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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Billboards and Teacups and Fish-men, Oh My!- Annual Family Oscar Blog

Welcome to the 8th annual Oscar ranking blog, really one of the only times in the year my blog sees much writing these days! I’m pleased to be joined by my wife Emily, mother-in-law Barb, brother Jason, sister Sarah, and brother-in-law Tyler. 

This year, our group really loved Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, and Lady Bird, with everyone placing them somewhere in their top 5. Despite some tight competition from Get Out, the ultimate winner was....

Lady Bird! 

Here are our compiled rankings:

Ben Barb Sarah Tyler Jason Emily AVG
Lady Bird 1 3 1 1 5 2 2.17
Get Out 4 2 3 2 1 3 2.50
Call Me By Your Name 5 5 2 4 3 1 3.33
Phantom Thread 2 8 4 3 7 4 4.67
The Shape of Water 7 4 6 5 4 5 5.17
Dunkirk 3 9 5 7 2 7 5.50
Three Billboards 8 1 7 8 6 8 6.33
The Post 6 6 8 6 8 6 6.67
Darkest Hour 9 7 9 9 9 8.60

I doubt the Oscar voters will agree on Best Picture, but there you have it! 

For the directing/acting/screenplay awards, the winners were Greta Gerwig, Timothee Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan/Frances McDormand (a tie!), Willem Dafoe, Laurie Metcalf, and the screenplays of Get Out and Call Me by Your Name. 

Best Director
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird: Ben, Sarah, Tyler
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk: Jason
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water: Barb
Jordan Peele, Get Out: Emily

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name: Ben, Sarah, Tyler, Jason, Emily
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour: Barb

Best Actress
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Tyler, Jason, Barb
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird: Ben, Sarah, Emily

Best Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project: Ben, Sarah, Tyler, Emily
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Jason, Barb

Best Supporting Actress
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird: Ben, Sarah, Tyler, Emily
Allison Janney, I, Tonya: Jason, Barb

Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me by Your Name: Unanimous

Best Original Screenplay
Get Out: Ben, Sarah, Jason, Barb, Emily
The Big Sick: Tyler


This is an interesting year. Looking at the two presumptive frontrunners (3 Billboards and The Shape of Water), I’m pretty unenthused about this race. Looking at my top 5, however, this is one of the strongest groups of nominees ever.  I really believe the top 5 are just about flawless movies.  On any given day, you could shuffle my 2-5 and I’d be just as happy.  My thoughts!

1. Lady Bird
I love this movie. I loved every second of watching it, and I’ve thought about it just about every day since. I think what director Greta Gerwig does in Lady Bird is remarkable. She takes an “ordinary” high school coming-of-age story and imbues it with such specificity, humor and, heart, it becomes both personal and universal. Every single performance in this ensemble is spot-on and creates such a beautifully lived-in world. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf of course, but also all of the smaller roles. The movie is also impeccably well-crafted, editing it’s short scenes at just the right moment.  This is one I’ll rewatch a lot.  

2. Phantom Thread
 In 50 years when film critics look back on the history of early 21st-century film, I’m confident that Paul Thomas Anderson will be hailed as one of our greatest directors. Watching a PTA movie, I often have to figure out what kind of movie I’m watching, and on each view there is more to appreciate.  Phantom Thread is so many things at once, lush and strange and hyperbolic in its ideas. It’s a period drama, a portrait or an artist, a delightful black comedy (the breakfast scenes!), and an incisive and singular portrait of power dynamics in a romantic relationship.  The trio of actors, Oscar nominees Daniel Day Lewis and Lesley Manville and should have been nominated Vicky Krieps, all give magnetic and enigmatic performances, and the score by Johnny Greenwood is an all-time great.  

3. Dunkirk
 Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk was a towering and overpowering achievement when I saw it on the big screen. I was worried that when I watched it at home, it would lose much of its power.  That definitely didn’t happen. The experimental timeline, the efficient storytelling, and the sense of being in the middle of this evacuation all still come through beautifully on the small screen, and watching it a second time, I was also even more emotionally moved by the story. I love Dunkirk for how it takes the war film in a different direction than usual. It doesn’t rely on bloody limbs or a colorful platoon of characters to make you care. Instead, Nolan uses every piece of filmmaking to make you feel as if you are in each of the character’s shoes.  War films aren’t often among my favorites, but this is perhaps the best one I’ve seen, and a true piece of art. 

4. Get Out
Jordan Peele’s Get Out is both a smart and darkly funny horror film and a new cultural touchstone.  Does anything feel more 2017 than “the sunken place”? Peele’s brilliantly written and directed movie feels impeccably crafted from moment to moment, gradually building to its horrifying conclusion.  The whole cast is terrific, hitting the correct tone in each and every scene. On a second viewing, I was especially impressed with Daniel Kaluuya, whose face transforms as he gradually faces both his own truth and, by extension, the truth about America’s hidden racial demons. 

