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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Editing

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Editing

Warner Bros.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Editing

As much hash was made out of the Golden Globes's decision to file Get Out as a comedy, there were surprisingly few skeptical words directed toward the same taxonomy being given to Baby Driver or I, Tonya. After all, if there are two things as funny as the systemic devaluation of black Americans by purportedly well-meaning white power-holders, they would have to be Kevin Spacey taking a sensitive young thing under his wing and a talented working-class woman being exploited and beaten down by her family, husband, and the snobby gatekeepers adjudicating her field. The ACE Awards similarly didn't feel any compunction about grouping those three films together as comedies, even throwing noted side-splitter Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri into the same classification, a bridge too far for even the Hollywood Foreign Press Association—and we expect Oscar voters as well.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Director

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Director

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Director

“Since childhood, I've been faithful to monsters. I have been saved and absolved by them, because monsters, I believe, are patron saints of our blissful imperfection, and they allow and embody the possibility of failing,” said Guillermo del Toro while receiving his award for best director earlier this year at the Golden Globes. It's a beautiful sentiment that goes a long way toward explaining the appeal of the filmmaker's The Shape of Water. Case in point, the comment left by one Marisa Damele to a Variety article announcing that del Toro had been selected to head the jury at the next Venice Film Festival: “Guillermo del Toro knows how to make us realize, with every one of his films, that some monsters have beauty inside, while some good looking humans are hiding a monster in their interior. Not everything is what it looks like. See through the package. This is the message. He is brilliant.”

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Production Design

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Production Design

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Production Design

In a weird double-dipping twist of fate, the nominees behind Beauty and the Beast and Darkest Hour will be competing against themselves in two separate Oscar categories. That could spell hard luck for production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer (as it could also for costume designer Jacqueline Durran in her category). Still, production design winners have traditionally skewed more toward the plummy and the plush, and both of Greenwood and Spencer's vehicles over-qualify in that regard. But neither film successfully amalgamates its overall look into the mise-en-scène itself; instead, both deploy their baroque sets to distract from the hollowness of their thematic surroundings. There's an argument to be made that Blade Runner 2049 is guilty of the same, just on the other, more Film Twitter-friendly side of the coin. But we're of the opinion that Dennis Gassner, a previous winner for Bugsy, actually finds cunning ways to walk back from the occasionally shallow excesses of the 1982 Ridley Scott original, adding gravity without sacrificing any dystopian opulence. (It's the 2046 to the original's In the Mood for Love, if you prefer.) The original Blade Runner infamously lost to Gandhi, and many other years would find us putting our money on Academy members voting to, like Quantum Leap's Dr. Sam Beckett, put right what once went wrong. But not this year, which will see the AMPAS going back in time for entirely different reasons.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Original Score

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Original Score

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Original Score

At 48 years old, Jóhann Jóhannsson tragically died last week. A still-flourishing talent in the field of movie scoring, Jóhannsson was nominated twice for an Oscar, and we predicted that he would take the trophy for his work on The Theory of Everything. But that he lost his second bid for his brilliant work on Sicario to Ennio Morricone, who at 87 years of age and on his sixth nomination was finally given his due, points to the tendency for this category to withhold making endorsements that only Rip Van Winkle would characterize as hasty. Which explains how John Williams earned a record-extending 51st nomination this year, and for now the fifth time lightly reworking his leitmotifs for the Star Wars franchise.

2018 Oscar Nominations: The Shape of Water Leads Field, James Franco Shut Out, & Rachel Morrison Makes History

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2018 Oscar Nominations: The Shape of Water Leads Field, James Franco Shut Out, & Rachel Morrison Makes History

Fox Searchlight Pictures

2018 Oscar Nominations: The Shape of Water Leads Field, James Franco Shut Out, & Rachel Morrison Makes History

Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning amid what had been proving to be one of the more unpredictable awards seasons in years, until the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards marched in lockstep in multiple categories, turning hopefuls into frontrunners. Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water led the nomination count with 13, followed by Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk with eight, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with seven, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread and Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour with six.

Phantom Thread, Slant’s number one film of 2017, made a surprisingly strong showing, with Anderson claiming his second nomination for best director (we predicted McDonagh to fall short in this category but anticipated Sean Baker to take his spot) and Lesley Manville sneaking into the race over SAG nominees Holly Hunter and Hong Chau. But perhaps the biggest surprise of the morning was James Franco failing to be nominated for The Disaster Artist, proving that Oscar voters who were late in filing their nomination ballots took into account the allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor.

Elsewhere, Rachel Morrison became the first woman in the Academy’s history to be nominated for best cinematography, for her work on Dee Ree’s Mudbound, while Meryl Streep was nominated for the 21st time in her career, extending a record that seems likely to stand for time immemorial.

