by Chris Corbellini
Editor’s Note: No one was manning (or womanning….#TimesUp) MH’s intergalactic HQ yesterday when our intrepid film critic filed, so alas this is being posted after the event. Truly, a post-facto post.
Nevertheless, we wanted you to see it and now with the advantage of MMQB hindsight, you’ll be able to see where Chris predicted precisely and where he foresaw fortuitously. And where he did not. We’ll reveal the actual winners below where the Academy erred, and when they concurred with Chris, we’ll simply leave an asterisk.
The question I asked myself as I scanned the Oscar nominees for Best Picture: will GET OUT be judged as ahead of its time, or simply a three-and-a-half-star horror film with four-star themes?
The Academy voters for Best Picture will say the former. The movie will win, it will be a memorable speech, with the producers, director, and stars on stage genuinely shocked to have won Hollywood’s greatest honor. Great television. Inspiring. But again, we’ll have to wait to see if it truly began something in this creative field. Or a part of several momentous somethings, #MeToo, WONDER WOMAN and BLACK PANTHER included.
If it is, GET OUT deserves the prize.
Still, in the here and now, the most engrossing and technically imaginative movie I saw this past year was DUNKIRK. It must be experienced on an IMAX screen. In that setting, you feel like you are actually in the spitfire, trying to rescue the human dots on the beach, and lighting up enemy planes with machine gun fire. We’ve seen war movies before as good and probably better – there is nothing new in the story. War is hell and boys at war are basically walking meat waiting to be ground up. But the way DUNKIRK is presented – three different timelines, an hour, a day, a week – and the aerial footage adds something new to the genre.
More movies like this need to be made – it’s why we go see films on the big screen, instead of on our iPhone screen. So, it’s my vote for Best picture. It won’t win. It’s GET OUT’s year.
And here are my predictions for the rest. I’m better at predicting the technical categories than the big ones, mostly because I think the technical ones are just as big a deal:
Sound mixing: DUNKIRK*
The mix is actually a character in this movie, and probably the star. The moment you see the enemy plane in the sky, a ticking clock soundtrack kicks in. Then the sound drops out just as the last bomb almost hits one of the main characters early in the movie – and when a certain pilot is flying without fuel at the end. It also has not one but TWO ships sinking. That’s hard to mix.
Sound editing: DUNKIRK*
Just masterfully done, sound editors. Kudos. You cut the sh-t out of this movie. In conjunction with the sound mixers, at some point, you all must have realized you had something special when the soundtrack was dropped in on a track alongside everything you did to make this work.
Documentary feature: LAST MAN IN ALEPPO
I want all five of these nominees to win, because so rarely do these films make any money. You really have to love the craft of documentary filmmaking to start the journey.
Makeup: DARKEST HOUR*
Nice work on Gary Oldman. He’s used to sitting in a makeup chair for long stretches (See: HANNIBAL and DRACULA), but still, masterfully done.
Costume Design: PHANTOM THREAD*
They’ll give Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie at least one Oscar.
Cinematography: BLADE RUNNER 2049*
Don’t fuck this up, Academy. You need to give Roger Deakins at least one win.
Production Design: BLADE RUNNER 2049*
BLADE RUNNER 2049 is a sequel, so it had a spectacular world in which to base this on. But there was also pressure to improve on that world, and they did so spectacularly.
Original song: “Remember Me,” from COCO*
Original score: DUNKIRK
AA: The Shape of Water
The ticking clock sets a spooky tone. There is no hope. You are just waiting for your turn to die.
Documentary short subject: HEROIN(e)
AA: Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405 (Editor: I’m assuming this film is just the first 5 minutes of “La La Land?”)
Again, I want them all to win. The budget is tighter on these than on full-length docs, and few ever see them.
Short film, live action: THE SILENT CHILD*
This one I had heard of before I saw the list on nominees, which is a very good sign.
Film editing: DUNKIRK*
It’s not only a well-cut movie in general, with crispy edits on land, sea and air, but the editing was crucial because the timeline is not linear at all. It has to make sense without a narrator explaining where we are, and what time in the rescue mission we are. And it does.
Visual effects: BLADE RUNNER 2049*
Animated feature: COCO*
Another dart throw.
Foreign language film: A FANTASTIC WOMAN*
THE SQUARE could nab this one as well. Nothing really stands out this year.
Adapted screenplay: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME*
Now we are getting to the categories where the creatives are awarded consolation prizes for not winning Best Picture.
Original screenplay: LADY BIRD
AA: Get Out
You see? This one was almost a perfect coming-of-ager. Note that this may be the most competitive of all the categories. Each of the scripts nominated would have produced magic with any serviceable director. THREE BILLBOARDS could also take this one.
Actress in a supporting role: Allison Janney, I TONYA*
The easiest category to handicap. Just give it to her and watch the other nominees force smiles as Janney thanks all of them.
Actor in a supporting role: Sam Rockwell, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI*
Good group this year (isn’t it always?), with Willem Dafoe a real challenger.
Actress in a leading role: Margot Robbie, I TONYA
AA: Frances McDormand
Going with my heart and not my head on this one. Frances McDormand is the favorite.
Actor in the leading role: Daniel Kaluuya, GET OUT
AA: Gary Oldman
AND. HERE. WE. GO.
Director: Jordan Peele, GET OUT
AA: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Christopher Nolan had the greater challenge with all those moving parts. It’s been said that the hardest thing to shoot is anything on water (Ask Spielberg, with JAWS), and a bulk of this movie is on the unpredictable sea. Plus, his aerial stuff was innovative in an industry always looking for the next innovation. But they’ll give Nolan a director Oscar later. We’re snowballing here.
Best picture: GET OUT
AA: The Shape of Water
It’s a progressive time in the movie business, and a long time coming. Women in Hollywood are rallying around each other and speaking up, bonded by their shitty experiences with shitty men in power. One of their own directed WONDER WOMAN, a solid film with an amazing actress as the lead, and it is inspiring a generation. And months later, Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER is crushing it at the box office. Men and women of color are now putting together tent-poles with major financial implications for studios too, and proving they can produce box office hits. Maybe that’s the secret for this era of motion pictures – produce a genre film (horror, comic book) that stays within the boundaries of that genre, while pushing racial and gender boundaries.
The same, but different. Good on you for figuring it out, Jordan Peele.
Editor: If you’re scoring at home, Chris went 15 for 23, and half those misses were in the “easiest” or most-watched categories. He went out on a limb for Get Out and got bitten, but he absolutely nailed the technical categories. Thanks to our friend!