And the Oscar goes to...
Last year was not only a strange Oscar year it was a weak year. Yes, I loved “La La Land” which I still thThere are two sure things that will take place on Oscar night. 1) Returning host Jimmy Kimmel’s first joke will be about last year’s colossal envelope blunder, when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway read the wrong Best Picture winner. 2) Gary Oldman will win the Oscar for Best Actor for playing Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”
Last year was not only a strange Oscar year it was a weak year. Yes, I loved “La La Land” which I still think should have beaten “Moonlight,” but this year they would both be also-rans. You can bet Emma Stone is thrilled “La La” was released in 2016, when the best actress field was decidedly thin, and not in a “Just a salad, no dressing” way. She knows that she wouldn’t have a chance this year. Case in point - Stone turned in a better performance in 2017’s “Battle of the Sexes” and didn’t make the cut.
But enough looking back, let’s look forward to Sunday, March 4 at 8pm on ABC (that’s Network TV to you kids reading this) and to who Amanda thinks will win vs. who should win.
BEST PICTURE: There are nine films nominated for Best Picture this year and the only one I haven’t seen is “Call Me By Your Name.” My favorite film of the year is “The Shape of Water” which is the narrow favorite to win over “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” from this point to be referred to as “Billboards.” It’s a beautiful, imaginative, sensitive film and deserves the win.
Should Win and Will Win: “The Shape of Water”
BEST DIRECTOR: There are three first-time nominees in this category and Steven Spielberg got snubbed, which is kind of crazy. In this #MeToo year, where women are changing the face of Hollywood, it would be cool to see first-timer Greta Gerwig win for her extraordinarily sensitive direction of “Lady Bird.” It’s a longshot but it could happen.
Should Win and Will Win: Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water”
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day Lewis has three best actor Oscars, more than any other actor. He says “Phantom Thread” is his last film, so he will end his career with three statues. He and his fellow nominees are just there for the gift bag and a nice dinner by Wolfgang Puck.
Should Win and Will Win: Gary Oldman for “The Darkest Hour”
BEST ACTRESS: How often do you get to say “Meryl Streep doesn’t have a chance.” This is one of those years. Frances McDormand is the favorite for her fierce, take-no-prisoners performance in “Billboards” Saoirse Ronan is perfection as a confused high school senior in “Lady Bird,” but Sally Hawkins is transcendent as the mute janitor in “The Shape of Water.” The film would fail with the wrong actress. She was the right one.
Should Win: Sally Hawkins; Will Win: Frances McDormand
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: If you recall my review of “Billboards,” and I’m sure you do, I said this about Sam Rockwell, “There is nothing I would like better than to see Rockwell walk off with a well-deserved Oscar.” Guess what, he’s the favorite to win.
Should Win and Will Win: Sam Rockwell
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: In the Battle of the Moms, Allison Janney is winning all the hardware as disgraced skater Tonya Harding’s mother in “I, Tonya.” I, Amanda, didn’t see this movie, so I can’t say that Laurie Metcalf’s performance in “Lady Bird” is better. I can say she was terrific and I will go against the oddsmakers here and predict that people who loved “Lady Bird” but felt compelled to vote for other nominees on the Oscar ballot, will go with Metcalf here.
Should Win and Will Win: Laurie Metcalf
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: It’s rare when every one of the nominated screenplays is Oscar-worthy but this year, I would say that the scripts for “Billboards,” “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water” and “The Big Sick” are all deserving. There’s been a bit of controversy about the originality of “Shape of Water” so it’s an unlikely winner.
Should Win: Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird;”
Will Win: Martin McDonagh for “Billboards”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: All the heavy hitters are in the Original Screenplay category this year. I mean, seriously, “Logan?” and Aaron Sorkin? Again?
Will Win: “Call Me By Your Name”
ANIMATED FILM: Pixar made “Coco.” It’s not their best, but that doesn’t matter.
Should Win and Will Win: “Coco”
And finally, Amanda always likes to offer a random fact for you to share with friends and family, so here it is.
You: “Can you believe that this is Roger Deakins’ 14th nomination for Best Cinematography and he has never won?”
Them: “No, really?”
You: Yes, his snub in 2001 for “The Man Who Wasn’t There” is especially troubling
Them: (Staring dumbfounded)
You: “If he doesn’t win this year for “Blade Runner 2049,” there is no justice.”
* That’s true by the way, “Blade Runner 2049” is slow and confusing and not very good, but it is absolutely mesmerizing to look at thanks to Deakins, who should and will win for Best Cinematography.
The Oscars air Sunday, March 4 at 8p.m. on ABC.