Oscar Picks 2018

For those of you who read my column that appears in The Indiana Lawyer, you already know that I made my Oscar picks several weeks ago. However, I have had a chance to revisit a number of categories, so the following is my revised list.

BEST PICTURE – The Shape of Water

While Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is still my favorite film of the year, everything points to The Shape of Water to win. Unlike last year when the undeserving Moonlight won over La La Land, everyone could applaud this selection.

BEST DIRECTING – Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Ironically, I must be up front and say that the un-nominated Martin McDonagh is far more deserving for Three Billboards. Furthermore, Greta Gerwig would be a spectacular selection for Lady Bird and no one would applaud more loudly than me should that occur. However, Mr. del Toro has created an amazing work of art and I think he walks away with his prize.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE – Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

I consider this one as a lock, and we all will see Mr. Oldman finally walk away with this high honor. His performance as Churchill will long be remembered.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

I openly admit that Ms. Ronan is a long shot, as the smart money is on either Sally Hawkins or Frances McDormand. However, this is Ms. Ronan’s third Oscar nomination in her short career, and I am sticking with her for an upset.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

While Mr. Rockwell deserves this prize, the fact that Woody Harrelson is also nominated for Three Billboards in this category might be a fatal drawback. If so, Richard Jenkins lurks in the weeds for his powerful performance in The Shape of Water, but I am still hopeful that Rockwell prevails.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Allison Janney, I, Tonya

If I had to bet my life savings on one pick, this would be it. No one, and I mean no one, rivaled her performance.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM – Coco

I noted earlier that Coco could have been nominated in the Best Picture category. It is an animated film that even adults find endearing and its hit song, “Remember Me” will challenge in the original song category. However, even when it wins, all of you need to take the time to see Loving Vincent.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This is a tough pick, as I truly love the other four nominees. Lady Bird and The Shape of Water are probably the favorites in this category but Get Out has picked up a lot of steam. Yet, while The Big Sick was one of my favorite films of the year, I suspect Three Billboards will prevail with this prize particularly if it does not win the Best Picture.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Call Me by Your Name

Let me say that I remain annoyed beyond words when a film like Mudbound is recognized for Oscar consideration and it was never released in theaters in most major cities. As a result, it is the only significant movie that I haven’t seen, which is a great drawback. However, though I love both Logan and Molly’s Game, the screenplay for Call Me will wrap its arms around you from beginning to end.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – “This Is Me”, The Greatest Showman

While I would be perfectly satisfied if “Remember Me” wins from Coco, this award to The Greatest Showman will allow that film to receive deserved recognition. Furthermore, recognizing “Stand Up for Something” allows the historically important film Marshall to be grabbed out of the shadows.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – The Shape of Water

This is a dangerous pick given that Dunkirk, Three Billboards and Phantom Thread lurk in the weeds, but I think that Water will add this prize to its list.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING – The Darkest Hour

Who did a better job than the work involved in recreating Mr. Oldman as the legendary Winston Churchill?

BEST FILM EDITING – Dunkirk

Despite weaknesses in several areas, the editing allowed this historically important film to connect different sagas that probably will be recognized in this category.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Blade Runner 2049

Though I didn’t consider Blade Runner 2049 to be a great film, it should be recognized for the spectacular cinematography. However, Dunkirk is a close rival.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – Beauty and the Beast

While it would make perfect sense to select Phantom Thread as it is a film about a costume designer or the work done in The Shape of Water, the costumes in Beauty were splendid. This film really deserved more nominations.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – The Shape of Water

Beauty and the Beast and Blade Runner 2049 will again knock on the door, but how can you ignore a film that was able to capture a love story between a deaf janitor and an aquatic beast.

BEST SOUND EDITING – Baby Driver

BEST SOUND MIXING – Baby Driver

While I think Dunkirk is the favorite in both of these categories, both sound editing and mixing enabled Baby Driver to be one of the most entertaining films of the year. It deserves this recognition.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – War for the Planet of the Apes

While I am certain that many expect Blade Runner 2049 to win, this last Ape film was able to penetrate a viewer emotionally based in part on its visual effects.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM – My Nephew Emmett

While Dekalb Elementary has great significance given the recent school shooting that just took place in Florida, my pick dealing with the murder of Emmett Till in 1965 Mississippi is a heartbreaking re-creation of the consequences of racial prejudice that continue to infect in our country.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM – Revolting Rhymes

The favorite is Dear Basketball, a film that allows Kobe Bryant to say goodbye to his many fans. However, Revolting Rhymes gives a dark spin to many well-known animated characters and it was the standout film in this category.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – The Last Men in Aleppo

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT – Heroin(e)

Again, since none of these films other than The Insult were shown on the screen here in Indy, I once again I had to guess on the film that has the most appeal from my viewpoint. Additionally, I remain terribly disappointed that Jane wasn’t nominated in the Documentary Feature category.

So, there you have my final picks. To be quite frank, I expect my good friend Dr. Paul Peterson to once again win our battle to see who can come up with the most accurate selections. What makes this profoundly annoying is that while I have watched nearly all of the nominated films, he has only seen a few of them. How can a guy with my considerable skill and dedication be topped by a dentist who won’t be able to see most of his selections until he can watch them at home months from now? And yet I still consider this cinematic dipshit a close friend.