Oscarathon 2018: Oscar Forecast Megathread – Creative Awards

In All, Movies by DavidLeave a Comment

Now that Oscar nominations and some of the bigger awards have rolled out, true Oscar prognosticating can begin, as Oscarathon 2018 continues. Just like last year there are going to be four major posts that will be continuously updated after different points in the awards race. I’ll be adding new thoughts on each race as information comes out so you can see how each event changes the race as we go along. The first megathread discussed the Big Six awards. Now this second megathread covers the the awards I have classified as the Creative Awards.

  • Production Design category updated with ADG results.
  • Adapted and Original Screenplay categories are updated with the results of the WGA, Satellite, and USC Scripter Awards
  • All categories except for Original Song updated with BAFTA results
  • Updated Costume category with CDGA Results

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

Come on over for the party, but don’t expect to win, The Big Sick.

Current Rankings

  1. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Misouri
  2. Jordan Peele, Get Out
  3. Guillermo del Toro (story by as well) & Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
  4. Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  5. Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick

Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should Win: The Big Sick (really, any of these are fine, this is a great category)

Should Have Been Nominated: This is the correct list. Though if Phantom Thread had made it instead of one of these films, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal.

Analysis

Initial Thoughts:

This is a stacked category. Virtually all the best picture contenders were in this category. Which meant there were going to be a lot of films left out, and that makes it hard to say anything was really snubbed. These were the best five scripts to pick, ultimately, but I will admit I feel a bit of sadness that Phantom Thread couldn’t pull off this nomination (it is a mild surprise that it got a directing nomination over this one, as the script has actually won awards this season, while the direction has not). In other years, The Post, Dunkirk, or even Darkest Hour might have pulled off a nomination, if it wasn’t such a stacked field. This also goes for near-miss Best Picture nominees like I, Tonya and The Florida Project. Pixar offered up another fine contender in Coco, while The Square probably would have gotten a lot more consideration in a year with fewer Best Picture contenders in this category.

All this might make it look like this category went much more conventional in its picks than normal, but really, it is more that the Best Picture nominees are less conventional than normal. Plus, as I said, the best five got picked, and honestly, it is conceivable that any of these scripts could win, which is always a rare sight. More importantly, this category might hold the key to the entire Best Picture race. Every film in this category other than The Big Sick can be said to have real Best Picture aspirations. The Screenplay Oscar has become the most important indicator of the Best Picture winner since the turn of the century, so the winner of this category might have the inside track to being crowned at the end of Oscar night.

Maybe the Favorite?

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

If I had to pick a favorite right now, I would very, very tepidly go with Three Billboards. It won the Golden Globe and AACTA in a combined category and probably has the most momentum at this time. I emphasize the fact that it is the favorite at this moment, and that could change exceptionally quickly. This film was ineligible for a WGA nomination, which, while not a death sentence for its Oscar chances, it isn’t good either. Add in that this film has been losing the momentum it gained from the Golden Globes and AACTA win, most notably to The Shape of Water, and it seems clear that Three Billboards has a very tenuous hold on this slot. This film could really use a BAFTA win at this point in order to hang on to pole position.

This is what 13 nominations gets you.

The Shape of Water

The biggest thing going for The Shape of Water right now is that it is the favorite for Best Picture. That, and the whole near-record tying 13 nominations, which makes it a candidate to sweep a lot of awards if voters just vote for everything it is nominated for. The biggest problem for this film is that, while it has been racking up screenplay nominations across the board, it has yet to really win anything in this category. This makes it very similar to what happened last year with La La Land, which was good enough to get nominations but never won. Still, The Shape of Water has the most overall momentum of any film right now, and that could carry it to victory in this category. The WGAs are vital for this movie. If it can get a win, it will show it has a real chance to win come Oscar time, but without a win, this movie is going to have a lot of historical indicators to overcome in pursuit of not just this win, but Best Picture as well.

