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The B+ Oscar Ballot: The Quick Picks

I put up my giant article already, but for those of you who don’t respect me (or, thinking positive, those of you who already ready it and just wanted the cheat sheet version), here’s everything I think you should take and what I’m taking in a much simpler version. Not only do I give you the extended editions, but I’m also giving you the cliff notes. (What a guy, right?)

I’ll also, in about twenty minutes, put up my Scorecard ballot for easy reference as well. That is, for those of you who wanna attempt that way of picking the Oscars. (The rankings here are not the same as my Scorecard ballot, FYI.)

Anyway, here they are, the quick picks for the 90th Academy Awards:

Best Picture

My personal choice: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What should be on your ballot: I think Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (but there’s room there to go big)

What’s on my ballot: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The alternate, should my pick lose: The Shape of Water

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. The Shape of Water
  3. Lady Bird
  4. Get Out
  5. Call Me By Your Name
  6. Dunkirk
  7. Phantom Thread
  8. Darkest Hour
  9. The Post

Analysis:

This one’s pretty simple. Take either Three Billboards or Shape of Water. Those are the two likely choices, having basically split the precursors. The last time this exact precursor split happened — PGA, BFCA vs. BAFTA, SAG and Globe) — it was Shakespeare in Love (BAFTA, SAG, Globe) beating Saving Private Ryan (PGA, BFCA… and also the Globe, because they were in different categories). Theoretically, you could, if you think it’ll happen, go for Get Out. However, know that it’s a very big long shot, not having won a single precursor.

The last time a film lost all the precursors and won Best Picture was Million Dollar Baby, which you felt coming on as a contender throughout the race. Before that, it was Braveheart, before that, Unforgiven. It should be noted that in two of those cases, Clint Eastwood won Best Director before winning Best Picture, so you saw it coming. And then Ron Howard, the third DGA winner, wasn’t nominated at the Oscars. So… odds are against Get Out doing anything (theoretically Lady Bird is statistically the better upset pick).

HOWEVER…

In a year like this, when there’s no big favorite, you could go for the upset, since if you get it wrong, it’s the same as picking the wrong one of the two. So if you don’t feel very strongly about one of the two favorites (or feel very strongly about your upset pick), I think you should go for it. The way this year is constructed, a Best Picture miss shouldn’t topple your entire ballot.

Best Director

My personal choice: Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

What should be on your ballot: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

What’s on my ballot: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

The alternate, should my pick lose: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (I think)

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
  2. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  3. Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  4. Jordan Peele, Get Out
  5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Analysis:

Guillermo for Shape of Water has every single precursor, and on DGA alone, he’s a 90% lock to win this. It’s never happened that someone with all the precursors, when nominated for the Oscar in this category, has lost. This is one of the bigger locks of the night.

Best Actor

My personal choice: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

What should be on your ballot: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

What’s on my ballot: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

The alternate, should my pick lose: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
  2. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
  3. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  4. Daniel Kaluyya, Get Out
  5. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Analysis:

Another one of the locks of the night. Gary’s winning this for Darkest Hour, guys. No need to get cute. He’s got all the precursors, it’s his time, and there’s really no major competition for him. A bunch of these categories are done for you. No need to mess around on the gimmes.

Best Actress

My personal choice: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What should be on your ballot: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What’s on my ballot: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The alternate, should my pick lose: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  3. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  4. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  5. Meryl Streep, The Post

Analysis:

Frances is locked for Three Billboards. She’s hit every precursor, and even yesterday she just won the Indie Spirit Award, just to further tack onto her lock status. Don’t fuck around with this.

Best Supporting Actor

My personal choice: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What should be on your ballot: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What’s on my ballot: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The alternate, should my pick lose: I’m guessing Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  3. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  4. Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  5. Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Analysis:

Rockwell’s hit every precursor for Three Billboards. When that happens, just take them. Why bet a less than 10% chance?

Best Supporting Actress

My personal choice: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

What should be on your ballot: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

What’s on my ballot: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

The alternate, should my pick lose: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  2. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  3. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  4. Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
  5. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Analysis:

Janney’s hit everything for I, Tonya. That’s five in a row that are locked. Take the wins, guys.

