This is probably my Oscars wrap-up

Cheap day at the theater again.

  • Today, I saw The Phantom Thread. It’s an understatement to say I didn’t like it, but one of my 2018 resolutions is to spend less time critiquing obnoxious art. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Mr. Day-Lewis.
  • I probably should have seen Call Me By Your Name, but the goo oozing from that film’s trailer is extremely unappealing. I may go to see it next week if it’s still here; gay love stories are a hard sell in this neighborhood.
  • I also saw The Florida Project in a one-off right before Christmas. It’s hard to see a Willem Dafoe movie around here; he’s local, but after he called his hometown a “favela” in a national publication, there’s a sort of unofficial boycott, so his movies are never here for more than the obligatory week. I spent about a day thinking about the film. It’s a very accurate portrait of its subject (I lived only an hour from there, so much of the material in that film is familiar to me), but in certain spots I felt like it crossed the border to prurience.
  • Apart from that, the only major Oscar contender that I haven’t seen is Get Out, which I skipped because of genre. If the cinemas here bring it back in February for an Oscar preview, as sometimes happens, I will check it out.

I need to stop seeing so many movies, which shouldn’t be too hard, because after Oscars season the number of interesting ones that make it here drops off drastically. So anywhoo …

Best Picture

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

My predicted winner: “The Shape of Water” or “Dunkirk”

The film I’d pick from this list: “Three Billboards”

Not on this list but should have been nominated: “I, Tonya”

Best Actor

Nominees: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name,” Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread,” Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out,” Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour,” Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

My prediction: either Day-Lewis or Oldman

Who I’d pick: One of the performances I didn’t see

Best Actress

Nominees: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water,” Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya,” Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird,” Meryl Streep, “The Post”

My prediction: Frances McDormand

Who I’d pick: Frances McDormand

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project,” Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water,” Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World,” Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

My prediction: Sam Rockwell

Who I’d pick: Rockwell or Plummer

Who should have been at least nominated: Mark Rylance, for “Dunkirk”

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound,” Allison Janney, “I, Tonya,” Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread,” Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird,” Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

My prediction: Allison Janney

Who I’d pick: Laurie Metcalf

Best Original Screenplay

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

My prediction: del Toro or McDonagh

I’d pick: McDonagh or Gordon / Nanjiani

Cinematography

Nominees: “Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins; “Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel; “Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema; “Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison; “The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

My prediction: “Blade Runner” or “The Shape of Water” (keeping in mind that I did not see “Blade Runner”)

I’d pick: “The Shape of Water”

~ by Servetus on January 24, 2018.

46 Responses to “This is probably my Oscars wrap-up”

  1. Didn’t like Phantom Thread either. The clothes were more interesting than the characters.

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    • I’ve just got no time any more for the plotline where an autistic man falls in love with and is cruel to a gorgeous woman who’s three decades younger but falls in love with him anyway, even if his sister is implicated and the young woman does get back him by poisoning him with mushrooms, and especially when it turns out he wants her to. I saw “As Good as It Gets” twenty years ago and I already didn’t like it then.

      I think it might have bothered me less if it hadn’t been Day-Lewis in that main role. He was up to his usual tricks on set (she wasn’t allowed to meet him or talking to him before they started filming, for some method reason). I saw an interview that made me think that the set was borderline abusive — but of course we must go through this for great art! I think Day-Lewis was essentially playing himself in this film, pretty much without irony.

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  2. i’ve always thought that Daniel Day Lewis was overrated, but I’d love to see Laurie Metcalf win.

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    • Right? She so fully embodied that mother with all her worries — and her work in that scene where she’s driving around the airport after dropping her daughter off is so powerful.

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  3. I loved Three Billboards. Just about nodded off watching the trailer for Phantom Thread, so I decided to give it a miss. =)

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    • LOL. It has some great, very detailed cinematography. I will give it that. As a sewer you might enjoy that aspect of it. Lots of closeups of stitching.

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      • Action-packed sewing… not too sure about that. Mom also loves to sew, but she said it was a struggle to finish the movie.

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        • I personally embroider to calm myself, but this film definitely manages to create a somewhat tense atmosphere around the stitching. But it does have long tedious stretches.

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  4. Mark Rylance was phenomenal in Dunkirk. I agree with you, he deserved a nod.