Also might be the favorite…

Lady Bird

Get Out

These two films are in the same position. Both have a chance at Best Picture, but are likely to come up short. Both are films made by the singular vision of their writer/directors, in Gerwig and Peele respectively, and thus the Academy is going to want to award them in some way. The best opportunity to get both of these films an Oscar is right here, now that the acting races are all out of hand. This means both of these films could get this award, and it is not outside the realm of possibility that either of these films could pull a Spotlight and win Best Picture with only a win in Original Screenplay as its other Oscar. The WGAs will tell us a lot about these films and likely give us a real idea which one is the better bet right now. If I had to pick one right now, I would go with Get Out. It won the Critics Choice Award for Original Screenplay and it got a BAFTA nomination that Lady Bird did not get.

At least it got the nomination

The Big Sick

This might be the best script of the five, but it is just lucky to get this nomination. The category is too stacked, so Gordon and Nanjiani should just enjoy the party, because they probably aren’t winning. Still, the script is so good, maybe have some plan in case something really weird happens. Overall, it is nice this film pulled off this nomination, and that the Academy resisted forcing another Best Picture nominee into this category just for the hell of it.

Satellite Awards:

Usually I really only fine the Satellite Awards useful for the acting categories and some of the creative and technical categories that don’t have as many other indicators, but this one time it felt significant because the winner was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The International Press Academy is likely not going to be affected by political and social pressures of the United States so take this with a grain of salt, but this is a kind of major award for Three Billboards and shows any backlash could be overlooked by certain groups. Whether that is enough to matter remains to be seen, but this win does mean something at this point.

WGA Awards Update:

Even if it might have only won because of Three Billboards not being included this is a huge win for Jordan Peele and Get Out. It establishes this film as at worst the next choice to Three Billboards, and this is looking more and more like the best place to get Peele an Oscar, which the Academy would likely hope to do. This makes Get Out a light favorite at the moment until we see what happens with BAFTA.

BAFTA Awards Update:

Three Billboards fires back with a momentum changing win that thrusts it back into the driver seat for this award, and positions it strongly for the Best Picture race. Get Out could still very easily win here, and really considering without it Get Out isn’t winning anything you could argue it is still the favorite, but Three Billboards has the claim to the most momentum and has now beaten Get Out at both BAFTA and the Globes.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

At least Logan got one nomination… Just look at that beautiful writing.

Current Rankings:

  1. James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
  2. Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, Mudbound
  3. Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
  4. Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
  5. Scott Frank & James Mangold (Story by as well) and Michael Green, Logan

Will Win: Call Me By Your Name

Should Win: … Call Me By Your Name (sorry, Logan, this is the one bridge I can’t die on)

Should Have Been Nominated: Also a good list. Good job, Academy, but I guess First They Killed My Father

Analysis

Initial Thoughts:

Last year every spot in this category was filled by Best Picture nominees. This year there is only one such nominee, in the form of Call Me By Your Name. This led to a wide open category that had some inspired choices that usually happen in the Original Screenplay category. Once again, the choices were likely the correct ones (or, well, as correct as they can be when an Aaron Sorkin script is involved), and just like the Original category, there is a case to be made for each of the nominated films actually winning. So it is hard to say there were really any snubs, but First They Killed My Father getting completely shut out overall at the Oscars is a bit of a surprise, and this would have been a good place to get it a nomination. This is also the case with Wonder Woman, which not only missed out on a nomination here, but was completely shut out from any nominations. Without the pressure of any of these films winning Best Picture (sorry, Call Me By Your Name), this category might offer one of the few chances for a real surprise on this night. All of the nominated films were also nominated for the USC Scripter Awards, so the winner of that may go a long way in giving some real clarity to this race.

