Random Thoughts – 2018 Oscar Nominations

OSCAR

Can you believe it is that time of year again? Oscar season is upon us and this morning the Academy threw out their list of this year’s nominees. As is always the case, there were a handful of big surprises, several frustrations, and some things that simply didn’t make sense. As I tend to do here are a few random thoughts about this year’s Oscar nominations.

  • Maybe Tiffany Haddish wasn’t the best choice to announce this year. Or at least give her the courtesy of a rehearsal. She mispronounced more names that she got right and seemed to have fun doing it.
  • And did you catch Andy Serkis whispering pronunciations to help her out? Ouch!
  • It’s pretty obvious the Academy is smitten with “The Shape of Water”. It earned a whopping 13 nominations. It’s far from a great movie, but it is right up the Academy’s alley.
  • “Logan” is nominated for Adapted Screenplay! I would be lying if I said I saw that coming. It’s a nice addition but the win should go to Sorkin. Whether that will happen….
  • The Original Screenplay category is ridiculous. Seeing films like “Get Out” and “Three Billboards” nominated while “Phantom Thread” is left out is nuts. Good to see Gerwig though.
  • What a strong group of contenders for Best Original Score (although I would swap “Three Billboards” with “A Ghost Story” in a heartbeat). Such a great variety: fantastical (“The Shape of Water”), pulse-pounding (“Dunkirk”), exquisite (“Phantom Thread”), and epic (“Star Wars”). I’ll be rooting for Jonny Greenwood.
  • Speaking of “Three Billboards”, the ‘snub’ that has many people talking is Martin McDonagh’s omission from the Best Director category. Personally I wouldn’t call it a snub. His film is a mess and (at least in this category) the Academy got it right.
  • Sticking with Best Director, Peele’s inclusion blows my mind. I get that the hype train for “Get Out” can’t be slowed, but for a movie with so many glaring flaws in logic (screenplay) and execution (direction) I just can’t get onboard.
  • “Lady Bird” also broke into the Best Director group. It was nice to see. I do wish Dee Rees could have joined her for “Mudbound”.
  • And with the inclusion of Gerwig and Peele that meant someone had to miss the cut. Steven Spielberg was an obvious choice and McDonagh was the surprise (for some). But that also left the door open for Paul Thomas Anderson. Bravo Academy! It would be a flawed category without him.

NOLAN

  • FINALLY! As absurd as it sounds Christopher Nolan’s directing nomination was his very first….EVER. Talk about long overdue.
  • Are Armie Hammer, Tom Hanks, and Michelle Williams really snubs? I mean really?
  • Am I the only one who still thinks of “Dick Poop” whenever these announcements are made?
  • Cheers to Netflix for making significant strides for a streaming service. “Mudbound” earned four well deserved Oscar nominations. It’s a shame one of them wasn’t for Best Picture.
  • Speaking of “Mudbound”, Rachel Morrison is the first woman in the 90-year history of the Oscars to be nominated for Best Cinematography. Let that bewildering fact sink in for a moment.
  • Meryl Streep…blah blah… Lead Actress …blah blah…. 21st nomination …blah blah. The Academy’s Streep infatuation is getting old.
  • I will say this about Streep’s ridiculous nomination for a very Streepish role, it knocks out many far more deserving actresses. Jessica Chastain (“Molly’s Game”) instantly comes to mind. Sigh.
  • Frances McDormand’s nomination for Best Actress was as predictable as her inevitable win. I’ll be rooting for Ronan.
  • James Franco gets left out of the Best Actor pack after getting nominations at the Globes and SAGs. Personally I think the field is too strong for him, but could this have more to do with the recent sexual misconduct allegations?
  • Staying with Best Actor, I hate to keep piling on “Get Out” but much like the movie Daniel Kayuula’s performance is such a mixed bag. Best Actor? No way.

