Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Oscar Narrative: Surprises and Snubs

The biggest surprise for me the surge of Phantom Thread, especially in Best Picture and Best Director. Lesley Manville's inclusion was less of a surprise since she got the BAFTA nomination, but even the ,JBrits did not forecast the much broader appeal of this film. Other than that there are no real jaw-dropping surprises. The Post only got two nominations, but we knew it was on shaky ground from the guilds. Darkest Hour may have been surprising for some, but after its BAFTA haul, I knew it had enough support to breakthrough. There were definitely some snubs on the acting side (see below), but all of the nominees had either BAFTA or SAG, with the exception of Meryl Streep, who is usually the exception to most rules, as she earns her record-breaking 21st Oscar nomination. So there weren't any shocking surprises really. There were however, some interesting snubs. I find that the snubs often teach us more about the Oscar nomination process than the surprises.

For Best Picture a list of films had received some sort of big nomination that could have point to a Best Picture nod. These include: Wonder Woman, The Big Sick, I, Tonya, Mudbound, and Molly's Game. Although none of their exclusions are jaw-dropping, folks who predicted any of these films have to, rightly so, wonder where they went wrong. With PTA in a Director, the biggest snub there was Martin McDonagh. Three Billboards could still easily win Best Picture without a director nod, Argo did it, but it makes its case a lot less potent. Argo also won the DGA and PGA, along with SAG Ensemble. Three Billboards lost at PGA, and I don't see McDonagh beating Del Toro or Nolan with the DGA. This leads me to believe there is a choice out there that has the consensus, but more on that over the next couple of weeks. Best Actor misses include James Franco (the allegations didn't hurt him, as the voting was almost complete, the nature of the film did), along with Tom Hanks. The Best Actress misses were Jessica Chastain and Judi Dench. In Best Supporting Actor, the two supporting players for Call Me By Your Name didn't make the cut, although lack of SAG and BAFTA made this seem more likely. Also SAG nominee Steve Carell, as predicted, also didn't cross the finish line. In Supporting Actress, SAG nominees Hong Chau and Holly Hunter were replaced by the BAFTA picks of Manville and Spencer. Elsewhere, Jane was a huge miss in Doc. Feature, Globe winner In the Fade missed out in Foreign, and LEGO Batman and some of the GKids productions were replaced (inexplicably) by The Boss Baby (seriously?).

This is just the first rundown of this year's nominations, there will be more to come.

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