Editorials

2018 Oscars Recap

The 90th Academy Awards are in the books and I must say it was a pretty damn good show. Celebrating the greatest in film over the last year, it was a night of glitter and glam where statements were made and career milestones were celebrated. Let’s take a look back at the 2018 Oscar winners and highlights! If you’d like to skip my (admittedly rather extensive) write-up on the show you can skim right to the bottom where the list of winners will be waiting and you can view my predictions for the show here as well. Otherwise it’s time to look at some of the most memorable moments of the evening. Let me know in the comments what you thought of the show and how many Oscar winners you got right!

THE WINNERS

Let’s start right off looking at who took home the golden statuettes this year. If you read by predictions you’ll know I had a near 90% on my Oscar card after examining 19 categories, minus the short films and documentaries. Only three of my guesses for who WOULD win were wrong and two of the three I had wrong I guessed right on who SHOULD win. My only miss was for production design where I had predicted that “Blade Runner 2049” would come out on top and should come out on top but “The Shape of Water” pulled it off leaving me with only one category where I guessed completely wrong.

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Some of the awards were pretty obvious to say the least starting with “Dunkirk”. The Christopher Nolan picture won for best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing as well as film editing which were much deserved given the film’s use of timelines and sounds to tell the story rather than dialogue. Another Best Picture nominee “Call Me by Your Name” won for Best Adapted Screenplay while “Phantom Thread” won for costume design and “Darkest Hour” for makeup. All of these awards were expected by most polls at the beginning of the night. In fact, many of the small awards proved to be very predictable as it seemed that many categories had at least one nominee practically built around the theme of that prize. Other small award wins included “Blade Runner 2049” for best Cinematography and Visual Effects making the sci-fi sequel one of only two live-action films to win awards on the night without being nominated for Best Picture. I’ll get to the second in a bit. “Blade Runner 2049’s” win striped gold away from the third and (for now) final entry in the modernized “Planet of the Apes” films, “War for the Planet of the Apes”, which was the favorite in the eyes of many after the first two had been robbed. This was one of the few major surprises of the night because, as I predicted was a possibility, the sci-fi epic “2049” had visual effects on a larger scale which could have swayed voters to give it the much deserved win.

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Some bigger prizes went to some of the best movies of 2018 not nominated for Best Picture, like the animated film honor. It was an easy win for “Coco” in two categories, Best Original Song for “Remember Me” and Best Animated Feature. The Pixar hit had little credible competition against it and was a shoe in to win the animated category, although it had to beat “The Greatest Showman’s” “This is Me” in order to bring home its original song honor. While it didn’t get a Best Picture nod “I, Tonya” earned Allison Janney her first Oscar in her first nomination as Tonya Harding’s mother making it the only other live action non-documentary or short film other that “Blade Runner 2049” to earn an award on the night without being nominated for Best Picture. She also earned the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for the role.

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Despite these great wins the night was all about the Best Picture nominees for the most part. An interesting note is that only two movies in the Best Picture category failed to take home a prize over the course of the night. The only ones that walked away empty handed? “Lady Bird”, which was my pick for the best film of 2017, and “The Post”. In addition to the prizes won by “Dunkirk”, “Phantom Thread”, “Call Me by Your Name” and “Darkest Hour” already mentioned above “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” took home a pair of acting Oscars earning Sam Rockwell his overdue award for best supporting actor and Frances McDormand the expected best actress win. “Darkest Hour” earned an acting win for Gary Oldman in his second nomination while “Get Out” won for Original Screenplay, the first for Jordan Peele. Despite “Three Billboards”, which was a front runner from the Golden Globes, having the edge in some polls “The Shape of Water” took home the two biggest prizes of the night for Best Director and Best Picture in probably the most unpredictable category. The film also nabbed a Best Original Score award before the end of the show. The director and Best Picture awards are both firsts for Guillermo Del Toro who also won the director Golden Globe before “Three Billboards” stunned audiences by topping his romantic fantasy story a few months ago. I feel the Best Picture award was well earned and, honestly, I felt this this year’s top nominees were all great contenders. In a year where I got to see every nominee before the show for the very first time in my life it was a tough call but the polls and hype all pointed to two films and “The Shape of Water” was the one that took it all as I expected.

 

CAREER MILESTONES

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One of the biggest moments for me was Jordan Peele’s win for his original screenplay for the horror thriller “Get Out”, a film he said he stopped writing around 20 times before he finally finished it and hoped a studio would give it a chance. With the win Peele became the first African American to win the award, a huge moment for a show that has seen heavy criticism in recent years for a lack of racial diversity in its nominees. Peele’s win follows last year’s show where Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress both went to African Americans and while Peele would be the only black person to receive an award over the course of the night it was still a moment worth remembering and one that speaks to great things for the future of Hollywood as fans and performers alike seek diversity in the medium.

