A Fantastic Woman: A Superb Film

by Mark R.

It’s become my goal every year to see all the Academy Award Best Picture nominees and any film with an acting nomination before the Oscars ceremony. I usually come out of this marathon with a few new favorite movies, but 2017 left me very disappointed, as I found most to be, at best, mediocre. There were a couple I liked, but none that I LOVED. That is, until I saw the Best Foreign Language Film winner, A Fantastic Woman.

woman3The film follows a transgender woman named Marina (Daniela Vega) through the difficulties she faces after the loss of her older lover, Orlando (Francisco Reyes). Marina must postpone her own grieving to deal with treacherous accusations and Orlando’s hateful, disapproving family.

While different in many ways, it’s structure and tone somewhat reminded me of one of my all-time favorite movies from 2009, A Single Man, which follows a day in the life of a George (Colin Firth) in the 1960’s after the loss of his lover, Jim.

woman2Although I expected A Fantastic Woman to be immensely artistic (much like A Single Man) based on its trailer, it balances art and realism perfectly. Director Sebastián Lelio did a wonderful job of making everything feel incredibly natural and the dream sequences just as ethereal as they needed to be. Nothing was overdone.

It’s a film that allows its audience to navigate their own way through, discovering their own emotions – as opposed to the many movies these days that force an audience to feel a certain way at every given moment, through exaggerated performances and overwhelming music. Stripping all of that away is what makes this movie much more impactful.

This is the first feature-length film I can recall seeing that is led completely by a trans actor. While they certainly highlight the social injustices that community faces, it’s moreso a basic human story about love, loss, grief, and perseverance at its core – and it’s beautiful.

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2018 Final Oscar Predictions: The Major Categories

by Mark R.

Best Picture
Predicted Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

There’s been a lot of talk – for several different reasons – about how the Best Picture race is anyone’s game this year, saying that Get Out, Dunkirk, or even Darkest Hour could pull off a surprise win. But, I really don’t listen to or agree with any of that. Just like every other year, it comes down between two movies – Three Billboards and The Shape of Water. With 13 nods, The Shape of Water is the most nominated film of the year, which instantly gives it an edge. But I’m predicting Three Billboards because it has been riding an incredible wave since Awards Season started months ago. It’s taken home top prizes at the Golden Globes, SAG’s, and BAFTA’s, so I think it’s a pretty sure bet. Plus, the Academy doesn’t really go for fantasy when it comes to Best Picture. The only thing that makes me second guess this is that Three Billboards shockingly lost out on a Best Director nomination. A movie rarely wins Best Picture without a Directing nod. The last film to pull this off was Argo in 2012, so it’s not impossible.

Best Director
Predicted Winner: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

4 out of the past 7 years have seen a split between Best Picture and Best Director, and I think this year will follow that trend. And unlike Best Picture, the Academy has been honoring directors of more fantastical and technical films, so Guillermo del Toro has this one in the bag.

Best Actor
Predicted Winner: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Gary Oldman has been the front runner in this category since before Awards Season even began. He’s destined to win.

Best Actress
Predicted Winner: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

I thought Actress would be a more competitive race this year, but Frances McDormand has broken away from the pack and has been the front-runner since the Golden Globes in January.

Best Supporting Actor
Predicted Winner: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Should be another predictable win.

Best Supporting Actress
Predicted Winner: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

…And another.

Best Original Screenplay
Predicted Winner: Lady Bird
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Original Screenplay is hands-down the most difficult category to predict this year. Arguments could be made for any of them to win, and 4 out of the 5 nominees are up for Best Picture. Three Billboards is the front-runner, but it’s lack of a Director nomination makes me question its overall support, so I’m predicting Greta Gerwig will take it home for Lady Bird. Gerwig is also nominated for Director, in which she became the fifth woman to ever be nominated for Best Director. I don’t think the Academy is going to shut her out completely.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Predicted Winner: Call Me by Your Name
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly’s Game
Mudbound

Call Me by Your Name is the only Best Picture nominee in this category, and if it wins as I predict, writer James Ivory will become the oldest Oscar winner ever.

Best Foreign Language Film
Predicted Winner: A Fantastic Woman
A Fantastic Woman
Loveless
On Body and Soul
The Insult
The Square

Best Documentary Feature
Predicted Winner: Last Men in Aleppo
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Best Animated Feature
Predicted Winner: Coco
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

2018 Final Oscar Predictions: The Technical Categories

by Mark R.