The Lone Best Picture Nominee

Call Me By Your Name

It can always be tough to pick one of the screenplay categories, because so many of the awards combine into one mega category, so if an original screenplay keeps winning there it offers no help on Adapted, and vice versa. That has happened this year, so there is not a lot to go off of for Adapted, because original screenplays have dominated the award season so far. That said, there is some data, and through it we can see that Call Me By Your Name is the clear favorite right now. It won the Critics’ Choice Award for Adapted Screenplay, and got BAFTA and Satellite Award nominations. Add in it being the lone Best Picture contender in this category and that this is by far the best place to get this movie an Oscar, and this is the script to beat right now. There is also the fact that writer James Ivory became the oldest person every nominated for an Oscar, which could come into play as this would be his first Oscar if he can win. Overall, this films hold on this spot is not strong at all, though, and if the WGAs, USC Scripter Awards, and/or BAFTA offer a different winner, this race could change quite a bit.

Netflix’s Chance

Mudbound

This nomination, along with Mary J. Blige’s Supporting Actress nomination, is a win in and of itself for Netflix, because it proved that the Oscars will nominate more than just Netflix’s documentaries. So it might be a bit much to expect any more, but considering how wide open this category is for the most part, Mudbound could really build a narrative by the time voting happens. Especially when you factor in how much money Netflix is going to put into trying to win here. Mudbound did get a Critics’ Choice Awards nomination, so it has had support before; with the Academy’s desire to have more diverse winners, this could be the perfect storm for the movie.

Thy Name is Sorkin

Molly’s Game

If Molly’s Game had gotten a Best Picture nomination, it might even be the favorite here, with the love the Academy has for Aaron Sorkin, but even without that nomination this film has a strong chance of winning. Other than Call Me By Your Name it is the only film to get BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and Satellite nominations. This film’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t have a great narrative to go along with it, like the other nominees that make it not quite the sexy pick for this award. (Also, it’s mediocre Sorkin at best, which we can only hope hurts its chances. – Ed)

Inspired Choices that are not winning

The Disaster Artist

Logan

These are the two nominations that make this category really work, but that is all they are, ultimately–nomination fillers. Highly impressive nomination fillers that both have an outside chance of winning this award, but in the end likely just two films that will be happy to be there. The Disaster Artist pulled off a nomination despite all of the James Franco bad press and Logan became the first super hero film since The Dark Knight get a major nomination. So both already defied lots of odds to get a nomination, and will just be happy to be there.

USC Scripter Awards Update:

Call Me By your Name adds an all important win that shifts it from favorite to strong favorite. The USC Scripter Awards have correctly matched with the Oscars every year since 2009 (where Up in the Air lost because Jason Reitman is an asshole and the Academy punished him for it) so unless the WGAs do something different this is likely where Call Me By Your Name is getting its Oscar.

Satellite Awards:

The only reason I feel this is worth mentioning is that Call Me By Your Name didn’t actually win instead The Disaster Artist pulled off the upset. I doubt that means much honestly going forward, but it does show that Call Me By Your Name can lose even if the chances of it happening again are unlikely.

WGA Awards Update:

That should wrap up this race as Call Me By Your Name‘s win pretty much assures James Ivory is going to be win an Oscar at the age of 89. It would be his first Oscar and make him the oldest person to win a competitive Oscar (a record that was just set by Ennio Marcone in 2016 when Maracone was 87). Unless BAFTA does something weird this is likely one of the most obvious locks going into the Oscars.

BAFTA Awards Update:

James Ivory picks up another award as he continues his journey to the Oscar stage and this is probably the lock of the night at this point.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

That’s right, you can be a winner!

Current Ranking

  1. Paul Denham Austerberry (Production Design); Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin (Set Decoration), The Shape of Water
  2. Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Alessandra Querzola (Set Decoration), Blade Runner 2049
  3. Sarah Greenwood (Production Design); Katie Spencer (Set Decoration), Beauty and the Beast
  4. Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration), Dunkirk
  5. Sarah Greenwood (Production Design); Katie Spencer (Set Decoration), Darkest Hour

Will Win: Blade Runner 2049

Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

Should Have Been Nominated: Star Wars: The Last Jedi or Logan

Analysis

Initial Thoughts:

