Our Picks For The Oscars
Article by Aaron Haughton
Last year was a fine year for film — one of the best years in recent memory — so needless to say, the competition is fierce between this year's nominees, particularly in the major categories. A strong case can be made for nearly every nomination, so it's extremely tough to gauge which way the Academy may lean, which should make watch the awards ceremony (if that's your thing) all the more thrilling.
We don't much care to theorize on what or who those suited stiffs will choose; no, we're only concerned about who or what we feel did the most standout job and is most deserving of recognition. Whether they emerge victorious or not, these our our picks for who we feel are the most worthy of the fanciest paperweight that Hollywood hands out. We were able to see most of the films nominated but not all, so these picks will only be for the categories that we have a base knowledge in.
Without further delay...
- Sound Mixing: Blade Runner 2049 (Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Mac Ruth)
- Sound Editing: Blade Runner 2049 (Mark Mangini, Theo Green)
Everythin about 2049's sound was fantastic. It was one of the few films that we walked out of that actually made us think and take note of the sound. It was sound you could feel in your chest, and like the film, it managed to feel familiar, yet new.
- Original Song: "Mystery of Love" — Sufjan Stevens (Call Me By Your Name)
We really loved Coco's "Remember Me", but we have to tip the scale for Stevens' musical contributions to Call Me By Your Name. His knack for soft, intimate folksy songwriting marries the visuals and mood the Luca Guadagnino's meticulously crafted love story. Stevens' instrumentations and lyrics directly contribute to the enchanting beauty of the film. While "Mysteries of Love" is a fantastic song, we're even more partial to "Visions of Gideon", which helps the film's final scene reach its powerfully moving climax.
- Original Score: Jonny Greenwood (Phantom Thread)
Every score that Greenwood has composed is fantastic, but we think his compositions for Phantom Thread are hands down some of the best he's ever done. Like Stevens', Greenwood's instrumentations directly impact the film by serving as audible insight into the mood of a scene or inner workings of the film's characters. His score here is his most overtly traditional, and the melodies he's crafted here are utterly gorgeous.
- Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran (Beauty and the Beast)
Durran did a bang up job bringing the animated classic to life in all its elegance. The costumes are fantastically intricate and help to give the film its fairy tale quality. We feel Phatom Thread is a close contender, but Beauty and the Beast is the most deserving in this particular category.
- Film Editing: Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos (Baby Driver)
If you've been following us review-wise, you already know that Edgar Wright's Baby Driver didn't floor us like it did for a majority of moviegoers. That said, we can't deny that it was incredibly fluid and managed to maintain a taut focus, despite all its moving parts. If you haven't guessed it yet, the image above is the edited timeline for the film, and you can see there's a lot going on there. The editors for this film kept the adrenaline flowing in high octane fashion, and that's why they're our pick here. However, the competition is this category is pretty neck and neck, and we could also see the award going to Dunkirk or Shape of Water for the same reasons we preferred Baby Driver.
- Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049
The world that 2049 cultivated was utterly intoxicating and entrancing. All of the effects in this film reinforced the world, making if feel tangible. We think the rest of the nominees in this category also used their effects in a similar fashion, but none of them were as successful as 2049. War for the Planet of the Apes would be a close second for us.
- Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau, Jeff Melvin (The Shape of Water)
Whether you love the film or hate it, there's no deny that the sets for del Toro's The Shape of Water were some of the best we've seen all year. You can watch this short YouTube video that goes into the set design in great detail here.
- Cinematography: Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049)
Deakins is one of the greatest cinematographers in our opinion, and the work he did on 2049 ranks high amongst his best work. We would love to see him come away with the award for this cinematically rich film.
- Actress in a Supporting Role: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Janney knocked it out of the park with her portrayal of Tonya Hardings' mother in I, Tonya, and there's no one we feel deserves the award more than her. Laurie Metcalf and Octavia Spencer also did standout jobs in each of their respective films, but we feel they were outshined by Janney's hilariously biting and eccentric character.
- Actor in a Supporting Role: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Willem Dafoe crushed it with his role as Bobby the motel manager in Sean Baker's magnificent The Florida Project. Dafoe brings a touching dose of humanity and warms the screen whenever he appears. He also shared the screen with a number of first-time and non-actors, never once hitting a contrived note, which is why we tip our hats to him. Rockwell and Jenkins also did a fantastic job and are well deserving of the nomination, but we feel Dafoe is most deserving of the award.
- Actress in a Leading Role: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
McDormand delivers her most memorable performance in recent memory as the grieving mother determined to see results in Marin McDonagh's Three Billboards. Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, and Sally Hawkins were all great in their own right, but in our opinion, McDormand gave the most noteworthy and complex performances out of this year's nominees.
- Actor in a Leading Role: Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)
Chalamet is the youngest out of this list of nominees, which includes some monolithic veterans like Gary Oldman, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Denzel Washington, but he also delivered one of the most crushing, vibrant and standout performances of the year as Elio in Call Me By Your Name. His character can be seen in long takes effortless bounding between English, Italian and French, and also playing the piano in the style of three different classical composers without so much as one cut. His performance is breathtaking and deserves to be heralded.
- Adapted Screenplay: Scott Frrank, James Mangold, Michael Green (Logan)
We think it's about time that the Academy recognizes the solid achievements of a superhero film, and since they already passed over The Dark Knight, we think they should give it Logan. It delivered in big ways and managed to be more than just a film with Wolverine's claws entering bad guys' faces and chests. The amount of emotional weight Mangold and company brought to the film was fantastic. It's a solid final chapter to one of the most beloved cinematic superheroes.
- Original Screenplay: Jordan Peele (Get Out)
This is one of the tougher categories for this year's awards, but we feel no one deserves it more than Jordan Peele. The social commentary presented in Get Out is razor sharp and unlike anything we've ever seen. While the other nominees are also solid, we feel that Peele's script is by and large the most original.
- Foreign Language Film: The Square (Ruben Östlund, Sweden)
We're crazy about The Square and would absolutely love to see Östlund take away the prize. He should've been nominated for 2014's Force Majeure, so this is either a pity nomination, or he'll walk away victorious with what we call "the Hemingway Pulitzer", or a reward for a lesser offering because they were unjustly passed over for the more superior effort.
- Animated Feature: Coco (Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson)
Coco is the most touching and beautiful Pixar films since Up, and the amount of craftsmanship and level of detail the animators put into every frame deserves to be recognized. It's also refreshing to see a non-children's film in the category, and would also be pleased if the award went to Vincent.
- Best Picture: Call Me By Your Name
here are a lot of wonderful films in the list of nominees, but we think Call Me By Your Name is the most beautifully crafted and deserving of the award here. It was our favorite film from last year, and we'd love to see it recognized by the Academy.
- Directing: Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
PTA has yet to receive an Oscar, and with him serving as writer, director and cinematographer here, we think this is as good a time as any to finally give him an award he's long since overdue.
What do you think? Who do you think deserves the Oscar? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!