Best Original Screenplay

My personal choice: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What should be on your ballot: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What’s on my ballot: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The alternate, should my pick lose: Get Out

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. Get Out
  3. Lady Bird
  4. The Shape of Water
  5. The Big Sick

Analysis:

This is a complete 50/50 tossup between Three Billboards and Get Out. Lady Bird is a distant third, but you really wanna focus on those first two. Get Out has a WGA win and a BFCA win, while Three Billboards has a BAFTA win and also a Globe win. Important to note, however… Three Billboards was ineligible for the WGA, so Get Out did not beat it there. Which is why I say Three Billboards is the favorite. Had Get Out beat it straight up, then I’d say it’s the choice. But it didn’t. And given how popular Three Billboards was with SAG, I have to think it’s popular with the writers, too. So I say 55/45 Three Billboards, though it could go either way and you could easily go with one or the other.

Extra info, for those thinking of taking Lady Bird… every time the WGA was wrong on their winner, going back to 2000, the winner at the Oscars was an ineligible script. 2000 was the last time a WGA winner straight up lost to something it beat there at the Oscars. Odds favor Get Out, if not Three Billboards.

And then, for Shape of Water people… if you think that’s gonna win Best Picture, then you should factor it more highly into your predictions, since the Best Picture winner has won Screenplay all but 31 times (and 9 of those times, it wasn’t nominated). So you should think about it if that’s your Best Picture vote (though I might wager it could still win and lose this). If Three Billboards is your Best Picture vote, then there’s no reason to think it’ll lose here. Same if Get Out is your Best Picture vote.

It’s a toss-up, and I think you could go either way, though just make sure you have it generally uniform with the rest of the ballot, since it would be weird to take a Get Out Picture win and a Three Billboards Screenplay win.

Best Adapted Screenplay

My personal choice: Call Me By Your Name

What should be on your ballot: Call Me By Your Name

What’s on my ballot: Call Me By Your Name

The alternate, should my pick lose: Mudbound

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Call Me By Your Name
  2. Mudbound
  3. Molly’s Game
  4. The Disaster Artist
  5. Logan

Analysis:

Call Me By Your Name is winning this. There’s no competition, and it’s swept every single precursor it possibly could. Easy lock. Sixth of the night so far.

Best Editing

My personal choice: Baby Driver

What should be on your ballot: Dunkirk

What’s on my ballot: Dunkirk

The alternate, should my pick lose: Either Baby Driver or The Shape of Water. I’m gonna go on a limb and say the latter.

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Dunkirk
  2. Baby Driver
  3. The Shape of Water
  4. I, Tonya
  5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Analysis:

This is a fairly open category. The precursors have split evenly between Dunkirk and Baby Driver. Dunkirk won ACE (the guild), while Baby Driver won BAFTA, and both tied at BFCA. I, Tonya also has the ACE win for Comedy, if you wanna use that to factor in, but I don’t think it really has a chance. It should be one or the other of those two.

HOWEVER…

One thing to note, in 83 years of Best Editing being given out (the first Editing category was in 1934, not 1927-1928), a Best Picture nominee has won all but 14 times. Which is 83% of the time. So history favors Dunkirk heavily in that split.

The other thing to note, which is also really important… Best Picture often can be swung by a Best Editing vote. So The Shape of Water is firmly in play for this. I don’t know if you can consider it a heavy upset choice, just because Best Picture winners don’t win this category a majority of the time, and you have to go back to The French Connection to find a Best Picture winner that won Editing at the Oscars and won none of the precursors. (Note: It won the BAFTA in ’72, which is a year after it won the Oscar for Editing.) Typically you know when it’s gonna win, BUT… as a Best Picture contender, Editing has swung (or confirmed) the Best Picture race quite a number of times in the past ten to fifteen years (Crash, The Departed, Argo), so Shape of Water is firmly something to consider if you really wanna go all in there. But all that being said, Dunkirk is the safest choice, with Baby Driver a reasonable (but precedent limited) alternative.

