Random Thoughts: The 2018 Oscars

RANDOM

I do love Oscar season, but my excitement level for this year’s big show was as low as it has been in decades. One reason is because there was practically no suspense going in. ‘Predictable’ was unquestionably the theme of the night. It also doesn’t help that most of the guaranteed big winners wouldn’t even crack my Top 5 for their categories.

Nonetheless I pushed forward and watched Hollywood’s biggest event. After all it is a tradition at my house. Could I have been wrong? Could the Academy surprise me by going their own way and making the night interesting? Well, NO. For the most part they fell right in line with the other major awards shows. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Nonetheless here are a few random thoughts.

  • Interestingly there wasn’t a runaway winner this year. Well, unless you count “The Shape of Water” which won four Oscars. “Dunkirk” won three and a couple of others grabbed two statues.
  • And speaking of “The Shape of Water”, it took home the big prize of Best Picture. Of the three obvious frontrunners it had the fewest flaws but not by much. It’s hardly a movie I’ll remember from 2017. But Guillermo del Toro’s slight fantasy romance packed a heavy-handed messaging which the Academy could easily get behind.
  • And to go along with it, del Toro won for Best Director. Literally no surprise but I would have loved to have seen a Christopher Nolan upset win. But ‘surprise’ and ‘intrigue’ weren’t part of the Academy’s game plan.

SHAPE

  • Here’s something cool and interesting: Del Toro’s win marks the fourth time in the last five years that a Mexican has won the Best Director Oscar!
  • The head-scratching Best Supporting Actor category saw Sam Rockwell win for giving a Sam Rockwell performance. He wouldn’t have even made my nomination list but c’mon, you gotta like Sam.
  • I love Gal Gadot and it was great seeing her at the show. I’m thrilled she was asked to present since she certainly wasn’t there because the Academy gave “Wonder Woman” any awards attention.
  • Jimmy Kimmel was pretty bland. A few laughs but quite a few dry spells. He could have shaved off a few minutes from his act and it would have been fine.
  • I mean did we really need a group of us ordinary folks once again being surprised by beautiful movie stars? Sure it’s kinda funny, but for a show pushing four hours…
  • That said, I would be pretty giddy if Gal Gadot, Lupita Nyong’o, Emily Blunt, and Mark Hamill walked into my theater. Just being honest.

GADOT

  • The ‘In Memoriam’ segment was just brutal.
  • Almost as brutal as the musical performances from the Best Original Song nominees. 😬
  • Speaking of the ‘In Memoriam’ video, where the crap was Tobe Hooper and Powers Boothe??? The Academy needs to explain themselves.
  • Have I mentioned how much I love Daniel Day-Lewis. A very humble, unassuming presence. The camera only showed him twice, but both times he seemed quite nervous of the attention. That’s rare to see in those settings.
  • Allison Janney wins Supporting Actress for “I, Tonya”. Predictable, expected, no suspense.
  • Great seeing “Dunkirk” win three technical awards. Doesn’t quite make up for the shameful ignoring of it elsewhere in the show. But was anyone surprised?
  • Jordan Peele and “Get Out” wins the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Apparently the Academy can overlook some pretty big flaws if you have the right social commentary. And most of those flaws can be traced right back Peele’s screenplay.
  • While I wasn’t a fan of Peele’s screenplay, he did make some history. He is the first African American to ever win in that category. Let that fact sink in for a second.
  • Notice how they place Meryl Streep in the very front row of every Oscars ceremony? Prime seating for maximum attention.

MCDORMAND

  • Frances McDormand won Best Actress just as she has with every other major award she has been nominated for. Again, isn’t it convenient how all of these groups seem to fall in line with each other? Her speech was manic, scattered and livelier than most of the broadcast. Loved her nod to hubbie Joel Coen.
  • McDormand’s parting two words “Inclusion, Rider” turned quite a few heads. It’s a shame we are in a place where that would even be needed. At the same time it’s potential effect on creativity is curious and a tad concerning.
  • And why not stay on the subject of predictability. Gary Oldman won Best Actor for “Darkest Hour”. I was rooting for Daniel Day-Lewis, but it’s impossible not to see Oldman as deserving.
  • It was a wonderful seeing both Eva Marie Saint and Rita Moreno on stage. It’s nice to see the Academy recognizing stars young and old.
  • “Academy Award winner Roger Deakins”. Talk about something long overdue. It was so good to see Deakins not only finally get an Oscar, but win for some truly brilliant work in “Blade Runner 2049”.
  • While I’m not onboard the Timothée Chalamet hype train, I did love the enthusiasm he showed the entire night. There’s no doubt he loved being there.

