A really solid list with just a few faults
We are now in the height of the most wonderful time of the year, better known as Oscar season, and the Academy has finally released their much-anticipated list of nominees. While it is important to remember at the end of the day these don't matter, (the only thing that matters is Enter the Movies film awards, after all! Right? Guys?) and we just get hyped up about the Oscars for fun, I must admit: I'm pretty impressed with this year's nominees. While there are a few glaring snubs (more on those later) I think overall this is a well rounded, diverse group of nominees. Unlike with the Globes, there weren't any major categories that made me throw my arms up in the air and question everything I know about everything. (Oh ya, getting deep over here) The Shape of Water led the way with 13 nominations, which I am ok with. That film has continued to grow on me since I first saw it, and will find itself a deserving place well within my top ten best movies of 2017 list. It's a great film worthy of 13 nominees, and I hope this Oscar love boosts its sales in the process. I wasn't too thrilled that Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri received a bunch of nominations too, but I'm pretty confident that the momentum it has right now through the early part of awards season will wane as we get closer to Oscar Sunday. There have been some issues raised with this film's take on race, and for good reason. I wouldn't be too surprised if Sam freaking Rockwell wins Best Supporting Actor and that's it for the movie come Oscar Sunday. Anyway, let's talk about the winners, losers, and the more perplexing moments of this year's Oscar list!
For those that don't know, this post is just some immediate reactions to the list of nominees. Enter the Movies will continue its coverage of 2017 cinema with more film reviews in the upcoming weeks, as well as a comprehensive look back at the year for film. And look for my annual comprehensive guide to the 2018 Oscars to drop on February 25th, so stay tuned!
Big Winners: Lady Bird, Get out, Music, #MeToo
Let's start with my favorite thing about this entire list: Lady Bird. The little directorial debut from my spirit animal, Greta Gerwig, snagged five Oscar nominations, including Gerwig's (ironically) first ever Oscar nods in both directing and original screenplay. I loved this movie so much, and am beyond thrilled to see it receive some very deserving Oscar love. I'm not going to lie: I may (or may not) have let out a quick scream when I saw Gerwig's name in the Best Director category. Gerwig is an amazing individual, and she is the reason Lady Bird has been so successful. She came from some very humble beginnings in the mumblecore movement and has worked her tail off to get to where she is now, and I could not be more happy for her!
So how about Get Out, eh? While I wasn't as big a fan of it as others are, I'm still quite happy to see what's ultimately a slasher film run away with four Oscar nominations, including the undisputed surprise of the entire list for me: Daniel Kaluuya nominated for Best Actor. After the allegations against James Franco surfaced, I was quite happy to see Kaluuya receive a Best Actor nod over him. This is a great segue to the #MeToo movement showing up in this list of nominees.....I was quite worried that there would be a mistake somewhere in this list, whether it be the Best Director category being all men, or James Franco being nominated for Best Actor, but the Academy did an excellent job having an all-around diverse group of nominees, and removing (almost) all potential missteps within the individual categories. Hopefully that continues into the Oscar ceremony itself. Also, on this note, thank GOD Ridley Scott didn't receive a Best Director nod over someone like Greta Gerwig. I still scoff at his Golden Globes nomination over someone more deserving like her. Also, speaking of the Best Director category, we can now say "Oscar Nominated Jordan Peele" and I am VERY ok with that. I'm sure he's texting Keegan right now about it.
I also want to highlight the strong music categories this year. While The Greatest Showman's "This is Me" did receive its inevitable nomination for Original Song, (I will be sad if it wins, which it probably will because it's the most popular song on the list) I was thrilled to see Sufjan Stevens "Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name make the list too. I haven't dropped the review of Call Me by Your Name yet, but this film is one of my favorites of the year and "Mystery of Love" was not just my favorite song in film from 2017, it was one of my favorite songs, period. It's a beautiful and touching song. At the very least I look forward to seeing it performed at the Oscars by Stevens! We'll also have performances from Miguel, Common, and Mary J. Blige to look forward to. Those should all be great. Also, I LOVE the Best Original Score category! About the only film with a great score they missed was Blade Runner 2049, but I am very ok with the Academy only giving Hans Zimmer one Oscar nomination. Hopefully that'll increase his chances of FINALLY snagging his first ever Oscar (somehow) for Dunkirk but if Phantom Thread or The Shape of Water get called instead I wouldn't be mad. They all feature mesmerizing scores, and highlight a very strong year for music in film.
Big Losers: Wonder Woman, Hostiles, The Best Actress Category, Ross Lynch
Hey, Academy. How's it going? I have a simple, innocent question for you: Where's Wonder Woman? Go ahead, I'll wait.....I am SHOCKED by the omission of this film that had almost as much audience buzz behind it as Get Out did. The fact that Wonder Woman did not receive a single nomination is easily the biggest loser for this year's Oscar nominees. For anything! C'mon, guys! You mean to tell me that Kong: Skull Island deserved a nomination over Wonder Woman? (More on that in a bit) I'm ok that Patty Jenkins didn't get a Best Director nomination. (Even though she contributed greatly to the film's success) Much as I would've loved to have seen her name in the category, there were just too many other great directors in 2017 for her to be on that list and not feel like there was a snub elsewhere. (Who do you remove for her? Jordan Peele? You couldn't possibly convince me Jenkins deserved to be on that list over Guillermo Del Toro or Christopher Nolan.) But between visual effects and costumes and even something like original score, (I think it's safe to say Wonder Woman's theme is pretty iconic) surely there was space for it somewhere! The Academy definitely needs to take superhero films at least a little bit more seriously.
