The Oscars: Likely Winners and Biggest Snubs


(Courtesy of Flickr)

By Dominic Arenas

Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish announced the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards bright and early last Tuesday morning.

#MeToo and #TimesUp have replaced #OscarsSoWhite. Two years ago, #OscarsSoWhite gained traction when only white actors were recognized in the major acting categories. The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that pushed for a more diverse voting body saw its fruition in this year’s nominations. In accordance with the mood of this year’s award season, the Academy did right with (most of) the nominations and exclusions. Salute for taking a valued effort to not repeat a “Casey Affleck” moment with James Franco.

Some of the highlights from the nominees include Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele for Best Director, The Big Sick for Best Original Screenplay and Rachel Morrison for Outstanding Cinematography in the Netflix produced, Mudbound.

With the announcement of the nominations comes the “Oscar snubs” discussion. The biggest disappointment is the exclusion of The Florida Project, a poignant commentary on childhood and the ineptness of parts of the government. Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, arguably the best film of the year, got no love in the directorial and production categories. The Academy unsurprisingly chose the most Oscar baited film, a glorified “Michael Bay-esque” war drama, a crime comedy with a problematic resolution and another biopic on an iconic historical figure. Watch The Florida Project, get the tissues ready, marvel at the flawless cinematography, prepare for the last ten minutes and thank me later.

Here are the nominations for the “major” awards, the likely winners and the unlucky few that will get robbed on Oscar night: (Spoiler alert: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri deserves no awards).

Supporting Actor:
Who Will Win: Sam Rockwell
Who Should Win: William Dafoe

The reason Sam Rockwell’s winning on Oscar night? People have watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Though Rockwell’s performance somehow manages to make (some) audiences sympathize for a racist cop, consider Dafoe’s supporting cast. Excluding DaFoe, The Florida Project is a cast of very talented non-professionals and children. Both performances attempt to comment and humanize white poverty in America, but only DaFoe succeeds in doing so.

Supporting Actress:
Who Will Win: Allison Janney
Who Should Win: Allison Janney

Critics and Oscar predictors have rightly dubbed this category as the most competitive. Though it is a two woman race for Best Supporting Actress, it is an exceptional duel between the two mothers: Janney and Metcalf. Janney and Metcalf’s characters show the complexities and intimate elements of a mother-daughter relationship. Janney’s previous wins at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and the SAG Awards make her the odds on favorite, but it is hard not to recognize and praise Metcalf’s.

Lead Actor:
Who Will Win: Gary Oldman
Who Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya/Daniel Day-Lewis

Immediately following his win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, people took to Twitter to voice their dismay at Oldman’s dark past of domestic abuse. It would not surprise me to see Oldman eventually losing due to this award season’s theme of #TimesUp. If the Academy decides to shake things up last minute, expect Daniel Day-Lewis to win.

Given Oldman’s physical transformation for the role, dominance this awards season, exclusion of the only other real competition (Disaster Artist’s James Franco) and the Academy’s bias towards actors playing historical figures, he is the clear cut favorite in this category.

Lead Actress:
Who Will Win: Frances McDormand
Who Should Win: Saoirse Ronan

Frances McDormand, with the exception of her nominated supporting actors, is the only highlight for Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri.
The biggest threats to McDormand on Oscar night are Margot Robbie and Saorsie Ronan. Both snagged wins at the Golden Globes (Ronan) and the Critics Choice Award (Robbie). Hopefully, Ronan comes out on top with her first win after being previously nominated twice.

Original Screenplay:
Who Will Win: Lady Bird/Get Out
Who Should Win: Lady Bird/Get Out

This is a tossup between Lady Bird and Get Out. It is also great to see The Big Sick getting recognition for its laugh-out-loud script and unique way of depicting comedy amidst tragedy.

Peele and Gerwig’s films are outstandingly original. Both make the unconscious conscious. Bringing attention to very realistic truths about coming of age and racism deserve the recognition at this year’s Oscars.

Who Will Win: Guillermo del Toro
Who Should Win: Greta Gerwig

The Director’s Guild America Awards, held on Feb. 2 this year, is the last awards show prior to the Oscars. The winner of the DGA award went on to win 21 of the past 25 years for best director at the 90th Academy Awards. And judging from his wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards, del Toro is the clear frontrunner in the Oscars’ category.

Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele rightfully get the nod for Best Director for two of the most talked about films from this year.

Best Picture:
Who Will Win: The Shape of Water/ Three Billboards Outside Ebbing
Who Should Win: Lady Bird/Get Out

Considering the success of The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri throughout awards season, it is fair to say it is a two-picture race. However, given the controversy regarding the latter’s theme of redemption, The Shape of Water has the slight edge going into the 90th Academy Awards.

Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell’s acting carry the film, not Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’s plot. There are more problems than just the redemption of a racist cop. And why is there an Australian woman in Missouri?

Lady Bird and Get Out sit alongside previous nominees for Best Motion Picture films like Boyhood and The Social Network as timeless pieces that are forever remembered and held dear, but do not take home the top prize.

Though The Shape of Water and Three Billboards are not this year’s best, if I had to choose which I would like to see win, I would rather (as weird as it may sound) choose the love story of a fish and a deaf woman. But, do not count out Lady Bird or Get Out “Moonlighting” either of the two frontrunners.

It is ironic that in a year themed by the phrase, “Time’s Up” and “Me Too,” a film that glorifies the abuse of power and redeems a racist and bigoted cop, is the frontrunner for best picture.

If you were to answer the question of, “Where is the moral compass in Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri?” After digesting the surface-level, idiosyncratic depictions of inhabitants in a small middle America town, with excessive violence and an abundance of cliche storytelling techniques, one realizes that the film ultimately redeems a bigoted cop. Moonlight rightfully beat out La La Land in a year that celebrated diversity. What will be Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri’s lasting memory in a year that celebrates powerful and talented women when it itself is a film that treats women horribly?

Though The Shape of Water and Three Billboards have effortlessly captured the awards season’s biggest awards, expect a lot of surprises on Oscars night. Until March 4, movie lovers can only predict, complain and prepare Oscar viewing parties to see all the drama unfold. Fingers crossed for another Moonlight moment in favor of Lady Bird and Get Out.

Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish announced the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards. (Courtesy of Flickr)