The 90th Academy Awards Guide

On Sunday we get the biggest night in Hollywood. Where the coastal elite gather to plan how we can take the guns away from middle America and figure out how we get all the gay Muslims to take all the jobs in Iowa. Then, they give out some awards for movies. Here’s everything you need to know about those awards to prepare you for the big day. To find out about the secret meetings though you just need to hit me up on Hillary’s email server I’ll add you to the listserv.

As always this is a preview that does not include the shorts, animated feature, foreign language, or documentaries. Not because I don’t love these movies, in fact The Square and The Insult were very interesting movies from this past year. It’s because I am one man with only so much time to watch so many movies and I have to draw a line somewhere.

Technical Awards

The technical awards are the unfavorite child of the Oscars. No one will asks who Hoyte van Hoytema is wearing Sunday night you won’t see any reaction cuts to Tatiana Riegel. But a great film editor or production designer is just as vital to the quality of a film as its leading star. Unless its leading star is John Goodman–no one is as important as John Goodman.

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Nominations Ranking:

  1. Dunkirk – Hoyte van Hoytema
  2. Blade Runner 2049 – Roger Deakins
  3. The Shape of Water – Dan Laustsen
  4. Darkest Hour – Bruno Delbonnel
  5. Mudbound – Rachel Morrison

Cinematography is usually a pretty tight category at the Oscars. It’s a rare year that there is a true runaway winner, I suppose it’s just easy to find five really well shot movies a year. There are some standouts though. While Bruno Delbonnel in Darkest Hour turns scenes of the British parliament into riveting sequences that are far more exciting than they have any right to be. And Rachel Morrison turns the sparse Mississippi wasteland into a beautiful oasis. But the three standouts are clearly Deakins for Blade Runner 2049, Laustsen on The Shape of Water, and Delbonnel on Dunkirk. Three gorgeous movies and I am loathed to deprive Blade Runner 2049 of yet more praise but my conscious knows that Bruno Delbonnel deserves this award. Dunkirk has not only some of the most beautiful shot in film this year but some of the most stunning shots I’ve seen on film period.

Will Win:

Dunkirk – Hoyte van Hoytema

Biggest Snub(s):

Atomic Blonde – Jonathan Sela, Call Me By Your Name – Sayombhu Mukdeeprom

Atomic Blonde is a movie that seems to have flown under the radar, strangely enough because of how much praise if heaped upon John Wick. Sela has had a very interesting career, including some pretty bad missteps but I won’t hold Transformers: The Last Knight against him. Atomic Blonde is a brutal and striking action movie and Sela’s work behind the camera should be rewarded, not solely because of how difficult it was but how seamlessly it’s executed. The staircase scene gets me every fucking time.

Best Film Editing

Nominations Ranking:

  1. Baby Driver – Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
  2. I, Tonya – Tatiana S. Riegel
  3. Dunkirk – Lee Smith
  4. The Shape of Water – Sidney Wolinsky
  5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Jon Gregory

Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos just simply had more to do on Baby Driver than anyone else. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Film editing is skewed towards car movies and sports movies, cutting between shots in a rapid action sequence especially with Edgar Wright behind the camera when done right is an excellent exhibition of an editors skills. I also think the Academy would have given this movie more technical nominations were it not for the Kevin Spacey sized elephant in the room. And I’m betting this will be a make up award. If I’m reading the room wrong than this is Riegel’s award come Sunday night.

Will Win:

The Shape of Water – Sidney Wolinsky

Biggest Snub(s):

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – James Herbert

WAIT! Here me out! I know people hate Guy Ritchie and this movie. But try to separate your feelings for the movie from the excellent job that Herbert did on the editing. It is impeccably done and as a veteran of the nervous energy style of editing that accompanies a Ritchie movie Herbert has become the master of it. Don’t believe me? Go watch Edge of Tomorrow.

