The Oscars 2018 Part II: Best Animated Feature, Best Director, & Best Screenplays

In the first installment of this series, I broke down what I think will win Best Picture and in this next installment I’ll do the same for Best Animated Feature, Best Director, and the two Screenplay categories. I will use the same method found in the first installment to analyze and predict what will win for these categories as well, along with the other installments in this series. To start off, I’ll go through the nominees for Best Animated Feature.

Best Animated Feature

  1. Coco
  2. Ferdinand
  3. Loving Vincent
  4. The Boss Baby
  5. The Breadwinner

Like the 2015 Oscars, a great and fun LEGO movie was snubbed from being nominated. Last time, it was The LEGO Movie and this time it is The LEGO Batman Movie. Why the Academy can’t nominate these films for this category is beyond me. I simply can’t see why they wouldn’t want to honor these two great animated movies, but nevertheless they didn’t make the cut.

I’m quite glad Loving Vincent was nominated as this is the most artistic animated movie released this year and one that perfectly portrays its subject one painted frame at a time. I also think that this is the animated movie that should win because of its profound illumination into the life of one of history’s greatest artists. Although, this movie is not quite in the clear because of Coco’s presence in the nominations.

It conquered the box office globally, especially in Mexico where it broke multiple records. It has more positive feedback from critics and audiences, along with being a more marketable brand than Loving Vincent could ever imagine being. By any measure of predicting the winner of this category, Coco is the most obvious choice and yet I do not think it will win this time around. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it did, but I think Loving Vincent has an equally valid chance at winning this category.

The other nominees do not stand a chance at winning this award. The trophy stands between Coco and Loving Vincent. Between an established veteran company that has dominated the Oscars in this category ever since the mid-90s and the underdog that has a unique outlook on a very important figure in art history. Down below is my breakdown of the nominees most likely and least likely to win the award in this category:

  • Loving Vincent – Most Likely
  • Coco – Most Likely
  • The Breadwinner – Unlikely (Wild Card)
  • Ferdinand – Least Likely
  • The Boss Baby – Least Likely

Best Director

  1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  2. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
  3. Greta Gerwig, Ladybird
  4. Jordan Peele, Get Out
  5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Now this for me was one of the hardest categories to figure out due to the amount of talent and skill that each auteur brought to the table in 2017. My only change would be to honor Scott Cooper’s work on Hostiles somehow, but that is about it as far as snubs go for me. I honestly would be okay with any of them winning this award, but that is not the point of this blog-post. The point is who will win and who should win.

As far as who is the least likely to win, that would be Paul Thomas Anderson as he is the one filmmaker who has been in the least conversations this year regarding this award. Does he deserve it? Absolutely. He could make a movie about how to peel a potato starring Daniel Day Lewis and he would still be worthy of this award. It’s not just about merit during these award shows, but also about the motivation behind the vote.

Excluding the obvious merit of each director, who is more relevant to what is going on in the world and what does their film have to say about it? There are a lot of British members in the Academy and the significance of the historical events of Dunkirk are almost at the level of mythology at this point within the UK. That combined with the fact that this is the first time that Nolan has been nominated for Best Director will carry a lot of weight going into the Oscars in March. Some would argue that this is a long time coming for a director of this caliber and if he won it would be more for his filmography than just his latest movie.

Then you have the favorite: Guillermo del Toro. He has taken almost every other directing award from multiple award shows. It is pretty evident that he has a very strong chance of taking this best directing statue too. The only other auteur who might be able to stop del Toro besides Nolan would be Jordan Peele and his eye-opening horror flick, Get Out. In this category, he is someone to watch out for as well. There is a lot of momentum behind this movie and he could just as easily take this Oscar.

Greta Gerwig also has a chance, but I don’t think as strong of a chance due to my prediction of Ladybird most likely winning Best Picture. If Ladybird wins Best Picture, then I do not think Gerwig will win Best Director. Likewise, the opposite could happen too. The Shape of Water could get Best Picture and Gerwig could win Best Director. It’s hard to say even when the award show is so close. Here is my Best Director breakdown:

  • Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water – Most Likely
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk – Most Likely
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out – Likely
  • Greta Gerwig, Ladybird – Likely (Wild Card)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread – Unlikely

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
  2. James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
  3. Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green, Logan
  4. Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
  5. Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, Mudbound

  When it comes to Best Adapted Screenplay, there is a unique group of films here. The most surprising of which is Logan. I never thought that this movie would get nominated here, but it is fun surprise to see this well deserved nod to a great movie. It may not have very strong chances of winning this award, but it is a very nice nod nevertheless.

Mudbound also doesn’t seem like it has much of a chance in this category and should also just enjoy that it got nominated like Logan. Both were great works of writing, but not on par with the other three nominees. The real wild card in this category and the one that could go either way is The Disaster Artist.

In light of the James Franco allegations, this movie seems to have taken a nosedive as far as being talked positively in the public eye. Everything now seems focused on Franco, rather than the merits of the film itself. Whether or not that causes it to lose or win will be interesting to see, but so far this is the only place that it garnered a nomination from the Academy.

At first glance, Aaron Sorkin is almost at this point a household name and has a lot of respectability in the awards circuit community with his quick-witted writing that he is known for throughout his filmography. But I think I have to hand it off to James Ivory’s screenplay for Call Me By Your Name because of all the buzz surrounding the movie. Molly’s Game might be a good, fun movie, yet Call Me By Your Name has “Oscar Scenes” that bode well for this time of year. For this category, James Ivory’s screenplay for Call Me By Your Name has the edge.

  • James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name – Most Likely
  • Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game – Likely
  • Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist – Likely (Wild Card)
  • Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, Mudbound – Unlikely
  • Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green, Logan – Unlikely

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
  2. Greta Gerwig, Ladybird
  3. Guillermo del Toro; Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
  4. Jordan Peele, Get Out
  5. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Here is one of the other more difficult categories to figure out due to a number of circumstances. It could go in a multitude of ways, but I think this list of nominees does have a somewhat clear winner. Three of the five nominees here directed their own films and are nominated for Best Director, so the dynamic Writer-Director combo will have an effect on the proceedings. While the other remaining two nominees are really good ensemble pieces with great dialogue between characters.

They all could win this, but I think that Ladybird and The Big Sick are the weakest nominees here. They simply don’t have as much of a presence in the online conversation in this award like the other three nominees. The Shape of Water is somewhat in this race, but I think the same could be said for Get Out as well. Both are very well written and keep the story going at an exhilarating pace. The former has to navigate sign language, while the other has to fool the audience for just long enough with its premise before it really kicks it into high gear with all of its twists and turns.

Although I do think that Get Out is one of the most likely to win this award out of the nominees in contention. For me, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri looks like the clear winner. Ensemble pieces always seem to go hand-in-hand with great writing and it is hard to argue with the cast and dialogue in this movie. Here is my rundown for Best Original Screenplay:

  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri – Most Likely
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out – Likely
  • Guillermo del Toro; Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water – Likely
  • Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick – Unlikely
  • Greta Gerwig, Ladybird – Unlikely

Well, there you have it. Those are my picks for Best Animated Feature, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay. The third installment in this series will go over the acting nominees. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.

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