It's Oscar day again! Which means it's time for my annual Academy Award picks.
As always, these aren't predictions. Only my list of favorites in each of the main categories.
Of the nine Best Picture nominees, there are only three I've yet to see; Phantom Thread (which was at the top of my list, but didn't stay at the local theaters long enough for me to get to), The Post (Which I'd sacrificed at the theater thinking it would be released On Demand in time for the show. It was not) and Call Me by Your Name (which I was tempted to squeeze in this afternoon, but just wasn't in the mood for a good cry.)
I'm going to try be brief this year in an effort to have all my meat, cheese and carbs cooked and ready in time for the red carpet pre-show. (Yes, really! You imbibe your way, I'll imbibe mine.)
So without further ado...
With all the glorious period pieces this year to choose from, I'd love to consider everyone a winner for once. So, I'll base this vote on sheer volume of work for the costume department and use of color. Congratulations to Beauty and the Beast!
Makeup and Hair:
I don't understand how there are only three nominees in this category. And, I don't understand how The Shape of Water wasn't given a nod. If Hollywood is telling us that there was no prosthetic help in creating this...
...I can't say I'm inclined to believe them. (However, if the beautiful Sea Creature suit falls under "costuming" I'll go ahead and change my vote for the above category. Pronto!)
Of the actual nominees I'm going to cast my vote to The Darkest Hour. Because this
is Gary Oldman. Yes! The Gary Oldman. And, not once during the film did my thoughts wander to Sid and Nancy, or Lee Harvey Oswalt, or any face other than that of Winston Churchill. Well done hair and makeup team! Very well done.
I'm not even going to beat around the bush here. The Shape of Water!
The Shape of Water!
The Shape of Water!
Sure other nominees had their flash, their GGI, their big budgets, and their era settings nailed down to a tee. But, this is the only of these film whose set design has really stuck with me, who's plastered all over my Pinterest boards, and has me dreaming of laying green ceramic tile anywhere it will stick.
I love you Shape of Water! I mean... really...
I won't vote on the sound categories this year because everyone is equally worthy this time around.
For editing, I've narrowed down my picks to I, Tonya and Dunkirk for very different reasons.
War films are also an easy pick for an editing nod. But, the ability shown in tying the action of air-sea battle with all the drama and desperation also happening on land has me cheering for Dunkirk just as much. Especially considering the quality of Air Sea Battles I grew up with.
I'm voting strictly on bias here and throwing another prize at The Shape of Water. It was just that pretty. The camera was so in love with the story which made the audience equally enchanted.
Although, I won't cry if The Darkest Hour takes home the prize either. So much beautiful camerawork seen in the theaters this year!
I put off seeing this until this very weekend. I was worried it would be a downer. I was worried it was going to seem heavily weighed with social commentary and would feel almost like homework after having watched.
I was SO very wrong. That I will admit.
My apology, as well as my vote for Best Original Screenplay, goes to Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri.
This story had, not only heart and grit, but the level of banter going on between its very complicated characters was in itself award-worthy. Yes, the story was based on true events. But, very loosely based, I'll assure you. Each character had their flaws. Each character had their own brand of strengths and weaknesses. And, each character was perfectly written and expertly acted (which, in the 11th hour, changed some of my votes in the acting categories.)
It's okay to laugh. There's alot of comedy in this screenplay. You have their blessing.
Confession, the only film I've seen in this category is Molly's Game. Another "true story" in this year's contenders.
It wasn't my favorite movie of the year. In fact, I almost forgot about it until seeing it on the nomination list. But, the story grabbed my attention enough that I came home from the theater to immediately hop on Wikipedia just to figure out all the actual whos, whats, and whens.
That said, I'm guessing this prize will actually go to Call Me by Your Name. The trailer alone had me clutching my heart in impending heartbreak. And, if that's not a sign of a well-told story... I don't know what is!
Ooohhh!!! We're getting to the good stuff now!
Go ahead and grab your pearls, because I'm giving yet another trophy to The Shape of Water.
Why? because he's Guillermo del Toro and you're not.
I'm so torn. So very very torn with this one.
How about I give half a trophy to Octavia Spencer in The Shape of Water...
and the other half to Allison Janney in I, Tonya.
Octavia, always so spunky and flawless. I wanted a best friend just like her in her picture. And, I was completely frightened by Allison as Tonya Harding's mother (and her bird). If that's not good acting, I don't know what is!
I've been supporting Richard Jenkins of Shape of Water in this category for months now!
Another coveted best friend in a sweet, charming and sometimes heart-breaking performance.
But, then I had to go and watch Three Billboards. And, dearest Mr. Jenkins, I may have to edge you out for Sam Rockwell. (Ack! Gasp! There, I said it.)
Phew! Officer Dixon is exhausting. And, I'll clap for him if he wins tonight.
All five ladies nominated tonight are magic and incredible. Love them all! Am a fan of them all! Almost hate to see them pitted against each other. (Almost... I still watch these things of course!)
But, if I have to pick... let's not be silly. The trophy is going to Frances McDormand and we all know it. (As it should!)
As Mildred Hayes, Frances is strong yet broken, full of edge and heart, packed with humor and fire (maybe literally even) as well as every other contradiction that can exist in the human form. She was simply perfect. And, every other nominee will clap for her as she climbs those steps tonight. Her performance was quite simply a masterclass. And, it will inspire others in her field for generations to come.
The puff pastry for my pigs and blankets is now overly thawed and I'm scrambling to get this out in time. I'm hungry and am being more long-winded than I'd promised.
So, I'm tossing the Lead Actor trophy at Gary Oldman for The Darkest Hour as I run to preheat the oven. "Here you go, Winston!"
(Does he looked pleased? Can you tell?)
Oven is set to 400 degrees, giving me just enough time to announce my big winner.
Again, I was pulling for The Shape of Water ever since its release weekend. Nothing had pulled ahead of it, in my mind, until this weekend.
Now I think I'm going to change my vote for the big prize to Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. (Eek!)
Not just because of this crazy art piece I found via Hollywood Reporter. But, because it truly was a masterpiece in storytelling, acting, cinematography and all of the other pieces that help the film making world go round.
Don't be afraid of this film! You will feel. You will get mad. But, you also will laugh. And, I don't think you'll regret that one hour fifty-five minutes of your life spent on it.
Honorable mentions: Two familiar faces I saw amongst this year's nominated films were Caleb Landry Jones who costarred in both Three Billboards and Get Out. (Utterly freaking me out in the latter.) And, Lucas Hedges playing Robbie in Three Billboards and Saoirse Ronan's boyfriend in Lady Bird. (He reminds me of a young Jesse Plemons). Put them on your "Ones to Watch" list for upcoming award seasons.