After the Academy Award nominations were announced last Tuesday, there were many surprises and lots of buzz surrounding the fresh faces that were nominated for the awards. With Get Out accumulating four nominations and even Boss Baby earning its own nod, there’s no telling what sort of surprises will follow last year’s mishap surrounding the Best Picture award.
Actor in a Leading Role
Timothée Chalamet — Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day Lewis — Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya — Get Out
Gary Oldman — Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington — Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Let’s start with the actor in a leading role nominations. In my opinion, I think the most shocking nomination was for my personal favorite newcomer, Timothee Chalamet, for Call Me by Your Name. Being only 22-years-old, he is the youngest person to be nominated for Actor in a leading role since Ricky Mooney for Babes in Arms in 1944. What was surprising to me, however, is that the age gap for these nominees is so large that I thought the Academy would have given to nomination to someone else, perhaps a candidate in the same age demographic as the others. Though that doesn’t mean I don’t think Chalamet deserves it. His performance in the film was outstanding, effortlessly capturing all the aspects of a young adult coming to terms with his sexual identity. Though he is very young, I have no doubt that if he doesn’t win this nomination, an Oscar will be coming his way sometime in the near future.
Actress in a Leading Role
Sally Hawkins — The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand — Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie — I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan — Lady Bird
Meryl Streep — The Post
This is going to be a tough Oscar decision due to the number of outstanding performances all these actresses put forth. Though the adorable Saoirse Ronan is also youngest in the category, she is no stranger to Oscar nominations, with this being her third nomination in her mere 23 years of age. Lady Bird was definitely my personal favorite film I’ve seen this year, uniquely telling the story of a girl in her senior year, trying to navigate family conflicts along with school crushes and college decisions pending. Being able to relate closely to the character, Saoirse definitely stole my heart this Oscar season. Although I have to admit I don’t think she will win this award considering she’d have to beat out Margot Robbie, who is nominated for perfectly portraying Tonya Harding in I, Tonya; or Frances McDormand’s powerful scenes defending her murdered daughter in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Though she may not grab the Oscar this year, I think she has the potential to acquire many statues for her future performances.
Christopher Nolan — Dunkirk
Jordan Peele — Get Out
Greta Gerwig — Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson — Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro — The Shape of Water
One name I was certainly rooting to make this list is Greta Gerwig’s. With it being only the second woman ever to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Director, she’s giving the other male directors a run for their money. Though Get Out was undeniably creative and Dunkirk was beautifully done, I don’t think it was necessarily the directing that made those movies the ultimate successes that they were. It was more about the cinematography and the screenplay. The story of Lady Bird, however, was told in such an authentic and quirky way. I really felt Gerwig’s direction had a lot to do with that. With it also being a low-budget film that had to work around financial implications, she did an excellent job making the film not about the setting, but more about the true emotions and interactions surrounding the relationship between Lady Bird and her various peers. Also, with scenes of Lady Bird smoking marijuana with her friends, only to laugh hysterically when her mother catches them making microwavable meals in the kitchen, elements such as this in the film really brought an authentic feeling of teenage angst that Gerwig succeeded with when directing this project. I believe Gerwig has a strong chance at the Oscar, but if she doesn’t receive the award, I have no doubt she will soon be nominated again.
Call Me By Your Name
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This is definitely the hardest choice, in my opinion. Having seen a majority of these films and knowing the reputation of all of them, this is truly a toss up. Dunkirk, of course, portrayed a true and heroic story, but also had very little dialogue; still, it definitely has several unique elements with its cinematography. Call Me By Your Name has been receiving non-stop buzz since its release, and for good reason. The beautifully adapted screenplay is so honest yet captivating as the simple story unravels into an emotional and heartwarming ending. Not to mention, Lady Bird is such a coming of age, unique story with underlying harsh realities. While Phantom Thread is very historically accurate, Three Billboards has such incredible performances from multiple actors that it could catapult it to the top. This decision could really go any way. So, we’ll just have to wait and see what the Academy decides.