MANVILLE

  • I LOVE what the Academy did with the Supporting Actress category! Allison Janney is winning everything and she’s very good in “I, Tonya”, but I would take the other four nominees ahead of her. Octavia Spencer? Yes, please. And I let out an enthusiastic roar when Manville’s name was announced! It’s about time.
  • Costume Design – It has to be “Phantom Thread”. I can’t imagine anything better. I do wish “Wonderstruck” would have snuck in but that’s the longest of longshots.
  • I enjoyed the little video introductions to the categories. Quick, interesting and a little something different.
  • Speaking of those, apparently that’s as close as “Wonder Woman” will get to an Oscar nomination. I wasn’t really expecting much, but at least one nod would have been nice. It deserved some type of recognition.
  • Good news – we will get plenty of Willem DaFoe gifs and images following his Supporting Actor nomination. Thank you Academy.
  • While on the Supporting Actor subject, I can’t help but giggle at Christopher Plummer’s inclusion. Totally worthy of a nomination, but the story behind his casting and performance is fascinating.
  • But no Idris Elba or Rob Morgan? C’mon Academy!
  • “Boss Baby”? Is it really that good or was it a bad year for animation?
  • It’s hard for me to make any kind of argument in the Foreign Language category. I’ve seen so few of them. But I do wish “First They Killed My Father” had been nominated. And “In the Fade” had been getting a lot of attention (and some big wins) yet it was left out completely. Interesting.
  • The cinematography group is really strong, but “Darkest Hour”? It was unquestionably good but among the five best of the year?
  • And Roger Deakins…his 14th nomination and he has yet to win. He deserves the consideration but I’m afraid the Academy is locked in on “The Shape of Water”.
  • So does this mean Tommy Wiseau doesn’t get an Oscar night invite?
  • Did you hear the applause for Serkis when “War for the Planet of the Apes” was announced for Visual Effects? It made me smile.
  • Almost every year a quirky narrative pops up right around nomination time. This year’s seems to be about Denzel Washington. I’ve seen several people annoyed with Denzel being nominated for his “worst performance”. That blows my mind. “Roman J. Israel, Esq” was an underseen film, but I’m behind his Best Actor nomination. Worst performance? No way.
  • Did you guys notice that Michael Stuhlbarg was in three Oscar nominated movies from last year? That’s impressive.
  • So it all seems to come down to “Three Billboards” versus “The Shape of Water”. Two films that have their own sets of problems. I would love for a dark horse to rise up and make some noise. Neither of the frontrunners seem worthy of the heralded ‘Best Picture’ title.
  • “Dunkirk” for Best Picture. It won’t win. It should win. And that’s about it.

So what did I miss? Share your thoughts on this year’s nominations below. I’d love to hear from you.

34 thoughts on “Random Thoughts – 2018 Oscar Nominations

  1. Pingback: FlixChatter Review: The Shape of Water (2017) – FlixChatter Film Blog

  2. 1) You know, I laughed at Tiffany’s bit but, after a while, I started to wonder if it was a bit or if she was really messing up. Either way, at least it made the announcement more entertaining than usual.
    2) That’s right: A super-hero movie finally got a major nomination! It’s also the 2nd movie based on a comic-book to be nominated in this category (after GHOST WORLD).
    3) While I loved 3 BILLBOARDS, I didn’t think that its directing in particular excelled. So… I’m not really against it not being nominated in that category.
    4) I don’t think Tom and Michelle not being nominated are surprises. Armie on the other hand was on the edge.
    5) I thought that the Oscar voting closed by the time the accusations were made. Either way, Roman Polanski won an Oscar *after* he was found guilty. Why would James not be nominated for something that hasn’t even been proven yet?
    6) Yeah, those videos were interesting. Why did they only use them for the first half of the nominations?
    7) I don’t think THE BOSS BABY is bad… but nominating it instead of THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE?!
    8) If the producers are wise, they’ll invite Tommy Wiseau as a presenter.

    • 1. It definitely made it interesting. But I started feeling bad for her. It felt like a lot of nervous laughter during the second half of announcements.
      2. As a “The Dark Knight” apologist, I’m still a bit peeved it didn’t get a major nomination.
      4. It’s surprised me to see the number of outlets categorizing them as snubs. I don’t see it.
      5. Great point.
      7. I thought about Lego Batman too. I didn’t love the movie, but the more I’ve thought about it, it’s pretty hilarious.

