E: Today’s lesson: never underestimate the Brits.
E: I know I told you to expect some crazy from the directors wing, but to leave out Martin McDonagh? Whoa. What’s that going to do to the Best Picture race? My head is spinning.
I miss-called 2 out of the 20 acting nominations. I wondered if James Franco would be undone by the accusations against him, and here we have the answer. I’m not at all surprised that Tom Hanks’ nominationless streak continues, though I did think he’d gbe the one to benefit if James was out. Was it just that Jason Robards made such a perfect Ben Bradlee that voters couldn’t see anyone else in the role? You have to ask if there’s something deeper going on, though, as he hits 17 years without a nod. Did people think he was overrated in the 90s, or did he leave such indelible performances then that everything else he does seems old hat? It’s a mystery – and it’s more mysterious to me that so few people talk about it.
Which is all to say that Denzel Washington is a little bit of a surprise, but not a big one.
But Leslie Manville? That was a total surprise, even after her BAFTA nom. She’s a costume drama mainstay and I’m pleased to see her recognized; I’m also not surprised that the Academy wasn’t motivated to have an Asian actor included in it’s slate. (Ditto, apparently, for the Thai cinematographer for Call Me By Your Name, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, who made a film praised everywhere for its sumptuous visuals.) The Phantom Thread in general played far better with the Academy than it did anywhere else, and I’m surprised, far more than I am with Darkest Hour. I’m bummed; I was rooting for I, Tonya and The Big Sick. I’m fascinated that in this unsettled time in America, the Academy leans to Britain and history for consolation rather more modern explorations of the way we live now.
I’ll be back later today with full on reactions and comparisons (direction was my worst category as always, otherwise I did well).
E: If Sunday’s SAG awards are to be believed, then there’s not much mystery left in the Oscar race outside of Best Picture. No, even with Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri’s win we’re not any closer to a clear Best Picture champion, but the acting races seem all but locked in. Nothing but six weeks of winner fatigue or an unforeseen disaster could stop the inexorable march to the podium of those four actors.
And that’s why nomination morning is so much more fun for me, even after last year’s crazy Oscar night. The real insanity last year wasn’t the overturning of the presumed favorite – the roughly once-a-decade shocker of a Crash overtaking Brokeback Mountain, or Shakespeare in Love besting Saving Private Ryan – but the added drama of the wrong envelope. Which is to say, sure, sometimes the awards don’t go to the people or films we expect, but that’s more of an exception than a rule. There’s a decent proportion of surprises that always occur during the nominations, however; at least a few people who made every list will get left off this big one.
So let’s try and figure out who they are, shall we? Continue reading
E: The year of the woman continues, at least in name: for the first time, this show has a host (the talented and extravagantly likable Kristin Bell) and (at least according to some sources) only female presenters. I’m very curious as to how this will play out; will SAG continue the tradition of having speakers from the audience explain what it means to them to be an actor? And in the days of Time’s Up and MeToo, what could that mean?
In Oscar news, tonight’s broadcast gives us our first to chance to see if Gary Oldman and Sam Rockwell really are locks, or if Timothee Chalamet and Willem Dafoe can unseat them. Will Allison Janney’s villainous stage mom thump all comers, or does Laurie Metcalf’s more realistic pessimist have a shot in the battle of the overbearing mothers? It sets up our first look at Frances McDormand and Saoirse Ronan going head to head for best actress. In most years the ingenue has the advantage, but in 2018 it’s more of a question. It’s even a question whether we can call Ronan an ingenue, given that she has 2 Oscar nominations and nearly a decade’s worth of leading roles to her credit even at 23.
It won’t give us certainty, but tonight’s show could absolutely add to the confusion between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Epping, Missouri. A win by either couldn’t be a decisive victory at this point, but a win by a third film would muddy up the waters pretty beautifully. Sure, the tv awards don’t include anything you haven’t seen win at the Emmy’s and the Globes, but the actors and actresses still have a lot to say. So if you’re sick of football, seek out tonight’s ceremony on TNT and TBS at 8 East Standard Time. Things look like they might be pretty new.
E: But Oprah, seriously! In 8 minutes she reminded us forcefully that she spent 27 years talking for a living, and being adored for it. Oprah took what’s classically the most boring segment of the show, and used her bully pulpit to inspire instead of just blathering on about herself. I didn’t even realize that I missed her, but I know it now; I need more Oprah in my life. (I will add that I’m livid at the cowardly backlash seeking to downplay the truth of what she said by her former, incidental association with Harvey Weinstein. Glad you think Oprah is psychic, boys, but as much as I admire her I don’t really think that greeting him at a party – however enthusiastically – means she knew his secret crimes. But hey, when you’re not brave enough take issue with what she actually said and own your misogyny, I guess sharing a photo is all you can do to try and tear her down.)