As always, this category is weird, with the Art Director’s Guild offering up 15 potential nominations. The contemporary category was shut out of any nominations, which meant that among others, three Best Picture contenders in Lady Bird, Get Out, and Three Billboards missed out on nominations; as did Logan (sadly) and Downsizing, which other than Best Supporting Actress missed out on the only nomination it might have deserved. Period pieces scored the most nominations, with three, as only ADG nominees Murder on the Orient Express and The Post missed out. Meanwhile, the Fantasy Film Category provided the other two films, but the Academy left out The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman, and War for the Planet of the Apes. Period films tend to get a leg up in this category, but that has continued to shift lately, although last year might be a bad indicator, seeing as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them got to be both a Fantasy and Period film, which helped it pull off the win. All five of these nominees also got a BAFTA nomination, so that award could tell who the favorite is, as it did last year with Fantastic Beasts.

The Two Favorites

Blade Runner 2049

The Shape of Water

The case for both of these movies is compelling. Both of them are the only ones of this group to also get nominations from the Satellite Awards. They both profile well compared to most recent winners. Blade Runner follows the Mad Max: Fury Road model of creating an immersive and well-designed futuristic fantasy world, while The Shape of Water follows more of the Fantastic Beast model of being both a Period and Fantasy movie. The Shape of Water benefits from its 13 nominations, but it must be said that Blade Runner got five nominations on the technical and design side, and could be in line to rack up all of those awards. BAFTA is likely going to be the real key in telling us what is the favorite between these two, but it is clear as of now that they are the two frontrunners.

The Fantasy Period Disney Special

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast has a similar case that The Shape of Water has, but more so, as both its Fantasy and Period elements are heightened compared to The Shape of Water. Disney would love to add an award to the second highest grossing film of last year, so they will support Beauty and the Beast here. The real question is whether it will be a boon or not that the team of Greenwood and Spencer pulled off a double nomination in this category. The voters may decide the team deserves the award for their overall work on both films, but the question is whether they will all agree on the movie to award. So it is hard to have more than a minor degree of confidence in this movie unless it can win somewhere else first.

The British War Movies

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

The cases here are basically identical, as both films are British period pieces covering events in WWII. Either could win, but it is rather hard to distinguish between the two at this point. The only real thing to say is that if Dunkirk was to make a real run at Best Picture, it would need to rack up awards like this, so if it did win that could be a part of a bigger trend.

ADG Awards Update:

Well, that didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know. Blade Runner 2049 won for Fantasy Film, while The Shape of Water won for Period Film, so the two are still neck and neck. Logan as a matter of record pulled off the Contemporary category, but it didn’t get nominated for the Oscar, so that has no real bearing on the race, and is more just an excuse for me to say Logan won something. This is a real blow to Beauty and the Beast, which really needed this win to get into this race. So the big thing the ADG Awards showed us is that Blade Runner 2049 and The Shape of Water are even more the favorites than previously thought, and it would be pretty shocking if anything other than those two won. Still, BAFTA is still to come, and that could change the complexion of this race, or at the very least give us a true favorite between the two frontrunners.

Satellite Awards:

Considering how tight this race is at the top, any bit of extra information helps so The Shape of Water pulling off the win shows that it drew first blood in the standoff with Blade Runner 2049. This likely this gives The Shape of Water a slight edge, but BAFTA is likely going to be a much better indicator so don’t get too caught up in this victory.

BAFTA Awards Update:

Another win for The Shape of Water, and it has taken firm control of this race as it has now beat Blade Runner 2049 twice now. Blade Runner 2049 could still win this, but The Shape of Water is likely adding this to its Oscar haul come Oscar Sunday at this point.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Fine, you can have one acknowledgement from me, Darkest Hour.

