It’s Oscar season folks, and whether like the yuletide you’re full of the awards season spirit, despondently cynical about the Academy and its track record, or just all around ignoring the famed awards show, there’s no escaping the talk and hype around the nominees and the pending triumphs, upsets, and probable disappointments of the coming ceremony.
This year is no different, with there apparently being plenty of divisive nominees and favorites- except it’s different for me because this year I haven’t seen any of the more “acclaimed” films up to take home the weirdly suggestive gold man.
But I’m an American male and that means I can still slap dash together a rundown of my predictions for the coming Academy awards. Cursory internet research and moxie got me a Bachelor’s degree, so this article should be a breeze. Without further ado, here are my 2018 Oscar Predictions (based on IMDB research).
This one seems like a gimme. Mr. “I’ll drink your milkshake” Day-Lewis is pretty much a walking breathing Oscar. Not to mention that he’s pulled a Michael Jordan and stated that this is the film he’s going out on.
You may notice I’ve used two There Will be Blood grabs already. That’s simple: There Will be Blood was hecking awesome, and it still occupies a neat little niche in the zeitgeist. That’s largely due to Day-Lewis’ superhuman ability to occupy a character role more completely and deeply as any other actor maybe in human history. I haven’t seen that kind of penetration yet by Phantom Thread, but there’s still time.
However, reading the plot synopsis doesn’t fill me with much hope: it’s about a “renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.” That synopsis seems to fit a campy and funny Pretty Woman style movie more than the intense and deliberate story I saw in the trailer.
Phantom Thread has six nominations: it’s going to win Daniel Day-Lewis his retirement Oscar, and because it’s about a dressmaker, the costume designer has to get it or else you’re saying that nothing about the movie or Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as a legendary dressmaker made any sense. Paul Thomas Anderson deserves an Oscar because he’s awesome, but I’m hesitant to say he’ll get it for this.
Result: 2 Wins and a miss for Best Director that makes film geeks cry out in agony.
Shape of Water
Everyone is talking about this one with the kind of hushed respect reserved for those rare flights of fairy tale storytelling like a Pan’s Labyrinth- which makes sense because it’s another Del Toro film.
Well, that’s about 90% of what I’ve heard about it.
The other 10% is jokes that essentially go: “this fish FUCKS.”
Okay, enough cheapening it, because this film is nominated for a whopping 13 awards. I think the only nomination that matters is Del Toro, who picks up three different nominations for Directing, Writing and his role as Producer. Del Toro not having won an Oscar is another of those injustices of the Academy, but so was Shakespeare in Love beating Shawshank for Best Picture. The world is full of unfairness kids, and this is why you’re reading this article and not some stuffy well researched critics’ prediction on an AV Club or wherever the kids go these days.
Anyway, it seems like Del Toro is “due” but since they can give him the Oscar for best writing, they’ll probably go that route so they can give the Best Director award to someone else. I’m predicting that Sally Hawkins can win for Best Actress since she did such a solid job convincing us doing the floating nasty with a fish man is a romantic thing everyone is swooning over (I’m no gyno, but I do know sex in bodies of water does carry increased risk of UTIs, so rethink that fantasy folks).
Also, the synopsis doesn’t tell me who the fish guy is played by (the synopsis doesn’t give “the experiment” a name I can match to the cast list and I refuse to ruin this article’s integrity by cross checking on Wikipedia), so I don’t know if the actor nominated for Supporting Actor, Richard Jenkins, is the fish fuckee, but if he is, give it to him.
Result: 3 Wins, Nerds are sated that their beloved Del Toro has a statue finally to put on what I’m sure is a gigantic and terrifyingly gothic mantle.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Every few years there’s a film that plays the Oscar bait game very well while forgetting to play the game of being an actually good or entertaining film. Based on everything I’ve heard about Three Billboards, this is that film.
This is disappointing to me because I have so much love in my heart for Sam Rockwell, and no matter how bad everyone tells me this film is, I have to love it somewhat because it got my beloved, dancing, star man his Oscar nomination:
He’s all that matters to me. This is definite fork in the road moment that’ll create alternate timelines: on one path Rockwell wins and live on in joy that sometimes good things do happen to good people. In other I live on in despair.
Result: Rockwell, Rockwell, Rockwell.
Here’s more Oscar bait for you. Meryl Streep is the female Daniel Day-Lewis, and he is the male Meryl Streep. The same way Jordan and Lebron could seemingly will championship rings unto their teams at their peaks, so too is the Academy unto our Lady Streep.
The Post seems extremely pertinent to this moment in time given the synopsis about the first female news publisher and challenges she faces with whether or not to break groundbreaking news.
The Academy has shown in the past it is responsive to cultural moments and present-day circumstance. Even though IMDB says this thing barely made $50M in the US (which means that maybe 550 people saw it, if you want better math go to Forbes nerds), it wasn’t made for the public: it was made for the Academy.
Thus, I’m going bold on this one saying it goes 2 for 2 on its nominations.
Results: Meryl Streep steals Sally Hawkins Oscar that I awarded her two entries prior and Steven Spielberg manages to pull Amy Pascal out of the pit of post-Sony Hack emails to win for Best Picture. Nerds are largely unsurprised and remain quiet because they didn’t see this one.
A friend tells me this one was earth shattering, and is effusive in telling everyone to go see it when it’s brought up. Checking what it’s nominated for, I’m gonna apologize up front to her and say that I, Tonya is showing up to a Meryl Streep fight with a Margot Robbie for the Best Actress award.
And then I saw that gif from I, Tonya and… holy crap. It’s incredibly reminiscent of Ellen Burstyn’s heartbreaking scene of mental breakdown in Requiem for a Dream which absolutely deserved an Oscar- but Burstyn didn’t win it that year and the Academy is likely to say that Robbie will be around for a while yet and can win later. Sorry, that’s how it works folks.
I heard the editing was great, and Allison Janney is another of my beloveds much like Sam Rockwell since her days as C.J. on West Wing, so I’m going to say I, Tonya at least hits on the next two for Janney to win for Supporting Actress and Tatiana S. Riegel for Film Editing.
Results: ❤ CJ 5Ever
This one is cheating, I saw it. What I didn’t see was it getting as many nods as it did (read: any). I’m full of praise for it. Peele told a layered story that was terrifying on both a visceral and deeply thoughtful level, Daniel Kaluuya’s performance was measured and empathetic, Lakeith Stanfield is right there in my heart next to Sam Rockwell and Alison Janney.
You may have picked up, by now, on my cynicism that this isn’t only about individual achievement within the work itself. So, I’ll approach this the exact way the Academy will Get Out’s nominations:
Best Motion Picture? Nope, that’s going to The Post.
Best Actor? You brought a Daniel Kaluuya to a Day-Lewis fight, sorry boys. (Yes, I know I used that joke format already with Streep-Robbie above, but note that prior to that I stated that Day-Lewis is the male Streep; that’s called tying things together, folks).
Best Director or Screenplay? Del Toro is due and Peele is fresh with a stack of projects and long career ahead of him. The Academy will write an IOU to Peele to make good on other debts.
Results: I shake my head and finish my scotch muttering “told ya so” to no one in particular.
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