5. Call Me by Your Name
 Luca Guadagnino’s film is an intoxicating, transporting film about coming-of-age, heedless romance, family love, heartbreak, and transforming into an adult.  Timothee Chalamet is absolutely phenomenal as Elio, a 17-year-old discovering who he is over a languid summer in Italy. The movie takes its time in letting us get to know him and watching his passion develop for Oliver (Armie Hammer).  The last 20 minutes are almost unbearably beautiful in their emotions, from Michael Stuhlbarg’s already-legendary speech to the final unbroken take of Elio. The fact that this is number 5 is breaking my heart a bit, and speaks to the strength of films this year. In another year, this could easily be my number 1. 

6. The Post
Meryl Streep gives her best performance since 2002’s Adaptation as Katherine Graham, the Washington Post publisher who has to decide whether or not to publish The Pentagon Papers in the midst of the Vietnam War.  I really liked just about every moment that dealt with Graham’s professional life as a woman in a male-dominated world.  The movie around it, concerned with the journalistic work of the other characters, is more good than great. I liked most of the performances and enjoyed the story. Unfortunately, the movie suffers a bit by comparisons to past newspaper movies. It’s not as subtle and nuanced as Spotlight, and it’s not as thrilling as All the President’s Men (although, to be fair, how many movies are?). A solid, entertaining effort from Spielberg and company, but not a great movie.

7. The Shape of Water
 Guillermo del Toro’s mashup of horror film and classic romance (albeit with a fish-man) is meticulously crafted, with a true love for cinema coursing throughout.  In every frame, and especially towards the end, the movie wants to transport you to the moon, yet I stayed on Earth.  To me, the movie doesn’t lean hard enough into the romance. Not as much time is spent on the relationship between Elisa and the fish-man to really make you feel the stakes of the relationship. Instead, there is a lot of clunky plotting y that took me away from the emotional core of the movie. I liked most of the performances in the movie, but was constantly annoyed by Michael Shannon’s over-the-top performance.  I’m glad this movie seemed to move so many people, but it just didn’t do it for me. 

8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
What else is there to say? This divisive movie has been dissected to death amongst the online film community, and I co-sign just about everything written in this great article by Wesley Morris of the New York Times.  Morris and other writers have dealt with the problematic racial politics better than I can. My main problem with this movie is its tone and its sense of place. Does it want to be a heightened stylized movie in the vein of a Coen Brothers movie, or a realistic movie about human characters? It can’t decide and ends up feeling muddled.  The place also doesn’t feel authentic. I think some foreign directors can use an outsider’s perspective to find a particularly insightful view of American culture (see British director Andrea Arnold in American Honey or Taiwanese director Ang Lee in The Ice Storm). Irish director Martin McDonagh’s portrayal, however, just feels off.  The town of Ebbing, Missouri feels completely false (and also looks NOTHING like Missouri), with few believable relationships amongst its characters. However…. I did rewatch the movie a couple nights ago (Emily hadn’t seen it yet), and once I knew what flaws to expect I did appreciate a few things a bit more and it moved one step up from my last place. Frances McDormand does give a powerful performance. It’s so good that she makes some scenes work even when the material is shaky.  I think there’s a good movie hiding out somewhere inside the stew of ideas and tones in Three Billboards, they just didn’t find it.

9. Darkest Hour
A perfectly serviceable, decent movie about Winston Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister and his decision to avoid surrender and continue to fight the Nazis. Putting this movie in the same year as Dunkirk really just points out its flaws. In all the ways Dunkirk is innovative and engaging, Darkest Hour feels like traditional Oscar bait from 20 years ago.  As for Gary Oldman’s performance, which you’ll surely see win Best Actor, it honestly left me a little lukewarm, with the make If anyone is the MVP here, it’s director Joe Wright, who does his best to add some visual interest and fast pace to a fairly mundane, talky movie.

Director: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Actor: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Actress: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name
Original Screenplay: Get Out


1. Lady Bird
“Angsty teen coming of age narrative”  may be my very favorite genre of movie, and Lady Bird is probably the best I’ve seen!   I love good examinations of the ups and downs of growing up, and I think Greta Gerwig was the perfect person to direct this movie.  She does an amazing job exploring the complicated relationship between moms and daughters (I could see some similarities to “My So Called Life” where at times you relate more to mom, and sometimes more to the teen) ultimately getting at that moment where we all realize our parents are, surprise surprise, complicated people with their own personalities.  Lady Bird’s crushes and relationships felt very authentic, and I kind of wish there was a sequel so we could follow her through the perils of college life.

2.  Call Me by Your Name
Did I mention being a big fan of coming of age movies with plenty of teen angst?    This is one of those movies that the more I think about, the more I love.  Performances are incredible especially Timothee Chamalet- with every sigh, rolled eye, and awkward posture, he absolutely nails the angsty and awkward teen experience. He did it so well, and Armie Hammer had such bravado and swagger that there were definitely multiple times during the movie where I had to question the power/maturity dynamics in their relationship that sometimes toed the line of creepiness.  The use of the Sufjan Stevens was perfect- he’s one of the best artists there is for mastering bittersweet emotions.  The scene towards the end of the movie where Elio and his dad talk is one of the most touching movie scenes I can remember.