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    • I had mixed feelings because I felt like he was typecast, but when he is playing that kind of role, he is indeed excellent at it.

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  5. I was really looking forward to seeing the Phantom Thread. It was on my list of potential movies to see on Saturday. Looks like The Greatest Showman will be the winner. Nice to see two of RA’s former co-stars getting Oscar nods.

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    • Hmmm … well. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I haven’t seen The Greatest Showman either (that’s not typically the kind of film I enjoy).

      I think you would like Phantom Thread if (a) you were a big fan of Daniel Day Lewis (b) you liked the female ingenue theme — the actress, Vicky Krieps, is an unknown who plays it quite well; (c) you liked that kind of costume drama, e.g., if you enjoy films like “The Age of Innocence”; (d) you’re interested in mid-century style. I did find it really misogynist, though.

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  6. Before I saw any of them Shape of Water was at the top of my winner list. Richard Jenkins was so damn good in this, Sally Hawkins really killed it and she never spoke, hated Michael Shannon, but he always plays the one to hate, Octavia Spencer is, as usual, (The Help & Hidden Figures) freaking amazing. Great movie I will be purchasing on DVD when available.

    Then in order of what I watched;
    [1] I, Tonya was really good, Margot Robbie surprised me and I liked her performance a lot, Alison Janny is crazy great in this role and gotta give props to Sebastian Stan, did not even recognize him in this role.

    [2] Get Out was so unexpected and good and worth making every effort to watch. There are actors many will recognize but I didn’t remember the lead until my hubs reminded me he was in the Black Mirror episode where he has to ride an exercise bike for points.

    [3] Three Billboards . . . I think (hope I am wrong) will have trouble getting a wider viewership but blew everything else out of the water. Hope they win it all too.

    [4] Darkest Hour, Oldman is great in this, glad I saw it, but I think his stand out role for me is still Sid & Nancy.

    I don’t know who will win and every time we have tried to watch the Oscars.

    Still really like Shape of Water and will watch it again, but I think the actor competition is pretty tough to beat with Frances McDormand in the running. The dialogue/script for Three Billboards, then the actor ensemble are all at their very best, plus it is such a well told story.

    I guess you never know how those academy votes will total up and even though I want Shape of Water to win, I expect Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri will sweep it all up.

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    • I agree with all of this except Jenkins; I just don’t get him, I suppose. I just put Get Out in my library queue; turns out the DVD is already in existence. Hoping the genre doesn’t put me off. It turns out the local chain is having a two day marathon, except this year I’ve seen all but one of the nominees so it doesn’t really make sense for me.

      There’s a lot of “Three Billboards” backlash, apparently, due to the Sam Rockwell character being so off the map racist. I could see that getting the movie, but I still think Frances McDormand is the probably winner for actor.

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      • I don’t think I appreciated Jenkins as an actor for most of his roles over the years. Including Berlin Station. It wasn’t until I saw Let the Right One In US remake with him that I thought I had under appreciated his ability. Still like the Swedish one better and I’m not a snooty viewer that thinks all remakes are inferior, but the US one while pretty good was no where as good as the Swedish. Just remember Jenkins in the US remake was a stand out. And now, The Shape of Water, he was great and not anything I’ve ever seen him do before.

        I think you will be as surprised as I was, unless you already have an idea what it is about, which I did not. My preconceived notions of what I would see due to the Jordan Peele story or Guess Who is Coming to Dinner (for the weekend) scenario. I found it original, unexpected and really good. Would love to know your impressions/thoughts after you have seen it.

        I agree with your Sam Rockwell assessment. I feel the same about his racist character, sadly there are people still like that and worse. His portrayal is just a sample of the racist behavior, found in Mudbound. I held similar outrage for racist characterization and brutality in that film. However, as my wise hubs pointed out throwing a monkey-wrench into my outrage over Rockwell’s character as well as the Mudbound story; without the racist portrayal, would those that act around the racism be considered as well done, strong? No, the story needed that example. Will people vote differently because of their own personal outrage at the racism? Maybe. Will there be backlash over the fact that Three Billboards is winning/won other awards, maybe. 😊

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        • My impression is that the issue for people who object isn’t that that the Rockwell character is racist per se, but rather that he gets a sudden, inexplicable redemption from the script.

          re: Get Out — I never watch horror films. Apart from Hannibal, the last horror film I saw was the first Nightmare on Elm Street film — and I saw it years after it came out, in 1986. So I’m not in a position to judge whether something is original. I just hope I don’t have nightmares afterwards.