Best Sound Mixing

Nominations Ranking:

  1. Dunkirk – Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo
  2. Baby Driver – Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis
  3. The Shape of Water – Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier
  4. Blade Runner 2049 – Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth
  5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson

It’s maybe unfair to grade Dunkirk on the IMAX experience with the pounding sound of the explosions and engines and gun fire. While Baby Driver was a maticulously crafted musical experience. Both are achievements for sure but Dunkirk’s wow factor puts it a nudge above the competition.

Will Win:

Dunkirk – Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo

Biggest Snub(s):

Get Out

Get Out uses sound and silence better than any horror movie I’ve seen this year for sure. It feels like the academy is only interested in giving Get Out enough nominations to give it the participation badge. But it looks like based on how many of the old white people in the Academy haven’t even actually seen Get Out there was no chance of acknowledging some of its technical achievements.

Best Sound Editing

Nominations Rankings:

  1. Blade Runner 2049 – Mark Mangini and Theo Green
  2. The Shape of Water – Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira
  3. Baby Driver – Julian Slater
  4. Dunkirk – Richard King and Alex Gibson
  5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

The final scene of Blade Runner 2049. Landing at the orphanage. The Vegas scene. That is all.

Will Win:

The Shape of Water – Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira

Biggest Snub(S):

Thor: Ragnarok

If Disney cared about campaigning at all Thor: Ragnarok would have definitely been nominated for more awards, it’s left out of a lot of technical categories it shouldn’t have been.

Best Production Design
  1. Blade Runner 2049 – Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola
  2. The Shape of Water – Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin
  3. Beauty and the Beast – Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  4. Darkest Hour – Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  5. Dunkirk – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis

If Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t win this category I’ll be convinced that they didn’t even bother to watch the fucking movie. Every scene is shot in this brilliant colorful severe setting. All the other movies are well-done period pieces but nothing anywhere near as breath taking as Blade Runner. The Vegas statues alone deserve this award.

Will Win:

Blade Runner 2049 – Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola

Biggest Snub(s):

The Last Jedi

It’s in the technical categories where campaigning is so obvious. Is Dunkirk really one of the five best examples of production design this year? Is even The Shape of Water? I don’t think so. The Last Jedi is a bad movie but that doesn’t take away from Rick Heinrichs’ work as production design. With his eye for contrasting colors and grand settings.

Best Visual Effects
  1. Blade Runner 2049 – John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover
  2. Kong: Skull Island – Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus
  3. War for the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick
  5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

I’ll be honest. I don’t care about this category at all. It seems like from The Jungle Book wining last year the academy is most interested in seamless visual effects, not necessarily the most visually stunning ones. This is the best chance for the Planet of the Apes series to finally take home a visual effects award.

Will Win:

War for the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist

Biggest Snub(s):

Thor: Ragnarok, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Call Me By Your Name

If you have to spend your time removing Armie Hammers dick from your movie you deserve an award.

Best Costume Design
  1. The Shape of Water – Luis Sequeira
  2. Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges
  3. Beauty and the Beast – Jacqueline Durran
  4. Darkest Hour – Jacqueline Durran
  5. Victoria & Abdul – Consolata Boyle

I thought that the fishman was makeup. I guess from the fact that The Shape of Water isn’t even nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling that it must be submitted as costume design. And thus it has to be a lock for this category. Even though Phantom Thread is a movie about a dressmaker with incredible costume design by Mark Bridges that will probably lose out to Luis Sequeira’s beautiful work on a movie about fish sex. God I love the Oscars.

Will Win:

The Shape of Water – Luis Sequeira

Biggest Snub(s):

Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth is not a movie that I loved. But the period accurate costumes by Holly Waddington and riveting performance by Florence Pugh are enough to make the film a worthwhile watch.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  1. Darkest Hour – Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick
  2. Wonder – Arjen Tuiten
  3. Victoria & Abdul – Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard

I made it about 15 minutes into Wonder before completely bailing on the movie. But I skimmed through and saw the boy which is enough to know what this movie is getting nominated for. It’s an accurate enough representation of the real life kid. But Kaxuhiro Tsuji is a fucking master, and he came out of retirement at the request of Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour and enough people I’ve talked to about the movie just thought that Gary Oldman gained weight for the role that I think Tsuji has earned one more farewell award.