3. Get Out
In a post-Trump world of “good people on both sides” comments in reference to overt white supremacy, to have a movie where the manifestations of more nuanced and insidious forms of racism are critiqued and examined is a huge breath of fresh air!  The well-crafted horror and humor (and just plain fun in the theater)  allowed for bigger issues of racism- especially as it plays out among white progressives- to be questioned in a way that a million more serious and “preachy” movies would never be able to do.   

4. Phantom Thread
I had purposely avoided reading much about this movie before I went to the theater, and I’m glad I did- it made for a weird and engaging ride once I got there. I think this is the most accurate on-screen portrayal of an emotionally abusive relationship I’ve ever seen, from Reynolds making Alma take off her lipstick to scolding her for the way she eats toast.
However, I loved that it didn’t stop there in simply having the audience pity Alma- she moves from simply enamored muse to something much more complicated- and that ending brings up fascinating questions on power dynamics.
My main critique is this- Reynolds was such an interesting character study, especially as we learned about his upbringing and relationship with his mother; and I wish that we could have gotten similar treatment of Alma’s character to learn more about her motivations.

5. Dunkirk
War movies aren’t normally one of my favorite genres, but I found Dunkirk refreshing and engaging- I’ve never seen a war movie or really any movie quite like it.  I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it, because I normally prefer more character development or a clear message, and I didn’t think that Dunkirk did either of those things.  However, I was riveted the whole time because it felt like a well-crafted piece of music- lots of ebb and flow and changes in pace.   

6.The Shape of Water
There were some things I really enjoyed about this movie- the production design and cinematography were beautiful (loved all the greens!), and Sally Hawkins was excellent.  I also appreciated the timely themes of the outcasts against “the man” and the power of scrappy teamwork.  However, I found Michael Shannon to be too melodramatic and while I like Octavia Spencer as an actress, I feel like her skills were kind of wasted in this movie.

7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I saw this movie when it first came out, and I enjoyed it- I always appreciate when movies about dark topics and trauma can use humor well, and I think 3 Billboards does (For some reason, I found myself the only one in the theater laughing at many points during the movie).  I also found Frances McDormand’s acting excellent and the narrative engaging.  As time went on and I read more articles about some of the critiques of its problematic portrayals of racism, I liked it less.  While I personally didn’t feel that the movie redeemed Officer Dixon exactly; more just showed more nuance and growth in his character, I do feel that his “beating up black people” was largely ignored in the second portion of the movie.

8. The Post
With such an incredible cast (all my favorites from so many good TV shows!) and a very timely plot (the value of media, the truth, and women in leadership)- I was disappointed it wasn’t better than it was.   My favorite scenes were when Katherine reflected and pondered on her own power and challenges.  My least favorite parts were the most “Spielbergy” ones.  I found the cinematography too melodramatic and too many lines were hitting us over the head.

9. Darkest Hour
 I didn’t think was a bad movie- Gary Oldman was very impressive and I liked the cinematography, which was much more innovative than a lot of biopics.  However, while I don’t think all historical movies need to be 100% accurate,  Darkest Hour seemed to add a lot of “never happened” moments that didn’t make the movie better or make for a better narrative, especially the scene with the British citizens on the tube.

Director: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Actor: Timothee Chamalet, Call Me by Your Name
Actress: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Director:  Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird  
Adapted screenplay:  Call Me by Your Name
Original screenplay: Get Out


