When I was younger, I never really thought much of the Oscars. My mom always kept it on to watch the girls walk the red carpet in their pretty dresses and then quickly changed the channel once the awards portion of the night actually got started. My dad would wait and see if this year’s big animated Disney movie won the coveted Best Animated Feature Film award, which it always did, and then he too lost interest. I’ve always been pretty into movies, so I generally had some vague idea of who had won on Hollywood’s biggest night. It wasn’t until around 2015 when I really started to become a true Oscar buff.
I was casually scrolling through the internet one day when I came across the Oscar nominations for that year. I decided to check them out, just for kicks. To my surprise, I had seen almost every movie that was up for a big award – Boyhood, Birdman, The Theory of Everything, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Glory, Big Hero 6, and Interstellar. I thought back to a few weeks prior when I caught wind that Boyhood had won the award for Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes and I was furious. I held the vastly unpopular opinion, and still do, that that movie is incredibly overrated. It is commonly believed that the Golden Globe awards are good predictors of the Oscar winners. I made the decision right then and there to tune in and find out if Boyhood was going to take home the trophy yet again. Thankfully it did not, and the top award of the night, deservedly, went to Birdman. Ever since then I’ve made it a point to watch all of the years top films prior to awards season and this year is no exception.
This year’s nominees truly blew me out of the water. The level of talent and creativity that is displayed within the top picks are unlike any other. It just keeps getting better and better. Luca Guadagnino’s Italian set story about two men discovering their sexuality over the course of a summer, Call Me By Your Name, is up for Best Picture with Hollywood’s newest fresh face Timothée Chalamet also being nominated for Best Actor. Chalamet also stars in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird; a story about a young girl’s tumultuous relationship with her mother and her desperate desire to leave her hometown of Sacramento, California, which racked up five nominations total including Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture. As far as nominations go, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water leads with a whopping thirteen in all major categories except for Best Actor. His story about a mute cleaning woman’s forbidden romance with a creature from the deep is set to win big at the awards on Sunday, March 4th, 2018. Its competitors include award show favorite Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, directed by Martin McDonagh, and star-studded The Post directed by Steven Spielberg. Phantom Thread, Get Out, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, and I, Tonya are also up for some of the night’s biggest awards.
This year’s nominees are also helping The Oscars recover from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that occurred two years ago when just about all of the 2016 nominees were white men and women and movies with a predominately white cast. This year The Academy has broadened its ever-growing horizons and had acknowledged the work of Daniel Kaluuya, Denzel Washington, Mary J. Blige and Octavia Spencer as well as the directorial and screenwriting work of Jordan Peele and Guillermo del Toro respectively. If Octavia Spencer wins she would receive her second Oscar and Denzel Washington his third. Daniel Kaluuya would receive his first and Jordan Peele would make history to be the first black man to ever win a directorial Oscar. Guillermo del Toro, should he win for Best Original Screenplay, would be the fourth Latin American to win in that category, one that he was also nominated for in 2006 for Pan’s Labyrinth. However, according to Variety, a “#OscarsSoWhite scenario [could] still potentially create controversy when the final awards are handed out if few winners of color are selected for the major categories”. For that, we will have to wait and see, but until then it is fun to speculate who should and who probably will take home one of the most coveted awards in Hollywood.
Let’s start with the biggest award of the night: Best Picture. The big front-runner in this category is The Shape of Water. With its thirteen nominations, it would almost be unfair for it to not win anything, but the question is: will it take home the biggest award of the night? Right now it seems as though it might. It is a fan and critic favorite having won the Producers Guild of America, and Critics Choice Awards for Best Picture. Based on my reaction when I saw it, I completely understand the hype. This film was disturbingly weird in all the right ways with a story that kept you invested and entertained the entire time. For this reason, I think that it will most likely take home the award for Best Original Screenplay as well. There’s just nothing else quite like it out there right now in my opinion. The cast was also incredible and so was the music. It set the tone of whimsical mystery and intrigue. The Shape of Water was also nominated for Best Original Score. It is my prediction and hope that it will win big in this categories as well, for the music from this movie really just transported you and that is exactly what it is supposed to do.