Best Editing
Predicted Winner: Dunkirk
Baby Driver
Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Editing is a tough one to predict this year, as I’m stuck between three nominees – Dunkirk, Baby Driver, and I, Tonya. Although they’re front runners in Best Picture, I don’t have The Shape of Water or Three Billboards in the running because I don’t think the editing is as “showy” as the others, which is often an unspoken requirement for an editing winner. Of the aforementioned three, Dunkirk is a Best Picture nominee, so I think that gives it the edge.

Best Cinematography
Predicted Winner: The Shape of Water
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

I so badly want to say Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049) will FINALLY win an Oscar. This is his 14th nomination! Previous nominations include Skyfall, The Shawshank Redemption, and No Country for Old Men. However, I just don’t think Blade Runner is going to get him there, and the Academy doesn’t just someone a bone because they’re overdue for a win. Sure, the Academy honors technical movies in this category, but for the past 10 years, cinematography has gone to a Best Picture nominee – which is why I think The Shape of Water will take the prize.

Best Costume Design
Predicted Winner: Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

You’d think that Phantom Thread – the movie about a dressmaker – would easily take this category, but I wouldn’t be so sure. 2006 proved that movies about fashion don’t automatically win Costume Design (when The Devil Wears Prada lost to Marie Antoinette). It still has a good chance, but I think it’s actually a toss up between Beauty and the Beast and Victoria & Abdul because the Academy prefers to honor fantasy and/or period pieces with elaborate costumes in this category.

Best Production Design
Predicted Winner: Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is the obvious choice here, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Beauty and the Beast could steal the spotlight again in this category. It reminds me of 2010 and 2013, when the same non-Best Picture nominee (Alice in Wonderland and The Great Gatsby, respectively) swept both the Costume and Production design categories.

Best Visual Effects
Predicted Winner: Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

I won’t be surprised be whichever movie pulls out the win, but I don’t think Blade Runner 2049 will go home empty handed, and this is it’s best shot.

Best Sound Editing
Predicted Winner: Dunkirk
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This feels like a no-brainer.

Best Sound Mixing
Predicted Winner: Dunkirk
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

See above.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Predicted Winner: Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder

Extremely reminiscent of 2011, when The Iron Lady won in this category for transforming its Oscar-winning lead into a British political leader.

Best Original Score
Predicted Winner: The Shape of Water
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I would love to see John Williams (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) win another Oscar. Sure, he already has 5, but he hasn’t won since 1994 with Schindler’s List. The Last Jedi marks Williams’ 20th nomination without a win since then! However, I think Alexandre Desplat will win his second Oscar this year for The Shape of Water.

Best Original Song
Predicted Winner: “Remember Me,” Coco
“Mighty River,” Mudbound
“Mystery of Love,” Call Me by Your Name
“Remember Me,” Coco
“Stand Up for Something,” Marshall
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Disney Pixar does well in this category, which is why I think Coco has the edge. Plus, it’s written by the same duo that wrote the Oscar winning hit, “Let it Go,” from Frozen. However, I’d like to see Sufjan Stevens win for “Mysteries of Love.” Stevens wrote and recorded two great songs for Call Me by Your Name (the other being “Visions of Gideon” – a snub, in my opinion).

Best Short Film – Live Action
Predicted Winner: “Dekalb Elementary”
“Dekalb Elementary”
“The Eleven O’Clock”
“My Nephew Emmett”
“The Silent Child”
“Watu Wote/All of Us”

Many of the Live Action Short nominees made a powerful statement, but I think the Academy will honor “Dekalb Elementary,” a film about a gunman threatening an elementary school. Very timely.

Best Short Film – Animated
Predicted Winner: “Lou”
“Dear Basketball”
“Garden Party”
“Lou”
“Negative Space”
“Revolting Rhymes”

“Dear Basketball” is getting a lot of attention in this category because it could make NBA star Kobe Bryant an Oscar winner. It definitely has a strong chance, but I’m going to predict my personal favorite, “Lou,” for the win. It’s a laugh-out-loud funny and yet deeply moving short about a box of lost and found items that comes to life.

Best Documentary Short
Predicted Winner: “Traffic Stop”
“Eden and Eddie”
“Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405”
“Heroin(e)”
“Knife Skills”
“Traffic Stop”

“Traffic Stop” tells the story of a young African American school teacher in Texas who is arrested after being stopped for a routine traffic violation.

Oscar Prep: The 6 Movies You Need to See Before the 90th Academy Awards

by Mark R.