1. Lady Bird
This is the movie I liked the most but here have the least to say about. I thought it was a deft and sincere semi-autobiographical coming of age story that hit all the right elements. Lady Bird herself is full of the naivety and hubris of youth, and doesn’t recognize the sacrifices of those that love her most and the harm she can do to them. In movies about adolescence, the perspectives of parents and children stand in opposition, and most films favor one perspective or the other. I think a standout element of Lady Bird is the framing that shows these two worlds in opposition but requires you to identify with both.
2. Get Out
Jordan Peele’s sense of satire is crucial to the creation of this film. We’ve seen every one of these elements before from race dramas to horror films, but they are used to subvert all traditions in the creation of this instant classic. While you can go in with some expectations of what is going to happen, it is still filled with enough twists to keep it interesting. As the hero attempts to escape, the movie moves towards a straight-up slasher flick, but the thrill of a well done horror film ending is elevated to a kind of political catharsis for our times.
3. Phantom Thread
A film about a controlling, inflexible man, whose behavior is excused because of his talent for fashion, and the women in his life. The tone of this film was incredibly interesting. The first section of the movie was full of disturbing psychological abuse, but Woodcock’s fickle needs and methods of control are so ridiculous that they are often humorous to the audience since we can distance ourselves, while we can still sympathize with how destructive and mean they are to Alma and his sister. While watching this movie, about an abused/controlled muse in a relationship with a genius creator, I couldn’t help but also think of mother!. While the tone of the two is incredibly different, the resolution is also different, where mother! puts this type of relationship in the context of an eternal cycle of destruction, Phantom Thread turns on a critical juncture, as Alma is able to exploit his biggest weakness to create a strangely perverted stability that is not like any other relationship I’ve seen in film.
4. Call Me by Your Name
A simple beautiful story of a summer romance and a coming of age film. It’s hard not to wish you could lay around a beautiful Italian mansion all summer, but the film has a depth beyond privileged people relaxing in pretty luxury. The intimacy and delicateness and strange confusion of the relationship is conveyed genuinely, and both the young actors are great at embodying their roles. Michael Stuhlberg’s part, especially at the end, was exceptional and it is really ridiculous he was overlooked for a nomination.
5. The Shape of Water
This fairytale was very well told, even though it didn’t really surprise me much. Okay, the scene with the cat was awfully bold, but otherwise all the pieces played out as expected. I enjoyed the take on Little Mermaid, having the woman without a voice be the outsider positioned best to see the truth and save the day. Aesthetically perfect, it really created a sense of magic and wonder in a time where most of us are facing harsh realities and have our stories reflect it. The main theme here though- empathy into acceptance into love for the outsider- is both a timeless theme and one we need, say it with me,  “now more than ever”.  
6. The Post
This film is about a corrupt and incredibly paranoid President treating legitimate media like an enemy combatant and attempting to dismantle the constitution to cover up his own crimes. If it wasn’t for the use of phone booths it would be hard to remember it is a period piece. Due to the topic and the people involved, this looked like a front-runner on paper, but it is just a little too messy in the wrong ways to work. The newsroom parts were okay, but they didn’t really translate journalism to film like Spotlight or All The President’s Men do so well. Focusing on Streep’s character was a smart choice, as I liked the conflicts about patriotism, protecting a family legacy (and livelihood), and the relationship between the press and politicians.
7. Dunkirk
The prettiest war movie since The Thin Red Line, I thought Dunkirk cleanly conveyed the sense of dread and odd circumstances around this real world event, but just didn’t quite work for me. The story of the men on the beach lacked any character to care about- hell other that Harry Styles I had a hard enough time trying to keep them straight to ever care about any of them. It may be the goal here was to show that war is impersonal, filled with heroes who look an awful lot like the rest of us when there’s not enough lifeboats, but that conceit can’t hold up a whole film. The plane scenes with Tom Hardy looked pretty but I found to be incredibly dull. Yes, he chose to keep going on his mission even though he would run out of gas (and for some reason not be able to land on the part of the Beach with his allies), but I didn’t find that compelling enough. The boat scenes, with one shell-shocked soldier and couple of civilians had the most to offer, showing characters with more interesting motivations, and a death better conveys the totally random and pointless death that accompanies war.
8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Frances McDormand does a wonderful performance playing a tough no-nonsense woman who is clearly deeply hurt. The expression of this pain comes out on the other side of the subtlety spectrum from Daniel Day Lewis’s Woodcock, but it creates a similar barrier against the world. Her portrayal however stands at odds with the unintentional oddness of the world around her. Manchester by the Sea mined the same themes of grief in a way that felt natural, but watching Three Billboards I couldn’t help but think of the creators forcing together characters and backstories and odd plot choices like a reality-show casting director told to force a dramatic powder keg. I think the surreality of the film is accidental, so instead of leaning in to create a story in the vein of Job or a Greek tragedy, they end up in an uncanny valley that I feel undermines the story.

9. Darkest Hour
The multi-week part of the story of the Dunkirk evacuation that Nolan left out of his film, I thought this movie was well told, but it seemed to be missing a crucial ingredient. The great orator is put on the job, but it’s never really clear who needs convincing. He has one speech where he lies to the British people and they are ready to go, it wasn’t about the pragmatism of political victories like Lincoln, and while there were a few tactical things mentioned (that only make sense if you’ve seen Dunkirk or studied it) it certainly isn’t a war movie. Instead the film hinges on the odd character arc of Churchill not changing his mind. While this could be seen as the power of persistence (or stubbornness) against all odds, the movie itself never shows us the stakes that force him to question to resolve. We know the outcome of his decision because we know our history, and we know why that was the darkest hour because of Dunkirk. Gary Oldman may have done a fine and accurate representation of Churchill, but the film didn’t really allow the exploration of one of the most famous larger-than-life characters of history.
Director: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Actor: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Adapted Screenplay: Call Me by Your Name
Original Screenplay: The Big Sick


I am again honored to be part of benstalkingpictures annual Oscar Blog. Let’s try to not have a repeat of last year’s finale!