Best Cinematography

My personal choice: Dunkirk

What should be on your ballot: Blade Runner 2049

What’s on my ballot: Blade Runner 2049

The alternate, should my pick lose: Dunkirk or The Shape of Water. Probably the former, but it’s open.

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Blade Runner 2049
  2. Dunkirk
  3. The Shape of Water
  4. Mudbound
  5. Darkest Hour

Analysis:

Deakins swept all the precursors for Blade Runner 2049, but he’s 0-13 in this category until now. The three wins does help his chances, but you always have to assume the worst when it comes to his luck at the Oscars. That said… if it’s not Deakins, what do you take? Dunkirk makes a lot of sense, as does Shape of Water. Neither has a precursor, so how do you split that tie outside of Best Picture/13 nominations? Mudbound… red herring. It’s all publicity. Doubt that comes anywhere near a win and I would not recommend taking it whatsoever. I think safest play is take Deakins and hope for the best (then if you’re wrong you can claim you played the ‘voted with my heart’ card. And you voted with the data too, so all around it’s a solid choice). Otherwise, how do you figure which of the other two will win? I’d rather be wrong with the favorite (and person I want to see get an Oscar) than guessing something else and being wrong.

Best Original Score

My personal choice: The Shape of Water

What should be on your ballot: The Shape of Water

What’s on my ballot: The Shape of Water

The alternate, should my pick lose: Phantom Thread

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. The Shape of Water
  2. Phantom Thread
  3. Dunkirk
  4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Analysis:

Desplat is winning this for Shape of Water. No one else will come close. Greenwood will get votes for Phantom Thread, but Desplat swept all the precursors, and there hasn’t been a clean sweep that’s lost in years. Don’t know if it’s even happened with all three of the precursors we have now. Shape of Water should be a lock in this category, and I’m treating it as such.

Best Original Song

My personal choice: “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman

What should be on your ballot: “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman

What’s on my ballot: “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman

The alternate, should my pick lose: “Remember Me,” from Coco

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman
  2. “Remember Me,” from Coco
  3. “Mystery of Love,” from Call Me By Your Name
  4. “Mighty River,” from Mudbound
  5. “Stand Up for Something,” from Marshall

Analysis:

Complete 50/50 tossup between “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman and “Remember Me,” from Coco. Both are previous winners in recent history (the Showman guys wrote La La Land’s songs last year, and Coco’s guy is the Book of Mormon guy who won for Frozen), and both songs make the most sense in the category. How you parse this, I don’t know? The press is slobbering the Coco song, but Pixar doesn’t really have the strongest of track records in this category, outside of three Randy Newman wins.

Showman makes the most sense to me, the song being everywhere, playing over the Olympics recently and having been a major success ($160 million domestic at the box office), but you can go either way. One of those categories you can legitimately pick one or the other, because no one truly knows which way it’ll go.

Best Production Design

My personal choice: Blade Runner 2049

What should be on your ballot: The Shape of Water

What’s on my ballot: The Shape of Water

The alternate, should my pick lose: Blade Runner 2049

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. The Shape of Water
  2. Blade Runner 2049
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. Darkest Hour
  5. Dunkirk

Analysis:

I’m calling this a lock for Shape of Water. It swept all the precursors, has 13 nominations, and the other thing I discovered (because I’m insane) — the film with the most Oscar nominations has, in the past 50 years, won Production Design 60% of the time. All that being said… I don’t see how it loses. Plus, if it’s gonna lose, who do you take, Blade Runner or Beauty and the Beast? I assume Blade Runner because it has 5 overall nominations, but I still don’t see how Shape of Water doesn’t easily take this.