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards is the clear front-runner for Best Picture, having won the Golden Globe for Best Picture and the SAG award for Best Ensemble Cast. It’s also the front-runner for Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell). It has 4 additional nominations in Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Supporting Actor (Woody Harrelson).

2. The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro’s newest fantasy drama is Three Billboards‘ biggest competition in the Best Picture race. You’ll be hearing this movie’s name a lot at the Oscar ceremony, because with 13 nominations, including Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), and a number of technical awards, it is the most nominated film of the year. Likely to win Best Director, this is a big one to see.

3. Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour is Gary Oldman’s express ticket to an Oscar, as he is the odds-on favorite to win this year for his uncanny portrayal of Winston Churchill. Darkest Hour has earned 6 nominations in total, with a surprise nomination in Best Picture, proving it has a lot of support from the Academy.

4. Lady Bird

Lady Bird has 5 Oscar nominations, including Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf), and Best Picture of the Year. Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman to ever be nominated for Best Director, and if she were to win, she would become the second woman ever to do so in this category. She is also nominated for her screenplay, which is the favorite to win Best Original Screenplay.

5. Call Me by Your Name

Call Me by Your Name has 4 nominations, including Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet) and Best Picture of the Year. It’s strongest chance at an award is in Best Adapted Screenplay.

6. I, Tonya

I, Tonya was left out of the Best Picture race, but is still a strong contender in Best Actress (Margot Robbie), and a front-runner in Best Supporting Actress (Allison Janney).

If time permits, also watch Dunkirk, Get Out, Phantom Thread, Mudbound, and Blade Runner 2049.

2018 Oscar Nominations: A Reaction

by Mark R.

Ahhh… Oscar Nominations Day. One of my most anticipated days of the year!

There really weren’t too many surprises at this years announcement. I think the biggest surprise was that I, Tonya lost out on a nomination for Best Picture. I thought that was almost a sure thing, especially considering it got nominated for Lead Actress and Editing, and will likely even win Supporting Actress (Allison Janney). I wonder what its downfall was. It seemed to only have been building momentum lately.

Mudbound didn’t make it into the Best Picture race either, which isn’t much of a surprise considering it’s a Netflix release and they don’t have much play in the Oscars just yet. With these two out of the running, there was room left open for others, like Phantom Thread and Darkest Hour.

I didn’t predict Darkest Hour for Best Picture. I thought it would only get recognized for its makeup & hairstyling and lead performance by Gary Oldman, similar to The Iron Lady back in 2011. I did, however, predict the surprise nomination for Phantom Thread. What I did not expect, though, was a directorial nomination for the film. I suppose we can never underestimate a Daniel Day-Lewis/Paul Thomas Anderson collaboration.

I’m not surprised by how well Get Out did, scoring 4 major nominations. It has had so much hype throughout this entire awards season. What surprises me is that this is the horror film the Academy chose to join the elite list of the few horrors ever to be nominated for Best Picture – The Exorcist, Jaws, The Sixth Sense, The Silence of the Lambs. I don’t see Get Out being included in this list of classics. Plus, I didn’t care for the film. But moving on…

There were no surprises when it came to the acting categories. All nominated actors and actresses were potentials for me. The exclusions of James Franco for The Disaster Artist and Hong Chau for Downsizing shocked me a little at fist, but they were never huge threats to begin with. Downsizing wasn’t going to earn any other nominations, so it was easy for the Academy to shut the film out entirely.

It was actually in Adapted Screenplay where I saw the biggest surprise nomination of all – Logan. This came out of nowhere! We typically see comic book/superhero movies recognized for their technical achievements, for sure, but never in the major categories, and especially not for their writing! This is actually mind-blowing. I haven’t seen Logan yet, so I can’t comment on if it’s deserving of a nomination here, but it’s exciting that it opens a door for future comic book/superhero/action/sci-fi movies.

What Will Be Nominated? My 2018 Oscar Predictions

by Mark R.

Oscar nominations will be revealed tomorrow, Tuesday, January 23rd. Below are my predicted nominees, listen in order of likelihood.

Best Picture:
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Lady Bird
The Post
Dunkirk
I, Tonya
Mudbound
Call Me by Your Name
Phantom Thread
Don’t Count Out: Get Out

Ever since the Academy began nominating anywhere between five and ten nominees, Best Picture has been tough to predict, and this year is no exception. The first five on my list here are certainties, with the rest being educated guesses. The biggest head scratcher for me this year is Get Out. Yes, it’s timely and has been getting ALL the precursor nominations (GG, DGA, PGA, SAG), but I’m just not seeing it as an Academy Award nominee for Best Picture. They rarely nominate horrors. The last to break into the Best Picture race was The Sixth Sense in 1999. Is Get Out really going to be the next? My gut is telling me no, but I also know I could be very wrong.