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I think this was my #1 pick primarily because of the remarkable performance by Frances McDormand. You can feel her rage, pain and obsessive quest for justice without her ever having to utter a word. Strong performances by Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. These are complex characters. Despite all their personal flaws they are, at times, capable of exhibiting genuine empathy and compassion. A little gallows humor was a welcome relief.

2. Get Out
So intense! Very unsettling as it tackles very relevant issues of culture and race. Although Chris (played brilliantly by Daniel Kaluuya) senses something is very wrong, he also questions his own feelings. Was he overreacting? We’re Rose’s parents just nervous about meeting him, a black man dating their daughter? So many mixed feelings. With the black servants acting oddly, and the appearance of a party of privileged white people, you could see where this was heading. Get out Chris! Thank goodness for a little comic relief from TSA agent Lil Rey Howery. A very timely and thought-provoking movie.

3. Lady Bird
Saoirse Ronan, plus a strong supporting cast, make this coming of age story touching, funny and engaging. The emotional world in which Ladybird lives plays out in all her relationships, especially her relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf). I think one of the strengths of this movie is that most of us can look back and relate to Lady Bird’s journey.

4. The Shape of Water
A captivating story of love and empathy. Sally Hawkins, as a mute Elisa, is excellent and benefits from a strong supporting cast. Her connection with ‘the asset’, as well as with her co-worker (Octavia Spencer) and gay neighbor (Richard Jenkins), seem to be a shared feeling of not quite fitting in. To me, their love and connection with one another was the more important part of this movie. Her romantic relationship with the ‘asset’, although touching and providing beautiful visuals, seemed less important. My problem with this movie is that it had too many, and possibly unnecessary, subplots.

5. Call Me by Your Name
The touching story of a young man’s exploration of his sexuality set against the beautiful countryside of Northern Italy. Strong performances by both Timothee Chalamet (Elio) and Armie Hammer (Oliver) capture this emotional and uncertain time in Elio’s life. I wish the movie would have ended after the honest and touching scene in which Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg) talks to his son.

6. The Post
A battle between the press and government. Sound familiar? The dramatic story of the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers. Excellent performances by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep as they struggle with the decision to post or not to post. Streep does an excellent job as we watch Katherine Graham move from uncertainty to a force to be reckoned with. I appreciate strong women. I loved how Spielberg was able to draw us into the frantic last-minute efforts in the newsroom to meet the print deadline. I thought this was a good look at an important event in our history that is also quite relevant today.

7.Darkest Hour
An outstanding performance by Gary Oldman. He perfectly captures the complex character that was Winston Churchill. A flawed man, with strong convictions but also filled with self-doubt. He has the unenviable position of making a controversial decision at a critical time in our world’s history. Facing a hostile Parliament makes this all the more difficult. Unlike Dunkirk, however, this is a bit slow paced.

8. Phantom Thread
A visually beautiful film in which perfectionist dress designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) meets his match in lowly waitress, Alma (Vicky Krieps). This threatens to upset the household’s order and balance of power. The dynamics especially play out in the sewing room. I’m sure there is a lot more to this movie but it went right over my head. I thought it was too long and too odd.

9. Dunkirk
I think I had trouble with this movie in the same way I had trouble with Hacksaw Ridge last year... too many prolonged bloody battle scenes. In what are often chaotic scenes, Christopher Nolan does a remarkable job capturing the fear and desperation of not only those isolated at Dunkirk, but those engaged in the effort to rescue them. I did have a difficult time following the movie as it moved through different time frames and sections, but that’s what also made it interesting.

Director: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Actor: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name
Original Screenplay: This is the category I really struggled with. I kept going back and forth between Three Billboards and Get Out. I decided on Get Out.

1. Get Out
What an unforgettable film. With all of the remakes/superhero/sequel movies to seem to be the norm, it’s so cool to see a completely original and socially biting movie become such a tremendous hit. I would love to see this first time filmmaker, low budget, released in February the year before, horror/thriller/comedy (according to the Golden Globes) film walk away with the big prize! TS-MF-A!

2. Dunkirk
A stunning film achievement by one of my favorite directors of all time. Between the sweeping shots of the beach, the incredibly shot plane battles and the unforgettable score, Dunkirk is a visual and auditory masterpiece to watch and listen to from beginning to end.

3. Call Me by Your Name
There was no film that this year that touched me more that CMBYN. From the performances (Michael Stuhlberg aka the hardest working man this Oscar season, got robbed of a nomination), the beautifully shot setting and of course the love story. Chalamet was incredible as the boy exploring his sexuality.

4. The Shape of Water
A story about a mute cleaning woman and her sea monster lover set during the Cold War...sounds like an episode from Mystery Science Theater 3K. Fortunately, Del Toro is the master of telling fairy tales, and this movie was just awesome. I especially loved the different shots that took place underwater.

5. Lady Bird
A smart, touching and realistic portrayal of life as a middle-class teenager. I’ve talked to a few women about this film, and they all said it captured the feelings of being a high school girl perfectly. I think this would have been Sairose’s year for the Oscar if not for McDormand.

