In the Mix

March 7, 2018

The 90th Academy Awards

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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In what has become a Communicado standard, it’s time to review The Academy Awards. 90 years of Oscars for 2018. Sit back and relax…

First, I want to say that this year was devoid of drama. I didn’t feel like they were trying to make a point or prove something. Even with last year’s snafu with the best picture envelope and announcement, I didn’t feel like it overshadowed this years value. It was as if the voting process unfolded purely and without campaign.

In fact, this year, I can confidently say the Oscars felt like they were settled in tradition. Moment of the show? Jimmy Kimmel took a group of presenters/nominees across the street to a theater showing a movie and gave them snacks and hot dogs. The reaction from the moviegoers when they realized who was standing in front of them was priceless.

Show stealers? Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish. Walked out with their heels in their hands and proceeded to take issue with white people with clip boards and headsets. HILARIOUS. A Twitter storm followed… talk about them hosting next year… Hmmm… Let’s see what Jimmy Kimmel has to say about that…

So here’s what happened…
(P.S. The Academy doesn’t use the word Best anymore in any category except Best Picture… They wanted you to know that…)

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

Yea. Spot on. It’s hard not to appreciate this performance. I mean, LaVona Fay Golden was/is a character, so Allison Janney didn’t really have to do much but look the part and say the lines… But she does put a little extra stank on it…

Actor in a Supporting Role: Sam Rockwell/Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Nominees: Woody Harrelson/Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Christopher Plummer/All the Money in the World, Sam Rockwell/Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Richard Jenkins/The Shape of Water, Willem Dafoe/The Florida Project

Marginal Yea. His performance is good, but, the grit of this character is in the design, not the delivery. In other words, I think whomever played this role would likely have been nominated…

Actress in a Leading Role: Frances McDormand/Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Nominees: Frances McDormand/Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Saoirse Ronan/Lady Bird, Margot Robbie/I, Tonya, Sally Hawkins/The Shape of Water, Meryl Streep/The Post

Big Yea. Now McDormand brings her gravitas to this role. Yes, the writing is superb, but, the delivery eclipses superb…

Actor in a Leading Role: Gary Oldman/Darkest Hour
Timothee Chalamet/Call Me by Your Name, Daniel Kaluuya/Get Out, Denzel Washington/Roman J. Israel, Esq., Gary Oldman/Darkest Hour

I’ve heard people say, “There are only two ways to guarantee an Oscar nomination… Go gay or go ugly.” Going gay doesn’t work anymore because of the evolution of the LGBTQ community into mainstream America. Oldman went ugly and this is what it got him.

I was rooting for Timothee Chalamet because it was his first leading role and he’s the youngest, Actor in a Leading Role nominee at 22 since Mickey Rooney in 1944 at the age of 24. His performance was beautiful. But, he went bisexual/questioning which isn’t novel anymore. He’s talented though… I’ll be interested to see what he can do with ugly. Go ugly Chalamet… Go ugly…

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

Nay. I wanted to see Jordan Peele or Greta Gerwig win this category for obvious reasons. But, as previously stated, this year seemed like tradition was the order of business, not making a statement of any kind.

Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049
Nominees: Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Mudbound, Blade Runner 2049, The Shape of Water

Abstain. While I appreciate the value of pictures-to-words, I appreciate words more. A bad story makes good pictures useless to me. Not that Blade Runner 2049 was bad, but, the focus was not on the story, but, on the action. Not my department…

Original Screenplay: Jordan Peele/Get Out
Get Out/Jordan Peele, Lady Bird/Greta Gerwig, The Big Sick/Kumail Nanjiani + Emily V. Gordon, The Shape of Water/Guillermo del Toro + Vanessa Taylor, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri/Martin McDonagh

Great big Yea! So Jordan Peele didn’t win for Directing… Well, we’ll take this victory!

Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory/Call Me by Your Name
Call Me By Your Name/James Ivory, Mudbound/Dee Rees + Virgil Williams, The Disaster Artist/Scott Neustadter + Michael H. Weber, Logan/Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green, Molly’s Game/Aaron Sorkin

Big Yea. This is just a beautiful story. I’ve read that it was more of a collaboration in the screenplay writing, but, the deal ended up being James Ivory for sole credit. In the end, the true credit goes to Andre Aciman for originally creating such thoughtful work.

Best Picture: The Shape of Water
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

Nay. Call Me by Your Name, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Darkest Hour, Get Out. If any of those had won – in that order – it would be a yea. I found these films profound. The others were great, but not profound.

So another awards season comes to a close. I’m leaving Oscar at 90 feeling content. No one got snubbed… no one needed to get redeemed from a previous snub… no movements were created and diversity was afoot. Veni, Vidi, Vici.

See you next year…