90th Academy Awards Recap

That’s another Oscar season in the books. I won’t lie — this was the hardest one I’ve ever had. Not in terms of picking and all that (because, spoiler alert: I did fucking great), but in terms of everything else. I honestly didn’t think I was gonna make it through to the end. I barely got my nominations picks done in time. I don’t even remember much of anything I wrote on here since early January. With the amount of stuff that was going on, I’m honestly surprised it all got done. Fortunately the one thing I was able to put some thought into since January was the giant picks article, which, as you’ll see… worked out pretty well. I will let a lot of things fall apart, but I won’t let you guys go into your Oscar pool unprepared.

Anyway, these 90th Academy Awards are in the books, and overall, while an entertaining night, and one that didn’t feel as slow as some other years (even during the segments that slowed the show down), not a particularly surprising one. So much of the night felt exactly like it was meant to go. And the moments where I was wrong, I knew what would win instead.

There’s not a whole lot for me to say about these awards. Or maybe that’s just the exhaustion talking, knowing it’s finally all over. Who’s to say, really? Let’s find out together, shall we?

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

The film that won the PGA and had 13 overall nominations and won Best Director also won Best Picture. Are we surprised? No. Not really. The precursors definitely made it seem like this wasn’t gonna do overly well, but once the show started, you got that sense that it was gonna win.

Looking back, I’m not really sure why I figured Three Billboards was the choice. I guess it’s one of those, you’re so deep into it that you overthink it and convince yourself something’s gonna happen. It’s weird how cavalier I was, saying, “Oh yeah, this movie’s gonna win Best Picture without a Director nomination and without being a lock for Screenplay.” But you know, that’s the fun of this. Hopefully you all thought that was crazy and went with the safer pick. (Since that’s really what I’m here for, to get you to be smarter than me, not for you to do what I do.)

But, Shape of Water’s an interesting choice. Both very unlike them and also quite perfect for them. Because ultimately it’s a love letter to cinema, and that’s what they’re all about. The film they liked the most throughout the year came through in the end. I’m thrilled for Guillermo and I’m happy that something like this could even get to this place. It was made for less than $20 million! And it shows you that when you let talented and creative people tell a story that means something to them, great things happen.

Cut to the next four months when all of our parents and relatives watch this movie and go, “What the hell was that? Why did that win the Oscar?”

Or, you know, just about every year for the past seven.

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Since 2010, this is only the fourth time Picture and Director have matched. In this decade, Best Director has not matched Best Picture the same amount of times it has matched. Crazy.

But I’m so happy he won this. Even if the film didn’t win Picture, I’m glad he got this. It’s so well deserved. He delivered two great speeches and really looked so elated to win. That’s what you want, ultimately.

Best Actor: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

This was him getting his due after all these years, and it’s not any less sweet.

Hard to have much else to say since, like Guillermo, we knew this was coming for at least six weeks. This will be a refrain for the next couple of awards, so be prepared for very short recaps of them.

Best Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

She had this one in the bag since the Globes. And it’s well-deserved. Nothing else needed.

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The cool thing about these acting awards is that they gave it to people we all love in things who had never really gotten their proper dues. So it’s nice to see them win.

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Also well-deserved. And our fifth category in a row where we knew the winner beforehand, so by this point everything that’s needed to be said has been said.

Best Original Screenplay: Get Out

Peele wins, which was very nice and very cool. Him winning tipped that Shape of Water had Best Picture in the bag, and I pretty much closed up shop the minute that happened. I thought things were gonna take a more interesting turn, but instead all the favorites won. It was that kinda year. Still, Peele winning is a great story. Though I now have so much worry for his next movie. There’s gonna be too big a microscope on it and people are gonna be expecting too much out of it. It’s gonna be real tough for him to deliver on that.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name

This was locked all the way, and while very deserving (that Stuhlbarg monologue is better than all of Aaron Sorkin, and you guys know I DO NOT say that lightly), the best thing about it is that James Ivory, at 89!, gets an Oscar. Which is so cool. He’s now the oldest competitive Oscar winner. So dope.

Best Editing: Dunkirk

This went the way I expected, despite the potential twists and turns. They didn’t love Shape of Water enough to sweep vote it here, and Baby Driver ultimately couldn’t take down the Best Picture nominee with the second most nominations. Makes sense, and is a well-deserved win for Dunkirk.

Best Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049


Deakins finally gets his Oscar, after 13 previous tries. It doesn’t matter about anything else. Roger Deakins has an Oscar. All is right with the world.