Will Win:

Darkest Hour – Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick

Biggest Snub(s):

I just really thought that Doug Jones was in makeup in The Shape of Water not costume. I can’t imagine if he was in make it wouldn’t have been nominated here.

Acting Awards

Okay, this is what you came here for. The big boy awards. The career makers. I really wanted to nerd out about cinema so I put the technical awards at the top. But if you scrolled down to there I understand.

Best Actor

Roman J Isreal

  1. Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread as Reynolds Woodcock
  2. Denzel Washington – Roman J. Israel, Esq. as Roman J. Israel
  3. Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour as Winston Churchill
  4. Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out as Chris Washington
  5. Timothée Chalamet – Call Me by Your Name as Elio Perlman

I think we need to stop nominated Daniel Day-Lewis for acting awards. How are all these other people supposed to compete against a man who just becomes his character. Denzel Washington is just acting like an eccentric lawyer who struggles with the hopelessness of the system he has been fighting his whole life. How are they supposed to compete with a man who just becomes a tortured genius who’s artistic work spills over into all aspects of his life. Or you know–Daniel Day-Lewis.

Will Win:

Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread as Reynolds Woodcock

Biggest Snub(s):

James Franco – The Disaster Artist as Tommy Wiseau, Tom Hanks – The Post as Ben Bradlee, Jason Mitchell – Mudbound as Ronsel Jackson, John Boyega – Detroit as Dismukes

We all know why James Franco isn’t nominated, no need to address that. But why Tom Hanks is absent is more of a mystery. He and Streep give equally enthralling performances and have such great chemistry. No one was going to win this category over Daniel Day-Lewis but to give some other names some recognition is always nice. Detroit is a bad movie but Boyega is great in it; but it is rare that someone gets nominated for a great performance in a bad movie no matter how good it may be.

Best Actress
The Shape of Water Sally Hawkins
  1. Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water as Elisa Esposito
  2. Meryl Streep – The Post as Katharine Graham
  3. Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson
  4. Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Mildred Hayes
  5. Margot Robbie – I, Tonya as Tonya Harding

Sally Hwkins is simply a joy to watch in The Shape of Water. The film doesn’t work without her performance. It takes a special kind of performer to turn a love story with a fish into something beautiful and moving. Meryl Streep feels like such a long shot to win this award because we’re officially giving her the Lebron MVP treatment. She’s won too much and won’t win again. Even though her portrayal of Katharine Graham is one of the her most complex and interesting performances in a long time and far more deserving than her win for The Iron Lady.

Will Win:

Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water as Elisa Esposito

Biggest Snub(s):

Emma Stone – Battle of the Sexes as Billie Jean King, Vicky Krieps – Phantom Thread as Alma

Emma Stone’s performance was good but nothing incredible in an otherwise average movie. But there is just such a dearth of complex female characters. It is getting better though. A small part of me really wishes that Charlize Theron could get nominated for this category but there really is no chance of that. Even though she did do all this.

But not to nominated Vicky Krieps for Phantom Thread is just short of a felony robbery. How does someone who went toe-to-toe with Daniel Day-Lewis and even won some scenes not get a best actress nomination. That first scene when they meet she steals the whole screen, no one is looking at anyone but her.

Best Supporting Actor

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

  1. Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project as Bobby Hicks
  2. Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Chief Bill Willoughby
  3. Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Officer Jason Dixon
  4. Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water as Giles
  5. Christopher Plummer – All the Money in the World as J. Paul Getty

I suppose the Christopher Plummer nomination is a reward for how difficult the position he was put in was and I respect that. But on the merits of performance alone he is by far the outlier in this category. I think DaFoe is the worthy performance he is such a steadying and subtle performance in The Florida Project that I don’t think that move works at all without him. But as good as DaFoe was I wouldn’t be surprised or upset if anyone in this category took home the Oscar–except Christopher Plummer I think it’s important I say that again. I do love the idea of Woody Harrelson two actors who feel like they’ve been underappreciated for years getting an award, although I think Harrelson is nominated for the wrong award. I loved him in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri but I thought he was incredible in War for the Planet of the Apes a movie that I think deserves more than its single nomination.

