I don’t recall an Oscar show where the Academy and I agreed in almost every category. My only disappointment was Roger Deakins’ win for Best cinematography. Deakins is an excellent artist, but I was pushing for Rachel Morrison for Mudbound.
A confession: I didn’t watch the awards show. My wife and I had tickets to see The Book of Mormon last night – purchased long before we realized the conflict. I haven’t yet seen any of the speeches, songs, and mistakes that make the over-bloated show entertaining.
So let’s go over some of the wins that made me happy:
Best Picture: I liked all nine nominees very much. I gave my least favorite, Phantom Thread, an A-. The winner, The Shape of Water, really was my favorite film in 2017. A fairy tale set in the early 1960s, it’s romantic, suspenseful, horrifying, and sexy, with an attractive monster, a mute heroine, a gay sidekick, and a villain you can love to hate.
Director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro deservedly won the Directing prize. But he lost out for Original Screenplay to Jordan Peele for Get Out. I couldn’t really complain. All five nominated screenplays were excellent, and I loved Peele’s socially-powerful horror comedy. A nice historical touch: This is the first time an African American won this particular Oscar.
Adapted Screenplay: I’ve seen only two of the nominated films, and I’m quite pleased that James Ivory got the award for Call Me By Your Name. It was an excellent screenplay. Ivory, of Merchant Ivory, has directed many great films, but he only wrote this one. Perhaps he’s getting old.
Actor in a Leading Role: I said early on that Gary Oldman’s performance in Darkest Hour would win this prize whether or not he deserved it. Well, he did deserve it; he made Winston Churchill a real, worried, stumbling human being who must find the courage to lead a frightened nation, and Oldman did it all covered with a massive makeup. Which is why I’m also delighted that Darkest Hour‘s Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, and Lucy Sibbick won the Oscar for Makeup and Hairdressing.
I was also delighted, but not surprised, with the two acting awards given to Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri: Frances McDormand for Actress in a Leading Role and Sam Rockwell for Actor In a Supporting Role. These were, clearly, among the best performances last year. I’ve read that McDormand gave a wonderful speech.
I haven’t seen I, Tonya, so I have no opinion on Allison Janney’s award for Actress in a Supporting Role.
I don’t like the term “technical awards.” Film editing, cinematography, special effects, sound, and so on are artistic endeavors. Yes, the artists must know their tools, but that goes for painters and dancers, as well. I’m delighted to see that Dunkirk won Oscars for Film Editing (Lee Smith), Sound Editing(Richard King and Alex Gibson), and Sound Mixing (Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo and Mark Weingarten).
Sorry I missed the show. But I really enjoyed The Book of Mormon.