Well, this year I missed quite a few of the Oscar-nominated films. I was working out of town in a little village with just a single movie house with three screens. So while I missed some of them I will post some impressions of the ones I did see:
1) Best Picture- The winner was The Shape of Water. I really enjoyed the film. It was a technical tour de force and the kind of love letter to movies that always get the Academy drooling. All the performances were outstanding and the film was very good. The best of the year? Eh, hard to say. So far I haven't had a chance to see I, Tonya or Three Billboards so I can't say. My sense is that it was a great movie that perhaps fell a little short of what you'd expect in a BP winner but overall I can't say it was undeserving.
2) Best Actor- Again, didn't get to see Phantom Thread but of course any time DDL is nominated he's the favorite. Gary Oldman is a brilliant actor and he was widely praised this year but I missed Darkest Hours as well. I did see Get Out and it was so strong that part of me thinks it should have shown a little better with awards.
3) Best Original Screenplay- Jordan Peele of course made history as the first African American to ever win this in the 90 year history of the Academy but it was certainly no affirmative action award! Get Out was unmitigated genius! It's hard to believe this sprang fully formed from a 1st time director and screenwriter! I see very big things ahead of Peele.
4) Cinematography- The technical awards probably just go over most people's heads but it was gratifying to see Roger Deakins finally win! His work as DP on Bladerunner 2049 was mesmerizing, but then again it always is. He's the unsung genius behind so many revered directors. It's time to see him get his due.
5) Director- Guillermo del Toro is a genius, full stop. I've admired his work for decades, and certainly any time he's nominated he's probably deserving of a win.
Sadly I can't really comment on many more categories and I didn't have a chance to see a lot of the films in the running. Still I was a little surprised that Dunkirk won practically nothing as I thought it was one of the better films of the year. I was also a little bit irritated at the politicization of much of the ceremony. Without dragging politics in I'll cite just won example that irked me a bit; when Jennifer Lawrence listed all the men as a block for director and pointed only liste the single woman by name. I get it, there should be more women nominated and more women directors in total. But without perhaps meaning to slight anyone it seems in poor taste to cast shade on the very rare African American to ever even get a nomination for Best Director. And in a field that hews white it seems like a real slight to cast aspersions on del Toro since Hispanics are maybe more underrepresented even than women.
Still, it was an interesting season. I hope to see Three Billboards soon and also Lady Bird.