Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Oscar Nominations 2018

So the nominees were announced this past week for the 90th  Academy Awards.

These awards remain the most prestigious in film.  And while many of you, dear readers, are of the opinion that all awards shows are terrible and should simply be shunned, it is my perpetual hope that Hollywood will reform itself and once again nominate movies that matter.

For example, here are the top 10 grossing films of the year:

1. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
2. Beauty and the Beast
3. Wonder Woman
4. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
6. It
7. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
8. Thor: Ragnarok
9. Despicable Me 3
10. Justice League

Keep in mind that I have always maintained that box office alone is not a statement about a film's quality.  My own top ten of the year include:

1. Logan
2. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
3. Justice League
4. The Greatest Showman
5. Murder on the Orient Express
6. Wonder Woman
7. IT
8. Coco
9. Dunkirk
10. Beauty and the Beast

Only half of the top ten films belong to the highest grossers.  While I am in the minority regarding my love of the movie I think was the best picture, more than half of the ones on my list are in the top ten box office.  Murder on the Orient Express is in the number 29 spot behind Baby Driver.   However I will say that each of these movies has made at least $100 million dollars domestic.  This bolsters my thesis that, for the most part, audiences will respond to quality films.  

This year's Oscars for Best Picture?  Where do they rank?

14. Dunkirk ($188 million)
16.  Get Out ($175 million)
59.  The Post ($45 million)
63. Darkest Hour ($41 million)
67.  Lady Bird ($39 million)
77.  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ($30 million)
82. The Shape of Water ($30 million)
127.  Call Me By Your Name ($9 million)
142. Phantom Thread ($6 million)

Last year, not  a single one is from the top ten of the year and none of the nominees have made over $100 million by the time they were nominated.

This year is an improvement.  We have two genuine hits: Dunkirk and Get Out.  We have 5 middling films that some people have seen.  And we have two that no one has seen (Call Me By Your Name and Phantom Thread).

Together, their combined box office total does not match Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.  In fact if you average their box office, it would less than what A Dog's Purpose made.  Additionally, if you remove either Dunkirk or Get Out, the combined box officer would not make it into the top 4 films of the year.

This tells me 2 things:

1.  This will once again be an incredibly low-rated Oscars.  The majority of movie goers do not have a dog in this fight.  Apathy is not a big ratings draw.  If  Dunkirk and Get Out received more nominations, this might be some interest.  But the ones with the most nominations are The Shape of Water and Three Billboards.  

2.  The winner will be insignificant.  No one will really care about the winner in a few months.  The Oscars used to be about timeless movies.  But in the last decades they are about the film industry patting itself on the back for either being incredibly clever or send the "right" message.  MoonlightSpotlight, Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist... Are these all films people will still be watching in 10 years?  (Of this list, I would favor Argo, which was an excellent movie.  But Lincoln is the more timeless film of that year.)

So below are my thoughts on some (not all) of this year's nominees.  

And make sure you scroll to the bottom if you would like to participate in this year's Oscar Game!

Performance by an actor in a leading role
    Timothée Chalamet, "Call Me By Your Name"
    Daniel Day-Lewis, "Phantom Thread"
    Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out"
    Gary Oldman, "Darkest Hour"
    Denzel Washington, "Roman J. Israel, Esq."

    -I haven't seen any of these movies, but I think that this is Gary Oldman's year.  It is about time to honor the world's best living actor.

    Performance by an actor in a supporting role
    Willem Dafoe, "The Florida Project"
    Woody Harrelson, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    Richard Jenkins, "The Shape of Water"
    Christopher Plummer, "All the Money in the World"
    Sam Rockwell, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    -Again, haven't seen any of these movies, but my money would be on Rockwell.

    Performance by an actress in a leading role
    Sally Hawkins, "The Shape of Water"
    Frances McDormand, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
    Margot Robbie, "I, Tonya"
    Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird"
    Meryl Streep, "The Post"

    -I only saw Streep's performance, but I didn't think it was anything special.  Hollywood love McDormand, though.

    Performance by an actress in a supporting role
    Mary J. Blige, "Mudbound"
      Allison Janney, "I, Tonya"
      Lesley Manville, "Phantom Thread"
      Laurie Metcalf, "Lady Bird"
      Octavia Spencer, "The Shape of Water"

      -Again, didn't see any of these.  

      Best animated feature film of the year
      "The Boss Baby"
      "The Breadman"
      "Loving Vincent"

      -Coco was a very nice movie and stands out from the others here.

      Achievement in cinematography
      "Blade Runner 2049"
      "Darkest Hour"
      "The Shape of Water"

      -I've only seen Dunkirk, but I've Blade Runner  was amazing to look at.

      Achievement in directing
      Christopher Nolan, "Dunkirk"
      Jordan Peele, "Get Out"
      Greta Gerwig, "Lady Bird"
      Paul Thomas Anderson "Phantom Thread"
      Guillermo del Toro, "The Shape of Water"

      Nolan is one of the best and strongest voices in film today.  While Dunkirk is not the best movie I've seen this year, it is a fantastic piece of directing.  But my guess would be that del Toro will win.

      Achievement in film editing
      "Baby Driver"
      "I, Tonya"
      "The Shape of Water"
      "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

      -This is actually a tough call for me because each film I saw did some wonderfully different things with their editing.  Baby Driver had some fantastic and frenetic action scenes that were expertly edited.  But Dunkirk has some of the most creative narrative editing I have seen.

      Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
      "Phantom Thread"
      "The Shape of Water"
      "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
      "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
      -they should just give the Oscar to Williams, but they won't.
      Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
      "Mighty River," "Mudbound"
      "Mystery of Love," "Call Me by Your Name"
      "Remember Me," "Coco"
      "Stand Up For Something," "Marshall"
      "This is Me," "Greatest Showman"

      -There were so many songs from The Greatest Showman that should be nominated, but "This is Me" is a fine choice
      Best motion picture of the year
      "Call Me by Your Name"
        "Darkest Hour"
        "Get Out"
        "Lady Bird"
        "Phantom Thread"
        "The Post"
        "The Shape of Water"
        "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

        -I've only seen Dunkirk and The Post.  But neither will win.

        Achievement in visual effects
        "Blade Runner 2049"
        "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
        "Kong: Skull Island"
        "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
        "War for the Planet of the Apes"

        -For Snoke alone, this should go to Star Wars, but I think Blade Runner will take it.
        Adapted screenplay
        "Call Me by Your Name"
        "The Disaster Artist"
        "Molly's Game"

        -I am so excited that Logan got a nomination, but I think this will go to the gay coming of age Call Me By Your Name
        Original screenplay
        "The Big Sick"
        "Get Out"
        "Lady Bird"
        "The Shape of Water"
        "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

        -Because this is the only category that The Big Sick is nominated in, I think it has an edge.

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