Our Oscar Feels

The Oscars air tonight on ABC. The editors gathered their opinions for a heck of a round-up.

Call Me By Your Name
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Timothée Chalamet), Adapted Screenplay, Original Song (“Mystery of Love”)

Call Me By Your Name was an exquisite film, and I’d happily bawl through it again. I find myself disappointed that it hasn’t been nominated for its editing or cinematography; both made the film an immersive experience. -Katherine


Nominated for: Best Picture, Production Design, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Score, Film Editing, Best Director (Christopher Nolan)

I had so many questions watching this film. Questions like, is that Tom Hardy flying the plane? How many storylines are there? What is this main guy’s backstory? Is the ominous music going to play nonstop? At some point, it would have been nice to have some real dialogue to ground this film for me. Since I knew nothing about the characters, except in this moment, they were at war, it made it hard for me to care about them. I know Christopher Nolan was being super artsy, but if I have to work hard to understand a movie, I’m just not sure it’s really worth watching. -Navani


Get Out
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), Best Director (Jordan Peele), Original Screenplay

So smart, So well done, so many layers. Did you catch all the symbolism the first time you watched? Probably not. I mean, what a marvel at making everyone understand how the scariest place in America for many people is a small white suburban town. Kudos to Jordan Peele for speaking to so many social issues under the guise of a funny thriller. He found a way to trick America into eating its vegetables. -Navani

Get Out was last year’s best movie, and nothing would please me more than if it swept its categories. -Katherine

Maybe my top film of the year. Its messages may be more important than its genuine scares. When “Grandpa” turned that gun, tho! -Jason

Jordan Peele showed more understanding of the horror genre than most directors. A mix of genuine scares, humor, and powerful metaphor made Get Out one of the most important and surprising films of the year. -Brad


Lady Bird
Nominated for: Best Picture, Lead Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf), Best Director (Greta Gerwig), Original Screenplay

…And if Get Out can’t get a clean sweep, can Lady Bird? What a beautiful portrait of American teenage life. -Katherine

Came for the Cannibal Ox poster featured on Kyle’s wall, stayed for the pithy dialogue. The fact that Lady Bird acknowledges her privilege and mediocrity early on (“I wish I could live through something.”) allowed me to continue watching what might otherwise be just another mediocre coming of age story set in suburban America. Thank God for the depth of the love / hate relationship with her mother and the awesome musical references of 2003 to keep things interesting and nostalgic. Plus, I always love a good bestie combo which is also center stage here. -Navani

Great year for withholding moms. Such a beautiful slice of life, while gloriously random-feeling. Delighted for Gerwig’s nomination. -Jason


I, Tonya
Nominated for: Lead Actress (Margot Robbie), Supporting Actress (Allison Janney), Film Editing

I, Tonya was the first film of Margo Robbie’s where I had to concede that she’s a great actress. -Katherine

My other top film choice. Its irreverent play with the fourth wall brought new angles to familiar story. Paul Walter Hauser (and the film itself) were snubbed terribly. -Jason


Phantom Thread
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Costume Design, Original Score, Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson)

It is an outrage that Phantom Thread wasn’t nominated for best cinematography. Thankfully, it’s been nominated for everything else–Paul Thomas Anderson, Johnny Greenwood, and Daniel Day-Lewis have provided their best work to date. -Katherine

Beautifully dark and elegantly adorned, film was a taut send-off for Daniel Day-Lewis. -Jason


The Shape of Water
Nominated for: Best Picture, Lead Actress (Sally Hawkins), Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Score, Film Editing, Best Director (Guillermo del Toro), Original Screenplay

I think this is the film that will win out over its competitors, and while it was a little heavy on the Amelie, it was a very sweet film and I love it deeply. -Katherine

Overrated a bit, but certainly astoundingly beautiful and happy to see Sally Hawkins at the center. Has Michael Shannon ever been as creepy in a career of playing creeps. -Jason

An unconventional love story and a visually stunning masterpiece, Shape of Water takes Guillermo aesthetic to the next level. And who doesn’t love Sally Hawkins? -Brad


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Nominated for: Best Picture, Lead Actress (Frances McDormand), Supporting Actor (Woody Harrelson), Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell) Original Score, Film Editing, Original Screenplay

My expectations were lowered so much by Crash-haters that I was able to overlook the obvious melodrama and manipulation and appreciate the artistry. -Jason

Brilliant performances and a heartbreaking script, Three Billboards pulls no punches in examining grief, ignorance, bravery, and the consequences of our actions. -Brad


Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige), Cinematography Adapted Screenplay, Original Song (“Mighty River”)

This movie was so hard to watch but also so necessary. Yes we’ve seen racial tensions in the south before BUT I can’t recall a time when it’s from a soldier’s perspective like this. You go from fighting for your country side-by-side to then coming home and no longer being equals with a fellow soldier. How do you make peace with that no matter which side you are on? The answer is not so pretty. -Navani


The Florida Project
Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe)

Who knew the happiest place on Earth was bordered by an ecosystem of poverty. Willem Defoe is completely endearing (nice change) and newcomer Brooklynn Prince makes the word “thot” sound almost heartwarming in this tale of hardship from a child’s perspective. -Navani


Baby Driver
Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing

Too bad this ode to heists and soundtracks was mostly forgotten by Oscar season. Even Jamie Foxx’s iconic villain was ignored by February. -Jason


Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Score, Visual Effects

Look, the film did its job, but its technical achievements are no better than its competition; these awards deserve to go to The Shape of Water. -Katherine


The Boss Baby
Animated Featured

This film conflicts with my key values. -Katherine

I’m with Tiffany Haddish here. Leave Boss Baby alone. I genuinely enjoyed this film and predict a re-evaluation a la Babe: Pig in the City. -Jason


The Disaster Artist
Adapted Screenplay

Captured the heart of the book, of the unusual and true relationship between Wiseau and Sistero beyond The Room‘s bad film status. James Franco was maximum-James Franco as the idiosyncratic Tommy W.; if only he had been minimum James Franco in his acting classes and elsewhere. -Jason


Adapted Screenplay

Marvel is known for their great origin stories but what about story endings? In this third and last installment of the Wolverine trilogy, we find out what happens to a much older Logan and his sidekick, an ill Professor X. It was a very mature, poignant, yet uber-violent view of what happens when our superheroes grow up. -Navani

The Big Sick
Original Screenplay

So much I love about this movie: the fact that it’s based on the true story of how Kumail Nanjiani met his wife, the clashing of cultures, balancing life as a Pakistani-American, and the idea that true love conquers all. This movie offers a fresh take on the otherwise over-done, cliche genre of romcoms. Extra points for the hilarious dialogue throughout it all. This is seriously my fave of all the nominations. -Navani
Who would think two of the best films of the year would come from Jordan Peele and Kumail Nanjiani? Its simple but moving story is propelled by some of the most endearing characters on film stock in years. -Jason

At press time the Scholars had either not seen, or were unable to muster an opinion, for the following films: Marshall (As a fan of Chadwick Boseman and Sterling K. Brown, Katherine is ashamed), All the Money in the World (we hear Michelle Williams is excellent!), Beauty and the BeastBlade Runner 2049, Victoria & AbdulThe Greatest ShowmanGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Darkest Hour, Kong: Skull Island, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder, Molly’s Game, The Post, The Breadwinner, Roman J. Israel, Esq., Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent, A Fantastic WomanThe Insult, Loveless, On Body and Soul, and The Square.

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