Current Ranking

  1. Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick, Darkest Hour
  2. Arjen Tuiten, Wonder
  3. Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard, Victoria and Abdul

Will Win: Darkest Hour

Should Win: Uggggh, why does this category continue to suck? I guess Darkest Hour, because Gary Oldman is completely unrecognizable. (Gary Oldman is a human chameleon even without makeup. Look behind you–that chair is secretly Gary Oldman in disguise. That lamp? Also Gary Oldman. As you look in the mirror, you realize with gleeful terror that you have always been Gary Oldman, and Gary Oldman has always been you. – Ed)

Should Have Been Nominated: Like, anything that did something inventive! Like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 or Bright or how about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets or hell even just give it to The Shape of Water if you are out of ideas, or as always Logan, since the Academy loves making people look old.

Analysis

Initial I Thoughts:

Well, at least this year the category didn’t more or less ignore the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, but this category still feels like it lacks in ambition, as it went rather conventional this time. It feels like a missed opportunity to include something like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 or Blade Runner 2049; at least then the category would have had some different looks in it. I know Bright has a lot of issues, but it probably should have made it in. This is one of the places that likely cost The Shape of Water its shot at tying the record for most nominations. Some might argue that Victoria and Abdul was the out of left field choice this year, considering its lack of MUAHS support, but even it feels like a conventional version of the weird picks that have been around this category in recent years. Still, the biggest thing that stands out is the fact that this category continues to only get three nominations, which just looks bad. Treat it like every other category and expand the nominee count, because right now way too many worthwhile movies don’t get properly honored for their contributions.

How much of this is the makeup and how much is it that Gary Oldman is a chameleon?

Darkest Hour

The MUAHS Awards will give a real answer to this, but right now Darkest Hour is the favorite. It is a Best Picture nominee, and scored three nominations for the MUAHS Awards for both Make-Up and Hairstyling in Period films and for Special Effects Make-Up. It also has a BAFTA nomination, and the added benefit that the buzziest recipient of the film’s Hair and Make-Up work, Gary Oldman, is likely to win Best Actor. This is a good place to give more awards to Darkest Hour, so don’t be surprised if that is what happens here.

Look at what they did to Jacob Tremblay’s face

Wonder

Also a recipient of three MUAHS nominations, just like Darkest Hour, only instead of being in the Period category Wonder is in the Contemporary category. It also got a BAFTA nomination, and could easily snatch the top spot if it can do well at MUAHS or win at the BAFTAs, but it lacks the buzz that Darkest Hour, placing Wonder a tick below that film. It could easily be argued to be a co-favorite, though.

Sure, why not?

Victoria and Abdul

The closest thing to a surprise, but it did get a BAFTA nomination, so this isn’t quite the same level of an out of right field pick as both last year and the year before had. It seems behind both Darkest Hour and Wonder right now, but could still win this, especially if the voters for the other two become split. Still, this film would have to get a BAFTA win in order to be taken truly seriously here.

BAFTA Awards Update:

Darkest Hour wins its showdown with Wonder and Victoria and Abdul, and now is a much clearer favorite than before. The MUAHS awards may offer something new to this, but it seems like that Darkest Hour will use this win just before Oscar voting starts to jet out to a lead that may be too much to overcome.

COSTUME DESIGN

I mean, look at those costumes. That dress game is on point.

Current Ranking

  1. Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread
  2. Luis Sequeira, The Shape of Water
  3. Jacqueline Durran, Beauty and the Beast
  4. Consolata Boyle, Victoria and Abdul
  5. Jacqueline Durran, Darkest Hour

Will Win: Phantom Thread

Should Win: Beauty and the Beast (the dresses pop the most)

Should Have Been Nominated: Blade Runner 2049

Analysis

Initial Thoughts:

Here is the Costume category I know and I guess tolerate because it is funny love. The days of Mad Max: Fury Road are in the past and replaced by prime dress game. This category has always at some level been known as the best dresses category, and although in the last three years this category has moved away from that, this really feels like a year where the dress game returns in all of its glory. Three of these nominees have maximum dress game, while the other two have period frocks that allow for some solid dress game of their own. This means we don’t get Blade Runner 2049 or Wonder Woman (which had battle garb and maximum dress game with attached sword, so this just feels weird) or The Last Jedi, among other worthy contenders. We also lost out on period films The Greatest Showman and Murder on the Orient Express. Kingmen’s: The Golden Circle and/or BAFTA nominee I, Tonya also could have been rare contemporary nominees, but both fell short. It is sad the category didn’t at least fit something weird in again, even if it wasn’t going to win, but if nothing else, we can all go back to picking this award by who had the best dress.