Best Director:
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Stephen Spielberg, “The Post”
Don’t Count Out: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

In recent years, the Best Director award has gone to the biggest “technical” movie. This year, there are two possibilities with Guillermo del Toro and Christopher Nolan. Both have films with great histories at the Oscars (Pan’s Labyrinth and Inception, respectively), but neither have been recognized for their directorial work. While del Toro is a sure bet (likely to win, even), Nolan is a strong maybe – as is Spielberg. I think either of these two could be switched out for Jordan Peele, who recently got the DGA nomination over Spielberg. On the other hand, this is the woman’s year, so there is a chance we could see multiple female directors nominated, like Dee Rees for Mudbound and/or Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman.

Best Actor:
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Don’t Count Out: Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Oldman and Day-Lewis are solid predictions here and there was only a small pool of other potential nominees for Actor this year. Franco and Chalamet are strong contenders, but I’m uncertain about Washington. He’s beloved by the Academy, but is the film (Roman J. Isreal, Esq.) strong enough to get him a nomination. I think if Get Out does well here, Kaluuya could squeeze his way in.

Best Actress:
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Don’t Count Out: Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”

I’d be willing to bet on the first 4 of my list here. It’s the fifth spot that has me guessing. There’s so many to choose from – Jessica Chastain for Molly’s Game, Michelle Williams for All the Money in the World, Judi Dench for Victoria & Abdul, and even Salma Hayek for Beatriz at Dinner – but I’m going with the Queen of Oscar nominations, Meryl Streep, as my final pick. She’s always a safe bet, and especially since she’s playing such a strong female figure in news media history. This is very much a politically driven year.

Best Supporting Actor:
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Don’t Count Out: Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”

Supporting Actor is the most obscure acting category this year. Unlike the other categories that have multiple front-runners, Supporting Actor has none. Rockwell won the GG, which I think secures his nomination; Harrelson is a beloved actor coming from the same critically acclaimed film; and Dafoe and Jenkins are previous nominees. Hammer is the one of which I’m most unsure. Previous Oscar winner Plummer could get in over him after re-shooting Kevin Spacey’s role in All the Money in the World. Or maybe we could see a surprise nomination for Michael Stuhlbarg from Hammer’s film, Call Me by Your Name. Some may say Stuhlbarg was overlooked back in 2009 when he did not secure a nomination for A Serious Man. This one is really up in the air.

Best Supporting Actress:
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Don’t Count Out: Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

At this point, I really think it’s a 2-way race between Matcalf and Janney for the win, so those two are safe. Blige and Chau have received the necessary precursor nominations to, I believe, guarantee a spot. And I think we could very well see a surprise nomination for Lesley Manville. If not, never count out Octavia Spencer.

Best Original Screenplay:
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Get Out
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Don’t Count Out: The Post

It’s in Original Screenplay that I think we’ll definitely see Get Out be recognized. Lady Bird and Three Billboards are also sure bets. Everything after that is a strong guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Big Sick makes its way in here as well.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Molly’s Game
Call Me by Your Name
Mudbound
Victoria & Abdul
The Disaster Artist
Don’t Count Out: All the Money in the World

Adapted Screenplay has been the easiest category to predict. The pool of potential nominees was not that large, so I feel pretty good about these picks.

2018 SAG Award Predictions – Film

by Mark R.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:
Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Could Win: Lady Bird

The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
Mudbound
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:
Will Win: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Could Win: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:
Will Win: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Could Win: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:
Will Win: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Could Win: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”

Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson,”Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
Will Win: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Could Win: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

2018 Golden Globes: Film Predictions

by Mark R.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Will Win: The Shape of Water
Could Win: The Post

Call My by Your Name
Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Lady Bird
Could Win: Get Out

Get Out
I, Tonya
Lady Bird
The Disaster Artist
The Greatest Showman

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Will Win: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Could Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Will Win: Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Could Win: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Michelle Williams, “All the Money in the World”

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Could Win: James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”

Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Ansel Elgort, “Baby Driver”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Hugh Jackman, “The Greatest Showman”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Will Win: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Could Win: Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
Helen Mirren, “The Leisure Seeker”

