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The Cape Media News GUIDE to the Academy Awards

Filed in Arts, NEWS HEADLINES by on February 28, 2018 0 Comments • views: 400

The Cape Media News GUIDE to the Academy Awards
by David Baker

Well, ladies and gentlemen and others, welcome to the Cape Media News guide to the Oscars. Normally, this is a dazzling awards show that rewards those who have the sensibilities of a book club at a suburban Florida rest home (*cough*, Driving Miss Daisy winning, *cough* no nods for Do The Right Thing *cough, hack, wheeze*). But as you and everyone else know, these are not ordinary times.  But the political paradigms have permanently shifted, and a new breed of artistic thought is being let out into the meadow with plenty of things to chew on. Though not as many compared to decades before, there are enough people to see how this combination of factors is put to the test.

Judging by the nominations, things seem to be runner smoother than before. The most recent Oscars have faced fierce criticism for missed opportunities and for being out-of-tune with movie buffs and casual fans alike, so any readjustment will be seen as an improvement. Plus, the films that revolve around previously unacknowledged social groups don’t feel like token diversity nods (e.g. the now-reviled Crash). It is almost as if the Academy saw the positive responses to Chris Rock sardonically hosting the ceremony in 2016 and were more than happy to provide a second helping. So keep that and last year’s flub in mind, especially since Jimmy Kimmel is hosting again.

That’s all fine and good, but what about the awards themselves? Who will win, yes, but who really should win? Let’s take a good look:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Nominees: The Big Sick (Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani), Get Out (Jordan Peele), Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig), The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)

  • Who will win? This is a little bit of a dicey category, as there are several strong contenders. However, Greta Gerwig has a strong following among indie fans, especially with those who liked Frances Ha. And considering she is still small-time and Lady Bird is her directorial debut, she’ll likely have enough to squeak out a win – albeit by a close margin.
  • Who *should* win? Ladies and gentlemen and others, Get Out is a horror movie for the ages. Clever, distinctly funny and profoundly unnerving, the film’s setup and conclusion practically captured last year in a bottle. Oh, just go ahead and mail it to Jordan Peele ahead of time.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Nominees: Call Me by Your Name (James Ivory), The Disaster Artist (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber), Logan (Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green), Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin), Mudbound (Virgil Williams and Dee Rees)

  • Who will win? With the maybe-exception of The Disaster Artist being slightly too sentimental for the source material, all of the nominees would each be winners two or three years ago. So with that in mind and people’s fondness for Call Me By Your Name, industry insider James Ivory will win by seniority.
  • Who *should* win? Well, there’s the rub. And while it would be wonderful to see a superhero graphic inspired an Oscar winner after the letdown of Watchmen, the work of Virgil Williams and Dee Rees has more of a claim to relevancy. This is the era of Netflix and Chill, and there’s no other way of the Academy acknowledging that other than rewarding Mudbound.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Nominees: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent

  • Who will win? It’s going to be Coco. It’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s full of feels. And most importantly of all, it’ll annoy those types of people who write certain types of letters to the editor of the Cape Cod Times.
  • Who *should* win? See above.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees: Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Leslie Manville (Phantom Thread), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

  • Who will win? With a category like this, it will probably be an unknown or a legacy win. While the latter should in theory make it an easy win for Allison Janney, the older audiences that vote in these things will find Lady Bird and the passive-aggressive mother played by Laurie Metcalf a bit more appealing.
  • Who *should* win? Probably just a coin flip between Mary J. Blige and Leslie Manville, as both ladies are the quiet kind of scene-stealers in their respective movies.

BEST ACTRESS

Nominees: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Meryl Streep (The Post)

  • Who will win? Ugh, Three Billboards is guaranteed at least one Oscar win because of it. Why? Because Oscar voters are convinced that they need to kowtow to the “salt of the earth” (read: small towns that are whiter than milk). And Frances McDormand represents that perfectly, the face of a film filled with random acts of violence, spousal abuse and casual racism. In the words of an 80s Valley Girl, gag me with a spoon!
  • Who *should* win? How much skill does it take to create a three-dimensional character without uttering a sound? A lot of skill and finesse, that’s for certain. And Sally Hawkins as an uniquely lovestruck cleaning lady has more working-class bona fides than anyone in Three Billboards In A Dead End For Job Prospects.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All The Money in The World), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

  • Who will win? Christopher Plummer is one of the elder statesmen of the Hollywood world, and he won this award before in 2012. And considering in nine days, he helped people who watched momentarily forget the scandals, no thanks to folks like Marky Mark… that’s a colossal achievement.
  • Who *should* win? The Florida Project just got one too many snubs for anyone’s objective liking. And in a way, Willem Dafoe became the sugar that made the medicine go down for most people who saw it, especially if they would have otherwise ignored the movie – like they did with director Sean Baker’s other films.

BEST ACTOR

Nominees: Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

  • Who will win? Gary Oldman, without a doubt. Especially from Oscar voters who complained that Dunkirk had no generically likeable leads and practically handed The King’s Speech a winning night a few years back.
  • Who *should* win? Considering how great Get Out turned out to be, we have to acknowledge how Daniel Kaluuya managed to pull off acting like a slightly smarter horror movie protagonist. Enough to want people to see him, well, get out of the area in one piece. But he was overshadowed in Black Panther, and one supposes voters will hold their breath for how he does in Netflix’s stab at Watership Down before they truly roll out the accolades for him.

BEST DIRECTOR

Nominees: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Jordan Peele (Get Out), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

  • Who will win? This is one with Guillermo del Toro’s name written on it. He’s been denied it before, and the voters are not keen to deny him now.
  • Who *should* win? But then again, del Toro might benefit from being snubbed in the long run, based on the way Hollywood has treated trophy-less figures like Alfred Hitchcock. And if the voters accept this (probably not likely), it should a coin toss between Jordan Peele (whose debut smartly combines social satire and Gothic horror) and Christopher Nolan (who made a classic war film that was meant for 2017).

BEST PICTURE

Nominees: Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

  • Who will win? This is probably going to be The Shape of Water, with all of the awards that it has going for it. Then again, this was the same situation that La La Land had, yet Moonlight had enough second- and third-place votes to notch a surprise win. (Remember, the Oscars have a preferential voting system.) If that is the case, potential spoilers could be either Get Out or Lady Bird, whichever the voters feel is more to their liking.
  • Who *should* win? If either of the aforementioned spoilers take home Best Picture, each one would have definitely earned it. Then again, so would the other films in the category, with the exception of Darkest Hour and Three Billboards Outside A Race Riot Just *Waiting* To Happen. There are plenty of snubs to go around, but that’s because last year was a pretty good year in terms of quality films – even if not so many people went to see them. At least Netflix and Amazon Prime will have some fine additions to their catalogue a few months down the line.

WHERE TO WATCH THE SHOW

The Chatham Orpheum Theater is having a free watch party, which starts at 6:30. RSVP at this link.

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