Will Win:

Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Officer Jason Dixon

I think its really tight right now between both guys from Three Billboards. But Rockwell represents everything the Academy likes about this movie (and hates about Get Out).

Biggest Snub(s):

Tom Hardy – Dunkirk as Farrier, Cillian Murphy – Dunkirk as Shivering Soldier, Mark Rylance – Dunkirk as Mr. Dawson, Armie Hammer – Call Me By Your Name as Oliver, Michael Stuhlbarg – Call Me By Your Name as Mr. Perlman, Rob Morgan – Mudbound as Hap Jackson, O’Shea Jackson Jr. – Ingrid Goes West as Dan Pinto, Stephen Dillane – Darkest Hour as Lord Halifax

Its a stacked category. It usually is. Supporting actor always seems the most packed and also the hardest for the Academy to get right. For none of the men from Dunkirk to be nominated is insane to me. Just on difficulty alone Tom Hardy should have been nominated for this category you can only see his eyes and he has maybe 12 lines of dialogue total but it is one of the most powerful roles of last year.

I know Armie Hammer isn’t a supporting actor but I think it was his best chance of getting nominated for a role he clearly deserved recognition for. And Michael Stuhlbarg was even more unlikely despite having one of the best scenes in any movie this year. That’s not to mention his performance in The Shape of Water which was also fantastic.

Rob Morgan is a crime being left off this list. I think there are a lot of great performances in Mudbound (and one not so great one) but for Rob Morgan, the absolute stand out of that movie, to not be nominated is nuts to me.

O’Shea Jackson Jr. is mostly just for me; I loved that performance so much, even if it wasn’t a particularly “award worthy” role.

Best Supporting Actress

lady-bird-laurie-metcalf

  1. Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird as Marion McPherson
  2. Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water as Zelda Delilah Fuller
  3. Lesley Manville – Phantom Thread as Cyril Woodcock
  4. Allison Janney – I, Tonya as LaVona Golden
  5. Mary J. Blige – Mudbound as Florence Jackson

I’m sure one day we’ll get a best supporting actress category that isn’t a bunch of moms and wise old women. It won’t be this year, but I have faith. Despite the lack of diversity of roles afforded the actresses there are some really solid performances here. I’m not sure what Mary J. Blige is doing here. I remember the first thing I said after the credits rolled on Mudbound was, “man I wish they had gotten anyone else to play Florence Jackson, this could have been an amazing movie. I kept thinking about the same movie with Regina King or Alfree Woodard and I couldn’t get passed her performance. Laurie Metcalf is the best performance here and I’m not even sure it’s close. Metcalf in even just one of her scenes from Lady Bird steals this category. The opening scene of the film, the scene where she’s circling around the airport, the final scene where she gets the call from Lady Bird. It’s a masterclass. But for some reason the buzz seems to be for Allison Janney a performance I found very funny, but in no way thought deserved to be nominated, I’m hoping I’m wrong though.

Will Win:

Allison Janney – I, Tonya as LaVona Golden

Biggest Snub(s):

Holly Hunter – The Big Sick as Beth

There are any number of performances that were better than Blige in Mudbound so by the strickest definition of snub in that, are these the five best supporting actor performances, there are dozens. But the fact is this is a light category for a reason. Going through all the movies this year there are just not many intricate and rewarding roles for women, and even less outside of leads. If I was picking someone to replace Blige in this nomination list though it’d be Holly Hunter in The Big Sick a performance I think got overlooked this year, especially with how week a pool it is.