90th Annual Academy Awards - Show

  • So is Jodie Foster super short or is Jennifer Lawrence super tall? Maybe both?
  • Wasn’t it kinda weird seeing Kobe Bryant win and get an ovation in light of the #MeToo era? 🤔
  • There was a lot of Academy lip service about “Lady Bird” but Greta Gerwig’s delightful coming-of-age dramedy was completely shut out. Such a shame. Gerwig, Ronan, Metcalf – I would have cheered if any of them had won.
  • As expected the entire broadcast was laced with politics but it all lacked bite. Most of it felt flat and self-indulgent, much like the entire 90th Academy Awards. Here’s hoping for a better show next year.

So I’m with a lot of others, this year’s Oscars was a slog. Remove any suspense and it tends to go that way. Overall a very D+ kind of show. 

Oscar Prediction Time…

OSCARS

I usually just throw out some random thoughts after Hollywood’s big show, but I decided I would join several of my blogging pals and give some meaningless predictions for this year’s Academy Awards. You could say this is an attempt to get myself excited for Sunday’s extravaganza. I’m usually hopping up and down, but my lack of enthusiasm for many of this year’s nominees and the overall lack of any suspense has me a bit….blah.

Nonetheless here we go:

BEST PICTURE

MCDORMAND

WHO WILL WIN: “Three Billboards”

WHO SHOULD WIN: “Dunkirk”

DARK HOUSE: “Get Out”

The smart money says this is a race between “Three Billboards” and “The Shape of Water”. I’m not high of Guillermo del Toro’s visually beautiful but narratively clunky love story. But I thoroughly disliked “Three Billboards” and it’s aimless, morally contradictory story. It’s been winning a lot and it will probably win again. But don’t count out the profoundly mediocre “Get Out”. Both it and “The Shape of Water” seem to have enough political messaging to cover up their significant storytelling issues. At least in the Academy’s eyes.

As for Nolan, let’s face it. Apparently he simply doesn’t make the kind of movies the Academy gives its big awards to. The brilliance of “Dunkirk” has been all but forgotten by voters.

BEST ACTOR

OLDMAN

WHO WILL WIN: Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”)

WHO SHOULD WIN: Daniel Day-Lewis (“Phantom Thread”)

DARK HORSE: None (it’s in the bag)

I loved Oldman’s performance as Winston Churchill and I won’t cry if he wins. And while I liked Denzel’s performance more than most people, Day-Lewis swept me away (once again). If he wins it won’t be a “Bon voyage” award. He deserves it. But don’t worry Oldman fans. Gary has this one locked up.

BEST ACTRESS

FRANCES

WHO WILL WIN: Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards”)

WHO SHOULD WIN: Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”

DARK HORSE: None (definitely in the bag)

McDormand was fine in “Three Billboards” despite McDonagh’s queasy writing, but I don’t quite get the adoration. For my money Ronan gave yet another fabulous performance so true in every word and expression. She won’t win (neither will anyone else). This is McDormand’s all the way.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

ROCKWELL

WHO WILL WIN: Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards”)

WHO SHOULD WIN: Willam Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)

DARK HORSE: None (once again…)

Rockwell has won this at every turn which leaves any intrigue all but nonexistent. Again, Rockwell is fine playing a Sam Rockwell character but it’s far from a Oscar-winning performance. None of the nominated made my Top 5 for the category, but of those nominated I would go with Dafoe’s stellar work in “The Florida Project”. But he hasn’t a chance in the world.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Janney

WHO WILL WIN: Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)

WHO SHOULD WIN: Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)

DARK HORSE: None…zzzzzzzz

See my comments in the previous category. Janney has won everything and will win here. Metcalf will have to be content with a nomination but her intensely authentic performance deserves the statue. Love seeing Manville and Blige nominated. I would put them both ahead of Janney, but they have no shot.

