Sunday, March 4, 2018

NIGHT 5: TOP AWARDS – 2018 Oscar Blog/Podcast

March 4, 2018

Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Call Me by Your Name - James Ivory
  • Logan - Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
  • Molly's Game - Aaron Sorkin
  • Mudbound - Dee Rees, Virgil Williams
  • The Disaster Artist - Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Who I’d vote for: Logan – Hands down. This is the only chance to vote for one of my Top 5 films of the year. It’s a shame that this is its only nomination; at the very least Patrick Stewart should have also been nominated. Though Deadpool’s R rating opened the door for this, Logan’s screenplay nomination has changed the game for the superhero genre. Allowing for graphic violence and a little salty language only amplifies what you can do in this realm of motion picture. Logan is essentially a Western in X-Men clothing; paying respect to the classics, most notably Shane. We will now be able to enjoy different genres within the superhero community instead of the typically one note “have to save the world from evil” mentality. Case in point: 2018’s The New Mutants set in the X-Men universe will be the first true horror film from Marvel. Logan also boasts the best ending to a script in all of 2017. It was a perfect goodbye to Hugh Jackman’s ‘Wolverine’.
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Who will win: Call Me by Your NameLogan, Mudbound and The Disaster Artist will all be on the outside looking in on the battle between Molly’s Game and Call Me by Your Name. At first, I thought that Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, Social Network, and Moneyball) was a lock in this category for his magnificently paced screenplay for Molly’s Game. Sorkin has the ability to make a biopic feel like an action film. The pace never lets up and if you love poker (like I do) than you’ll love this movie. But I believe the Academy will ultimately hand the hardware to James Ivory’s script for Call Me by Your Name. It is the only film in this category that is nominated for Best Picture; a huge advantage over the other nominees. There’s also that poignant soliloquy given by Michael Stuhlbarg at the end of the film. Stuhlbarg (playing Chalamet’s father) comforts and explains to his son that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. All children (straight or gay) should receive this kind of support from their parents. The legendary Ivory (previously nominated for Best Director for Room with a View, Howards End and Remains of the Day) will finally win his first Oscar; this time for screenplay.
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Best Original Screenplay
  • Get Out - Jordan Peele
  • Lady Bird - Greta Gerwig
  • The Big Sick - Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon
  • The Shape of Water - Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Martin McDonagh
Who I’d vote for: Lady Bird – This category may be the only chance for Lady Bird to walk away a winner on Sunday. That statement is extremely surprising considering Lady Bird is the best reviewed film of 2017, at one time registering a perfect 100% on The script moves effortlessly through teenage angst and drama to absurd comedy. But at the core of the film is the relationship between parent and child. We must never forget the sacrifices our parents have made for us; never take them for granted. That’s right, go and call your mother right now!

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Who will winThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – This is one of the toughest categories to predict. We have four Best Picture nominees and the independent comedy darling The Big Sick. Each script will get a ton of votes so this could very well be a pentagonal coin flip. I think Three Billboards will narrowly scrape by the other nominees for its timely subject matter. The script touches on themes that resonate with the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements simultaneously. The Academy tends to decide their winners based on the current political, cultural and social climate. Expect Three Billboards to come away with Original Screenplay for those very reasons.
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Best Achievement in Directing
  • Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk
  • Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird
  • Guillermo del Toro - The Shape of Water
  • Jordan Peele - Get Out
  • Paul Thomas Anderson - Phantom Thread
Who I’d vote for: Christopher Nolan – It’s shocking to me that this is Christopher Nolan’s first nomination for Best Director. The genius behind Memento, The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar finally gets his due with this nomination. Dunkirk is a truly unique film in structure; three separate perspectives over three different time frames told simultaneously through one cohesive story. The intense and innovative style of Dunkirk is second to none in this category.

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Who will win: Guillermo del Toro – Unfortunately for Nolan, his film came out the same year that The Shape of Water did. Guillermo del Toro seems destined to win Best Director after taking home the prize at the majority of the previous ceremonies including the Director’s Guild Awards. That’s usually a solid indication of things to come. And he deserves it. His direction has made audiences buy into a love story between a woman and a fish-man. Yes, it evokes and perhaps borrows the same themes of Beauty and the Beast and Creature from the Black Lagoon but it feels less like fantasy and more like reality thanks to del Toro’s adept and masterful hand.

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Best Motion Picture of the Year
  • Call Me by Your Name: Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Marco Morabito
  • Darkest Hour: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten, Douglas Urbanski
  • Dunkirk: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
  • Get Out: Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Jordan Peele
  • Lady Bird: Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Evelyn O'Neill
  • Phantom Thread: JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison, Daniel Lupi
  • The Post: Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger
  • The Shape of Water: Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, Martin McDonagh
Who I’d vote for: Dunkirk – Since they are not nominated for Best Picture, I cannot vote for Blade Runner 2049, Baby Driver or Logan. Therefore, I go to the next one in line on my top films of 2017 list…Dunkirk. I cannot express enough how I love the structure of this film. A lot of people were thrown off by the different timelines but for me, it clicked instantly. Anytime you can bring innovation to film I am going to shout your praises from the mountaintop. Out of the 9 nominees, Dunkirk is the best of the bunch.

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Who will win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – In the overall past history of the Oscars, the winner of Best Director typically lined up with the winner of Best Picture. But in recent years the Academy has spread the awards around like it is little league where everybody gets a trophy. I see that trend continuing this Sunday. While I feel that The Shape of Water has an excellent shot of winning the top honor, I believe it will be Three Billboards who walks away triumphant at the end of the telecast. Think about the past two award ceremonies. Spotlight beat out Mad Max: Fury Road. Moonlight beat out La La Land. Mad Max & La La Land both won an armful of awards before inexplicably losing Best Picture. Again, this is the socio-political statement that Hollywood loves to make. Expect Martin McDonagh, Frances McDormand and company to be the last image you see on stage this evening.

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Thank you for reading and hopefully listening to our Oscar 2018 predictions. Check back in the near future for an Oscar 2018 Recap where we will see just how right or wrong we were.

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