There was another no-show I was surprised by in Hostiles, mostly because of how desperate that crew was to make it awards eligible for this year's Oscars, but I haven't seen that film yet so I can't really comment about it. But, given that it opened on about 2 screens right before December 31st to be eligible, I wouldn't be surprised if they just couldn't get the "for your consideration" screeners out to the Academy in time. But there was an easy opportunity to give a distinguished Native American actor in Wes Studi a Best Supporting Actor nomination over someone like Woody Harrelson. (Three Billboards did not deserve two supporting actor nominations)
Speaking of acting categories, let's talk about the Best Actress category. Why is Meryl Streep on this list? She's the most nominated person in history, does she really need another nomination she stands no chance of winning for a character that didn't even need to be in the movie it was in? Don't get me wrong: I love Meryl Streep. And she is Meryl Streep in The Post. She's as charismatic as ever. But Best Actress this year was stacked, and giving this final slot to someone like her took away the opportunity for far more deserving actresses to be in the category. This slot could've been given to Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman. This slot could've been given to Jessica Chastain for Molly's Game. But EASILY the biggest snub by Meryl Streep's inclusion is Vicky Krieps for her career-defining role in Phantom Thread. I'm honestly at a loss for words on this one. Krieps puts in a performance as good as Daniel Day-Lewis, who's likely the favorite to win Best Actor because it's Daniel Day-Lewis, but she doesn't even get a nomination? What's up with that? Her performance in Phantom Thread will be in my top five performances of the year, and Meryl Streep's won't even make the cut. Unfortunately though, once again, Hollywood's favorite poster child gets another head-scratching nomination instead.
Speaking of snubs, let's talk about Ross Lynch for a second. I hadn't heard a peep out of the My Friend Dahmer camp this awards season, so I'm honestly not surprised the former Disney star wasn't nominated for his haunting performance as the future serial killer Jeff Dahmer, but this performance has resonated with me as much as any other performance has in 2017, and I wish someone, ANYONE, would give him an award or two for the role. It was something to behold. Oh well.....
Perplexing Moments: Best Animated Feature Category, Best Visual Effect Category, Darkest Hour Snags Six nominations?
What's going on in the animation category? I haven't seen that many animated movies in 2017 (hardly any, actually) but I'm smart enough to know that The Boss Baby does not deserve to be on this list. I laughed about it at the Globes, and I will laugh about it again here. Was the world of animation just that bad this year? It's also voiced by Alec Baldwin, who's been getting himself into trouble recently for saying some pretty stupid things. (He took to his foundation's Twitter account to defend Woody Allen last week for some strange and likely disgusting reason) But The Boss Baby, with it's lovely 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Alec Baldwin leading the way, can now call itself "Oscar Nominated The Boss Baby." Yikes. At least Loving Vincent, the world's first fully painted feature film, got a nomination. Hopefully it can beat out the Disney/Pixar powerhouse that represents itself as Coco and take home the Oscar, too.
SPEAKING OF crazy categories that make no sense whatsoever, and films that have no right to call themselves Oscar nominated, the Visual Effects category! Ohhhhhh the visual effects category. Kong: Skull Island is the real head-scratcher here. Even when you remove the fact that it snubbed a potential nomination for Wonder Woman, its effects weren't anything special. Why is it on this list? And why is Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 on this list over Wonder Woman? I guess the Academy will take Marvel superhero movies seriously, but not DC ones. Also. And this makes even less sense to me. Where's Dunkirk and The Shape of Water? This is dumbfounding. Not only did I assume these two films would make the cut, I assumed they would be the front-runners to win the entire category! The Shape of Water received a whooping 13 nominations and its entire premise is built around Sally Hawkins falling in love with a visual effects-created amphibious creature, but it doesn't deserve a visual effects nomination? Even if it was just some guy in a suit that could light up, then it should be in the Costume Design category over something like Beauty and The Beast. What happened there? And Dunkirk's calling card was its visual effects. How was that not nominated? I guess I just don't know visual effects when I see them.
Finally, let's talk about Darkest Hour. I'm all for Gary Oldman getting his Best Actor nomination, as well as makeup team. Those were inevitable, and I suspect the makeup team will walk home with that Oscar, too. But I was SHOCKED to see this film snag six (SIX?) Oscar nominations. (Hey! That's the score I gave the film too! Coincidence? I think NOT!) Including one for Best Picture. Seriously? Overall, the Best Picture category was pretty good this year. It often has at least one or two head-scratchers since they expanded the field to ten, but this year I couldn't believe that Darkest Hour made the cut for the category while the VASTLY more deserving I, Tonya did not. Where's its six nominations? Oh well. The Academy can't get them all right, right?
Well, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed reading my initial reactions to this year's Oscar nominees. Thanks, as always, for reading and I will be back soon with a look back at 2017 and more Oscars coverage. Sayonara!
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