The Oscars 2018 Part I: Best Picture

Finally! It’s that time of year again: Oscar season. The time where the best films of last year are awarded prestigious prizes at the beginning of the new year to commemorate the latest and greatest works in cinema.

With that said, this month’s announcement of the nominations for the 2018 Oscars was full of snubs, surprises, and the same old Oscar-bait movies that inevitably always arrive here too. I have a lot of thoughts on the nominations and will break down my takeaway on each category, along with what will win and what should win.

Oh, and I’m not going to cover every category. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m just covering the ones where I have thoughts or predictions for how things are going to go at the awards ceremony. With that, let’s start with Best Picture.

Best Picture Nominees

  1. Call Me by Your Name
  2. Darkest Hour
  3. Dunkirk
  4. Get Out
  5. Lady Bird
  6. Phantom Thread
  7. The Post
  8. The Shape of Water
  9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A few first impressions before making my predictions. There are a couple of surprises here. I’m surprised that the Academy went with nine nominees this time and not with a shorter list. The movies here all deserve some sort of recognition, but I still think nine movies is too many.

There were a few films snubbed of being nominated for Best Picture that I saw in 2017 that earned their place on this list. Hostiles and War for the Planet of the Apes, for starters. Both were excellent in execution and entertainment value, respectively. If Baby Driver didn’t have Kevin Rapey in the movie, then it definitely would have had a shot at being nominated. Logan is another movie with great appeal across the board, so that would have been great too.

Movies like I, Tonya and The Disaster Artist would have also made sense to nominate here. Although, I think with all that is going on in the news, these are too risky to vote for best picture in the eyes of the Academy. For instance I, Tonya deals with a very divisive subject matter (i.e. the Tonya Harding incident) and the allegations thrown towards James Franco recently have possibly dissuaded voters from even considering the film in most categories. I am a bit puzzled as to why Darkest Hour was nominated and not The Florida Project instead. The latter seemed like a great fit voters and their typical taste in indie cinema, while the latter just looked like your paint-by-numbers Oscar movie. Either way, this is a good group of nominations.

So for the biggest prize of the night, there are a lot of ways this could go. For starters, the main five films in serious contention for this prize are Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The other four films (i.e. Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, and The Post) are all nominated for being great in their own right, but have a very low chance of winning. This is because they are neither culturally or politically relevant enough in the awards conversation this year.

Since 2016 was the year of #OscarsSoWhite, Moonlight won partially to appease that criticism and mostly because it was better than La La Land. The movie that was one misplaced envelope away from winning that little gold statue. So too, this last year ended with the sexual assault scandals being unveiled in mid-October and continuing into the new year. Likewise, I believe this will have the greatest impact on the voting for the major categories.

With that, the Academy will be inclined to vote for a movie that makes them look good and will choose a movie that praises women the most. Those two movies are Lady Bird and The Shape of Water. If I had to put money on it, I’d place my bets on Lady Bird. Yet, as seen in the recent allegations sweeping across Hollywood, they also love kinky sexual encounters and nothing was more kinky this year than a deaf girl sleeping with a fish. Either way, those are the safest bets for winning Best Picture.

Next in line, would either be Dunkirk or Get Out. The former for its technical brilliance in structure and homages to the silent impressionist era of film, while the latter for its extremely unique storytelling and its ability to truly subvert genre expectations. Both are game changers and the Academy likes to award movies that are a bit of the old and the new like these two films. Honestly, of all the films nominated this year, I’d like to see either of these win the most, but their chances are lower than Lady Bird and The Shape of Water. It’s certainly possible, but less likely due to the aforementioned reasons noted above.

Lastly, the looming dark horse that has quickly gained steam late in the awards season this year has been Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri and it to could be an upset by winning the award. It does have a culturally and politically relevant subject matter. Such as its thematic dealings with law enforcement and racism. On the other hand, this movie has been marketed as more of an ensemble piece more than anything, so it may snag a couple key acting wins and miss out on this prize on March 4th. Regardless, here is my breakdown of the nine nominees running for Best Picture. Ranked from most likely to least likely to win the award:

  1. Lady Bird – Most Likely
  2. The Shape of Water – Most Likely
  3. Dunkirk – Likely
  4. Get Out – Likely
  5. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri – Likely (Wild Card)
  6. The Post – Unlikely
  7. Phantom Thread – Unlikely
  8. Call Me By Your Name – Least Likely
  9. Darkest Hour – Least Likely

So those are my thoughts on what will win Best Picture at the Oscars this year. What do you think will win Best Picture at the Oscars? In Part II of my Oscars 2018 coverage and predictions, I will go over Best Animated Feature, Director, and Screenplays. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.

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