It’s that time of year again. Oscar season. Where everyone goes on a rampage about why their favorite films of the year didn’t get nominated for Best Picture. By now we should all realize that the Oscars are not the be all and end all. Sure it’s great to see the best film win Best Picture but that hardly ever happens (sorry The Florida Project). And the movies that pick up the most awards aren’t necessarily going to be remembered in two months’ time let alone two years’ time. Who is really talking about The King’s Speech or Argo anymore? They’re not making anyone’s Best Films of the 21st Century list are they?
It is however still the most prestigious award in the industry and the one that your casual film audience cares about most. So let me break down the nominees for you, and what the actual shocks and snubs are.
The Shape of Water received the most nominations of any film with 13, just one short of the record. This included nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay. It looks likely however to only win in a couple of these categories at most, with the focus being on Best Director and Best Picture.
Whilst critics have adored this fantasy romance, some audiences have been less impressed. It may prove to be the most divisive of all the Best Picture nominees. Whilst I enjoyed it greatly, a lot of people in the cinema walked out grumbling about it.
Dunkirk notched up 8 nominations, with Christopher Nolan receiving his first ever Best Director nod. Whilst it may not be the hot favorite anymore after a lackluster awards season, it’s still in with a shout of taking something home on the night.
The film many are tipping for Oscar glory is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and it scored in all the expected categories except one. It leads the way in the Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay races, but Martin McDonagh bizarrely missed out on a Best Director nomination.
In the Best Actor race, the favourite Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) stands out amongst the rest, with his closest competitors being Call Me By Your Name’s Timothee Chalamet and Phantom Thread’s Daniel Day-Lewis.
The strongest category may very well be Best Actress, but even there it would be a shock if Frances McDormand didn’t take home the prize. Only Saoirse Ronan looks likely at this moment to cause any sort of upset.
Shocks and Snubs
As always there were some noticeable omissions from the nominations as well as some pleasant surprises. As previously mentioned one of the biggest shocks was Martin McDonagh missing out on a Best Director nod, but that also led to two very pleasant surprises. Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman in history to be nominated for Best Director for her movie Lady Bird, whilst Jordan Peele became only the fifth black filmmaker to be nominated in the same category. Peele’s movie, Get Out, also picked up a Best Picture nomination and its lead actor Daniel Kaluuya grabbed himself a Best Actor nod.
Kaluuya’s inclusion was much deserved and will hopefully not get lost amongst the controversy of the Best Actor category. James Franco, winner of the Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, at the Golden Globes, was omitted amid sexual harassment allegations. As well as Kaluuya, another surprise was a nod for Academy favourite Denzel Washington, last year nominated in the same category for Fences.
There was also a nomination for Best Cinematography for Rachel Morrison (Mudbound), which makes her the first female in history to be nominated in the category. Mary J Blige made history too, by receiving nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Song in the same year.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, which has not really made a mark in the Awards season so far, fared extremely well picking up nominations in 6 categories, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
Other surprises include Logan being nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Academy are notorious for overlooking the superhero genre so it is encouraging that Logan was acknowledged. This however prompts the question why neither Patrick Stewart nor Hugh Jackman were anywhere near the Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor races respectively.
Lots of people have spoken about Wonder Woman being snubbed although it never looked likely to have a chance in what is a very strong year. Other big name movies had to settle for only a handful of nominations in non-acting categories, such as Blade Runner 2049, The Big Sick and The Disaster Artist.
For the full list of nominees click here.
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