Next up is Best Director. This category is one for the history books this year. As previously mentioned, if Jordan Peele takes home the prize for his film Get Out, he will be the first African- American male to win the award in Oscars history. Also in this category is Greta Gerwig for her movie Lady Bird. Her win would mean she would be the second woman to ever win a directorial Oscar in the shows ninety years of running. While these two’s chances are slim in comparison to current front-runner Guillermo del Toro, they each have my vote. Both Get Out and Lady Bird were excellent pieces of cinema and the historical impact of each of their wins could change the tides of future Oscar races to come as well as inspire thousands of aspiring filmmakers. Guillermo del Toro’s intense likability and “beloved figure” (Anne Thompson, Indiewire) status within the industry will most likely lead him to victory though.
While Call Me By Your Name and Darkest Hour aren’t slated to win Best Picture, lead actors Timothée Chalamet and Gary Oldman are predicted to be the top two contenders for the Best Actor award of the night. Personally, I enjoyed Timothée Chalamet performance in Lady Bird better in comparison to Call Me By Your Name, but I liked that movie as a whole too so that probably contributes to my feelings on that. I do believe that one of them will win, though Daniel Day-Lewis does have a shot given Phantom Thread is rumored to be the final film in his career. But my number one pick would be Daniel Kaluuya, for his performance in Get Out. Awards Circuit said it best when they praised him for the “natural charisma” he brought to his role. I think he should win but whether or not he will win we’ll be left up to the voters.
As for lead actress I think it 100% belongs to Margot Robbie. Her portrayal of Tonya Harding brought new light to an arguably misjudged athletic figure in history. Watching her is addicting and she brings so much to every scene she is in, stealing the show almost every time. That being said, Frances McDormand from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is predicted to take home the award. Like Oldman, she won in this category at the SAG, Golden Globes, and Critics Choice Awards. While her character’s actions may be questionable, there is no doubt among critics that her portrayal of a relentlessly determined mother is a tough one to beat. To me though, there is something to be said about Sally Hawkins making the audience feel so much for a character without uttering a single word in The Shape of Water. She truly is the “heart and soul” (Award Circuit) of the film, but will most likely get beat out by season favorite Frances McDormand.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is also set to win big in the Supporting Actor category with Sam Rockwell. Rockwell, like McDormand, won in this category for the SAG, Golden Globe, and Critics Choice Awards setting him up for success at the Oscars. Allison Janney did the same for her role as Tonya Harding’s mother in I, Tonya, and is too lined up to win big at the Oscars. While Allison Janney’s performance was incredible, my vote for this one would have to go to Octavia Spencer in Shape of Water. I’ve fallen in love with every character that Spencer has ever played and her role Shape of Water is no exception. She is one of my favorite actress of all time, so I am definitely rooting for her.
Being an extreme Disney fan, I have high hopes for Coco to win in the Best Animated Feature category. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see this one yet I would highly recommend dropping whatever you are doing right now and going straight to a theater that is still playing it. In traditional Disney fashion Coco will make you laugh, cry, and be truly astounded at the talent of Disney animators. This is arguably one of Disney’s best movies ever. The soundtrack alone is enough to get you hooked on this movie. That being said, I also hope ” Remember Me” from Coco will take home the Best Original Song award. I personally prefer the lullaby version of this song, but the more upbeat one is just as good. There’s potential for this to be beat out by “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, a movie I was less than happy with this season, but I think Coco has a pretty good chance of taking home both awards.
I will be firmly planted in front of my T.V. on March 4th to see who takes home the prizes for all the categories, not just the highly anticipated ones. I am always hopeful that my favorites will win, but no matter what, it is almost guaranteed that the Academy Awards will be a great show, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Be sure to tune in to see if your favorites win too!