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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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.