          Did not see Mudbound b/c no Netflix 😦

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          • I don’t think Rockwell is redeemed in a way that forgives his racism or really terrible bullying acts on innocent people. The one thing I believe could be a redeeming quality does not wipe everything else away. It is really more of a perfect example of how even horrible people can do something good/right that benefits someone else. Ultimately, it doesn’t make them wholly forgiven, redeemed or a different person than they are by that one good act. I could be wrong in that assumption too. By the end of the film, Rockwell is not necessarily forgiven or redeemed in my view.

            I don’t think Get Out is the typical horror film. If it is not giving too much away I think it falls under horror like The Shape of Water falls under horror, like some of the original Grimm Fairy tales fall under horror. Get Out has no “creature” nor does it have supernatural elements, and very little gore and some violence. But like Shape of Water, or some Grimm stories, the morality tale it weaves is horrific in the telling. I want to wait until you see it because I think you might be able to analyse and articulate it for everyone better than I am doing. I was just very pleased with what they did with it and of course how unpredictable the whole experience was. Once I knew . . . Okay I am going to wait because it will be more fun to read what you think after seeing it. I might give too much away and ruin it if I keep going on about it. 😊

            I don’t know if I would recommend Mudbound, it made me angry, sad and then more angry. It was well done, well acted all of it, but I think sometimes I just can’t take mean people anymore. Even though I myself can be heartlessly mean in combative situations. I do try to not be mean and cruel unless absolutely necessary. One of my dear friends always defends my mean side as never inflicted on anyone unless “they have it coming.” But I have never used a person’s race against them in any situation. The way racism is used in Mudbound is very real and mean. I found it very hard to watch.

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            • I do think the script implies that he takes the Sheriff’s words to heart and suddenly decides to change his behavior, and then severely endangers himself trying to do the right thing — a kind of classic Christian sin / atonement cycle. It’s also not especially believable, either, but then it is supposed to be a dark comedy.

              I have another friend who thought Mudbound was really realistic. Maybe I will get to see it sometime.

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        • oh — re: “Shape of Water,” del Toro has been informally accused of plagiarism. Hope it’s not true — I loved Paul Zindel’s novels for teens back in the day.

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          • Oh no, I’ve missed that accusation. But then again, I am not familiar with Paul Zindel’s work at all.

            In Guillermo del Toro’s defense, I think very little is original, meaning someone somewhere has thought or done or said it before. The creature in The Shape of Water smacked of The Creature From the Black Lagoon as well as Abe Sapien from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy when I first saw the preview last July. However, this story has nothing to do with those other ones. We never learn about the creature’s origin in Shape of Water. It is a love story, so that is not original. The main character played by Sally Hawkins, is sexually harassed, typical not original. The racism expressed in the film again, not original or new. There are more unoriginal elements to the film and story, but it is the way del Toro tells this story. The whole presentation that hits a high Water mark for me.

            When I’ve seen him use other artists work, it has been very clear. Be it Mignola’s Hellboy or The Hobbit. As a long time fan of his work, I recognise his style in the Hobbit when the dwarves are fighting the Goblin King, that has del Toro finger prints all over it.

            Obviously I do not know for certain, however beaded on his history, it seems unlikely.

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            • I have no idea; I just saw the report. I suppose if it’s actionable some lawyer will take it up. Zindel is more or less forgotten these days.

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      • While flipping channels the other night I came across Get Out and decided to record it. I just watched it this afternoon and I don’t get the hype. I don’t mind the horror/thriller genre, but I was so waiting for it to end. On a side note, the family name in the movie is Armitage – pronounced Armitahge. You will have to let me know what you think when you see it.

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        • Oh yes! I forgot the girlfriend’s family name was Armitage. 😊 Remember when they first said in the show but didn’t comment on it. Don’t want the hubs to think I am pre-occupied 🤔 or anything.

          I probably read way more crime/thriller/mystery and horror than I ever watch. (Dislike gore-porn horror.) But I did not expect or predict any of what happened in Get Out. I can see where the very ending might be a little long, I think for a horror/thriller genre, that ending might have been to fit in the horror arena…. not going to spoil it with specifics of where it could have ended sooner. Still, was refreshing for me as a horror fan. Maybe I have not seen enough horror recently, I do pass on a lot of them more because the previews on so many seem predictably tired.

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        • I queued for the DVD at the library, so we’ll see.

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        • I was waiting for it to end because of the horror. I just kept thinking, now I’m going to have to watch some other horrible thing, uch. That black people are often heavily or most exploited by middle class liberals was clear to me before I saw this film — but I thought that point was well executed in the first part. I just didn’t need the rest of it.

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  7. Oh, I am sorry, I meant to refer to the ‘Get Out’ film in the second paragraph of my response above.

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  8. Noting here for the sake of completeness — I saw “Call Me By Your Name” a few weeks ago and liked it better than the trailer would have suggested. Sufjan Stevens is the wrong music for the film. It didn’t change any of my rankings.

    Then I watched “Get Out” this morning. I don’t think the horror was really necessary to the satire; I’m still shaking as I just don’t care for the genre. But I appreciated the political slant of the film. Just think it could have been accomplished better as a non-horror film.

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  9. Just to add my 2 cents – I saw Get Out today and it scared the bejeesus out of me. I just don’t like that sort of suspense/horror, whatever – and I also watched The Greatest Showman, which I resisted until it came on a TV station. Showman got as much acclaim as it deserves, IMO, which is not much. I saw Phantom Thread, and except for the clothes, I was bored stiff, and I certainly don’t think DDL deserves an Oscar for playing a character we’ve already seen in other guises. And I haven’t seen Dunkirk or the Denzel film yet. My guess is that Gary Oldman is going to win for his Churchill, Francis McDormand is going to win ( she should). I think Laurie Metcalf’s role was harder to play than Alison Chaney’s ( it was so much more real – but I thought the film, Ladybird, wasn’t up to the hype). I hope Shape of Water gets its due. It’s my favorite, along with Three Billboards.
    I taught Paul Zindel books when I was a teacher of English. (The Pigman) and I hope Shape isn’t plagiarized – I think it’s closer to creature from the black lagoon. And finally, if Richard Jenkins wins – well I guess that’s good for Berlin Station. I liked him in the role, but sometimes thought I was watching Stephen Frost.

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    • I didn’t see Showman — no desire, and the more uninformed enthusing I hear about it, the less I feel. No film for a historian, I guess.

      I haven’t seen the Denzel film either and now I wish I had. I’m sure it’s in the library.

      Apparently a suit has been filed re: Shape of Water / copyright infringement; based on a TV script, though. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/feb/21/shape-water-playwright-lawsuit-guillermo-del-toro I loved those books as a preteen.

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      • I think I taught one to 8th grade and one to 7th grade I think we did the play ( Gamma Rays etc) for 8th grade and The Pigman for 7th. Zindel’s play is about a woman who falls for a Dolphin a science lab;Black Lagoon is a monster falling for a woman, so who’s to say? I haven’t read the play that’s the subject of the suit. I think in many ways, it’s a timeless plot that’s been done one way or another – Beauty and the Beast is a good example.

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        • Also My Darling, My Hamburger; I Never Loved you for Your Mind; Pardon me, You’re Stepping on my Eyeball …

          I don’t know enough to say about the suit. It’s not a genre I’m particularly interested in, though. I basically saw Shape of Water by accident.

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          • My Darling-My Hamburger would have been unacceptable for that school district because of the sexual story – but they had no problem urging us on -almost demanding -that we teach Night, by Eli Wiesel and show very graphic holocaust footage in a thematic unit on the holocaust – also a collection of works by children in the camps, called something like I Never Saw Another Butterfly. And once again, we are way off the subject – unless I connect this to Academy Award nominated Holocaust films, of which there were a few.

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            • Yeah, I read all of them on my own; they weren’t part of school. I don’t think I read Night until I was in college (maybe?). I read the Diary of Anne Frank as a preteen, but also not in school.

              I don’t mind being off topic when I’m not trying to get a specific question answered 🙂

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    • Shape of Water wins. So …. in my mind not near as good as Three Billboards.

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