  3. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who thinks the Academy’s obsession with Meryl Streep is wearing thin. And where is Wonder Woman?! Some type of nod would have been nice – special effects, sound, or the fantastic score. I had a secret hope for Wonder Woman getting a best director nod, but I think deep down I knew better 😦 Agreed about Nolan though. Nice to see him get an overdue pat on the back for Dunkirk.

    • The Streep stuff has definitely gotten old. Every performance at this stage of her career is almost guaranteed an Oscar nomination. She doesn’t win but it swipes a nomination spots away from the more deserving actresses. And a big YES about Wonder Woman. Such a great movie. I wish the Academy felt the same way.

  4. I finally caught up with The Shape Of Water and I have to say, I really quite liked it. I wouldn’t say Best Picture material but a good bit of escapism. I’m so happy to see Sally Hawkins get a mention and as a HUGE Richard Jenkins fan, I’m over the moon about his non. He was the best part of the film. I also caught The Florida Project last night and I’d say that’s a “snub”. It’s a wonderful little film and Dafoe is another I’m happy to see get a nod!

    • My review of “The Shape of Water” was probably a little harsh but those criticisms have still stuck with me. I love del Toro’s world building but felt his storytelling was all over the place. I think “The Florida Project” has slipped under a lot of people’s radar. I do like DaFoe and seeing him there on Oscar night will be great.

  5. I really like this year’s Best Director nominees as I just think it’s the battle of the best of the best. Plus, it feels diverse as we have a Brit, a Mexican, an African-American, a Wunderkind-turned-Master, and a Woman from Sacramento. How could anyone not like these choices? I would root for all of them.

    I’m upset that Wonder Woman didn’t get a single nomination. That film ruled! I’m not surprised that The Beguiled wasn’t getting to get any nods as I was really hoping that it would get a nomination for its art direction and costume design.

    Boss Baby? That film can fuck off! Where’s The Lego Batman Movie? At least it’s not The Emoji Movie aka Ass.

    • I get the diversity appreciation in the directing category, I just don’t think a couple of those movies themselves are strong enough. I sound like a broken record, but “Get Out” is such a flawed movie (don’t stone me). I would toss Peele for Dee Rees in a second.

      I’m so with you on Wonder Woman. An absolute shame. I’m also with you on The Beguiled. Just rewatched it and still love it. But it seems like a forgotten movie.

      • It has become forgotten as it’s still in my top 5 films of 2017. I can understand your qualm towards Get Out but I’m just happy it’s being recognized and that it managed to make an impact.

      • That’s true. I just think with Get Out many like it’s ideas so much that they are willing to overlook a lot more than with other films. I’ve had some fun discussions with people since its release. 😄

  6. I’m pretty surprised that PT got nominations for both Best Picture and Director, but I couldn’t be more thrilled (though I’m surprised it didn’t get any mentions for its screenplay as well).

    Although I wasn’t as big on Get Out as everyone else though, I do think Kayuula’s nomination is worth applauding.

    Also, good to see a call out for Ghost Story. Really great film that still deserves more attention.

    • Oh man, I squealed for joy when PTA was announced in the Directing category. So deserved and Best Picture was icing on the cake.

      My issue with Kayuula was in the inconsistency of the performance. For me his performance in the first half was a lot of the same confused expressions and practically no emotion whatsoever. In the second half of the film I feel he really opened up and I liked him quite a bit. It was almost like two different performances.

  7. I’m rooting for Gerwig and Ronan and can’t believe this is Chris Nolan’s first directorial nomination!! From being a huge Meryl Streep fan, I’ve crossed over and am tired, tired, tired of her.
    My only wish is that when the Oscars air, PLEASE, don’t let it be used as a political platform. Keep it to the point of the evening. The awards.

    • I 100% agree Cindy. No beefs with someone having political convictions. But I honestly want to hear them give speeches about what they’ve accomplished with their film. That’s what the night is about. After a while it really does grow a little old when it’s being used for a platform instead of a celebration of cinema.

      The Streep thing is frustrating but also a bit bizarre. It’s almost as if there has been a decision to give her honorary lifetime status. I’m sure that’s not the case but it seems like it.