Auteur Awards

Best Director

Greta Gerwig Lady Bird

  1. Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
  2. Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water
  3. Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
  4. Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
  5. Jordan Peele – Get Out

I do not envy the voters this year. The fuck is this bullshit? I have to pick just one of these? I’ve gone on the record as saying I’ve never been as taken with PTA as many people are. I live his movies: There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, and The Master are all-timers for sure. But this is his first masterpiece as far as I’m concnerned. I think he and Daniel Day-Lewis created something really special here. But even still giving him best director over any of the other four doesn’t make me feel amazing. I’ve never been less sure of a category in my life as I am about this one. If anyone wins I’ll be pleased.

Will Win:

Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Biggest Snub(s):

Denis Willeneuve – Blade Runner 2049

The Blade Runner 2049 stuff from this year still bothers me. How this movie tanked the way it did I have no idea. It is still my favorite movie of 2017 and while I don’t think anyone of these directors deserves to lose their spot, I mean Villeneuve created someone really special with Blade Runner despite the fact that none of you fuckers saw it.

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

  1. The Big Sick – Written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
  2. Lady Bird – Written by Greta Gerwig
  3. Get Out – Written by Jordan Peele
  4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Written by Martin McDonagh
  5. The Shape of Water – Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro

Comedies rarely get the respect come award season that I think they deserve. The last comedy to win best picture was The Artist seven years ago, and even that is barely a comedy. The last traditional comedy to win best picture is in 1977 Annie Hall. It’s been over 40 years since a comedy has won best picture. But it takes as much skill to write something really smart and funny. The Big Sick is smart and funny and heartfelt and two hours long! When was the last time you enjoyed a two hour comedy? The answer is never. I think this probably Greta Gerwig’s award to lose and that is okay, Lady Bird is written brilliantly as well.

Will Win:

Lady Bird – Written by Greta Gerwig

Biggest Snub(s):

Phantom Thread – Written by Paul Thomas Anderson, The Disaster Artist – Written by James Franco

I mean. Really? No Phantom Thread nomination for writing? It really makes me think that these people don’t even watch these movies. I really enjoyed Three Billboards and I loved The Shape of Water there is no world in which they are written better than Phantom Thread a movie that is basically just scene of great dialogue after scene of great dialogue with some fucking sewing in the middle.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Molly's Game

  1. Call Me by Your Name – James Ivory based on the novel by André Aciman
  2. Mudbound – Virgil Williams and Dee Rees based on the novel by Hillary Jordan
  3. The Disaster Artist – Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber based on the book by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell
  4. Logan – Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold based on characters from the X-Men comic books and theatrical motion pictures
  5. Molly’s Game – Aaron Sorkin based on the memoir by Molly Bloom

One of the biggest secrets of the year is that Molly’s Game is really a superhero movie. An unrealistically beautiful woman with incredible superhuman ability of talking her way into and out of things is fights against the shittiest villains in a battle for good that is uplifting and exciting and entirely ruined by a mess of a third act. I really enjoyed Molly’s Game but I think this is more of a career nomination than a one based on merit for Aaron Sorkin because no one that wrote Kevin Costner’s character in this movie deserves to be nominated for anything. It’s Call Me By Your Name. It’s not only the best movie here it is smart and loving in the way that it writes its characters and while it succeeds in its silent moments the third act is full of enough meaty dialogue to give its actors something to do.

I don’t know how the Franco issue will effect The Disaster Artist. It would have been my pick for most likely to win but I’m not sure if the Academy is just going to pan this movie entirely or not.

Will Win:

Call Me by Your Name – James Ivory based on the novel by André Aciman

Biggest Snub(s):

The only other movie I can even think of based on a book in 2017 is Murder on the Orient Express and just, no. So unless I’m missing something this is a pretty comprehensive set of nominees.

Best Picture

Call My By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name

Full write up

An incredibly beautiful film set in the Italian countryside about a boy discovering and struggling with his sexuality. It’s full of breathtaking performances and beautiful camera work. And its such an enjoyable piece of film-making that it is hard not to love it. It lacks the substance that a lot of its fellow nominees have and thus has a low chance of winning but it is a deserving nominee to say the least.

