2018 Oscar nominations spread the love
Bruce Steele: This year’s Oscar nominations throw a lot of love around to a lot of deserving films. Is there one contender that makes you the happiest?
Edwin Arnaudin: I don’t know that it’s a contender, but Dunkirk being remembered to the tune of eight nominations gave me a massive smile. How about you?
Bruce: I’m very happy for Dunkirk, and the only reason I’m not smiling massively for The Shape of Water’s 13 nominations is that none seems a real surprise. You know my affection for Baby Driver, so seeing it acknowledged for its amazing editing and creative sound design was really satisfying. And that leads me naturally to…All the Money in the World!
Edwin: There’s no Best Supporting Actor in Nine Days category, and Christopher Plummer already won in the legit Supporting Actor field a few years ago for Beginners, so to quote our mascot Lucas McKee, “What the heck?”
Bruce: I think there was a little “What the heck?” going on with the Get Out nominations too, in a good way: Why not give the zeitgeist movie a fistful of nominations — Jordan Peele for director, writer AND producer (Best Picture) — even though the movie doesn’t really fit any typical Oscar template? I think Get Out displaced The Post as the movie elevated in part to make a political point.
Edwin: It did, and I think that's remarkable for a film that will have been out over a year by the time of the ceremony. That's Silence of the Lambs territory! But will it win anything?
Bruce: Good question. Ordinarily I’d give it a shot at Original Screenplay, but that may be this year’s toughest category.
Edwin: I think it'll win there and be part of the Academy's overall question: "Where can we reward this movie?" In turn, Call Me By Your Name takes Adapted Screenplay and Lady Bird gets... something? Supporting Actress?
Bruce: I’m afraid Lady Bird’s last big victory may be getting writer-director Greta Gerwig her well-earned nominations for Best Director and Original Screenplay. I expect both Lady Bird and the surprisingly well-represented Phantom Thread to go home empty-handed on March 4. The Post, too. Meanwhile, Darkest Hour gets two wins for essentially the same achievement: turning Sid Vicious into Winston Churchill.
Edwin: No original score for Phantom Thread? Ok... Speaking of Best Actor, what do you make of Daniel Kaluuya and Denzel Washington getting nods over James Franco and...Tom Hanks?
Bruce: Hanks has won twice, but he’s no Meryl Streep. She may have 21 nominations now, but Hanks hasn’t even been nominated in 17 years. Denzel, on the other hand, is 3-for-6 since 2013. As for Kaluuya: Let’s hope his and Timothée Chalamet’s mentions are evidence of the Academy supporting young male talent in the way they have long done in the actress categories.
Edwin: It would be a nice change. Speaking of (my new favorite phrase), will Roger Deakins finally get his first Oscar for his gorgeous cinematography in the refreshingly heavily nominated Blade Runner 2049?
Bruce: I hope so. He deserves it. But if The Shape of Water sponges up all the craft awards, he may get passed over again. I’d like to think the Oscars have gotten better at sharing the award wealth in recent years, splitting up the lesser categories among several movies. Unfortunately, that could mean an Oscar for The Greatest Snowman. I mean, Showman.
Edwin: As someone who wants to see Michael Fassbender's Harry Hole singing circus songs, I'll allow it. But those guys got their La La Land Oscar, so they're OK. Give Sufjan Stevens some love and pass it on to Aaron Sorkin for Molly's Game. What does that mean for acclaimed local indie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri? Best Actress and Supporting Actor?
Bruce: I’m still thinking Billboards for Best Picture, Actress AND Supporting Actor. I think grieving mom beats mute monster moll, even in a gorgeous movie like Shape of Water.
Edwin: It's a weird situation. Dunkirk and Blade Runner are more worthy, but it'll come down to those two. But wouldn't it be great if Get Out took the top prize?
Bruce: It’s not impossible, and it would be another great victory for Oscar outsiders. But when the relative “insider” is Guillermo del Toro — not the unnominated Steven Spielberg — I think you’re already seeing a seismic shift.
Edwin: I’m cool with del Toro joining his best friends Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu in a Mexican Best Director Trinity. What were you hoping to see that's not represented?
Bruce: I would have subbed in Jessica Chastain for Molly’s Game in place of Dame Meryl. And they couldn’t find a crumb for Wonder Woman? Kong: Skull Island had better FX? I also would have written in The Sense of an Ending or My Cousin Rachel over the tortures of Logan for Adapted Screenplay. Then there’s my longstanding wish for a Best Music Supervision award, just so Baby Driver could win something. What was ignored from your wish list?
Edwin: I do think Franco is deserving of a Best Actor nod over Kaluuya. And Tom Hardy (Dunkirk) and Adam Driver (Logan Lucky) would be fun, deserving Supporting Actor choices, plus Hong Chu for Downsizing. (Thanks, Matt Damon.) My top documentary (May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers) and foreign language (BPM) favorites weren't on the shortlists, so they didn't have a chance.
Bruce: I’ll second your Franco. Remarkably, I keep looking for nominations that make me cringe but there’s not a single one except those I’ve already mentioned in passing. How about you?
Edwin: Other than The Greatest Showman and the (unseen by me) Wonder for Best Makeup? No, it seems like a list of nods pretty representative of the year in film, though I agree with you on the Wonder Woman snub. It's as beloved as Get Out and deserves something. But overall, the choices are solid. Could the Academy be truly woke?
Bruce: Let’s not get carried away here. It’s hard enough just for viewers to stay “woke” to the end of the ceremony. Pretty sure Faye Dunaway was half asleep last year.