Okay, maybe not. But it helps.

Best Original Score: The Shape of Water

Alexandre Desplat has a second Oscar now, and that feels right. I still say he’s the best working composer in Hollywood, and this was a well-deserved second win. Shape of Water also becomes only the fourth film since 2000 to win Picture and Score.

Best Original Song: “Remember Me,” from Coco

It was a tossup, and Coco won. Thought “This Is Me” would take it, but instead the second choice won. Not overly surprised.

The interesting thing for me was how they structured the performances. This went on second, and “This Is Me” went on last. And I thought, “There’s no way they’d put that on last and then not give it the award.” The last song is always the showstopper and usually that catapults right into it winning the award. And then they came right out with Christopher Walken, only to have him do Score. Which made me think, “Oh, they’re separating them. Coco’s winning.” And sure enough.

I’m sure that had nothing to do with anything, because the producers don’t know the winners, but it was interesting to me to see how that worked out.

Best Production Design: The Shape of Water

This was a huge lock. We’re now over 60% where the film with the most nominations wins Production Design over the past 50 years. Shape of Water was guaranteed three awards no matter what, and this was one of them. And Picture was the fourth.

Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread

They tried to scare us with that CDG win for Shape of Water, but in the end the obvious choice won.

And he won a JETSKI!

Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Darkest Hour

Come on, guys. You knew that was going down. This is the fourth acting winner that took Makeup in the past seven years.

Best Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049

Told you. I really hope nobody was holding onto those VES wins for War for the Planet of the Apes. Because that shit was coming from a mile away. How you gonna argue with Blade Runner? Those effects were amazing. And if you’re gonna reward it for anything, it’s Cinematography and Visual Effects. Say what you will about the Oscars, but they’re generally pretty good on awarding the right tech awards to the right films.

Best Sound Editing: Dunkirk

Best Sound Mixing: Dunkirk

No reason to keep them separate. In the end, justice was served. The Sound categories don’t go haywire, and if you didn’t split them and took the favorite, you won. Made sense they’d go the same way, since they were exactly the same category in both. Would be weird if someone voted Dunkirk in one and Blade Runner in the other.

Best Animated Feature: Coco

Come on, buddy.

Best Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman

This was the favorite since nominations, and it took it down. It’s the film that’s had the largest cultural impact, and it’s a fine winner. Plus, Daniela Vega has a definite career now in America, should she want it. Which is pretty cool.

Best Documentary Feature: Icarus

It made the most sense. Thought Agnes had a shot at it, but in the end, the nominee with the most exposure took it down. This was one of the more iffy categories of the night for me, and when this came through, I knew things would be all right. We got what I feel is the best winner in a bad category. So it won’t look so bad in history now.

Best Documentary Short: The Silent Child

This was the best short and quite possibly the happiest I was throughout the night. Seeing this win was a huge relief for me and honestly was the best thing I saw. Rachel Shenton signing her speech was beautiful, and I’m so happy this won. This was another one I didn’t think would go my way, and it made me so happy that it did. I’ll get Best Picture wrong a hundred times knowing this won this award.

Best Live-Action Short: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

This fit what they go for the most. In the end, what I’m left with is, “Just take what they like,” Sure, Edith+Eddie also mostly fit that bill, which is why they were 1-2 for me, but this is so up their alley.

Best Animated Short: Dear Basketball

Academy Award winner Kobe Bryant. I can’t believe they did this. I’d say this was the surprise of the night… but it wasn’t. I saw this coming and was ready for it. Still doesn’t make it great, since I don’t really like the short and don’t think it’s a great winner. But the category wasn’t overly amazing, so it is what it is. Kobe’s an Oscar winner. I’m more happy for Glen Keane than anything else.

– – – – – – – – – –

Here’s a breakdown of awards:

The Shape of Water — 4 Oscars (Picture, Director, Score, Production Design)

Dunkirk — 3 Oscars (Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)

Blade Runner 2049 — 2 Oscars (Cinematography, Visual Effects)

Coco — 2 Oscars (Original Song, Animated Feature)

Darkest Hour — 2 Oscars (Actor, Makeup & Hairstyling)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — 2 Oscars (Actress, Supporting Actor)

Call Me By Your Name — 1 Oscar (Adapted Screenplay)

Get Out — 1 Oscar (Original Screenplay)

I, Tonya — 1 Oscar (Supporting Actress)

Phantom Thread — 1 Oscar (Costume Design)

Other winners: A Fantastic Woman, Icarus, Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405, The Silent Child, Dear Basketball

– – – – – – – – – –

Here’s how I did on my predictions:

There was only one difference between my personal ballot and the ballot I told you to take, which was Animated Short. I got it wrong on both, so that doesn’t matter. In the end…

I got right: Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Score, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Animated Feature, Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Live-Action Short

I got wrong: Picture, Original Screenplay, Song, Documentary Short, Animated Short

That’s 19/24. Which is a very solid year. I want 18-20 most years, so that’s right in line.