2018 Oscar Nomination Predictions

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2018 Oscar Nomination Predictions

A24

2018 Oscar Nomination Predictions

The Academy Awards will be televised later than normal this year, so that the world can pay tribute to Adam Rippon making that money and earning another check at the Olympics. Normally this delay would spark even more angst than usual about how the awards season perennially makes the Oscars yesterday’s news before they’ve even had a chance to weigh in with their nominations, but we aren’t despairing. The main reason for that is we’re still enjoying the opportunity to accurately gauge AMPAS’s overdue transition from old-guard to new-guard voters. If Moonlight’s thrilling upset victory over La La Land two minutes after the best picture prize was incorrectly called for the latter left everyone’s heads spinning, we still don’t know how sweeping the Academy’s membership truly is or how far-reaching its effects will be. Nor does anyone else. Behold the gazillion nominations it took to make the Broadcast Film Critics Association—i.e., the only professional Oscar prognosticators who’ve managed to dupe the world into believing they’re actually an awards group—feel as though they could sleep at night. Until proven otherwise, we see no reason not to be optimistic about the Grand Pooh-Bah of film prizes’ potential for further underdog surprises.
 

The 10 Most-Read Slant Articles of 2017

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The 10 Most-Read Slant Articles of 2017

Warner Bros.

The 10 Most-Read Slant Articles of 2017

Determining Slant’s most popular articles of the year wasn’t easy. What’s the best measurement of what our readers are most interested in? Time spent on a page isn’t a reliable metric, as evidenced by the leader in that race: page two of the search results for “Visconti.” The articles with the most comments merely reflected the rabidity of a particular fanbase’s obsession with aggregated scores. Ultimately, the ratio between unique and absolute pageviews was relatively consistent, so we opted for the latter. Some of the results took us by surprise: An average star rating led to our most-read—err, looked at—article of the year. And our most popular TV recap was for a mid-season episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race (maybe it was the inclusion of the word “Kardashian” in the title, fodder for my long-ignored suggestion that Slant would be better off covering celebrity gossip). In the end, though, this list comprises most of what we do best: incisive critique of film, TV, and music, awards soothsaying, and—with one of our three-week-old 2017 lists eking its way into the Top 10—listology. Hell, maybe in the next 24 hours, this one will make the cut too. Now that would be meta! Alexa Camp
 

Understanding Screenwriting #57: The Concert, Cairo Time, A Film Unfinished, & More

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Understanding Screenwriting #57: <em>The Concert</em>, <em>Cairo Time</em>, <em>A Film Unfinished</em>, & More
Understanding Screenwriting #57: <em>The Concert</em>, <em>Cairo Time</em>, <em>A Film Unfinished</em>, & More

Coming Up In This Column: The Concert, Cairo Time, A Film Unfinished, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, Dunkirk, I Was Monty’s Double, Rizzoli & Isles, Burn Notice but first…

Fan Mail: I think that it is only fair that since David Ehrenstein caught me misspelling Charles Walters’s last name as Waters some time ago I mention that in his comments on US#56 he misspelled Robert Rossen’s last name as Rosson. It is an honest mistake, since there was a family of Rossons connected with the business, the most notable being Harold, who was a great cinematographer from 1915 to 1967. I am not as crazy about Rossen’s Lillith (1964) as David is, but I agree that They Came to Cordura (1959) is a very interesting film, and I had thought about mentioning it in the item on Edge of Darkness, since it deals with the issues of heroism and cowardness. As for Rossen’s Alexander the Great (1956), it is not without its interest, but Rossen runs into the same problem Oliver Stone did in his 2004 film Alexander: Alexander had an epic life, but not a very dramatic one: He conquered the world and then he died.

The Concert (2009. Screenplay by Radu Mihaileanu and Alain-Michel Blanc in collaboration with Matthew Robbins, adaptation and dialogue by Radu Mihaileanu, based on a story by Héctor Cabello Reyes and Thierry Degrandi. 119 minutes.)

Worth the wait: This was the film that my wife and I intended to see when we ended up at Get Low (see US#55), and it is certainly more lighthearted than that film. This is one of the most purely entertaining movies of the year, and it’s also more than that in some rather sneaky ways. Before we get into all of that, I do need to warn you about the plot. As Michael Brooke so elegantly put it in his review in the August 2010 Sight & Sound, the “premise alone generates enough plot holes to accommodate an entire fleet of articulated lorries doing three-point turns.” A former conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, now working as a janitor, intercepts a fax to the company director requesting the orchestra play a concert in a theater in Paris. Alexi, the conductor, rounds up a collection of his old musician friends, goes to Paris and gives a triumphant concert, with no rehearsal and with a young French violinist, Anne-Marie, playing a Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto she has never played before. Watch out for those articulated lorries!