6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
A great movie about how each of us deals differently with loss, betrayal, and anger. The best part of this film is the deep and flawed characters. Give Frances McDormand the Oscar right now and watch the scene with the priest if you want a reminder of why.

7. Phantom Thread
I love Paul T Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis and neither disappoints with Phantom Thread. A compelling story of what we want out of our relationships and the compromises we make to hold on to love.

8. The Post
I enjoyed the story presented in The Post and it’s an important one to share. When you combine Spielberg, Hanks, Streep and many other fantastic actors, you are bound to get some Oscar love. However, I didn’t feel that this film came close to the achievement of the movies listed above.
9. Darkest Hour
I found Darkest Hour to be a pretty ordinary film elevated solely by the performance of Gary Oldman. It is certainly a fine film but I can’t get there as the best picture of the year. Did anyone else think that you could easily pause Darkest Hour halfway through, watch Dunkirk, and easily have a four-hour movie that high school history teachers would love to show?

Director: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Actor: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Thee Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name
Original Screenplay: Get Out

1.    Call Me by Your Name
 I had a hard time picking a favorite, but Timothee Chalamet’s performance, Italy, the Michael Stuhlbarg monologue, and the Sufjan Stevens songs – especially during the final scene/credits – edged this one to the top for me.
2.     Lady Bird
A close second, and one I know I’ll want to watch again. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf made such a great mother/daughter pair. Greta Gerwig struck an admirable balance of humor, anguish, and poignancy, and I really enjoyed the self-assuredness (at least on the outside) of Lady Bird’s character.
3.     Get Out
This was the most clever movie of the year and I would be thrilled to see Jordan Peele recognized for it. How often do we see a horror film nominated for Best Picture? So deeply disturbing, yet with its share of comic relief. Daniel Kaluuya was just perfect.
4.     Phantom Thread
 Daniel Day-Lewis really went all in as the obsessive and set in his ways fashion designer, whose social and relationship skills left a lot to be desired. I had no idea where the story was headed, and it headed some pretty absurd places, but it left a lot to unpack about power and compromise in relationships.
5.     The Shape of Water
One of the most bizarre love stories I’ve seen in a movie. Sally Hawkins pulled off a challenging non-speaking role, and the costuming and effects were cool. It was fun to root for the humane treatment and freedom of the fish-man, and I liked the idea that humans can have a deep connection (though maybe not THAT kind of connection) with other living creatures.
6.     The Post
 An entertaining watch with a great (what do you expect?) performance by Meryl Streep. I generally enjoy journalism movies, even if this one didn’t stray too far from a typical journalism movie narrative and wasn’t quite as good as Spotlight. I liked the aspect of Meryl Streep’s character rising to the helm and making courageous decisions despite a lot of men doubting her.
7.     Dunkirk
 While war movies aren’t my favorite, I was pleasantly surprised by Dunkirk with its interesting structure of interwoven stories and really no bloody battle scenes. The ending was a real emotional roller coaster. I watched this one at home, so may not have appreciated it the same way I might have on the big screen.
8.     Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I really love Frances McDormand, but the way the writing turned her character, and all of the other characters, and Ebbing, Missouri itself into weird caricatures just didn’t seem to work. I didn’t hate it, but I’m kind of confused about its critical acclaim.

Didn’t see: Darkest Hour

Director: Jordan Peele, Get Out
Actor: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Actress: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Adapted Screenplay: Call Me by Your Name
Original Screenplay: Get Out

Friday, March 2, 2018

Oscar Winner Predictions

Updated 3/5/18

How'd I do.  Well, I got 20 out of 24 (83%), perhaps largely because it was a predictable night, although I am pleased I picked Shape of Water. I missed Documentary, Documentary Short, Live Action Short, and Song.

Here they are, my final predictions!  I'm betting on these films coming away with multiple wins:

-4 for The Shape of Water (Picture, Director, Score, Production Design)
-3 for Dunkirk (Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
-2 for 3 Billboards (Actress, Supporting Actor)
-2 for Darkest Hour (Actor, Makeup and Hairstyling)
-2 for Blade Runner 2049 (Cinematography, Visual Effects)

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

Will Win: The Shape of Water
Could Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Should Win: Lady Bird

This category feels like a genuine race this year, and I've had an incredibly difficult time figuring it out.  Here's my take on the major contenders:

The Shape of Water would seem to have a lot of what it needs. It won the Producers Guild, the Directors Guild, and got (by far) the most nominations. But.... it doesn't feel like a ton of people are super passionate about it.  Guillermo del Toro is almost sure to win Director, but those awards haven't matched in recent years. I'm predicting this, but I'm also kind of doubtful.

Three Billboards won the Golden Globe, and SAG, and BAFTA, and is almost sure to win two acting awards. But.... it's really divisive, at least among critics. Can it really win on the preferential ballot system? (For those who don't know, Best Picture, and only Best Picture, uses a sort of instant-runoff voting system rather than a plurality vote.)

