Picking the Winners: 2018 Oscars

0

With the 90th Academy Awards less than two weeks away, speculation has grown rampant regarding who will be taking home the coveted Oscars. Tired of speculating, three film writers from LWOS Life decided to get together and take fate into their own hands. Acting as their own Academy, they picked ten of their favorite categories, cast their own votes, and named their own winners. In the event of a split decision, the ruling went in favor of the odds-on favorite to win. So, without further ado, here are the picks for 2018 Academy Awards!

Picking the Winners: 2018 Oscars 

BEST PICTURE

Here are the nominees…

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

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

A love letter to classic cinema takes home cinema’s most prized award. The Shape of Water is one of the most imaginative films of the year as well as one of the most beautiful. At first glance, it’s a love story in the vain of Beauty and the Beast. However, over the course of it two hour run time, this thematically layered film becomes something so much more poetic, intricate, and thought-provoking.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Picture: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This film stands out from the rest in terms of its originality, the strength of its characters, and the level of acting across the board. It appeals to a wide array of emotions, being poignant and serious, as well as funny. Moreover, it wonderfully conveys the spirit of living in the mid-West United States. A stand-out film, worthy of the Oscars’ greatest accolade.
– James Cunningham

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro’s exercise in genre subversion blends together the best elements of fantasy films, romance movies, and thrillers to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. This is an ode to unconventional love, the kind of film that will make you fall in love with movies again and remind you what genre movies can be when they’re made with purpose and skill by a master like del Toro.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…The Shape of Water

BEST DIRECTOR

Here are the nominees…

Christopher NolanDunkirk
Jordan PeeleGet Out
Greta GerwigLady Bird
Paul Thomas AndersonPhantom Thread
Guillermo del ToroThe Shape of Water

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro—The Shape of Water

Having already taken home the award at the Golden Globes, many believe Guillermo del Toro is the odds-on favorite to take home the Oscar in March. The Shape of Water is rich with the kind of visual storytelling that we have come to know and love from del Toro. The lack of dialogue between the two lead really allows del Toro unleash his imagination to find new and creative ways to depict love and the on-screen result makes him a tough contender to beat.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Director: Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan delivers a wonderful cinematic experience for Dunkirk, which rightly sees it among the nominations for Best Picture. His use of the ticking sound, recurring throughout the film, creates a tension that lasts throughout the entire movie. Nolan’s World War Two epic is distinctive, original, and leaves its audience gripped to the screen for its entirety.
– James Cunningham

Best Director: Christopher Nolan—Dunkirk

Over the years Christopher Nolan has developed a cult-like following of fans who worship at the altar of his aesthetic. He’s constantly trying to find ways to outdo himself by tackling bigger and more ambitious projects—which has culminated in his wartime survival film, Dunkirk. It’s an unconventional war film, the ultimate Dad Movie, and visually stunning from start to finish. Nolan’s work on Dunkirk—from a technical perspective, at least—ranks among his best, and he’s more than earned any awards that come his way for it.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk

BEST ACTOR

Here are the nominees…

Best Actor: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

You may as well just hand Gary Oldman the award now. Timothee Chalamet has a solid argument here but Oldman’s transformative turn as Winston Churchill is the exact type of fodder the Academy eats up.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Actor: Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya’s portrayal of Chris Washington catapulted the young Brit to worldwide fame, and rightly so. He handles the sensitive, distinct plot incredibly well and does not descend into cheesy one-liners or gestures, as is the case often with movies of a similar genre. A knockout performance from one of the film industry’s future stars.
– James Cunningham

Best Actor: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

This is only Gary Oldman’s second Oscar nomination, but there’s no way it won’t be his first win. He gives a performance for the ages, completely disappearing into the role of Winston Churchill. His work here singlehandedly elevates Darkest Hour from a competent historical drama to the Oscar contender it is now. This is a tour de force performance, so good it can’t be oversold and shouldn’t be undervalued.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

BEST ACTRESS

Here are the nominees…

Sally HawkinsThe Shape of Water
Frances McDormandThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot RobbieI, Tonya
Saoirse RonanLady Bird
Meryl Streep The Post