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Will Win: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Could Win: Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Will Win: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Could Win: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Best Screenplay
Will Win: Lady Bird
Could Win: Molly’s Game

The Shape of Water
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Post
Molly’s Game

Best Original Song
Will Win: “Remember Me,” Coco
Could Win: “Mighty River,” Mudbound

“Home,” Ferdinand
“Mighty River,” Mudboumd
“Remember Me,” Coco
“The Star,” The Star
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Best Original Score
Will Win: Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”
Could Win: John Williams, “The Post”

Carter Burwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”
Jonny Greenwood, “Phantom Thread”
John Williams, “The Post”
Hans Zimmer, “Dunkirk”

Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Coco
Could Win: Ferdinand

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: First They Killed My Father
Could Win: A Fantastic Woman

A Fantastic Woman
First They Killed My Father
In the Fade
Loveless
The Square

Been There, Saw That! “Jigsaw” Review

by Mark R.

It’s been seven years since Saw 3D: The Final Chapter was released, and I remember being grateful that the series was coming to an end. It had gotten to a point of ridiculousness and veered so far from the lure of the original that it was nearly becoming a chore having to go see them.

The original Saw was scary, clever, and original. However, they lost all of these traits with each continuation. So when I heard they were rebooting the franchise, I thought it was a perfect opportunity for them to start fresh and make a Saw film like the original. Sadly, this was not to be.

The new film takes place ten years after Jigsaw’s death. As mangled bodies appear with puzzle pieces carved out of their flesh, it appears someone is copycatting his infamous murders. As police investigate who is behind the killings, a game is underway with five new victims being forced through elaborate and torturous tests.

The “tests” are just as unrealistically elaborate as you remember, featuring torture devices that it would take a team of PhD’s in mechanical engineering to actually make. I was hoping for more simplistic torture, like a man having to claw himself out through a wall of barbed wire. When I’m watching a so-called horror, I want to be scared, and it’s just scarier when it’s more realistic!

Even if I could look past the traps, the story is just as unbelievably convoluted and the ending will leave you saying “uh-wha?” If you’re familiar with the ridiculousness of the original series, it’s pretty easy to pick up on what is going on well before the final revelation.

Jigsaw is an unnecessary continuation to a franchise that had already ran its course. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll need to see it no matter how horrible the reviews.

Oh, the Horror! A Halloween Movie Marathon

by Mark R.

What better way to spend Halloween than with a horror movie marathon? Here’s a marathon idea infused with some of my favorite heroines that will take you from dusk to dawn this October 31st.

5:30-7:30pm Jeepers Creepers (2001)

We begin our journey with Trisha and Darry Jenner (Gina Philips & Justin Long) as they head home for Spring Break. But their road trip is disrupted when they are terrorized by an ancient truck driving winged creature that eats human body parts to take as its own.

7:30-9pm Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

20 years after the release of the original, Jamie Lee Curtis is back once again as Laurie Strode to fight off her infamous serial killer brother, Michael Meyers. Just when she thought she was free from Michael’s terror, he finds her teaching at a private gated high school.

9-10:45pm Resident Evil (2002)

If you’re familiar with the Resident Evil franchise, you know that Alice (Milla Jovovich) is one of the most bad-ass heroines. Travel with her underground into the Hive in Raccoon City where the T-Virus has broken out, turning all its inhabitants into zombies.

10:45pm-12:15am A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Hope you’re not too tired by this point, because it’s Freddy Krueger’s turn! This time, he’s set his sights on a group of teens at a mental hospital. Dream Warriors is by far the best sequel of the franchise due in large part to the return of Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), who is now a psychiatrist specializing in dream therapy.

12:15-2:15am Scream (1996)

“What’s your favorite scary movie?” Watch Ghostface terrorize students of Woodsboror High in this quintessential 90’s slasher flick and see Neve Campbell instantly become one of the best “Final Girls” in horror history.

2:15-4am The Descent (2005)

In one of the most intense horror experiences, a group of six women explore an unknown cave in which hungry creatures lurk. One of the best things about The Descent is watching main character Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) go from a shattered woman to fierce warrior.

4-5:30am Red Eye (2005)

Red Eye is certainly the most appropriate movie to bring us into the wee hours of morning. Master of horror Wes Craven strays from his typical slasher films to bring us this fun, high octane thriller. Rachel McAdams proves her bad-assery as she must fight to escape Cillian Murphy, who holds her captive and enlists her in a plot to kill a politician.

Enjoy & Happy Halloween!!