Whatever’s been happening in the real world, 2017 was honestly a pretty terrific year for film. We’ve had outstanding debuts and career peaks from veteran artists. The tones vary between troubling paranoia and familial reassurance, both (arguably) in response to what’s taking place outside the movie theater.
But most importantly (for Oscar purposes, anyways), we’ve gotten a solid batch of nominees. There is great diversity reflected not only in race and culture, but in tone and genre, for an exciting cross-section representing what cinema has become.
I’d rank the nominees as:
- Call Me By Your Name
- Lady Bird
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
- Phantom Thread
- The Shape of Water
- Get Out
- The Post
- Darkest Hour
Sticking with nine nominees though, I would drop the bottom three and bring in:
Likely Winner: A lot of the stats seem to lean towards The Shape of Water, particularly given the (alleged) backlash to Three Billboards despite its sweeping most of the heavy-hitter awards. I cautiously call it at The Shape of Water, but even Phantom Thread has been picking up steam lately.
My Pick: My favorite of the live-action films last year was Call Me By Your Name, though one could argue Lady Bird or Three Billboards is truly the “best,” and I wouldn’t dispute that. I would be pleased if any of those three took home the gold.
Likely Winner: Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water.
My Pick: Mr. del Toro’s vision permeates through every aspect of The Shape of Water, and has solidified his craft as a true auteur. Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig as clearly new, exciting voices in film and one hopes the best is yet ahead in their careers. For Guillermo del Toro, this is arguably his career high (it’s my favorite of his films to date), and the time feels right.
Likely Winner: Gary Oldman for being grumpy in makeup in Darkest Hour.
My Pick: Timothee Chalamet is extraordinary in his breakout Call Me By Your Name, though like Gerwig and Peele, this is hopefully the start of a tremendous career for him.
Likely Winner: Frances McDormand in Three Billboards
My Pick: Ms. McDormand is truly exceptional in a role worthy of her immense talents. I was also stunned by the explosive performance by Margot Robbie in I, Tonya and, as always, Saoirse Ronan disappears into a fully believable heroine as Lady Bird. This category may be the most “loaded” of any this year, and each of the three would be deserving winners.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Likely Winner: Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards
My Pick: Even as the third-billed, Sam Rockwell’s performance as Officer Dixon in Three Billboards is what stuck with me the most. His police officer is a fully realized, wholly believable portrait of a deeply flawed man, struggling to crawl himself out of a pit of his own making.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Likely Winner: All signs seem to point to Allison Janney in I, Tonya (and she’s terrific in it), but I’m partial to…
My Pick: Laurie Metcalf as Lady Bird‘s patient, sturdy, and understanding mother. The film would not work were it not for Metcalf’s grounding performance.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Likely Winner: Get Out, a creative social satire that has clearly struck a chord with the zeitgeist.
My Pick: This is another category that’s filled to the brim with talent. Few films hit me as hard as The Big Sick this year, but I would be equally happy with a Lady Bird or Three Billboards win.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Likely Winner: Call Me By Your Name
My Pick: Call Me By Your Name, particularly for adapting a sleepy, murky tale into a vibrant moment of discovery. The Mudbound script is also excellent, particularly for its shifting perspective and poetic interior monologues.
What are your picks for Oscar night? Who should take home the gold? Reply below in the comments!