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February 5, 2018

Oscars 2018: Predictions, Snubs, and Surprises

by Jack Spinella

The biggest award show in Hollywood has finally released their nominations and like every year, there are some major oversights, along with some pleasant surprises that many could not have seen coming. Before diving into the major categories, I want to shed some light on great films that I didn’t expect to pick up smaller nominations.

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver picked up three well deserved nods for best editing, best sound editing and best sound mixing. While these three will most likely go to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, it’s nice to see an Edgar Wright film finally get some recognition, despite his style not blending with the typical Oscar nominated films. Speaking of which, the latest Wolverine movie, Logan, has been nominated for adapted screenplay. This is a big deal as Logan is now the first superhero film ever to be nominated for its screenplay, most superhero films never get anything besides makeup, effects or costume design. However, this award will most likely go to Call Me by Your Name as it is the only film in this category to also be nominated for Best Picture. While I loved seeing films like Baby Driver and Logan get the recognition they deserve, I was more overjoyed by the Academy choices for best director.

By far the most controversial category at the Golden Globes this year was best director. Many slammed the Hollywood Foreign Press for nominating only white men despite the fact that Jordan Peele’s Get Out, and Greta Gerwig’s Ladybird were two of the best films of 2017. Personally I found Jordan Peele to be the bigger snub out of the two as, Get Out had some of the most unique imagery of the year, while the writing of Ladybird overshadowed the directing. Despite this, both deserved their nominations for best director, and their carriers will definitely be boosted by this honor. The other three nominees are Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread and Guillermo del Toro for Shape of Water, who will most likely win and undoubtedly deserves the award.

At almost every Academy Awards, one set of nominees leave audiences scratching their heads, and this year it was best animated feature. While Coco, Loving Vincent and The Breadwinner are all well dervesered, it was Boss Baby and Ferdinand that caused everyone to do a double take. Many including me saw The Lego Batman Movie and the Japanese film A Silent Voice as much more deserving. However, it is not uncommon for the Oscars to overlook great animated films and at least everyone can take solace in the fact that the fantastic Disney feature Coco has a 100% chance of winning this one.

Moving on to the acting categories, the biggest snub by far was James Franco losing out on a nomination for best actor in a leading role for his work on The Disaster Artist. What made this even more shocking was the fact that Franco beat out Daniel Kaluuya, the lead actor of Get Out, for best lead actor in a music or comedy at the Golden Globes, but Kaluuya now has an Oscar nomination and Franco doesn’t. That’s not to say Kaluuya’s performance was terrible, but he was tasked with playing the straight man in Get Out while Franco was tasked with impersonating one of the most bizarre and insane film directors of all time, which he pulled off perfectly. Many believe the recent sexual assault allegation against Franco kept him out of the running. While this could definitely have something to do with his snub, I wouldn’t be surprised if Franco’s stoner comedy track record also hurt his chances. That’s also not taking into account that The Disaster Artist itself didn’t have the makings of an Oscar nominated film. While the Academy loves films about filmmakers, they would rather have them be about good filmmakers. The appeal of cult classic, so bad it’s good movie The Room, which Disaster Artist tells the story of making, could be lost on the often uptight Academy. The beloved film about another famously bad director Ed Wood that released in 1994 only picked up best makeup and best supporting actor, so maybe the Academy just is not a huge fan of the “so bad it’s good” genre. The other four nominees include Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel, Esq, Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread, Timothée Chalamet for Call Me by Your Name and Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour who is the favorite to win based on the Golden Globes and SAG awards.

The nominees for best supporting actress, actor and best lead actress are all spot on and devoid of any snubs. The nominees for best supporting actor are 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 and Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Sam Rockwell is the favorite to win and there really isn’t any buzz surrounding anyone else. Best supporting actress nominees are Mary J. Blige for Mudbound, Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread, Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird, Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water and Allison Janney for I, Tonya. Janney is the clear standout based on the Golden Globes and Sag awards, however, Metcalf also has a decent chance of taking it home. The nominees for best actress in a leading role are; Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water, Margot Robbie, for I, Tonya, Meryl Streep for The Post Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird and Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Best actress is a race between McDormand and Hawkins this year, McDormand stands as the more likely winner, but her victory is not a certainty.

Moving onto the biggest category of the show, best picture. The nine nomimmies are; Call Me by Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. While the Academy can nominate ten films, they rarely do and this year is no exception. If I were to chose one film to add to the list I would have to go with The Disaster Artist, but would be happy with I, Tonya, Blade Runner 2049, or Baby Driver. Much like the best actress category, the two front runners are Three Billboards and Shape of Water, with the former having a slightly better shot.

While the 90th Academy Awards is shaping up to be a fairly predictable affair, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth watching, anything could happen, you never know for sure. The Oscars will be broadcasted March, 4th at 7 PM on ABC.

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