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Jordan Peele was not the only one who experienced an iconic career moment. Sam Rockwell started off the evening as the first major winner of the show and it was the actor’s first Oscar. The Best Supporting Actor winner took home one of the most deserving honors of the night in his first nomination for an Academy Award for his portrayal of a racist cop who turns his life around in “Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and many knew way ahead of time that he would win. It kjust felt inevitable. In his awards speech Rockwell made a point to honor his parents love for film that inspired him to love the art. Most touching of all however was a final note Rockwell made to dedicate his victory to Philip Seymore Hoffman. It was a quick moment, maybe even an afterthought, but a touching shout out to a great gone too soon all the same.

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It seemed thanking family was quite the theme for many, especially the men and specifically thanking their mothers. One of those winners was the much respected Gary Oldman who, as expected, took home the Best Actor win for “Darkest Hour”. It was a truly touching speech Oldman made thanking his mother for supporting his career and, knowing she was watching at home. He asked her to put the kettle on because he’s “bringing home and Oscar”. Does it get any sweeter than that? What a man. Oldman won his first Oscar in his second nomination and was a sentimental favorite for many to earn the award. Oldman has been a staple of cinema for a long time and has become, and I mean literally become many different characters over the course of his career. To see him win, and get emotional at that, was truly inspiring and one of the most heartwarming moments of the entire night.

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Allison Janney earned her first Oscar in her first nomination as well, completing a trifecta of acting wins on the night that were all firsts. Janney, always a comedian, joked that she did it all by herself but then recanted and said that wasn’t further from the truth. it was by far one of the most lighthearted speeches in a night filled with significance and emotional depth. While I didn’t think she was the most deserving in the category, she was a very worthy winner all the same and again she thanked her parents for their support. Janney’s speech was humble and short and respectable, and it was great to see such a talented actress hit a career milestone she’ll likely never forget. So congrats to her on a career first.

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The final first-time winner in the major awards was director Guillermo del Toro, a man who many see as one of the modern greats and, surprisingly, had never received an Academy Award nomination in the top two categories before. It was his first chance at director and his first movie to receive a Best Picture nod. Despite losing the original screenplay award to Jordan Peele, Del Toro won the night’s biggest honors and made history in the big and small pictures. Not only did he etch his name in the records books as a winner in general, it was the third year i nthe last four years that a Mexican director has won the award for directing after Alejandro G. Iñárritu won the award back to back in 2015 and 2016. Always humble, Del Toro urged future filmmakers to keep dreaming as they approach the art and seemed truly taken aback and humbled during both of his speeches in the top two categories. To see Del Toro come out on top was truly exciting and on a night where Best Picture was one of the most competitive awards to come out with the win would have been a prideful moment for anyone. When you further consider that many of the directors saw Best Picture nominations for the first time Del Toro’s victory could be the start of a new wave of talent that will hopefully bring out the best in Hollywood for years to come.

 

 

WOMEN TAKING CHARGE

One of the best parts of the award ceremony for me was that it managed to balance a lot of emotion while also acting as a glamorous night to celebrate the highlights of the year in cinema. One of the major complaints about last year’s show was the overindulgent Trump bashing which was kept to a respectable minimum in the 90th installment. Instead most of the action was about moving forward in Hollywood and celebrating accomplishments in the wake of the “Time’s Up” and “Me Too” movement and in celebration of some amazing firsts in the shows history.

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Feminism was a strong theme over the course of the night. While “The Post” was also left empty handed despite being a Best Picture contender, “Lady Bird” was always a much bigger favorite and included a female director to boot, the only one in the field for the director award. Emma Stone made note of this when presenting the directing honor complimenting “the gentlemen and Greta Gerwig” nominated for the honor before opening the envelope that revealed Del Toro the winner. It was a powerful and simple statement about the disparity of women in the category. It was, after all, the first woman to be nominated in eight years. However, possibly the biggest statement of the night was by Best Actress winner Frances McDormand who won her second Oscar and stormed the stage to make it clear she had something to say. She requested every single female nominee stand to be recognized and made a statement to Hollywood, these ladies are here, and they have stories to tell to give them a chance. She finished her speech with two words, inclusion rider. She later explained off screen that this is an option filmmakers have to demand diversity in their films. It’s something McDormand, despite her years in the business, never new about and made a point to make it known in her speech for the top female-based award of the night. In the wake of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements and the increased call for diversity in Hollywood this was a powerful statement to make and McDormand handled it fearlessly and with attitude. It’s clear that the women of the industry want to be recognized and respected and much like the “Oscar So White” movement a few years ago these powerful statements from Stone and McDormand might just do the trick.

