews and seems to be the consensus pick. Could The Boss Baby win. Three words, Big Hero 6.
Dan’s Pick: Coco
Foreign Language Film
Dan’s Pick: The Insult (Lebanon)
Best Sound: Dunkirk
Best Sound Effects Editing: Dunkirk
Best Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049
Best Make-Up and Hair: Darkest Hour
The Educated Guesses
Documentary Short: Edith + Eddie, true story of a nonagenarian newlywed inter-racial couple
Documentary Feature: Faces Places. Celebrated French Director Agnes Varda becomes the oldest winner of a competitive Oscar. She is receiving an Honorary Award as well.
Live Action Short:: Dekalb Elementary. About a real life 911 call placed during a school shooting in Georgia.
Animated Short: Dear Basketball (In a #MeToo world, I find it hard to see Kobe Bryant winning an Oscar but this is the popular pick).