Monday, January 22, 2018

2017 Oscar Nominations: What I think...

Tomorrow isn't just another Tuesday: the Oscar nominations will be announced in the morning.

I've been reasonably (ha) obsessed with the Oscars since the 1980s, and so we make an effort to see every movie and performance nominated for the major awards before the Oscar telecast. (If what happens tomorrow is what I think, we won't have much more to see, thanks to a very movie-heavy holiday season.)

(I also have this stupid human trick that I can recite all of the nominees for the major categories—Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Director—from every year since the Oscars began in 1927. Seriously.)

But I digress.

For a while now, I've been making my predictions for which movies and performances I think will get nominated, then after the nominations are announced I come back and analyze how well I did. (Note: this isn't necessary who I think deserves to get nominated; often there's a pretty gap between what I want and what actually happens, because the Oscars are as much about paying back old slights, trying to take advantage of popularity, and other crazy politics as they are about who gave the best performances. But I digress.)

So, here's what I think will happen tomorrow around 8:38 a.m. ET. I know there's bound to be a surprise and/or disappointment (for me) or two, so...

Best Picture
The Big Sick
Call Me By Your Name
Get Out
I, Tonya
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Analysis: Since 2009, the Oscars have played coy with the number of films that get nominated for Best Picture. Using a preferential ballot, they'll allow as few as five and as many as ten nominees based on a threshold. I've predicted nine, but wouldn't be surprised if as few as six get nominated. Mudbound is another movie being talked about as a potential nominee, but since it was released by Netflix, that may be its disadvantage. Phantom Thread is another outside possibility.

Best Actor
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, The Darkest Hour

I feel secure about Chalamet, Kaluuya, and Oldman, and reasonably secure about Day-Lewis. The fifth spot would have belonged unequivocally to James Franco until the multiple allegations of sexual impropriety surfaced a few weeks back. However, since the story broke one day before voting ended, I think he'll probably still sneak in amidst the five. If not, I'd expect to see either Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel, Esq. or, if the film resonates with Oscar voters, Tom Hanks for The Post. (Amazingly, Hanks hasn't been nominated in 18 years.)

Best 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

Analysis: I feel secure about three of these nominees—Hawkins, McDormand, and Ronan—and feel Robbie is a fairly sure bet. Once again, it's that fifth slot that bewilders me. I would have thought Streep would be nearly certain to nab her 21st nomination, but The Post hasn't caught fire with many film critics or awards groups. While I still think she'll make the cut, other possibilities are Judi Dench, playing Queen Victoria yet again in Victoria and Abdul, Jessica Chastain in Molly's Game, or Michelle Williams for All the Money in the World. And if I had my way, you'd see perenially overlooked Annette Bening on the list for Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool. Break, heart, yet again...

Best Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

Analysis: So I'm going against the grain here and predicting what I want to happen. I have a feeling that Stuhlbarg, despite having the scene of the movie in Call Me By Your Name and also appearing in The Post and The Shape of Water will get overlooked, and Armie Hammer might as well. This will upset me a great deal. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see either of them and/or Richard Jenkins passed over for Christopher Plummer, who redid all of Kevin Spacey's scenes in All the Money in the World, Woody Harrelson for his smaller, somewhat-more-sympathetic part in Three Billboards, and 2015 winner Mark Rylance, who could ride the waves if Dunkirk gets lots of nominations tomorrow. And never count out Michael Shannon for The Shape of Water.

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Analysis: Janney and Metcalf are the two sure things here. I think 2011 winner Spencer will get her third nomination, and I believe Hunter will ride the popularity of her little movie that could. Blige was nominated for both Golden Globe and SAG Award, but she may be hurt by the fact that the film is released by Netflix. Hong Chau has gotten great reviews (and Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations) for Downsizing, but she's the only thing mentioned positively related to her film. Other possibilities are Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread, Tiffany Haddish for Girls Trip, getting the Melissa McCarthy-type nod, or possibly Kristin Scott Thomas for her turn as Clemmie Churchill in The Darkest Hour.

Best Director
Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out

Analysis: The five nominees I selected are also the five nominees for the Directors' Guild Award. Rarely do those nominees match the Oscar nominees completely, so I think there will be at least one person snubbed, and it may very well be Nolan, who has been passed over a few times in his career. (I hope it's not Gerwig or Peele that gets snubbed.) Who could replace Nolan or other snub-ees? I'd honestly love to see Luca Guadagnino get nominated for Call Me By Your Name, and it would be incredible to see Dee Rees get nominated for Mudbound alongside Gerwig, for two female Best Director nominees for the first time in history. Other surprises could include Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread or even two-time winner Steven Spielberg for The Post, although I doubt it.

And there you have it! Check back tomorrow to see which noms excited me, which enraged me, and which shocked me.

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