Congratulations to comic book movies Logan (adapted screenplay) and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (visual effects) for their Academy Award nominations. Congratulations as well to comic-book adjacent movies The Shape of Water (13 nominations for what appears to me to be a Hellboy prequel about Abe Sapien).
Here’s what I think of the major categories:
Best picture. It’s cool that Get Out is here, but is it a great film? It reads like an old Steve Gerber horror comic, and it was well done and fun to watch, but I don’t see how it compares to movies like Shape of Water and Dunkirk. The Post is nominated, and while I liked it, it’s also not a great movie. It’s not close to the best picture by any of the people involved. I haven’t seen Darkest Hour yet, but I really want to, and yet I’m going to give it to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a movie that in my opinion was important in the way it updated the standard action/revenge movie format. It didn’t do it just by having an older woman in the lead role, it did it by giving texture and depth to the “villains” in the film—albeit many found Sam Rockwell’s redemption at the end to be a little too easy.
Best actress. I loved Margot Robbie in “I, Tonya,” and would have given “I, T” a nom for best picture, but I have to go with Frances McDormand in “Three Billboards.” It was a career-making performance from a woman who already has a career’s worth of Oscar-level performances. I love Saoirse Ronan, nominated for “Lady Bird,” but would have given her a statue for last year’s, “Brooklyn.”
Best actor. I haven’t seen it yet, but all indications are that Gary Oldman deserves it for being Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.” As an aside, how the Hell did Denzel Washington get nominated for the mediocre “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” a movie that nobody watched?
Best director. I’m sure they’ll give it to Christopher Nolan for “Dunkirk,” and I accept that this was a great movie (even if I just found it to be an above-average one), but I’d go with Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water.” Nolan has never won, though, which could influence the voting. As could the fact that an African American, Jordan Peele (Get Out) and a woman, Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) are nominated. Maybe this leads to a split vote leaving the last nominee, Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) to pick up the pieces? But I doubt it.
Supporting Actress. Oh come on. It’s Allison Janney (I, Tonya). Let’s not even talk about this any more.
Supporting Actor. I loved, loved, LOVED Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards.” If there’s any justice he should win. But he won’t. Sam Rockwell might win for the same movie, or Willem Dafoe might take it for “The Florida Project” because lots of critics love that movie and it isn’t nominated anywhere else. Richard Jenkins is nominated for, and did a good job in, “The Shape of Water,’ but what the hell is going on with Christopher Plummer being nominated for “All the Money in the World?” It’s a movie few people saw, and he was only cast in reshoots after Kevin Spacy was pulled from the film. Add that to the pay-discrepancy controversy, and I just don’t get how “All the Money” is even in an Oscar-level conversation.
Animated film. Despite Logan and Guardians getting some love, this category is head-scratchingly ponderous. I don’t care about any of the nominees (“Coco” will win), but how the fuck is “Lego Batman Movie” not here????
In the smaller categories, I’d go for:
Adapted screenplay: Molly’s Game by Aaron Sorkin. It was extremely well-written, although I would love to give this to Logan, which was the first superhero movie to make me cry.
Original screenplay: Lots of great movies here and really any of them deserve to win, but I’d go for The Big Sick, which I thought breathed new life into a very tired format.
Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049 should win. Beautiful movie.
Film editing: How can my favorite movie of the year, Baby Driver, lose in this category? Easy. It had Kevin Spacy in it. Goddamn it. This will probably go to Shape of Water or Dunkirk instead.
Visual effects: Rooting for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but wouldn’t be disappointed by any of the others except “Kong: Skull Island,” and not because it didn’t look good but because, come on, please stop with this crap.
Sound editing and Sound Mixing: Again, Baby Driver should win either or both. The sound in this perfectly choreographed movie was brilliant. But because of Kevin Spacy, we’ll probably see it go to Dunkirk or The Last Jedi.
Worst snubs: Complete or near-complete shutouts for: Wind River, The Disaster Artist, Wonder Woman, Good Time, Thor: Ragnarok.