      • I agree with you. I think Streep should tell them, “Okay, guys, this is getting ridiculous. Nominate someone else.” There is so much talent out there deserving!

      • I know! Do you think it may be a case of them wanting to make sure she’s present since she is such a prominent industry face? I know that is incredibly shallow, but I’m at a loss. And it’s funny, most of these nominations absolutely will not lead to a win. It seems like some kind of acknowledgement or something.

      • Something fishy is going on. All I know is it’s an insult. If she is nominated every time she is on camera, what does that say about her peers? It’s almost anti-feminist. 😉

  8. You know I’m in your corner with Rob Morgan being snubbed. ugh. I wish Dee Rees would’ve gotten a Best Director nom too. After seeing Phantom Thread I can definitely see why PTA is there. I’m rooting for Nolan though, what he did with Dunkirk was astounding.

    • YES!!! We all need to watch the show together (my wife makes a killer cheese dip and the kids are well behaved 😂) because we agree on Morgan, Rees, PTA, and I’ll be rooting hard for a Nolan upset. But sadly (aside from its nominations) the chatter has been pretty low for Dunkirk. That makes me sad.

  9. I’m with you on Get Out, the most overrated film in recent years. I still don’t know how and why it even got nominated for Oscars! I loved the idea of the film but the execution was so sloppy yet the Oscars voters thought Peele deserves a nomination. I think if the film was directed by a more experienced and talented director, it could’ve been great. But I’m also in the minority of not loving it.

    • Man that’s so good to hear. I haven’t found many people who share my feelings on it. But the push for this movie is crazy. And I agree, a more seasoned filmmaker or maybe Peele after a few movies would have done better. I think the mind-boggling thing is how many flaws are getting passes both with the story and the execution. As you said, some really good ideas. But Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director? No way.

  10. That Haddish woman was horrendous. So disrespectful to the nominees. What a cringe-worthy mess that was. 13 nominations for this movie and Del Toro winning with Nolan….ridiculous. But I’m am thrilled about Rockwell. It’s so overdue and his performance was my favorite from last year. But with Academy having to snub Franco over UNVERIFIED TWEETS the least they could do is nominate Jackman.

    • Haddish was really bad! Drawing more attention to herself than the nominees. Unfortunately I think del Toro has Best Director in the bag and it blows my mind. I would scream with joy if Nolan pulled off a win.

  11. All great observations, and I totally agree that Dunkirk should win Best Picture (and much else besides)! While Get Out was good and timely, I do think it’s a tad overrated, especially in the Best Actor category. And why couldn’t The Big Sick get more than just an Original Screenplay nod? Most of the forerunners this year don’t interest me that much, and I can’t help but think that last year was stronger overall.
    The biggest travesty for me was Best Animated Feature. How on God’s green earth could The Boss Baby be nominated when there’s a masterpiece called A Silent Voice that apparently no one in the Academy has bothered to see?

    • I haven’t seen Boss Baby but I was thinking it was seen as mediocre at best! The Get Out love kind of baffles me. There is a lot to overlook to even consider it a Best Picture kind of movie. And Best Actor? No, no, no. And I’ll be rooting hard for Dunkirk. I would love for it to sneak a major win or two. Doubtful though.

  12. I haven’t watched the Oscars in years and with the current climate will not change my mind. The world is polarized and political pundits are everywhere, so when I watch an award show about any craft, I want to hear about that, not what a pretentious celebrity has to say to be frank .

    Plus I’m so tired of the bias against any type of genre picture, be it horror ,sci-fi. fantasy, action ,comedy . I could go on but I personally predicted pretty much with my son , who and what pics and actors were going to get nominated. The only person I’m really pulling for is Oldman to win for his amazing performance as Churchill .

    • I think Oldman has it in the bag. No objections from me. It’s such an incredible performance.

      And I get what you’re saying. I really do want the night to focus on the art. It’s such a great night to celebrate cinema but sometimes the movies get lost in the politics.

  13. I’m going to riot if Deakins doesn’t win it this year. The Shape of Water is a beautiful looking movie of course, but Blade Runner 2049 screams “Give me the Oscar”, and not in an annoying way either. He’s a master.

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