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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (#110 of 6)

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 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.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Actress

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Actress

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Actress

Is Frances McDormand's Mildred in Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film about a woman's vigilante efforts to get justice for her murdered daughter by publicly shaming the town's police for failing to sufficiently investigate the crime, made of Teflon? Case in point: After throwing Molotov cocktails into the town's police station, setting it ablaze, the only reprimand she receives after being provided with the flimsiest of alibis is the side-eye of the town's temporary police chief.

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.
 

Hope and Chaos: The Sixth Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival

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Hope and Chaos: The Sixth Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival

Forager Films

Hope and Chaos: The Sixth Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival

Watching Australian director Jennifer Peedom’s Mountain one morning at the sixth annual Los Cabos International Film Festival, I was struck by the fullness of the auditorium and by the prominence of children in the audience. Peedom’s film is an essayistic documentary about humankind’s relationship with mountains all over the world, with tender, ruefully poetic narration (spoken by Willem Dafoe) that emphasizes how our appreciation of nature can morph into an urge to conquer it, rendering the wild another of the controlled habitats from which we seek refuge. Mountain isn’t what Americans would designate a “children’s film,” as we have a habit of parking young ones in front of whatever A.D.D.-afflicted cartoon happens to be topping the box office at any given moment. It was gratifying to see such a varied audience turn out for Mountain, imparting hope as to the communal possibilities of cinema in the 21st century. Of course, many of the children were whispering and running around the theater, seemingly bored with the film in front of them, but at least they evinced some effort and curiosity.