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins—The Shape of Water

Sally Hawkins pulled off one of the most incredible feats of any actress this year. She delivered any entire performance, as a lead actress, without uttering a single word. Her mute performance in The Shape of Water was both mesmerizing and emotionally moving. It’s a feat that I’m not sure many actresses can pull off successfully today and one that could net her the Best Actress award.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Actress: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Frances McDormand almost steals the show in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. She combines on-screen brashness and arrogance with a sensitivity and caring aspect that allow us to relate to the character of Mildred, in one capacity or another. An outstanding performance.
– James Cunningham

Best Actress: Margot Robbie – I, Tonya

I, Tonya is a very well-made movie, and probably the most purely entertaining of all of this year’s Oscar nominees. A major reason the movie works is Robbie’s magnetic lead performance. She strikes a great balance between showing us Tonya Harding as a victim of circumstance and someone who isn’t capable of taking responsibility for her own actions, and she deserves a little golden statue for her work.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Here are the nominees…

Willem DafoeThe Florida Project
Woody HarrelsonThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard JenkinsThe Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer All the Money in the World
Sam RockwellThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell—Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sam Rockwell already took home the Golden Globe in this category and I like him to repeat at the Oscars. He turned in an explosive, scene-stealing performance as Officer Dixon, probably the best of his career, and he deserves all the recognition he’s been getting for it.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell—Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Similarly to McDormand, Sam Rockwell’s performance is one of the cornerstones to why Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a great movie, which will, in my view, do very well at this year’s Academy Awards. His shift from silly anti-hero to kind, empathetic ex-police officer is one of the defining moments in the movie, and Rockwell handles it superbly. The Abba, ‘Chiquitita’ scene is a particular highlight.
– James Cunningham

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell—Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This should probably be Rockwell’s—I don’t know, sixth?—nomination, but up until now Hollywood has been content to roll him out as a secret weapon in the occasional blockbuster and then send him off to be brilliant in indie flicks until they need him again. But that all changes this year. Rockwell’s performance as Dixon is unpredictable and entertaining. His character’s arc has received criticism online, but no matter where you come down on that, he’s doing excellent work with what he’s been given. Also—we should all want to live in a world where Sam Rockwell is an Academy Award-winning actor.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Here are the nominees…

Mary J. BligeMudbound
Allison JanneyI, Tonya
Lesley ManvillePhantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf Lady Bird
Octavia SpencerThe Shape of Water

Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf—Lady Bird

Laurie Metcalf gave one of those performances that felt so emotionally driven that you just knew it had to come from somewhere personal. She made you bounce around like a ping pong ball between loving her and hating her, as every teenager does with their parents. The definition of a pitch perfect performance.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf—Lady Bird

The mother-daughter conflict is something that has been documented in numerous films, but seldom does it come off as well as it did in Lady Bird. One of the main reasons for this was Laurie Metcalf. She portrays struggling mother, Marion McPherson, fantastically, flipping between trying to help her daughter find her way in life. Her delivery of hilariously ironical one-liners also gives the film a light-hearted edge. This makes it a thoroughly enjoyable experience, overall.
– James Cunningham

Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf—Lady Bird

Metcalf’s performance in Lady Bird is a masterclass in restraint. This isn’t the showiest performance of last year, but it is one of the best-acted. There’s a nuance to Metcalf in every scene where she plays off of Saoirse Ronan’s Lady Bird that’s a joy to witness. You can see the love and frustration she feels in their every interaction, not because Metcalf is overacting the emotions but because she does such a good job conveying them by (outwardly) doing so little. And since she rarely appears in live-action films these days, we should take advantage of this opportunity to justifiably reward her for her work.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Here are the nominees…

Emily V. Gordon and Kumail NanjianiThe Big Sick
• Jordan Peele – Get Out
• Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
• Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa TaylorThe Shape of Water
• Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The best screenplays are the ones that stick with you long after the credits roll. This character driven story had me trying to interpret the meaning of the final few scenes for days after seeing the film. Three Billboards boasts some of the best character arcs of the year and adds in a gripping plot to boot.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is almost Psycho-esque in the way it manages to twist the plot in unexpected ways. Similarly to the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Three Billboards’ plot remains relevant and strong throughout, and it leaves audiences satisfied with the unanswered questions and open-ended conclusion.
– James Cunningham