Get Out is easily the cultural movie of the year. After Moonlight winning last year, it feels like this could happen.  But... it didn't get that many nominations and hasn't won anything major yet.  Can it really happen?

Then you have some dark horses in Lady Bird and Dunkirk. They are both well-liked movies that will probably rank low on relatively few people's ballots. They could do well based on broad-based appeal. Could one of them surprise?

Timothee 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.

Will Win: Oldman
Could Win: Chalamet
Should Win: Chalamet!!!!

For a minute in the awards season, it looked like Chalamet could make this a race for his incredible performance.  Now it looks like no one can catch Oldman, a good actor who I think gives an infinitely less interesting performance than Chalamet, Kaluuya, or Day-Lewis.

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

Will Win: McDormand
Could Win: Ronan
Should Win: Ronan

This category originally seemed pretty competitive, but now seems locked in for McDormand to win her second Oscar.

Supporting Actor
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

Will Win: Rockwell
Could Win: Dafoe
Should Win: Dafoe (In the year's best movie!!)

Rockwell has this in the bag, sadly, since I adore both The Florida Project and Dafoe's performance.

Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Will Win: Janney
Could Win: Metcalf
Should Win: Metcalf

While Janney has run away with all the televised awards, and is the safe bet, I still have a hunch Metcalf might have more of a chance than people think. I sure hope so.

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

Will Win: del Toro
Could Win: Nolan
Should Win: Gerwig

Seems like a slam dunk for del Toro. I'd honestly prefer any of the others, but won't begrudge the delightful del Toro this win.

Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly's Game

Will Win: Call Me By Your Name
Could Win: Mudbound
Should Win: Call Me By Your Name

One of the few categories I'm confident the Academy will get write. The great writer-director James Ivory will finally win an Oscar at 89 years old.

Original Screenplay
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: Get Out
Could Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Should Win: Get Out

This is a real nailbiter. If Three Billboards wins here, I think it will probably win Best Picture. Get Out is just soooo well-written though, this seems like a good place to honor it.  There's an outside chance that Greta Gerwig's script for Lady Bird could come through. Like Best Picture, this is a very competitive race.

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Will Win: Blade Runner 2049
Could Win: Dunkirk
Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

There's some really great work in this category (including the first female nominated in this category- Rachel Morrison for Mudbound), but I think this is the year they finally give the award to Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049) for his 14th nomination.  It will be well deserved.

Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

Will Win: Phantom Thread
Could Win: The Shape of Water
Should Win: Phantom Thread!

They have to go with the great movie about a fashion designer, right?  I sure hope so.

Production Design
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Will Win: The Shape of Water
Could Win: Blade Runner 2049
Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

Film Editing
Baby Driver
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: Dunkirk
Could Win: Baby Driver
Should Win: Dunkirk

Makeup and Hairstyling
Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul

Will Win: Darkest Hour
Could Win: Wonder

Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Will Win: Blade Runner 2049
Could Win: War for the Planet of the Apes
Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

A tight race between Blade Runner and the Apes. While the work on Apes is perhaps more technically impressive, I think Blade Runner is more respected and feels entirely integrated into the story.

Music (Original Score)
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: The Shape of Water
Could Win: Phantom Thread
Should Win: Phantom Thread (!!!)

Few wins would make me happier than Johnny Greenwood (or Radiohead) winning for Phantom Thread, a score sure to become an all-time classic.

Music (Original Song)
"Mighty River," Mudbound
"Mystery of Love," Call Me By Your Name
"Remember Me," Coco
"Stand Up for Something," Marshall
"This is Me," The Greatest Showman

Will Win: "This is Me"
Could Win: "Remember Me"
Should Win: "Mystery of Love"

Even though I think "This is Me" is fairly bad, it's the biggest hit of the bunch. I would be over the moon if Sufjan Stevens won here.

Sound Editing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Will Win: Dunkirk
Could Win: Baby Driver
Should Win: Dunkirk

Sound Mixing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Will Win: Dunkirk
Could Win: Baby Driver
Should Win: Dunkirk

Foreign Language Film
A Fantastic Woman, Chile
The Insult, Lebanon
Loveless, Russia
On Body and Soul, Hungary
The Square, Sweden

Will Win: A Fantastic Woman
Could Win: The Square

Animated Film
Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent

Will Win: Coco
Could Win: The Breadwinner

I haven't seen any of these yet, but this is another lock for Coco.

Faces Places
Last Man in Aleppo
Strong Island

Will Win: Faces Places
Could Win: Icarus

I've only seen Strong Island here, which is good but not great. The buzz and critical acclaim seems to be with Faces Places, but there's a good chance the Olympics-themed Icarus could win as well.

Documentary (Short Subject)
Edith + Eddie
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Will Win: Edith + Eddie
Could Win: Heroin(e)

This category is always kind of a crapshoot. I did watch Heroin(e) on Netflix, which was quite good!