The fact that so many legendary women were also involved in awarding the honors over the course of the night also made that statement clear. The ladies of cinema are here to stay and make themselves known more than ever.

 

THE COMEDY AND HOST

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For me Jimmy Kimmel had a solid night as host. Last year Kimmel brought politics to the stage and played off of Donald Trump’s war with the titans of the big screen, but thankfully this year he kept it less political, save for a few jabs including one admittedly funny joke about Oscar being 90 years old and thus at home watching Fox News.

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The ceremony started with Kimmel’s monologue where he joked about last years debacle with the Best Picture winners and, again, made a few light politically charged jokes. It did get weird when Kimmel decided to take on the “Time’s Up” and “Me Too” movements, despite me reading he had planned to stray away from those, and examined the statue of Oscar noting him to be a literal “statue of limitations”. It got a few laughs from both men and women in the building and I have to admit it was a pretty funny joke. Kimmel then balance this out speaking about the importance of the movement and keeping it in good taste. I give him credit for doubling back to speak about the need for positivity on the night and it seemed like he wanted to make light of the situation without making fun of it in its entirety. It might not have gone over with everyone but it went over well with me and showed Hollywood does have a good sense of humor.

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The one thing I kind of disliked about Kimmel’s hosting duties however was a twist at the end of his monologue. Seemingly to poke fun at the length of the night, the award winner that gave the shortest acceptance speech would go home with a new jet ski. I know Kimmel tried to explain it was all in good fun, but this to me was just kind of stupid. The inclusion of a prize for the person who didn’t drag the show on longer than expected was a little too on the nose about how the show drags and kind of insulted the point of giving speeches in the first place at these shows. How much money did Suzuki have to pay to get that kind of advertising…I mean really? Not only was it a blatant attempt by the Academy to try and keep the speeches short in a tasteful manner it was a blatant advertisement at that…Maybe I’m taking it too seriously but that was the one part of the night that annoyed the heck out of me.

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Finally, there was the cutaway to Kimmel surprising moviegoers by bringing stars to a theater to thank the moviegoing public. The viewers were watching a showing of “A Wrinkle in Time” and Kimmel brought a selection of actors to thank the fans for their support. In some ways I enjoyed this, in others not so much. It was great for Kimmel and the present actors and filmmakers to show up and thank these fans in person, but it was also very time consuming in an already lengthy show. You spend part of your monologue talking about the show being long and offering an award for shorter speeches and then you waste more time on your own? I have to say though wasting time to thank the fans like myself and you, my readers, is a good waste of time and it was a lot more memorable than Kimmel’s shtick from last year so while the hypocrisy annoyed me a bit I give it a pass and admit it was a pretty cool part of the night.

Overall I felt like Kimmel did a good job and matched his 2017 stint as host if not improved on it. I don’t mind him being the man in charge of the ceremony, but it might be time for some new blood. Kimmel didn’t do bad, but I feel like the novelty is wearing off a bit with him at the Oscars and that after two shows we kind of know what to expect and I’d like to see a new face bring something fresh to the ceremony. Too much of  a good thing isn’t always a good thing. We’ll see who gets to be part of the 91st show next year.

 

CONCLUSION

I did enjoy the 90th Academy Awards and thought it was a solid show. I have no qualms with any of the winners, most of which I picked, and while I think Kimmel did a good job it might be time to see someone knew fill the shoes. All the same, careers were redefined, points were made and messages sent in a night celebrating the best of cinema in 2018. I know this has been a long post, but hey it’s a long show, and if you’ve gotten this far I thank you so much for reading. Let me know what you thought of the show in the comments below and also let me know how many winners you called at the end of the night!

 

 

Winners of the 90th Academy Awards (Not counting documentaries and short films):

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Allison Janney, I, Tonya

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLINGDarkest Hour

COSTUME DESIGN Phantom Thread

SOUND EDITING – Dunkirk

SOUND MIXINGDunkirk

PRODUCTION DESIGN The Shape of Water

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM – Coco

VISUAL EFFECTSBlade Runner 2049

FILM EDITING – Dunkirk

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Jordan Peele, Get Out

CINEMATOGRAPHYBlade Runner 2049

ORIGINAL SCORE– The Shape of Water

ORIGINAL SONG – “Remember Me” from Coco

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE – Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST DIRECTOR – Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

BEST PICTURE– The Shape of Water

 

 

 

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