It is a movie about fashion… 

Phantom Thread

Seriously, this movie is about making the best dresses. It would be really weird for it to lose. This feels like the category that gets Phantom Thread one Oscar, but this is a tough category, so it can only be a tepid favorite right now. It has both BAFTA and CDG nominations, and should be in line for a big win as things stand now.

Actually has the best dresses

Beauty and the Beast

Don’t tell Phantom Thread, but this movie has the best dresses. Like, they pop in a way they simply don’t in Phantom Thread. Add in that the rest of the costumes are quite the showstopper, and this could end up very easily as a victory for the House of Mouse. Especially considering this film follows the Fantastic Beasts model of being a period film with fantasy elements (or vice versa, if that makes you feel better), which lets it cheat a little bit. It picked up CDG and BAFTA nominations, so wins there could help. The question is, as in Production Design, will the double nomination of Jacqueline Durran be more helpful or hurtful to her chances here? It will likely be much easier for voters to support Beauty and the Beast in this case, but until there is more data it will be hard to say for sure.

You just couldn’t resist that Victorian garb, could you, Academy?

Victoria and Abdul

Umm, yeah, this is classic Oscars for this category. Neither the CDG nor BAFTA nominated this movie (seriously, not even BAFTA), but the Academy could not resist the chance to celebrate Victorian garb. There is nothing data wise to suggest that this movie should be ranked above the rest, except that its dress game is out of control. Whether that is enough remains to be seen, but be careful counting this film out.

It’s not the quantity of dress game, but the quality of it.

The Shape of Water

This award feels like a harbinger of the kind of night The Shape of Water is going to have. It likely shouldn’t win here, but if it does, it is likely The Shape of Water is heading towards a huge night (this category was a huge indicator last year that La La Land was not in line for a huge night like everyone had once thought). If it loses, on the other hand, that could be the sign of a chaotic night. This film has the merits to win regardless, to be fair, with a CDGA and BAFTA nomination, but at this point it appears to be lagging behind, even if its one scene of magnificent dress game might be better than anything the other films in this category did (the rest of the costumes are good, too, I suppose).

Sure, why not?

Darkest Hour

Look, I hate to keep ragging on this movie, but Darkest Hour‘s huge nomination haul just feels like the worst tendencies of the Academy coming together in a boring way (at least the film isn’t trash, like The Imitation Game was). Still, this film did earn CDGA and BAFTA nominations, so it has a lot of support. It feels like it will be hard for voters to pick this film over Durran’s other nominee, which just has much better dress game. But Darkest Hour has a chance to win at CDGA and/or BAFTA and change this narrative, so that could shift really quickly.

Satellite Awards:

Similar to Production Design, with a lack of real data anything helps so Phantom Thread victory here further solidifies this movie is the favorite so you can be much more confident in this pick as of now.

BAFTA Awards Update:

Phantom Thread picks up the victory, and this movie about pretty dresses is heading towards an Oscar it was made to win. It is hard to see anything overcoming this film unless something drastic happens at the CDGAs.

CDGA Awards Update:

Well okay then that might change things as The Shape of Water beats Phantom Thread in the Period Category. The other winners aren’t relevant here as Fantasy winner Wonder Woman and Contemporary winner I, Tonya were not nominated. The CDGAs don’t have the best track record picking Oscar winners as it has only hit nine times in the shows 20 year history even though it has multiple categories. Likely this is because the costume designers are less obsessed with dresses than the Academy is. Still it doesn’t hurt, and suggests that The Shape of Water has some play here. Ultimately, Phantom Thread still has the edge, but if The Shape of Water ends up having a really great night this is a place you can look to as a barometer for success.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

Yeah, it didn’t get nominated, but whatever, just listen to it anyhow.