Animated Short
Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Will Win: Dear Basketball
Could Win: Garden Party

Another crapshoot, but based on what other critics are saying, it seems very possible we could be saying Oscar winner Kobe Bryant.

Live Action Short
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O'Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

Will Win: DeKalb Elementary
Could Win: The Silent Child

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


And here they are!

A few thoughts:

  • In my predictions, I got 38/44 in the 8 major categories for a score of 86%. Last year was my personal record with 91%, but cheers to a less predictable race!
  • The Shape of Water leads with 13 nominations. Coincidentally, it's also my least favorite of the ones I've seen... I'll be catching up with Three Billboards, Darkest Hour, and The Post.
  • Biggest (happy) surprise for me was the impressive showing for Phantom Thread, with unexpected nods in Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress. It's not a movie for everyone's taste, but I loved it and PT Anderson is a true visionary.
  • My favorite category is easily Best Director. I was very worried they would leave off either Jordan Peele or Greta Gerwig, and they didn't. Plus, a Paul Thomas Anderson nomination!
  • My saddest exclusions were in the Supporting categories. I actually prefer the unnominated Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name) and Holly Hunter (The Big Sick) to any of the nominees in their respective categories.
  • With only 2 nominations (Picture and Actress), The Post really underperformed expectations. Nevertheless, Meryl Streep keeps topping her previous records with ease, earning her 21st acting nomination.
On to the list, and a few thoughts on the race as it stands now.

Best Picture:
“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”

I got 7/9 here. I thought I, Tonya would get in, and didn't predict Darkest Hour or Phantom Thread. Of what I've seen, this is a pretty great lineup.  I love 5 of them and am mixed on The Shape of Water. I've yet to see 3 Billboards, The Post, and Darkest Hour.

Should have been here: My favorite of the year, The Florida Project.  

Will Win: Conventional wisdom and precursor support say it's Three Billboards vs. The Shape of Water. I have a sneaking feeling those two may have peakeda little too soon, and we could see a come from behind win from Lady Bird or Get Out.  I think this is a truly tight race.

Lead Actor:
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.”

I went 4/5, putting in James Franco (The Disaster Artist) and missing Denzel Washington in a movie people really didn't talk about much.

Should have been here: Nothing jumps out.  I loved the performances of Chalamet, Day-Lewis, and Kaluuya.

Will Win: Oldman. For a minute in the season, it looked Chalamet had a shot for his transcendent performance, but Darkest Hour seems well-loved and should easily pull Oldman to a win.

Lead Actress:
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”

I went 5/5 in this expected lineup, as did most pundits.

Should have been here: Vicky Krieps for Phantom Thread. She's just as good as nominees Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville, and her performance is perhaps the most crucial in making Phantom Thread work.

Will Win: Most likely McDormand, with a small chance Ronan gets in.

Supporting Actor:
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”

I went 4/5 here, picking Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name), over Plummer.  Plummer makes history here as the oldest acting nominee ever, beating out Gloria Stuart from Titanic.

Should have been here: Stuhlbarg!! He is incredible in Call Me By Your Name.

Will Win: Probably Rockwell, unless the Three Billboards backlash comes on strong and Dafoe wins.

Supporting Actress:
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

I went 4/5 here, missing Manville for Holly Hunter (The Big Sick). 

Should have been here: Hunter for my favorite supporting performance of the year. I'm thrilled Manville made it, but couldn't she have replaced Spencer, who didn't have much to do in The Shape of Water? I'd also have loved to see Tiffany Haddish get in for Girls trip.

Will Win: Probably Allison Janney, but don't count out Laurie Metcalf in the much-loved Lady Bird.

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

I went 4/5 here, missing PT Anderson for Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards).  What a great list!! I literally yelped when Peele, Gerwig, and PT Anderson all made it, along with Nolan finally getting a nomination after being snubbed for years. 

Should have been here: Sean Baker for The Florida Project. With his on location shooting and mixing of child actors, nonprofessionals, and veteran actors, it's a remarkable achievement.

Will Win: del Toro seems to be running away with this, which is too bad because all four of the others deserve to be in the conversation for the win.

Adapted Screenplay:
“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

I went 5/5 here.  Fun fact: Logan is the first superhero movie to get a Best Screenplay nomination.

Should have been here: The Lost City of Z.

Will win: Call Me by Your Name.  This seems to be one of the surest wins this year.

Original Screenplay:
“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

I went 5/5 here in a competititve category.

Should have been here: Phantom Thread. As well as it did, I'm surprised it didn't show up here as well.

Will Win: Tough call. It's Get Out vs. Lady Bird vs. Three Billboards, and could go any which way.

Animated Feature:
“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Animated Short:
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Best Documentary Feature:
“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

Best Live Action Short Film:
“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)“The Square” (Sweden)

Film Editing:
“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory

Sound Editing:
“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing:
“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Production Design:
“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau

Original Score:
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell

Original Song:
“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Makeup and Hair:
“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

Costume Design:
“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle

Visual Effects: