- Call Me By Your Name
- Darkest Hour
- Get Out
- Lady Bird
- Phantom Thread
- The Post
- The Shape of Water
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
My favourite to win: The Shape of Water
It is a bit of a surprise that “Phantom Thread” as well as “Get Out” made this list. “Get Out” is a horror (not the Academy Awards’ favourite genre), which was released a bit less than one year ago. Even though it is good to see the Academy nominating such a dark-horse, the amazement is still there. For all its unforgettably tense psychological atmosphere, “Get Out” is still a flawed film (see my review here), and one may wonder whether, as with “Moonlight” the year before, there were not some “race politics” involved in this decision as well. On the other hand, such a great film as “The Florida Project” is nowhere to be seen here, which is astounding. I guess the Academy thought that by nominating “Call Me By Your Name”, they would be done with it when it comes to paying their dues and nominating aesthetically-pleasing, independent-spirited films. The limit is ten nominees per category, and, surely, “The Florida Project” deserves its tenth place on this list.
- Christopher Nolan — Dunkirk
- Jordan Peele — Get Out
- Greta Gerwig — Lady Bird
- Paul Thomas Anderson — Phantom Thread
- Guillermo del Toro — The Shape of Water
My favourite to win: Christopher Nolan
This was the category which was tricky to predict. Jordan Peele for “Get Out” and Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” were preferred to Steven Spielberg for “The Post” and to Martin McDonagh for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. The only thing I can say is that I am happy for both Peele and Gerwig, and their achievements are really grand especially if you think that both of them are actors-turned-directors, and have not had much previous experience directing, with “Lady Bird” being only the second film for Gerwig as a director and with “Get Out” being a directional debut for Peele.
- 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 favourite to win: Guillermo del Toro
In my view, the “original” screenplay written by Jordan Peele is not really that “original” given so many so-called “influences” on that. It may be alright for del Toro to be “loosely” inspired by “Creature from the Black Lagoon” to come up with his “The Shape of Water” , but when you think deeply about “Get Out”, you see “The Stepford Wives” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in almost every scene, and the screenplay also too evidently relies on some details from both “The Skeleton Key” and even “The Invitation”. Given that, could Peel really bag an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay? The situation here reminds of the screenplay for “Big” being nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Original Screenplay back in 1989 when in fact the film could be categorised by some as a remake of an Italian film “Da Grande“, which was made only a year before.
Actor in a Leading Role
- 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 favourite to win: Gary Oldman
Daniel Day-Lewis was a predictable nomination here, but given “Phantom Thread”‘s rise, one may wonder whether Day-Lewis’s retirement and the Academy’ general veneration for the actor were also contributing factors in “Phantom Thread”‘s revival. Undoubtedly, people would also compare Washington’s nomination for “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” to Smith’s non-nomination for “Concussion” back in 2016. Considering Daniel Kaluuya and his film nomination, one may also think about another relative film newcomer who was not nominated in her category, but probably should have, since her acting was as great (if not greater) as that of Kaluuya’s: Florence Pugh for “Lady Macbeth“. I guess it helps the actor if your film has been seen by virtually everyone and is also a nominee in the category of Best Picture.
Actress in a Leading Role
- 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 favourite to win: Frances McDormand
Meryl Streep can call the Academy Awards her home already, and I am pleased by the nomination of Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird”. Given the competition this year, Jessica Chastain could not make that list, even though her performance in “Molly’s Game” was also very good.
- Abacus: Small Enough to Jail — Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
- Faces Places — Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda
- Icarus — Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
- Last Men in Aleppo — Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Søren Steen Jespersen
- Strong Island — Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes
My favourite to win: Strong Island
First of all, it is unbelievable that the documentary “Jane” is not on this list. This documentary tells the story of Jane Goodall, a leading anthropologist and primatologist, who is known for her work with chimpanzees. Brett Morgen, director, is known for his thought-provoking documentaries, and “Jane” really deserved to be on that list given how great and critically-acclaimed the documentary is (see the trailer here). The only explanation for such a shameful omission could be that more people watched “Abacus”, which is an exciting documentary about attempts to jail a company because it was considered “small”, than “Jane”, which would require more lovers of nature (and chimpanzees!).
Animated Feature Film
- The Boss Baby — Tom McGrath, Ramsey Naito
- The Breadwinner — Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
- Coco — Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
- Ferdinand — Carlos Saldanha
- Loving Vincent — Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Ivan Mactaggar
My favourite to win: Coco
This year, as last year, the Academy chose to bypass Japanese animations altogether. Such great acclaimed Japanese animations as “A Silent Voice”, “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” and “In This Corner of the World” were pushed aside, and yet “The Boss Baby” (with its rotten tomatoes score of fifty-two percent) was considered good enough for a nomination. Well, at least the Academy had some sense not to nominate “The Emoji Movie”, but even that would not have surprised me too much given the randomness and bias which is often applied to this category.
Foreign Language Film
- A Fantastic Woman — Sebastián Lelio, Chile
- The Insult — Ziad Doueiri, Lebanon
- Loveless — Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia
- On Body and Soul — Ildikó Enyedi, Hungary
- The Square — Ruben Östlund, Sweden
My favourite to win: Loveless
It is telling that such high-flying international film festivals contenders as Argentina’s “Zama”, Austria’s “Happy End”, France’s “120 Beats Per Minute” and Cambodia’s “First They Killed My Father” were not nominated. It is probable that the Academy took cue from the Cannes to nominate “The Square”, and, in all likelihood, “The Square” would only compete with “Loveless” for an Oscar in that category.