Best Costume Design

My personal choice: Phantom Thread

What should be on your ballot: Phantom Thread

What’s on my ballot: Phantom Thread

The alternate, should my pick lose: The Shape of Water

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Phantom Thread
  2. The Shape of Water
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. Darkest Hour
  5. Victoria & Abdul

Analysis: This should be a lock for Phantom Thread. Note: Our 9th lock of the night, if you’re counting. It’s swept almost every precursor, and the only one it lost was the CDG (Costume Designers Guild), which went to Shape of Water, and has a fairly dubious track record over the years (Madonna’s movie won there). I don’t see how anything other than Phantom Thread wins, and if it does, we’ll all be pretty shocked and appalled. (Beauty and the Beast is a possible contender at 3, but that’s only if Phantom Thread is gonna lose, which is something I don’t think will happen.) Consider it a lock, because what does it say about the Academy if it loses? Six overall nominations… they clearly liked it. I think they know how good the costumes were.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

My personal choice: Darkest Hour

What should be on your ballot: Darkest Hour

What’s on my ballot: Darkest Hour

The alternate, should my pick lose: Wonder

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Darkest Hour
  2. Wonder
  3. Victoria & Abdul

Analysis: 10th lock of the night. I shouldn’t need to say anything about why this will win and how you shouldn’t bother taking anything else.

Best Visual Effects

My personal choice: Blade Runner 2049

What should be on your ballot: Blade Runner 2049

What’s on my ballot: Blade Runner 2049

The alternate, should my pick lose: War for the Planet of the Apes

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Blade Runner 2049
  2. War for the Planet of the Apes
  3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  5. Kong: Skull Island

Analysis: Not quite a 50/50 choice, but people will treat it as such. This is the one I’m gonna need to help you on, because history speaks very loudly here, and a lot of people are ignoring it.

First off, the two contenders are Blade Runner 2049 and War for the Planet of the Apes. That should be obvious. Now… all three of the Apes movies were precursor favorites going into Oscar night. They all did very well at the Visual Effects guild, they all won BFCA. And people like them because of Andy Serkis and the mo-cap. However… the first two both lost. The first lost to Hugo, which was a Best Picture nominee, and until 2015, the Best Picture nominee automatically beat a non-Best Picture nominee in the Visual Effects race. The second lost to Interstellar, which was a much higher profile, much classier Christopher Nolan film that got five overall nominations and won the BAFTA for Visual Effects.

This year… War for the Planet of the Apes has the most guild wins, has the BFCA win… but Blade Runner has a BAFTA win and five overall nominations. It’s not rocket science guys. It could still be Apes, but if you really wanna take the choice that’s probably gonna win, take Blade Runner 2049. As the Snowman said, you have all the clues.

Best Sound Editing

My personal choice: Dunkirk

What should be on your ballot: Dunkirk

What’s on my ballot: Dunkirk

The alternate, should my pick lose: Blade Runner 2049

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Dunkirk
  2. Blade Runner 2049
  3. Baby Driver
  4. The Shape of Water
  5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Analysis: The Sound categories must be taken together, and unless you’re in a special circumstance (like a musical), don’t split them. Last year, we split them thinking the musical would win Mixing and the war film would win Editing, and the war film won Mixing and Editing went to something else and I lost both. If you don’t split them and take the favorite, chances are you’ll get one right.

Dunkirk won the singular BAFTA Sound category, which is pretty accurate historically, won CAS (for Sound Mixing) and has an MPSE (for Sound Editing) win (though not the “big” category there). It’s statistically the favorite in both categories and I’d recommend taking it in both. Blade Runner is definitely the second choice here, with Arrival having won Editing last year and it having won the big MPSE Award, and Baby Driver is a possible upset choice. But when you don’t know, and the category being fraught with peril if you stray too far, I say take Dunkirk twice and just be wrong. Better to be wrong and sound smart than piss wildly and hope the wind doesn’t send it back in your face.

Best Sound Mixing

My personal choice: Blade Runner 2049

What should be on your ballot: Dunkirk

What’s on my ballot: Dunkirk

The alternate, should my pick lose: Blade Runner 2049

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Dunkirk
  2. Blade Runner 2049
  3. Baby Driver
  4. The Shape of Water
  5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Analysis:

Read what I said in Editing. Dunkirk is the favorite in both categories (probably even more so in this one, since the BAFTA Sound category more correlates with Mixing than Editing, and it won the mixing guild), and I don’t recommend splitting the Sound categories, so it’s best to take it in both and just be beat if Baby Driver or Blade Runner is gonna win.