All of the losses went to things that I figured were right there. I went opposite all the logic on Picture, Screenplay was a tossup that sided with Picture. Song was 50/50 and I guessed wrong. Documentary Short I always assume won’t go my way, and Animated Short I straight up refused to vote for Kobe. So I’m good. You’ll see why I’m good in a minute.

And when you look at that tally up there and compare it to the tally I had on my picks ballot — swap Shape of Water and Three Billboards, and it’s basically almost exact. I had an extra Three Billboards win on top of Picture that went to Get Out, and Coco won the Song award over Greatest Showman, bringing it to 2 wins. Otherwise, nailed that Shape of Water would be 3 or 4, Dunkirk at 3, Blade Runner at 2, and 1 win for Call Me By Your Name, I Tonya and Phantom Thread. I did real well this year, guys.

– – – – – – – – – –

And now, the Scorecard:

  • Best Picture: +2
  • Best Director: +1
  • Best Actor: +1
  • Best Actress: +1
  • Best Supporting Actor: +1
  • Best Supporting Actress: +1
  • Best Original Screenplay: +2
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: +1
  • Best Editing: +1
  • Best Cinematography: +1
  • Best Original Score: +1
  • Best Orignal Song: +2
  • Best Production Design: +1
  • Best Costume Design: +1
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling: +1
  • Best Visual Effects: +1
  • Best Sound Editing: +1
  • Best Sound Mixing: +1
  • Best Animated Feature: +1
  • Best Foreign Language Film: +1
  • Best Documentary Feature: +1
  • Best Documentary Short: +2
  • Best Live-Action Short: +1
  • Best Animated Short: +2

You know what that is? +5, motherfuckers. 29

+5, 29. That ties my personal best, set in 2013. Which… I did kinda say this was the first year since 2013 that had this many locks. So it stands to reason that I did as well as that. I think I got 20 that year on my personal ballot and 22 on the one I told everyone else to take. The rankings reflected my personal ballot because I wasn’t yet really doing the Scorecard thing for real.

I say I try to get around +6 on the Scorecard, so this is just incredible. I think the really important thing to note is that in the 5 categories I got wrong… the second choice won. There was not a single category where I was below the second choice. Which means that if you read what I had to say, and listened to me… I basically gave you the winner of every category. I told you straight up, “This is what I think is winning, and if not, this is what should win instead.” And aside from the shorts, which are always a matter of luck… that’s really fucking good.

So either I’m really good at this and didn’t need all the time to think about the awards, or I got really lucky and happened to get an easy year when I had no time or energy to devote to this stuff. I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’ll take it.

That does it for me. Remember, the giant Oscar trivia article is always there, now updated with this year’s winners.

– – – – – – – – – – –

I always say I need to take a break after Oscar season, just because it’s so draining and so much to devote to one night, ultimately. But this year especially… I really need to recoup. I know it hasn’t showed on the site, but man, am I running on empty.

If I can get my shit together relatively soon (and with my work ethic and tendency to say “I’m trying to get this done in three weeks,” only to get it done in nine days, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen), then I’ll start knocking off the last of those top ten lists I didn’t get to last year (I need to finish 1970 to 2017, now), and then once that’s done… well, I know what I want to do after that. So I think I might start working on that. And if I can get a head of steam going on that… well, let’s just say it’s worked out well in the past. So let’s hope that can happen.

Either way, I gotta go recharge.


2 responses

  1. “that Stuhlbarg monologue is better than all of Aaron Sorkin”

    Nah. Give me the ice rink-side bench scene between Jessica Chastain and Kevin Costner any day of the week instead. Acknowledging childhood scars and trauma is far more virtuous than couching the whole “if it feels good, do it” mindset that is behind everything wrong in modern culture in the tender words of a parent to a child.

    March 5, 2018 at 4:50 pm

  2. Daevin

    What BluFox said.

    Jobs and Sculley’s second talk > Stulhbarg monologue.

    March 5, 2018 at 9:15 pm

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