Arts, Movies, Column

Assumptions on the Academy Awards

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony is this coming Sunday. I stand by two ideas regarding Oscars and other awards.

  1. Receiving an Oscar doesn’t necessarily make a movie worth watching.
  2. The lack of Oscar awards or nominations doesn’t mean a movie isn’t worth watching.

I do, however, enjoy watching the Academy Awards and other awards shows, and I will be sitting down to watch on Sunday night. I have a few predictions for the way the awards will go, and they likely won’t be exactly the way I would like them to go. As an aside, I have seen almost all of the nominated films at this point. Without further ado:

Best Picture:

There are nine movies nominated for this award, all of which I have seen. I think, based on my knowledge and estimations of the Academy and past awards, that The Shape of Water will win Best Picture. The movie I want to win and the movie I think should win is Get Out, but I really don’t think it will. Get Out is the best movie of 2017, and it will have greater lasting impact and cinematic significance than The Shape of Water. More people have seen and liked Get Out, and it’s astounding that a February 2017 release has retained enough momentum and impact to hold onto awards buzz almost a year later. Unfortunately I believe that The Shape of Water will win—just like other Best Picture winners in past years, it was also nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, which usually means it will receive Best Picture. Don’t get me wrong, The Shape of Water is a great movie—one of the best of the year in my opinion—I just don’t think it deserves to win over Get Out.

Best Director:

Five directors are nominated for this category, and I honestly think it could reasonably go to four of them. Christopher Nolan won’t get it, because he directed Dunkirk as a summer blockbuster, but if Dunkirk had come out in November, I think he would have had a much better shot. That being said, the remaining four—Greta Gerwig, Jordan Peele, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Guillermo del Toro—are all fantastic directors in their own right. Because of The Shape of Water’s multiple nominations and likely win for Best Picture, I don’t think del Toro will win this award. The remaining three leave a tough choice. If I had to pick, I would prefer Jordan Peele to win the award, just because Get Out is a stellar movie. Lady Bird is a stellar movie. Both directors have put together films that hopefully mark the start of two incredible directorial careers but I just like Get Out better. That being said, I think the Academy will pick Gerwig or Paul Thomas Anderson.

Best Actor/Actress:

First of all, I think the gendered division between these two awards is offensive, as it excludes actors who don’t identify as a man or woman. The problem with doing away with the Best Actress category and giving two Best Actor awards to people of any gender is that the old white men who choose the nominations would nominate very few women over men. Furthermore, people who don’t identify as men or women rarely get roles in films to begin with, and the old white guys who make nominations definitely aren’t picking them. But, because these are this year’s categories, and because it doesn’t look like the Academy will be changing them anytime soon, I have a few thoughts on the nominees. I think that Gary Oldman and Daniel Day-Lewis are the favorites for the Best Actor category, but as much as I love both of those actors, I think Timothée Chalamet deserves the award. I really enjoyed Roman J. Israel, Esq. and if the movie had been slightly better, Denzel Washington (who is also nominated) would be a surefire pick for this category. As for Best Actress, I think it will, and should be, either Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water or Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird. Frances McDormand is fantastic in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but I don’t think she outshines either Ronan or Hawkins. I think both of these women gave incredible performances in their respective roles and I would be happy if the award went to either of them. I really don’t want it to go to the Academy’s favorite person in the world—Meryl Streep. Streep is an incredible actress, but I think that the Academy tosses her a nomination or an award every year just because she’s Meryl Streep. Her performance last year in Florence Foster Jenkins certainly didn’t deserve a nomination, and her performance as Katharine Graham in The Post doesn’t deserve one either. For that matter, The Post is a good movie, but it really shouldn’t have gotten any nominations. But anyway, no, Streep did not give the best performance by an actress this year by any means.

This column is way too long, despite only covering four categories, so here I will end.

Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons

February 28, 2018