Current Rankings

  1. “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman; Music and Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  2. “Remember Me” from Coco; Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  3. “Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name; Music and Lyric by Sufjan Stevens
  4. “Mighty River” from Mudbound; Music and Lyric by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson
  5. “Stand Up For Something” from Marshall; Music by Diane Warren

Will Win: “This is Me”

Should Win: “Mystery of Love”

Should Have Been Nominated: Umm, I don’t know. I am not convinced “This is Me” is the right The Greatest Showman song, but not getting into that, so how about “The Crown Sleeps” from The Breadwinner

Analysis

Initial Thoughts:

This didn’t have quite the intrigue of last year, other than whether the Academy would shut out Beauty and the Beast even though it added new songs (which were, umm, something), and the answer ended up being yes, as “Evermore” and “How Does A Moment Last Forever” missed out on nominations. A chance for some star power was missed with the omission of “The Star” and “Home,” which prevented a chance for Mariah Carey and Nick Jonas (respectively) to come to the show and perform. It is a little sad that one of Patti Cake$‘s songs couldn’t get in, because of the story that would have been. Likewise, it was sad that The Breadwinner‘s “The Crown Sleep” fell short. The only real surprise is that there was no nominee that seemed to come out of nowhere, unlike past years.

We don’t need Justin Hurwitz

“This is Me”

I am not sure this is actually the best song from this movie, but it certainly is the best representation of it, so I will let it go. Pasek and Paul are back and looking for back-to-back wins, but without Justin Hurwitz around writing the music. The film won at the Golden Globes and got a Critics’ Choice nomination, and feels like the flashy pick that has a message of empowerment and unity that the Oscars will want to showcase.

Pixar did a musical!

“Remember Me”

After years of being anti-musical, Pixar finally offered one up in the form of Coco, to mostly fantastic results. This song is the core of that movie, and you have to wonder if the Academy will simply want to reward Pixar for doing a musical (as well as to get Disney another song Oscar). This is especially true if the Academy is uncomfortable with giving Pasek and Paul two wins in a row. This song won at the Critics’ Choice Awards and got a Golden Globe nomination, so it is at worst a slight underdog, and might be a co-favorite, considering this song is gong to reduce many people to tears with all the feels.

I wonder if anyone will notice this is the best song?

“Mystery of Love”

If James Ivory wasn’t the favorite to win Best Adapted Screenplay, you have to wonder if this song would get more play, seeing as it would be the best chance to get Call Me By Your Name an Oscar; but instead this song is being somewhat overlooked. This is a shame, because it is honestly the best song of the five, and one that truly fits this movie. Hopeful and sad all at the same time, it is still likely to come up short. It did get a Critics’s Choice Award nomination, but it is hard to see “Mystery of Love” winning. Hopefully it will at least get to actually play during the ceremony.

Get Mary J. Blige an Oscar?

“Mighty River”

This could be a sleeper pick, because it would give a way for the Academy to get an Oscar to Mary J. Blige to reward her for both this song and her strong performance in Mudbound. This is definitely something that has happened before, and you know Netflix is going to do all it can to make it happen. This song did get a Golden Globe nomination, so it is not like it came out of nowhere, so this might be a nominee worth monitoring.

Well, at least you got nominated.

“Stand Up For Something”

This song got a Critics’ Choice nomination, but it definitely feels like it has the least buzz of the nominees. Common and Diane Warren made the song, so this probably ended up being a way to honor a past winner and allow Diane Warren to get a ninth nomination (though she probably needs to win at some point for this to not get ridiculous). Also, this gets some extra star power at the Oscars while making this category more diverse, so win/win. It is a good song, but the highlight for it will likely be when it is performed live on stage.