BEST DIRECTOR

SOW_10268.CR2

WHO WILL WIN: Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”)

WHO SHOULD WIN: Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”)

DARK HOUSE: Jordan Peele (“Get Out”)

Again, Nolan apparently doesn’t make movies the Academy loves. As proof, this is the first time he has EVER been nominated in this category. I’d love to say he would grab an upset win here by del Toro seems to be the frontrunner. I guess directing one-half of a movie well is enough to get a statue.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

CALL ME

WHO WILL WIN: “Call Me By Your Name”

WHO SHOULD WIN: “Molly’s Game”

DARK HORSE: “Mudbound”

I don’t really think “Mudbound” has a shot but I wanted to mention it somewhere. It certainly deserves consideration. But Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game” is still tops for me. “Logan” is a neat surprise, but if we’re honest it’s no Oscar-worthy script.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BILLBOARDS222

WHO WILL WIN: “Three Billboards”

WHO SHOULD WIN: “Lady Bird”

DARK HORSE: “Get Out”

The very idea that Martin McDonagh will win a screenplay award for “Three Billboards” blows my mind. Most of what I despised about the film can be traced back to the screenplay. Yet it will win. Only slightly less mind blowing would be a “Get Out” victory. Don’t count it out. Of those nominated, I’ll be rooting for “Lady Bird”.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

SHAPE111

WHO WILL WIN: “The Shape of Water”

WHO SHOULD WIN: “Phantom Thread”

DARK HORSE: None

Not much intrigue here either. Desplat’s sweet waltzy score will win and I won’t be sad. It’s one of the best parts of the film and that isn’t a slight. I prefer Greenwood’s beautiful and elegant work, but either one is deserving.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Film/ Blade Runner 2049

WHO WILL WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”

WHO SHOULD WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”

DARK HORSE: “Dunkirk”

Will we all finally get to celebrate a long overdue Roger Deakins Oscar win? I think we will. It’s shameful that the brilliant cinematographer has never won. And as much as I love “Dunkirk” and “Mudbound”, his work in “BR2049” was the cream of the crop. And this won’t be some token win.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

WARRR

WHO WILL WIN: “War for the Planet of the Apes”

WHO SHOULD WIN: “Blade Runner 2049”

I will applaud either of these winners. But when it comes to all-around visual effects and how they effect the movie as a whole, I’m cheering for “Blade Runner 2049”.

RANDOM PREDICTIONS

  • BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “Phantom Thread”
  • BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Coco”
  • BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “The Square”
  • BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “This Is Me” (“The Greatest Showman”)
  • BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Faces Places”
  • BEST FILM EDITING: “Dunkirk”
  • BEST MAKEUP: “Darkest Hour”
  • BEST SOUND MIXING: “Dunkirk”
  • BEST SOUND EDITING: “Dunkirk”

I’ll be doing some live-tweeting on Sunday night. See you there!

5 Phenomenal 2018 Super Bowl Teasers

PHENOM 5

The amount of money spent on Super Bowl advertisements is notorious. Products pay millions of dollars for 30 seconds to one minute of commercial time. Movie studious are no different. I have a blast watching for new movie reveals and this year’s stock was pretty strong. Here are my five favorites:

#5 – “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Why is this even on the list? Because it is a substantial step up from the first trailer. In fact, it actually has me a little interested in what Universal has in store for us. The previous film was pretty forgettable (and sometimes down-right laughable). This well-made teaser offers a little optimism for the next installment.

#4 – “Solo: A Star War Story”

My skepticism over this idea is still pretty high, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to a little excitement over the images we get in the Super Bowl teaser. I love the look of the film (what we can see) and it appears there may be a pretty good concept behind it all. But our first look at Ehrenreich’s Solo compared to Harrison Ford’s from “A New Hope”…let’s just say connecting those two may be a challenge.

#3 – “A Quiet Place”

What started off as a cool horror movie concept has grown into a film I’m genuinely excited for. John Krasinski directs, co-writes, and stars alongside real-life wife Emily Blunt. It also features Millicent Simmonds who was wonderful in 2017’s “Wonderstruck”. The Super Bowl teaser is soaking with tension and it will be interesting to see if the movie can deliver on such potential.

#2 – “The Cloverfield Paradox”

Well played Netflix. Well played. “The Cloverfield Paradox” gets a spot this high just for the sheer audacity of it all. The teaser was a surprise and looked cool in and of itself, but when it was revealed that it would premiere on Netflix immediately after the game, well who saw that coming? It was an incredibly gutsy move and something completely new for the motion picture business.

#1 – “Mission Impossible: Fallout”

I’ll admit it. I’m a big fan of Christopher McQuarrie’s take on the “Mission Impossible” series. The Super Bowl teaser highlighted many of the reasons why. It looks like the full cast is back including Rebecca Ferguson who was amazing in “Rogue Nation”. New addition Henry Cavill and his killer mustache gets a proper introduction and it looks like he’ll be a key player. And then we learn it’s all a teaser for the full trailer which is even better. Needless to say I can’t wait for July 27th.