The Sound categories historically don’t match up that often (though it’s been six of the past ten years), but when they do, it’s typically a logical favorite. So if Dunkirk doesn’t win one of the categories (unlikely), then the chances the film that beats it wins both is practically unheard of. So if you’re gonna go opposite… which one? What if you take Blade Runner Mixing and Dunkirk Editing and they swap? Then you’re wrong twice. There are too many variations to consider. So I say take Dunkirk and just let it play out. It’s Sound… let’s not pretend like everyone is a fucking genius when it comes to these categories.

Best Animated Feature

My personal choice: Coco

What should be on your ballot: Coco

What’s on my ballot: Coco

The alternate, should my pick lose: Loving Vincent

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Coco
  2. Loving Vincent
  3. The Breadwinner
  4. The Boss Baby
  5. Ferdinand

Analysis:

It’s Coco. You know this. Your 11th (and final, sadly… but 11 is still really good) lock of the night.

Best Foreign Language Film

My personal choice: Loveless

What should be on your ballot: A Fantastic Woman

What’s on my ballot: A Fantastic Woman

The alternate, should my pick lose: The Square, I’m thinking.

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. A Fantastic Woman
  2. The Square
  3. The Insult
  4. Loveless
  5. On Body and Soul

Analysis: 

A Fantastic Woman has been the favorite since nominations have been announced. The Square had the highest visibility, but it never felt like it took that step toward winning. The Insult had a late push, which is what made me put it third, even though I hope they don’t go there. Loveless, which I loved, is incredibly bleak, and the only reason I had it third was because I love the director and his previous movie was Leviathan, which almost won this category. But outside of that, it’s never felt like a factor. At least The Insult had a publicity push near the end. Still, A Fantastic Woman feels like the film to beat, and I recommend taking that. Since if it’s not that, then none of us know what we’re talking about anyway.

Best Documentary Feature

My personal choice: Icarus

What should be on your ballot: Icarus

What’s on my ballot: Icarus

The alternate, should my pick lose: Faces Places

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Icarus
  2. Faces Places
  3. Strong Island
  4. Last Men in Aleppo
  5. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Analysis:

Icarus feels like the favorite because it’s been out the longest and because Netflix is behind it. Plus, on sight test alone, once you saw the nominations list, didn’t it feel like the most likely winner? If anything can beat it in such a weak category, it’s Agnes Varda and Faces Places. She’ll get votes simply because she’s Agnes Varda. Is it enough? Dunno. But she’s got an honorary award already. Will they give her another one? It’s worth a shot, if you wanna go that way. But I think it’s 60/40 Icarus right now. I think that’s the smart play.

Best Documentary Short

My personal choice: Knife Skills

What should be on your ballot: Edith+Eddie

What’s on my ballot: Edith+Eddie

The alternate, should my pick lose: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 or Heroin(e)

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Edith+Eddie
  2. Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
  3. Heroin(e)
  4. Traffic Stop
  5. Knife Skills

Analysis:

It’s the shorts, so I’m gonna give you three possibilities. No one can usually say for sure what’s winning here.

Edith+Eddie makes a lot of sense, being about a 95+96 year old interracial couple who wants to be happy but is separated by a family custody battle. Ends tragically, and would make a movie, which they tend to like here.

Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 is about a mentally ill woman who is also a brilliant artist. They love people overcoming issues to make art. Especially when it takes place in Los Angeles.

Both of these are the most likely winners in a typical year, and I suspect that Heaven Is a Traffic Jam might actually be the more likely of the two in the end.

That said… Heroin(e) is a Netflix movie, and like with The White Helmets, they’ve poured a lot of money into a campaign for it. Now, I’m not sure how much that affected the campaign last year, but if people are swayed by shit like that, then this could be a factor. I’d be pretty bummed if it won, since I didn’t think it was all that great a short or had a whole lot to say except, “The opioid crisis is bad.” But the Netflix factor alone has not had enough time to settle in and we don’t know just how important it is. So this is more than in contention for the win.

