March 2, 2018
· Coco - Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
· Ferdinand - Carlos Saldanha
· Loving Vincent - Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Ivan Mactaggart
· The Boss Baby - Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
· The Breadwinner - Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
Who I’d vote for: Coco – Admittedly, I haven’t seen some of these but I don’t think it would matter one bit. I did think there weren’t enough musical numbers (perhaps Moana spoiled me) but there was no lack of visual stimulation. The colorful world built by the animators delivered on all levels. The visual feast would have been enough to dazzle me but the theme of never forgetting your ancestors still resonates. Disney did it again… surprise, surprise.
Who will win: Coco – Sometimes there is a colossal upset in this category where the barely seen independent or foreign film topples the big budget or domestic frontrunner. Loving Vincent could do just that since it can boast being the first fully painted animated film. That’s right, I said painted. The film was shot in live action and then painstakingly painted by hand in the style of Van Gogh. The Academy could reward this innovation but ultimately I think Coco wins. Hollywood will relish the opportunity to crown this cultural film in Trump’s America. Plus, it’s a pretty moving film that could ultimately help a generation of kids understand death a little better.Embed from Getty Images
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
· Blade Runner 2049 - John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover
· Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Daniel Sudick
· Kong: Skull Island - Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Michael Meinardus
· Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi - Ben Morris, Michael Mulholland, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould
· War for the Planet of the Apes - Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joel Whist
Who I’d vote for: War for the Planet of the Apes – This is one of the toughest categories for me to decide on. I’m tempted to say Blade Runner 2049 because it should win any award with the word visual in the title. Kong: Skull Island was extremely realistic despite the far-fetched premise. But I have to give credit where credit is due: War for the Planet of the Apes delivers on a massive scale.
Who will win: War for the Planet of the Apes - This ground-breaking trilogy revolutionized motion capture. The previous two installments were both nominated but ultimately lost out on Oscar night; which is pretty hard to believe. I think the Academy rights those wrongs by rewarding this statuette to the third and final installment. Hail Caesar!Embed from Getty Images
Best Achievement in Film Editing
· Baby Driver - Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos
· Dunkirk - Lee Smith
· I, Tonya - Tatiana S. Riegel
· The Shape of Water - Sidney Wolinsky
· Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Jon Gregory
Who I’d vote for: Dunkirk- Three different perspectives: one week on land, one day at sea, one hour in the air coming together in a perfect crescendo. Christopher Nolan has always had a fascination of playing with time in his films: Memento, Insomnia, Inception, and Interstellar. But this time he has outdone himself.
Who will win: Dunkirk – I think Baby Driver and The Shape of Water have a real chance here but there has never been a film put together like Dunkirk. Lee Smith, the film’s editor, deserves to take home his 1st Oscar on his 3rd nomination. All the other editors are first-time nominees, so that may enhance Smith’s odds even more.Embed from Getty Images
Best Achievement in Cinematography
· Blade Runner 2049 - Roger Deakins
· Darkest Hour - Bruno Delbonnel
· Dunkirk - Hoyte Van Hoytema
· Mudbound - Rachel Morrison
· The Shape of Water - Dan Laustsen
Who I’d vote for: Blade Runner 2049 – I have two favorite cinematographers of all time: Conrad L. Hall and Roger Deakins. There is no living DP who I respect more. Deakins’ collaboration with the Coen Brothers is second to none in my humble opinion but his work with Denis Villeneuve is slowing creeping up. No film this year was as beautifully shot as Blade Runner 2049.
Who will win: Blade Runner 2049 – While it would be tempting to vote for Rachel Morrison, the first women ever nominated in this category, I believe this is the year Deakins finally takes home his Oscar. There have been 14 nominations over the years for the legendary cinematographer for films including Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Skyfall, and Sicario. Deakins is due and the members of the Academy are well aware of it.
Check back tomorrow for Part 4: Acting!