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour

Full write up

This is Gary Oldman’s nomination. Darkest Hour is a good movie that is made into something special because of Gary Oldman and the work of the rest of the cast. It takes some liberties with its controversial subject which has lost it some fans but as a film there are few political dramas that do what it does better.

Dunkirk

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan at his finest, Dunkirk, is a tight 106 minutes but feel like its nearing three hours. It is suspense and tension at its finest and features some of the best actors working. Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy’s performances are fantastic.

Get Out

get out

Full write up

The horror-thriller that took America by storm in early 2017 is as timely as it is surprising. Jordan Peele’s love for classic horror films shines through the social commentary and mixture of horror and humor that Get Out does so well. It’s pretty clear this isn’t going to win best picture–maybe any award. Because the older white voters in the Academy have decided not to even watch the movie.

Lady Bird

Lady Bird

A movie almost about nothing Lady Bird touches on themes and events close to its viewers hearts and with a stunning lead performance by Saoirse Ronan and great supporting actors like Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, and Timothée Chalamet. Greta Gerwig turns a Sacramento based coming-of-age story into something truly special.

Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread

If you had told me that one of my favorite movies of the year would be about a crazy dressmaker and his pseudo-dysfunctional relationship then I would have called bullshit. But wow is it good. Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson have proven before that they are an amazing team and they show it again in this surprisingly funny and compelling character piece.

The Post

The Post

Full write up

Yes, it was made in a Oscar winner lab. Yes, it was made in four months to make a statement about the laughable state of Trump’s administration. Yes, it’s a little too on the nose. No, none of that makes it not a great movie. Spielberg, Streep, and Hanks rarely make bad movies and together you are destined to get something fantastic. The push-back on The Post seems to have little to do with its quality and a great deal to do with how desperately it seems to want to win an Oscar. The Post is a well-acted, well-directed, smartly-written political thriller that celebrates some America’s most important journalists. That should be enough.

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water

Full write up

Yes, it’s the fish sex movie. But it is also so much more. Sally Hawkins performance and Del Toro’s work behind the camera take this grounded science fiction movie that is beautiful to look and turns it into a lovely story about finding your voice and the restorative power of love. And there is some cool Russian spy stuff in there too if all that lovey-dovey shit isn’t for you.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards

The worst possible thing that could have happened to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was winning the Golden Globes. It is a good movie with a great lead performance and some really fantastic supporting ones as well. I left it struck by Francis McDormand and the clever writing. I thought it was darkly funny and at its core somewhat flawed in the most human ways. I never once thought it was trying to make a comment about race and Middle America. I did think it was doing a less than stellar job with tackling problems with feminism. But it is so bad at having the conversation people seem to be assigning to it that I didn’t ever once think that it was even trying to have that conversation. If Martin McDonagh’s goal was to make a movie that commented on the state of America in 2017 than yes he did fail miserably. But I don’t think that’s what Three Billboards is; as a movie about a complex set of characters trying to navigate the fallout of an even more complex event it does succeed and with Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, and Lucas Hedges in your cast there is some room to make some errors that they are talented enough to cover up.

Nominations Ranking

  1. Dunkirk – Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan
  2. Phantom Thread – JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi
  3. Lady Bird – Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, and Evelyn O’Neill
  4. The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale
  5. Call Me by Your Name – Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, and Marco Morabito
  6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, and Martin McDonagh
  7. Darkest Hour – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten, and Douglas Urbanski
  8. The Post – Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg, and Kristie Macosko Krieger
  9. Get Out – Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., and Jordan Peele

Will Win

Lady Bird – Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, and Evelyn O’Neill

It seems like everyone is of the mind that The Shape of Water has this locked up. We’ve been here before nearly three years running. It seems like The Shape of Water has had a substantial amount of pushback. My bet is Lady Bird is both great enough and universally inoffensive enough to walk away with the biggest award this year. Even if deep down we all know Dunkirk is the best movie on this list. Deep down we all know!

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