So which movie teasers were your? Please share you favorites and no-so-favorites in the comments section below.

2018 Blind Spot Series

2017blindspot

Last year was my second full year of doing this Blind Spot thing and it was a ton of fun. It compelled me to watch some films I should have already seen and to dive into classics that others have spoken so highly of. Unfortunately my cinematic journey was derailed during the Fall months. But now it’s a new year which means a new Blind Spot list. Here are the movies I’ll be seeing or seeing in their entirety for the first time in 2018

JANUARY – “Stranger Than Paradise”

PARADISE1

FEBRUARY – “Love in the Afternoon”

LOVE

MARCH – “My Night at Maud’s”

MA NUIT CHEZ MAUD

APRIL – “Shane”

Shane

MAY – “The King of Comedy”

KING

JUNE – “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”

MANWHOSHOT

JULY – “Tender Mercies”

TENDER

AUGUST – “Eraserhead”

Eraser

SEPTEMBER – “The Producers”

PRODUCERS

OCTOBER – “”Picnic at Hanging Rock”

PICNIC

NOVEMBER – “Harold and Maude”

Harold

DECEMBER – “Through a Glass Darkly”

GLASS

So what do you think of this year’s list?

The 6th Annual K&M Random Movie Awards

RANDOM AWARDS

Today marks the sixth (you heard me right – sixth) year that I have put together this highly esteemed and hardly anticipated final look back at the previous year in movies. I simply call these the K&M Random Movie Awards. Even the name drips with prestige and significance. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill awards drivel. Oh no, these are completely random categories yanked out of the air and presented to you. Now, without further delay, the red carpet ceremony is over and the nominees are in their seats. Lets get to this year’s ‘winners’…

Best Directorial Debut – Kogonada (“Columbus”)

In a year rich with fine directorial debuts none grabbed me quite like Kogonada. Sadly seen by too few, “Columbus” was a superb start to a promising feature filmmaking career.

Best Child Performance – Millicent Simmonds (“Wonderstruck”)

Another category full of potential winners, but for me it’s Millicent Simmonds. Hands down one of the most gentle, lovely and expressive child performances I’ve seen.

wonderstruck

Worst Movie of the Year – “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”

Sure, there is a lot of dreck I have happily avoided, but “Valerian” was by far the most boring and laborious movie I sat through last year. At least some of the images were pretty.

Best Superhero Movie – “Wonder Woman”

Calling it ‘Best Superhero Movie’ is almost a disservice. I think it’s one of the best films from 2017 of any genre. Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot struck pure gold.

Worst Use of a Great Cast – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Just looking at this cast is impressive – McDormand, Rockwell, Harrelson, Hawkes, Hedges just for starters. Unfortunately Martin McDonagh’s mess of a movie wastes it all.

Best Surprise Ending – “Split”

I won’t spoil a thing, but who on planet earth saw that coming? I’m talking about the end of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split”. The VERY end. You who have seen it know what I mean!

Most Nefarious Food Item – Mushrooms

What the heck was up with mushrooms in 2017. I won’t even mention the movies where mushrooms play a key role in fear of spoiling things but good grief.

silence

Best Movie Released in 2017 but Called a 2016 Movie Due To Dopey Release Schedules – “Silence”

Oh how I dislike release schedules. Every year a movie that would have made my Top 10 doesn’t open for most of us until the next year. Scorsese’s brilliant “Silence” was that film in 2017.

Best Screenplay – “Molly’s Game”

Aaron Sorkin can write dialogue. No one can question that. But if you do “Molly’s Game” is more proof of the man’s immense talent with words.

Most Overly Praised Movie – “Get Out”

Yes, I know it’s a beloved movie heralded as greatness. Quite honestly it blows my mind. It has some big ideas but even more gaping holes in logic and execution. I just can’t get aboard the hype train.

Most Unfairly Maligned Movie – “Justice League”

“Justice League” definitely has flaws but critics came out guns blazing picking it apart for the smallest things (unlike the aforementioned film). Again, it has issues but the stoning it took was undeserved.

Best Car Chase – “John Wick: Chapter 2”

John Wick has good taste in cars. His quest to rescue his gorgeous black 1969 Ford Mustang in JW2’s opening sequence is met with some pretty heated resistance. It also results in one killer car chase.