I think, if you take one of those three, you’re safe. I doubt it’s one of the other two. But it’s a short… assume you’re wrong and hope for the best.

Best Live-Action Short

My personal choice: The Silent Child

What should be on your ballot: The Silent Child

What’s on my ballot: The Silent Child

The alternate, should my pick lose: DeKalb Elementary or The Eleven O’Clock

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. The Silent Child
  2. DeKalb Elementary
  3. The Eleven O’Clock
  4. My Nephew Emmett
  5. Watu Wote/All of Us

Analysis:

The Silent Child was by far the best short, and if everyone saw them all, that should be the winner. That fits everything this category is usually about. That said… DeKalb Elementary is about a school shooting (but not really). And people have been talking it up, saying because of that, people will vote for it, the way they voted for The Salesman last year. Will it happen? I don’t know. But that’s what the buzz is. If people saw it, they’d realize it’s not actually about a school shooting. No one actually dies. But no one ever watches the shorts, so who knows what happens? And then The Eleven O’Clock is a short, tight comedic entry that mostly works. If they don’t like the heavier stuff in the category (which has happened in the past), then this could benefit. I think your winner is one of those three.

I say, based on history, The Silent Child is everything they like here. Based on timeliness, DeKalb could be the vote. And The Eleven O’Clock is always there as a possibility because it’s tonally different from everything else in the category.

Best Animated Short

My personal choice: Negative Space

What should be on your ballot: Lou or Dear Basketball

What’s on my ballot: Garden Party

The alternate, should my pick lose: Lou or Dear Basketball

The likelihood of each nominee winning:

  1. Lou
  2. Dear Basketball
  3. Garden Party
  4. Negative Space
  5. Revolting Rhymes

Analysis:

This is the only category where I truly have no fucking idea what the favorite is and what’s most likely to win. But, since it’s a short, you’re getting three options:

Lou is Pixar. It was in front of Cars 3, and it’s about the creature in the Lost and Found. It’s cute. Pixar doesn’t have a great track record in this category. Last year’s win for Piper was the first they’ve had since 2001. But, if Pixar’s in the category, they’re a contender. Especially in something like this, that doesn’t have a clear winner.

Dear Basketball is a contender for purely external reasons. Kobe, John Williams, Glen Keane. There’s no real substance to the short, and it doesn’t remotely get into any deep stuff. But people are going all over it because the publicity says people will vote for it because it’s Kobe. Wanna take it? Go ahead. Might win on that alone. In which case, the Academy becomes star-fuckers. I still am remaining a purist and saying, like with the other category, the outside factor doesn’t play in and people vote for what they think is the best. And if you saw all the nominees, this wasn’t the best. Wasn’t top three.

Garden Party, after I saw all five nominees, I said — “This would be the usual winner.” Of the five, that is. But this isn’t a normal year. Pixar could win because they’re Pixar, Kobe could win because he’s Kobe. But this one feels like the likeliest upset candidate to me. Which is why I put it on my ballot (and also because they other two choices were just not fun for me).

I think you should take any one of the three. Dear Basketball has been the consensus committee vote, but that doesn’t always mean anything. It’s Animated fucking Short, for crying out loud. Lou is just always there as a fairly safe choice if you wanna do it. Or you could go Garden Party. Live a little. It’s certainly a very clever little short.

Oh, and the other two, for those who wanna know… I think Negative Space should win, but it doesn’t fit with what they normally do, so I doubt it is much of a player, as much as I’d love to be totally wrong. And Revolting Rhymes… just a weird choice if they go there. Two previous entries by these directors were nominated (The Gruffalo and No Room on the Broom). Neither won. And Revolting Rhymes is part 1 of a two-parter, so there’s no real resolution to it. I’d be surprised if that was the win over the other four, but ultimately not shocked, because again, it’s Animated Short. What do any of us know?

I say if you wanna go with everyone else, take Dear Basketball. If you wanna be safe, take Lou. If you wanna live a little, and have a legitimate shot at possibly getting it, take Garden Party.

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