Satellite Awards:

This is interesting because it was not “This is Me” or “Remember Me” that picked up the win here, but instead “Stand Up For Something.” Considering the pedigree that wrote this song it would be silly to completely count it out, and maybe the Academy will decide it is ready to finally give Diane Warren an Oscar. It is doubtful, but this shows some hope.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

It really is quite good.

Current Rankings

  1. Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
  2. Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
  3. Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
  4. John Williams, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  5. Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri

Will Win: The Shape of Water

Should Win: The Shape of Water

Should Have Been Nominated: Logan (back on the bridge, baby!)

Analysis

Initial Thoughts:

This is always a tough category, especially for newer composers, as there are just a number of composers that are more likely than not going to get nominations if they score something. This year, three such composers got nominations, in the form of John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Alexandre Desplat. This bumped out quite a few scores, including other ones by both Zimmer and Williams–most notably, Blade Runner 2049, a Zimmer score that he did along with Benjamin Wallfisch, as well as Williams’s work on The Post. This is the one category where you would have thought Darkest Hour would gotten a nomination, but Dario Marianelli’s score fell short. As always, not enough attention was paid to Logan and its score by Marco Beltrami, but this year the category went mostly to Oscar royalty, so it was going to be hard to slip a lot of new people in.

This might already be over

The Shape of Water

After taking nine tries to get his first win, Desplat is hoping to follow up with another win right away, and things are looking good for him. Desplat won both the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards, and scored a BAFTA nomination. Now that Desplat has broken through with a win, he might be in line for the Emmanuel Lubezki treatment, where once he starts winning it may be very hard to stop him. Being attached to the The Shape of Water juggernaut helps, and ultimately unless BAFTA throws a curve ball, this looks to be the most sure thing winner for The Shape of Water, even above Best Director, because of how vital the score is to holding the film together.

The Scrappy Underdog

Phantom Thread

It is hard for new blood to get into this category, as already stated, and it is even harder to win, but Jonny Greenwood could buck that trend. (Note that Greenwood’s phenomenal score for PTA’s There Will Be Blood was robbed at the Oscars due to a technicality, so there’s some comeback mojo here, too. – Ed) His score for Phantom Thread is just as vital to Phantom Thread as anything else in the film, and it pulled off a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Critics’ Choice nomination. So far it has lost consistently to The Shape of Water, but this is also a good place to award Phantom Thread, which could come into play. A BAFTA win would make this feel like a real possibility as opposed to just speculation.

Film Score Royalty

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Dunkirk

Both of these composers had multiple scores this year that could have scored nominations. For Zimmer, Dunkirk has been a consistent pick, as it is the only other film to score the trio of Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and BAFTA nomination. Williams, meanwhile, had found more success with The Post, where he got Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice nominations before the Oscars flipped things to The Last Jedi. Still, while this would make Dunkirk a better bet of the two, neither seems to have a real shot at this point. Williams and Zimmer both keep getting nominations, but a lot of times this feels like a sign of respect more than anything. This is especially true for Williams. If Dunkirk can win at BAFTA, it could change things, and it should be said that a Dunkirk run at Best Picture likely needs a win here as well.

Let’s pad those nomination numbers

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It is not so much that this is an undeserved nomination, as the score is quite good, but that this feels like a nomination that only came about because of how strong of a Best Picture contender Three Billboards is. Sure, this score got a Golden Globe nomination, but it was shut out by both BAFTA and the Critics’ Choice Awards. There is not much to suggest that this film could win, but this is a nice nomination for Carter Burwell, who probably should have more nominations than the two he has, and arguably should have won for his work on Carol in 2015.

BAFTA Awards Update:

Another win for The Shape of Water, and this likely means that Alexandre Desplat is heading towards his second Oscar as this is safely one of the awards that The Shape of Water should count on come Oscar night. If somehow it doesn’t win, then we will have a clue early in the night that things are going to go very badly for The Shape of Water.

That’s it for the creative categories. Two more to come. Be on the lookout!

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