Of Mermen and Billboards. 


It’s that time of year where my credibility at putting pen to paper in this blog is put to the ultimate test:  picking the winners of tonight’s Oscars!  (By the way, is it the “2018 Oscars” because it’s held in 2018, or should it be the “2017 Oscars” because it is featuring 2017 films?  I’m never sure!)

Flushed with success with my 14 out of 19 score at the BAFTAs, here we go. As goes with tradition, I’ll go with a “Will Win” and “Should Win” assessments, updated during Sunday’s show with the “Did Win” nominee in red.  In (green and parentheses) are the films I never got to catch during 2017… my bad.  (I should colour “Call Me By Your Name” in amber, since I have only got to see half of it on a plane!)

(By the way, for another excellent review of the main Oscar runners and riders, done in a clever “Head vs Heart” manner, check out Amy’s excellent article at Oh! That Film Blog here).

My final score for the night was 16 out of 19, which beats my BAFTA attempt, so very happy with that! 


Source:  Fox Searchlight

Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Will Win:            The Shape of Water
Should Win:      Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Did Win:              The Shape of Water

Wow!  What a good year this has been at the movies! 

To add a bit of intrigue to the night, last night the Film Independant Spirit Award gave their ‘Best Feature’ award to “Get Out”.  “So what” you might say?  Just that they have predicted the Best Film Oscar for each of the last four years… even the outsider “Moonlight” from last year! 

But aside from this troubling wrinkle, I would have thought that this is surely a two-horse race between “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “The Shape of Water”…. and it’s difficult to call.  My head would suggest that the romanticism of an old-Hollywood style movie like “The Shape of Water” will win over the cynicism of “Billboards”.  But thinking of what happened with “Envelope-gate” and “La La Land“/”Moonlight“, could this deliver the same surprise as we saw at the BAFTAs? 

I think the telling factor here is that Martin McDonagh has been criminally overlooked for a Best Director nod. The Oscar statistics show that in 62 cases out of the 89 awards, the Best Director has matched the Best Picture…. I haven’t looked at the stats, but I’d be surprised if there has EVER been a year where the Best Director wasn’t even nominated.  This feels COMPLETELY BIZARRE! 

I preferred “Three Billboards”, but very happy that “The Shape of Water” won.  


Source: Working Title Films

Timothée Chalamet – Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-LewisPhantom Thread
Daniel KaluuyaGet Out
Gary OldmanDarkest Hour
Denzel Washington – (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

Will Win:            Gary Oldman
Should Win:       Daniel Day-Lewis
Did Win:              Gary Oldman.

Part of me would love to see Kaluuya win, to see how crazy his acceptance speech would be! But I think this will be Oldman’s night, despite Day-Lewis putting in for me the performance of the year in “Phantom Thread”. The surprise for me on the list is Denzel Washington, in a film which seems to be pretty well invisible.

Another British win… well done to Gary Oldman for his “glorious prize”.  


Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Willem Dafoe – (The Florida Project)
Woody HarrelsonThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard JenkinsThe Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer – (All the Money in the World)
Sam RockwellThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win:            Sam Rockwell
Should Win:       Sam Rockwell
Did Win:              Sam Rockwell

Frustratingly, I’m two short in this category and I know there is a lot of love for Willem Dafoe here.  I would also rate Richard Jenkins up there for this one.  But the performance of the year that I saw would be Sam Rockwell.

As expected.  Good speech! 


Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Sally HawkinsThe Shape of Water
Frances McDormandThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie I, Tonya
Saoirse RonanLady Bird
Meryl StreepThe Post

Will Win:            Frances McDormand
Should Win:      Frances McDormand
Did Win:             Frances McDormand

What an incredibly strong category this year!  Only Meryl Streep seems to hit a wrong note (no “Florence Foster Jenkins” pun intended) by being in the list.  This is surely the year for Frances McDormand – I’d give it to her just for her foul mouthed tirade at the news reporter through the car window!


