Weekend Binge: Last chance to watch all nominated films before Monday’s Oscars; we predict winners to help you decide | hollywood | Hindustan Times
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Weekend Binge: Last chance to watch all nominated films before Monday’s Oscars; we predict winners to help you decide

It’s your last chance to catch up on all the nominated pictures before the Oscars on Monday. Here are a few predictions (in eight major categories) to help you out.

hollywood Updated: Mar 09, 2018 15:59 IST
Rohan Naahar
After last year’s mishap, what could possibly go wrong at the 2018 Oscars?
After last year’s mishap, what could possibly go wrong at the 2018 Oscars?

It’s easy to forget why we watch the Oscars. It’s easy to become jaded, watching rich people wearing expensive clothes being patted on their backs for making movies. It’s easy to listen to their speeches with a current of cynicism rushing through our minds. But let’s ignore all this, shall we? For the 90th Academy Awards, let’s focus on the only reason for this circus: the movies.

Sure, your favourite might not win. It might not even be nominated. But think about it this way, when are they ever? On the bright side, the nominees this year are arguably some of the most woke in recent memory. You’ve got to give it to the Academy, whatever their motivations might be (it’s probably ratings), they’re really good at taking constructive criticism. After The Dark Knight failed to get a Best Picture nomination in 2009, the Oscars increased the Best Picture nominee pool from 5 to 10. And when, in 2015, the Oscars so white hashtag began trending, instead of making excuses, they made systemic changes in the voting process that ensured more representation for the minorities.

But above all else, the best case scenario this year - like every year - would be you, the viewer, the movie fan, discovering new movies to watch and new filmmakers to champion.

It’s your last chance to catch up on all the nominated pictures. Here are a few predictions (in eight major categories) to help you out.

Best Supporting Actor

This image released by Fox Searchlight shows Sam Rockwell, left, and Frances McDormand in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. (AP)

It took a while to get over the injustice with which voters treated The Florida Project, a movie that would any other year have been considered among the frontrunners. But at least they didn’t ignore Willem Dafoe’s incredibly empathetic performance as the manager of a Florida motel where vice and decrepitude have overrun decency. He won’t win, which is a crime. But this is a great example of just how arbitrary the Oscars really are. Usually, it’s all based on blind luck, and the scarily short attention span of the voters. In any case, if Dafoe is going to lose, at least he’ll lose to Sam Rockwell, who does the impossible in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and makes you root for a racist.

Best Supporting Actress

This image released by Neon shows Allison Janney as LaVona Golden in a scene from I, Tonya. (AP)

While the Best Picture winner is anyone’s guess, the acting categories are fairly easier to predict — based on the how the awards leading up to the Oscars have shaped out, the general vibe in the air, and history.

Allison Janney not only deserves to win but her tough-as-nails performance as Tonya Harding’s mother in I, Tonya — played without a hint of vanity, by the way — is a great role with which to honour her great career. Quick shout out to Laurie Metcalf, who, in Lady Bird, played another mom, but rather differently.

Best Adapted Screenplay

This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Timothee Chalamet in a scene from Call Me By Your Name. (AP)

Let’s take a moment to celebrate the Academy’s frankly game-changing decision to nominate Logan for a screenplay nod. For all the progress we’ve seen with respect to superhero movies — specifically how they’re seen by the so-called intellectual elite — they’ve never really cracked the Oscars.

Now, it’s just as logical to point out that they don’t need the Academy’s validation at all; they’re making billions at the box office. They’re good. But think about it as representation. It took years, and several protests, to have a more diverse line-up of acting nominees. So it’ll take movies like The Dark Knight and Logan to pave the way for, say, a Black Panther to be nominated for Best Picture next year. That being said, Call Me By Your Name should, and will win. If only to acknowledge the 89-year-old James Ivory’s stories career.

Best Original Screenplay

This image released by Fox Searchlight shows Frances McDormand in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. (AP)

As wonderful as it would be to see Martin McDonagh get the Oscar he should have won for In Bruges, this is an unexpectedly tough category to predict. Jordan Peele’s genre-bending screenplay for Get Out would certainly make a statement that, like his movie, goes beyond what is expected of a horror film. But Guillermo del Toro has the momentum and Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon have the quality.

Best Actor

This image released by Focus Features shows Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in a scene from Darkest Hour. (AP)

Two months ago, it would have been a no-brainer to predict a Daniel Day Lewis victory, what with Phantom Thread being his much-publicised final acting role. But time is a fickle friend. The general buzz now seems to be in favour of a Gary Oldman win — which I disagree with, but I’m not voting — and since giving Day Lewis a fourth Best Acting Oscar would be going a bit overboard, it’s likely that Oldman will win for Darkest Hour. A moment of silence, now, for poor Tom Hanks though, who was roundly ignored for his performance as Ben Bradlee, as was The Post. It’s understood that Steven Spielberg is taken for granted these days, but as it turns out, so are the actors in his movies by association.

Best Actress

Frances McDormand in a still from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Honestly? Any of these tremendous performers could walk away with the Oscar and they’d deserve it. It’s one of those years. But the tide seems to be in flowing in Frances McDormand’s favour. If you look closely, each of these actors has delivered what is arguably the finest performance of their career — excluding Meryl Streep, who doesn’t need to.

But there’s something about the unchained rage behind McDormand’s performance in Three Billboards, there’s something about the sheer riskiness of the storytelling that makes her the one to beat. And deservingly so.

Best Director

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows director Guillermo del Toro on the set of The Shape of Water. (AP)

2018 is an unusually difficult year to predict, but all signs point to there being a repeat of 2017. Not in the way that the wrong winner is announced, no. But his win at the Director’s Guild Awards — normally a pretty accurate predictor for the Oscars — Guillermo del Toro seems to be the hot favourite for The Shape of Water. It would have been poetic to have seen Christopher Nolan walk away with the Oscar for Dunkirk — God knows he certainly wants one, and there were even reports that he was putting in the hard work and actually lobbying for one this time — but it’s del Toro’s moment.

Best Picture

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri could win Best Picture.

A Guillermo del Toro win for Best Director suggests — at least to me — that Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards will win the big award of the night, in that 2017 repeat that I was referring to earlier, when Moonlight won Best Picture and Damien Chazelle won Best Director for La La Land. All things said and done, Three Billboards is the better film, and captures the zeitgeist with more passion than any other movie in contention.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Let’s not forget some of the technical and below-the-line categories. Enough has been said about the great Roger Deakins not having won a single cinematography Oscar despite 13 nominations. For the first time, he is the frontrunner, for his work on Blade Runner 2049, which should ideally have been nominated for both Best Director and Best Picture. A Deakins win will see a standing ovation, no doubt. It would also be great to see either Hans Zimmer or Carter Burwell win for Best Original Score. Meanwhile Sweden’s The Square in the Best Foreign Language Film category is a personal favourite.

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The author tweets @RohanNaahar