The Oscars are hitting the big 9-0 this year and tonight’s ceremony should be full of “Me Too” and “Time’s Up!” inspired speeches, lots of barbs thrown at President Trump (especially by host Jimmy Kimmel who is no fan of Mr. Trump) and possibly a repeat of last year’s Best Picture fiasco as, in what seems like a bit of low-key elder abuse, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway have been asked back to announce that award yet again. So read onward for my predictions, my own opinions on who deserves the shiny gold naked man and the folks who got no love from the Academy this year.
Will Win: THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
I really hope I am wrong about this one but I really do think we are looking at another CRASH moment with this year’s Oscars. The Oscar voters are still overwhelmingly white, sheltered, out of touch with today’s culture and old as hell and to that point I think a lot of them look at the problematic THREE BILLBOARDS as some sort of brave achievement with it’s wholly unlikable characters and totally undeserved hero’s journey arc for a racist crooked abusive cop. I fully recognize the wonderful acting from Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell but the movie itself is a wretched thing that doesn’t deserve the ebullient praise it is getting. But I bet it will continue getting it with the Best Picture award being it’s crowning moment. Feh.
Should Win: THE SHAPE OF WATER
Guillermo del Toro made what was , for me, the best movie of 2017. A beautiful, whimsically dark adult fairy tale that looked amazing, had truly stellar acting performances from the entire cast and more heart than pretty much anything that was released in theaters last year. It is a shame the movie will be beaten by a tone deaf ugly work like THREE BILLBOARDS.
Got Snubbed: THE FLORIDA PROJECT
There are several movies nominated this year that dealt with working class (and below) characters and the issues they faced but none of them were as brutally honest in their depiction of the day-to-day trials of people living on the margins as THE FLORIDA PROJECT. And what made it even more engaging was that despite the hardships these people were living through there was joy in them more often than not. They were beaten down constantly but the light was not extinguished in these characters but when it went dark it was a brutal gut punch to the viewers emotional breadbasket. The delicate touch that director Sean Baker brought to this movie cemented that the promise he showed in his debut work TANGERINE was not a one and done but rather the beginnings of what will be a stellar directing career. I also cannot say enough about the performance Baker was able to get out of his film’s lead and child actress, Brooklynn Prince was stunning to watch. That little girl was a tiny force of nature and I have to think that a lot of that had to do with Baker’s guiding hand as her director. For only Willem DaFoe to be recognized from the film is a damn shame and the warm, personal brilliance of THE FLORIDA PROJECT deserved so much more.