Academy Award nominations for 2017

I wish The Florida Project had gotten more love

Life being what it is, I’ve only seen six of the nine Best Picture nominations so far. That won’t keep me from picking who will, and should, win. I’ll limit this to the major categories.

Worse, I have watched ZERO of the five animated feature flicks, though I wanted to see the inevitable winner, Coco, and Loving Vincent, which looked fascinating in previews.

Links to my reviews at first mention:

Best Picture:

Call Me by Your Name (pictured)
*Darkest Hour
Get Out – getting buzz after Writers’ Guild award
*Lady Bird – with ranked voting, and some people hating Shape of Water and/or Three Billboards, this, or Get Out, could actually win
*Phantom Thread
*The Post
*The Shape of Water
*Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – my personal favorite

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
*Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
*Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour – will win, and probably should
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Lead Actress: I’ve seen then all!

*Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
*Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – my pick, and will likely win
*Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
*Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
*Meryl Streep, The Post

Supporting Actor:

*Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project – wish this film had gotten more love
*Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
*Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water – my favorite performance in that film
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World – best replacement actor at the last minute, standing in for Kevin Spacey
*Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – he’s deserving of the win he’ll likely get

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
*Allison Janney, I, Tonya – will and should win
*Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread – she was very good
*Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird – so was she
*Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water


Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
*Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig – I’m rooting for the first-time director
*Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
*The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro – won the Director’s Guild award, which makes him a virtual lock

Adapted Screenplay:

Call Me by Your Name, James Ivory – it’s the only Best Picture nominee in the lineup, and Ivory is 89
The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter, and Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank and James Mangold, and Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees – if it isn’t Ivory…
Original Screenplay:

*The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani – I was rather fond of this
Get Out, Jordan Peele – I’m picking the one film I didn’t see to win
*Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
*The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor – suffers from a recent plagiarism allegation
*Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh
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Bess Flowers – She appeared in 5 Oscar-winning films and appeared in 23 Oscar-nominated films. She worked with all the best directors. Plus a lot more movies, TV and commercials. And 25 Three Stooges shorts.

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Movie review: The Post (Spielberg)

Jason Robards is a better Ben Bradlee than Hanks

After the family got to see The Post at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany in January 2018, the Daughter asked, “What’s Watergate?” That’s because the end of the movie teases about yet another journalistic crusade for the Washington Post, running into federal governmental interference.

Except, the leads of the film realize, perhaps, more complicated. Editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) notes wistfully at one point that his close relationship with John F. Kennedy might have had him pulling a few punches.

Publisher Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) is even more socially involved with the powerful. Her father, Eugene Meyer, had passed the paper down to her husband Philip Graham. When Philip committed suicide in August 1963, sordid matter only peripherally addressed in the film, Kay became titular head of the paper.

Quite telling is one scene in which the men start talking politics, and the women, including Kay, go off to chat about other things. She was good friends with former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood), who supported her emotionally after Philip’s death.

The rival New York Times reported a blockbuster story about an extensive, confidential report written by Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) about the United States’ failed policy in the war in Vietnam. Moreover, officials such as McNamara KNEW it was likely an unwinnable conflict. The federal government got a judge to enjoin the Times from publishing more stories.

When the Washington paper, thanks to some sleuthing by Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk), gets access to the reports dubbed the Pentagon Papers, is the DC paper bound by the Times’ legal constraints? And how will this affect the financial negotiations that Kay Graham is involved with?

The Post is a good solid film, directed by Steven Spielberg. It is unfair, though inevitable, to compare it with the Watergate-era film All the President’s Men, but one does. Jason Robards is a better Ben Bradlee than Hanks, which I have read Tom acknowledged. And it wasn’t as taut as Spotlight, the movie about the Catholic priest scandal in Boston.

Ultimately, the biggest arc takes place with Kay Graham, and a lot of that is Streep. I also loved Odenkirk.

Still, I got a little misty-eyed with joy when Meg Greenfield (Carrie Coon) reads Supreme Justice Hugo Black’s opinion in the case. The movie has seemed very current, hitting on both the attack on the media and the role of women in the workplace. A must-see for a political junkie like me.

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