Best Original Screenplay: Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani – The Big Sick

Based on the real-life love story of Gordon and Nanjiani, this rom-com overcomes the traditional pitfalls of its genre thanks to the strength of its writing. It’s funny and heartfelt, one of those rare romantic-comedies with sincere depth and intelligence. The movie is a lot of fun to watch as it navigates the trickier aspects of an intercultural relationship—and it’d be pretty cool to see the couple it’s based on when an Oscar for their work on it.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to… Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Here are the nominees…

James Ivory – Call Me by Your Name
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. WeberThe Disaster Artist
Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green Logan
Aaron SorkinMolly’s Game
Virgil Williams and Dee ReesMudbound

Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory—Call Me by Your Name

While it technically only adapted part of the novel, Call Me by Your Name brilliantly capture the essence of the source material. The dialogue feels genuine, the characters feel real, and the script is littered with enough symbolism to warrant multiple viewings.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory—Call Me by Your Name

Call Me By Your Name is set to start off a series of new fashion trends this summer, and although trendiness plays a role in adding to the film’s quality and popularity, the story itself deserves recognition. A fascinating tale of love, struggle, and finding one’s confidence, Call Me By Your Name is a wonderful story that is certain to captivate both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and audiences around the world.
– James Cunningham

Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory—Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name is in a league of its own narratively. The movie tells the story of a young man who develops feelings for his father’s summer intern in Italy in 1983. James Ivory has done an incredible job adapting André Aciman’s novel, keeping the characters—and their relationship—complex and engaging. There’s an emotional resonance to this movie that’s brought to life by actors hitting every mark, thanks in large part to the strength of Ivory’s writing.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…James Ivory – Call Me by Your Name

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Here are your nominees…

Roger DeakinsBlade Runner 2049
Bruno Delbonnel Darkest Hour
Hoyte van HoytemaDunkirk
Rachel Morrison Mudbound
Dan LaustsenThe Shape of Water

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins—Blade Runner 2049

Roger Deakins is quite possibly the best cinematographer working today. The fact that he has yet to win this award is a travesty. Blade Runner 2049 is the most visually stunning and mesmerizing film of the year and credit that to Deakins. It’s about time he takes this one home.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytena – Dunkirk

Dunkirk’s cinematic experience is second-to-none. It shows that audiences do not require 3D glasses to feel like they are part of a movie, be it as a British Tommy on a freight ship or a Spitfire pilot.
– James Cunningham

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins—Blade Runner 2049

Whatever you think of the movie’s plot, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Blade Runner 2049 was a visual masterpiece. The colors, the lighting, the atmosphere of the film—so much of what makes this movie as good as it is comes from the work Deakins did on it. He’s been nominated over a dozen times for this award and it’s looking like 2018 will (deservedly) be his year to win it.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Here are the nominees…

Hans ZimmerDunkirk
Jonny GreenwoodPhantom Thread
Alexandre DesplatThe Shape of Water
John WilliamsStar Wars: The Last Jedi
Carter BurwellThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat—The Shape of Water

Alexandre Desplat’s main theme for The Shape of Water is a dreamy, seemingly weightless, composition that fits the film like a glove. It truly feels as if it’s drifting along like a feather or floating peacefully underwater. The melody is also one that you may find yourself whistling weeks later. The rest of the compositions throughout the film capture that classic cinema feel, making Desplat’s score an easy one to love.
– Andrew Semaan

Best Original Score: Carter Burwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The greatest compliment that can be given to film music is its ability to convey a certain emotion or mood in the film, and if need be, to amplify it. Carter Burwell’s Three Billboards soundtrack achieves this and so much more. It transports you to the American mid-West, both emotionally and mentally. The final track by Amy Annelle is a particular highlight.
– James Cunningham

Best Original Score: Jonny Greenwood—Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread should win this award based on the strength of its “House of Woodcock” track alone, but the fact that that is but one of 18 gorgeous tracks scored by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood puts this movie’s soundtrack head and shoulders above the rest. There was no more perfect pairing of music and film in all of 2017.
– Austin Zook

And the Oscar goes to…Alexandre Desplat – The Shape of Water

Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.