Source: Clubhouse Pictures / LuckyChap Entertainment

Mary J. Blige – (Mudbound)
Allison JanneyI, Tonya
Lesley ManvillePhantom Thread
Laurie MetcalfLady Bird
Octavia SpencerThe Shape of Water

Will Win:            Allison Janney
Should Win:      Allison Janney
Did Win:             Allison Janney.

Janney is surely the favourite for this, although Manville and Metcalf are also both truly excellent.



Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan
Get Out – Jordan Peele
Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig
Phantom Thread – Paul Thomas Anderson
The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro

Will Win:           Guillermo del Toro
Should Win:      Guillermo del Toro
Did Win:            Guillermo del Toro

This is the bonkers one…. where is Martin McDonagh?


Source: Pixar

(The Boss Baby)
(Loving Vincent)

Will Win:            Coco
Should Win:      Coco
Did Win:             Coco

I know, I know… how can I possibly call this one when I’ve only seen one of the films?  Just go and see Coco… you’ll know.

Fabulous!  Remember Me! 


Call Me
Source: Frenesy Film Company

Call Me by Your Name – James Ivory
(The Disaster Artist) – Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Logan – Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Molly’s Game – Aaron Sorkin
(Mudbound) – Virgil Williams, Dee Rees

Will Win:            Call me By Your Name.
Should Win:      Logan
Did Win:            Call me By Your Name.

I’m two short in this category, so a bit blind, but gut tells me that James Ivory will get this as he did for the BAFTA’s.   But I would personally love to see “Logan” recognized for its completely different and innovative approach to a Marvel movie.


Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Big Sick –  Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Get Out – Jordan Peele
Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh

Will Win:           Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Should Win:      Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Did Win:             Get Out.

For some of the most quotable lines of the movie year.

Well, that’s the first big surprise for me of the night… well done to Jordan Peele though… its a memorable film.  Could this perhaps get Best Film now…?? 


Twentieth Century Fox

Mighty River(Mudbound) – Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson
Mystery of Love” (Call Me by Your Name) – Sufjan Stevens
Remember Me,” (Coco) – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Stand Up for Something(Marshall) – Diane Warren, Lonnie R. Lynn
This is Me,” (The Greatest Showman) – Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Will Win:           “This is Me”
Should Win:      “This is Me”
Did Win:              “Remember Me”

Two short again!  But I’ve at least now listened to all of these, and my heart still goes with “This is Me” for its sheer drive and energy.

Well… that’s a surprise…. love this song, but I really though “The Greatest Showman” would rule here.


Source:  Fox Searchlight
 *Production Design  **Set Decoration

Beauty and the Beast – Sarah Greenwood*, Katie Spencer**
Blade Runner 2049 – Dennis Gassner*, Alessandra Querzola**
Darkest Hour – Sarah Greenwood*, Katie Spencer**
Dunkirk – Nathan Crowley*, Gary Fettis**
The Shape of Water – Paul Denham Austerberry*, Shane Vieau and Jeffrey A. Melvin**

Will Win:           The Shape of Water
Should Win:      The Shape of Water
Did Win:            The Shape of Water

The detail present in “The Shape of Water” is just breathtaking.  I would have thought this would be a shoe-in.  (But I’ve been wrong before!)

Yes!  So pleased for this one.  And all for a budget of $19.4 million…! 


Source: Scott Free Productions

Blade Runner 2049 – Roger A. Deakins
Darkest Hour – Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk – Hoyte van Hoytema
(Mudbound) – Rachel Morrison, 
The Shape of Water – Dan Laustsen

Will Win:          Blade Runner 2049
Should Win:     Blade Runner 2049
Did Win:            Blade Runner 2049 

14th time lucky?  Surely Mr Deakins at last deserves the statuette this time around.

Fabulous… at long last for a maestro of lighting and mood.  Go Brits! 


Source: Focus Features

Beauty and the Beast –  Jacqueline Durran
Darkest Hour – Jacqueline Durran
Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges
The Shape of Water Luis Sequeira
Victoria & Abdul – Consolata Boyle

Will Win:          Phantom Thread
Should Win:     Phantom Thread
Did Win:            Phantom Thread

A film about fashion design in the 50’s.  Yes, I think so.


