The 2018 Oscar nominations were announced this week, and plans for my Oscar party are well underway! I know I wasn’t only who anxiously awaited the nominations to be announced, worried the Academy would drop the ball and snub the profusely-declared best films of the year (i.e. Get Out), but thank goodness my nightmares didn’t become reality.
Surprisingly, I was quite pleased with a majority of the nominations this year. Films nominated for Best Picture pretty much aligned with what most people either predicted would be recognized or classified as the best film of the year. Beforehand, I was nervous about the possibility of Get Out not being nominated. Since Jordan Peele’s debut film came out early last year and was strangely classified as a comedy at the Golden Globes, it seemed like the perfect case of a snubbed contender. So, I was glad that the thriller understandably remained in the Academy members’ minds. The leading actor category was a bit different than most predicted with the omission of a season-long frontrunner–James Franco for The Disaster Artist–and the nomination for Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel, Esq. instead. Franco made headlines when some of his former students accused him of sexual misconduct. While that could have been a major hit to his Oscar campaign, the story didn’t break until shortly before voting ended. It seems less likely that the allegations could’ve made that much of an impact that quickly, especially since Washington is an Academy-favorite, anyway.
Like many other categories, there were no surprises in the Lead Actress category, with season-long favorites Saoirse Ronan and Frances McDormand scored nominations for Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, respectively. Although I love Meryl Streep in everything, I hoped Jessica Chastain would be nominated for her layered performance in Molly’s Game. The only nomination I wasn’t expecting in the Supporting Actress category was Lesley Manville for her role in Phantom Thread, a slot many thought should have been for Hong Chau in Downsizing. I can’t speak for Chau’s performance since I haven’t seen her film, but I can say that Manville’s performance was chilling in Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film and rightfully deserved recognition from the Academy.
The biggest snub of this entire award season is Michael Stuhlbarg for his supporting role in Call Me By Your Name. His performance as a loving, quietly attentive father is, by far, one of the best performances of the year, if not the past few years. Much like last year’s supporting actor winner, Mahershala Ali, Stuhlbarg used his short time on screen more than most leading actors do, so I find it shameful that he didn’t even get a nomination. If Armie Hammer, at least, would have been nominated for his supporting role in the film, I might have been slightly less upset. This isn’t exactly a snub, but I would have rather Sufjan Stevens for his original song “Visions of Gideon” instead of “Mystery of Love” for Call Me By Your Name. Both songs are stunning but the former is a little more mesmerizing. Again, not necessarily a snub, but I wish there would have been room to include Luca Guadagnino for his masterful direction for the same film. The Best Achievement in Directing category is stacked, but Guadagnino was equally deserving as those who were nominated. Basically, Call Me By Your Name should have gotten more nominations.
Without a doubt, I was most worried about Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele not being included in the Best Director and Best Screenplay, but more for the director category. There have been so few women or black men to be nominated for directing that I was nervous this would be yet another year of white-male directors club. So when I woke up Tuesday morning to see that they were both nominated in both categories, I couldn’t help but sigh in relief. Their recognition wasn’t just a win for inclusion. It was a step in the right direction in encouraging new, innovative filmmakers to make the work they want to see. Gerwig and Peele are the fresh visionaries filmmakers has long needed, and I can’t wait to see what they will do next.
Okay, now that we’ve discussed all of that, let’s get to the important part–Lady Bird! Gerwig’s love story to Sacramento, California received 5 nominations, including Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Motion Picture of the Year, and boy, did I want to be in my hometown celebrating. Never before have I been so proud of something I had absolutely nothing to do with. Somehow, Gerwig and Lady Bird’s rightful nominations felt like a win for the often overlooked Northern California city, and it’s amazing that the Academy will forever know the magic of Sacramento.
I won’t say who I’m hoping will become Oscar-winners on March 4th yet, but if you’ve read my last few posts, I think you have a pretty good idea.
Through my eyes,