It’s hard to believe that the Academy Awards are just over a month away! On January 23, 2018, the nominees for the 90th ceremony were announced, and with them came a rush of people talking, as they do. Many people were pleased with some surprising honors, but with the good comes the bad, also known as the complainers.
Now, this isn’t going to be predictions. That will come in a few weeks, accompanied (hopefully) by a breakdown of all Best Picture nominees. Today we’re going to discuss what was interesting about the nominations, what it means in the context of the Academy, and how things are changing. I’ll also address some of the things other media outlets are saying!
Let’s start with the nominees! Below you will find information about the major awards. Read them, memorize them, love them:
“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”
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”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name” Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread” Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out” Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour” Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Best Supporting Actress:
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound” Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread” Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird” Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Best Supporting Actor:
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project” Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water” Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World” Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk” Jordan Peele, “Get Out” Greta Gerwig, “Ladybird” Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread” Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Best Original Screenplay:
“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani “Get Out,” Jordan Peele “Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins “Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel “Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema “Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison “The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
I hope you had the patience to scroll through the list and make it to the other side! You’ll notice right away that all the Best Picture nominees are those which have also been honored at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. The same can generally said for the other categories, but there are some glaring omissions.
The true snubs of the Oscars lie in the acting categories. After “Call Me By Your Name” was released a few months ago, people were convinced that Armie Hammer was going to receive the Best Supporting Actor win. He wasn’t even nominated! It’s a shame, however he might be a great example of the hype people fall for every season. When a person is charming and fun, the snub seems like a greater loss because it feels like a cool person lost out on another accomplishment, when in fact it is based on who is a more outstanding actor among his peers.
Tom Hanks was missing from the Best Actor category for his role in “The Post.” This is the second year in a row that Hanks has portrayed a real-life person and been snubbed for his acting. Last year with “Sully,” and now with his portrayal of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, Hanks has been shut out. Steven Spielberg was also denied a nomination for directing the film, furthering the running-joke that it is a California law to nominate Meryl Streep every year even if her colleagues are snubbed.
Speaking of the Best Actor category, we must discuss James Franco. Franco was praised endlessly for his film “The Disaster Artist,” a biopic about Tommy Wiseau, the man who created the infamous we-love-it-because-we-hate-it film, “The Room.” At the Golden Globes on January 7, 2018, Franco won the Golden Globe in Best Actor-Comedy or Musical category. A few days after his win, Franco was accused by several women of inappropriate sexual behavior. While he then went on to win the Critics Choice Award for Best Actor in a Comedy, he did not win the SAG Award, nor was he nominated for the Oscar at all.
A lot of people came to me with this concern, and as your resident awards expert, I had to do some quick research to come up with two theories for this snub. Here’s one: Since the production team for “The Disaster Artist” campaigned for the film in the comedy categories for the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, the performance was not deemed worthy to fill one of the spots in the category, which usually prioritizes dramatic acting.
My second theory: Oscar nomination voting opened on January 5 and closed on January 12. This was all within the week of the Golden Globes. If we can assume that most members of the Academy are human and don’t do their work the moment it arrives on their desk, then perhaps they took heed of the accusations and voted accordingly, eliminating him from the competition altogether.
Of course, if the Academy suddenly had a conscience regarding the Franco issue, then how on Earth did Kobe Bryant’s nomination slip through. He was nominated for an animated short titled “Dear Basketball.” Bryant was accused of sexual assault back in 2003. This shows how much the industry is trying, but how much work is still left to do.
That being said, the Best Actor category did feature a thrilling and well-deserved nomination: Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out!” In fact, “Get Out” broke more than one barrier with Jordan Peele’s Best Director nomination and the film’s Best Picture nod.
Let’s take it back to last awards season, when “Deadpool” had major box office success and was a fantastic film, especially by superhero movie standards. Ryan Reynolds was nominated for the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award, yet had no luck at the Oscars. This year, with “Get Out,” there’s a definite shift in traditional genre roles (ha, get it) within the Academy.
The fact that “Get Out,” a film campaigned for as a horror/comedy, even though it contains dramatic elements and a strong message, was nominated for four of the highest honors is astounding and opens the door for another change in the awards industry, and shows the change that has already started to begin.
Over the past couple of years, you may remember the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, in which virtually no people of color were nominated in any major fields. Last year, there was an overwhelming amount of nominees of color, almost fakely, in an effort to prove that they did care. While the ratio is a bit more fair this year, with more diverse representation, “Get Out’s” recognition shows that people are appreciating stories by and about black people even if they do not fit into the traditional genres normally honored.
Let’s bring it back to my whole “Deadpool” conversation, and open it up to comic book-based films and where their place is this awards season. Every single year there’s always a group of very angry people demanding to know where their superhero representation is (first of all, there’s more important representation to worry about like, I don’t know, the fact that there aren’t more people of color who aren’t black being nominated or even hired).
This year, the only superhero recognition was to “Logan,” for Best Adapted Screenplay, based on a comic book. Since this story was less traditional, and strayed from special effects and one common alien villain, it definitely stood out as a dramatic film with science fiction aspects.
On the other side, many people are upset that “Wonder Woman” received no recognition despite its box office success. It’s time to shatter the glass, and I’m sorry I have to be the one to do it. Just because a film resonates with you, or provides some sentimentality, does not mean that it is an Oscar-worthy film. Some were confused as to why it didn’t get a special effects nod. That I understand, because these films are build around their CGI. But when you look at films that were actually nominated, such as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “Kong: Skull Island,” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” you can tell that in comparison, Wonder Woman was average and a little cheesy at times.
Okay, okay. Now you’re going to say, “But “Guardians of the Galaxy” was nominated and that’s also a superhero movie!” Did you see the planet they created in that film? The growing life forms that blossomed in front of us as George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” played in the background? Those were special effects that deserved recognition.
Even more confusing are the people who think Patty Jenkins should have received a best director nomination for “Wonder Woman.” The directing award is for those whose film direction stands out as something special and unique. I think most people just want Jenkins to win an award for being the person to make a film they loved. That’s not what the Oscars are for. The financial success and adoration from fans are Jenkin’s award for making this film, and I’m sure she’ll receive more after the second “Wonder Woman” releases.
Tune in soon to turn these nominations into predictions!