Source: Syncopy

Baby Driver – Julian Slater
Blade Runner 2049 – Mark Mangini and Theo Green
Dunkirk – Richard King and Alex Gibson
The Shape of Water – Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

Again I find it bizarre that sound gets two awards, when there are loads of potential categories (“Best Stunt Work” would be great wouldn’t it?) that are overlooked.  And I struggle with the technical distinction between the two.  “Dunkirk” may be in with a shot at this one, but this is something of a guess.  For me, “Baby Driver” has the sharpest editing, both picture and sound, in film this year.

Will Win:          Dunkirk
Should Win:    Baby Driver
Did Win:           Dunkirk

A good guess! When you see clips, the sound undeniably stands out as impressive.


Source: Syncopy.

Baby Driver – Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis
Blade Runner 2049 – Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth
Dunkirk – Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo and Mark Weingarten
The Shape of Water – Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson

Will Win:          Dunkirk
Should Win:    Baby Driver
Did Win:           Dunkirk

The sound design in “Dunkirk” was excellent, and it won the overall BAFTA for sound.  But I would personally not wish it to win in this category, since I found a lot of the dialogue in “Dunkirk” difficult to hear.

Recognized for sound, if nothing else this evening.



Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer
Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood
The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell

Will Win:         The Shape of Water
Should Win:    The Shape of Water
Did Win:          The Shape of Water

Odds would be that John Williams in his 90’s will win the Oscar for his last Star Wars score… but not this one! I think this will be a second win (after “The Grand Budapest Hotel“) for Alexandre Desplat with his lovely score.

As I expected.  A great and moving score.


Source: Scott Free Productions

Blade Runner 2049 – John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick
(Kong: Skull Island) – Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
War for the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist

Will Win:         Blade Runner 2049
Should Win:    War for the Planet of the Apes
Did Win:          Blade Runner 2049

A surprise for me that “Kong” is there instead of the more subtle but magnificent “Shape of Water”.  But I think Blade Runner will get it.

And it did.


Source: Sony Pictures.

Baby Driver – Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
Dunkirk – Lee Smith
I, Tonya – Tatiana S. Riegel
The Shape of Water – Sidney Wolinsky
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Jon Gregory

Will Win:         Baby Driver
Should Win:    Baby Driver
Did Win:           Dunkirk

I’m hoping the Oscars will follow the BAFTA lead on this one.


Source: Working Title Films

Darkest Hour – Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick
Victoria & Abdul – Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
(Wonder) – Arjen Tuiten

Will Win:         Darkest Hour
Should Win:    Darkest Hour
Did Win:           Darkest Hour

“Gary Oldman IS Winston Churchill” should have screamed the posters…. Kazuhiro Tsuji is the guy responsible, and I think likely to pick up the award for his efforts.

The Basement… the Categories where I have yet to see a single film, so I won’t predict anything for these….


Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman
Faces Places –  Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda
Icarus – Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan
Last Men In Aleppo – Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen
Strong Island – Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Did Win:           Icarus.


Edith+Eddie – Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 – Frank Stiefel
Heroin(e) – Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon
Knife Skills – Thomas Lennon
Traffic Stop – Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

Did Win:          Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405.


A Fantastic Woman, Chile – Directed by Sebastián Lelio
The Insult, Lebanon – Directed by Ziad Doueiri
Loveless, Russia – Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
On Body and Soul, Hungary – Directed by Ildikó Enyedi
The Square, Sweden – Directed by Ruben Östlund

Did Win:        A Fantastic Woman.


Dear Basketball – Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant
Garden Party – Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon
Negative Space – Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata
Lou – Dave Mullins and Dana Murray
Revolting Rhymes – Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

Did Win:           Dear Basketball.


DeKalb Elementary – Reed Van Dyk
The Eleven O’Clock – Derin Seale and Josh Lawson
The Silent Child – Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton
Watu Wote (All of Us) – Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen
My Nephew Emmett – Kevin Wilson, Jr.

Did Win:          The Silent Child

Yes!!!  Go UK!!  Congrats to the engaged couple of writer Rachel Shenton and director Chris Overton!!