WICK

Best Fight Scene – Kylo and Rey vs. Snoke’s Guards

So many scenes could win this but nothing excited me more than seeing Kylo and Rey back-to-back with Snoke’s guards surrounding them. Their brief but incredibly cool team-up had our theater roaring.

Worst Movie Title – “Happy Death Day”

Let me start off by saying “Happy Death Day” is an unexpectedly fun and entertaining little horror-thriller. But let’s be honest….that title….

Best Comedy – “Logan Lucky”

I may be wrong but I seems that Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky” came and went with little attention. I found this deep-south riff on the Ocean’s movies to be a hilarious romp.

Most Overlooked Performance – Rob Morgan (“Mudbound”)

There was some great supporting work in 2017 but the most criminally overlooked has to be Rob Morgan. He’s an anchor of “Mudbound” yet practically no one is talking about him. That’s a shame.

Best Documentary – “Finding Oscar”

I’ll admit I didn’t see as many documentaries as I hoped to, but “Finding Oscar” has left its mark on me. Informative, important, shocking and heartbreaking. It’s a film that needs to be seen.

PLUMMER

Best Villain – J. Paul Getty (“All the Money in the World”)

The story behind Christopher Plummer replacing Kevin Spacey is enough to make this character legendary. Turns out no crutch is needed. Plummer’s J. Paul Getty is just that vile and the movie is better for it.

Most Eye-Opening Performance – Haley Lu Richardson (“Columbus”)

There were a lot of eye-opening performances in 2017, but none grabbed me quite like Haley Lu Richardson in “Columbus”. It’s an expressive soulful performance full of heart and longing.

Biggest Letdown – “Thor: Ragnarok”

First off this is far from a bad movie. But as someone who is a fan of both Thor and director Taika Waititi I wanted more. Waititi’s portrayals feel way out of sync with the greater MCU and the absurdity eventually grew old for me.

Best Keanu Reeves Impersonation in a Movie – Dane DeHaan (“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”)

I still haven’t figured out what Dane DeHaan was going for in “Valerian”. His voice had me thinking Keanu Reeves from “Point Break”. I kept wanting him to yell “Bodie, I’m an F..B..I agent!”

Coolest Action Sequence – Kong vs. Helicopters (“Kong: Skull Island”)

Keep in mind this isn’t the “Best” action sequence but the “Coolest”. Kong introducing himself to a group of trespassing military helicopters certainly qualifies. What a way the start their Skull Island adventure!

Best Football Scene – “The Disaster Artist”

You truly have to see it to believe it. James Franco in full Tommy Wiseau character tossing a football in an almost inhuman fashion. It’s both bazaar and laugh-out-loud funny.

The Most Exciting Theater Experience – “Dunkirk”

No other 2017 theater experience came close to matching what Christopher Nolan offered with “Dunkirk”. An exhilarating rush of visuals and sound presented on the big screen as only Nolan can.

BEGUILED

Best Dinner Table Scene – “The Beguiled”

This category almost went to “Phantom Thread” but ultimately Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” won out. I won’t dare spoil it, but suffice it to say it’s a scene that has remained stuck in my head. I love it.

Best Original Score – “Phantom Thread” (Jonny Greenwood)

Speaking of “Phantom Thread”, in a strong year for memorable music nothing could quite beat Jonny Greenwood’s exquisite classical score. It is both elegant and haunting. More importantly it fits perfectly in ever scene it touches.

Most Annoying Best Friend – Rod (“Get Out”)

Most people I’ve talked to seemed to really like Chris’ TSA buddy Rod in “Get Out”. Aside from the fact that his very existance opens up some of film’s biggest plot holes, he’s also extremely annoying. He’s almost always in stand-up comic relief mode and the TSA gag was funny the first couple of times. After that…nope.

Best Daddy/Daughter Moment – “Logan”

Several 2017 movies had these moments that got to me – “Molly’s Game”, “Lady Bird”, even “Logan Lucky”. But the moment that wins comes from “Logan”. No spoilers, but if you’ve seen it you know it. Now enough talk. I’m getting misty thinking about it.

Best Special Effects – “Blade Runner 2049”

Denis Villeneuve made a critical decision when making his “Blade Runner” sequel – maintain the look and tone of the original. Oh, and bringing along Roger Deakins is never a bad idea. The results are absolutely wonderful. Scene after scene features some amazing effect which fuel this dark dystopia that feels right at home with its predecessor.

And that wraps up 2017. On to 2018…

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.