2018 Oscars: Best Picture

Let’s wrap this up.

BEST PICTURE – NOMINEES
“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Who will win: The Shape of Water
Who could win: Anyone, really, could surprise, but Three Billboards or Dunkirk more likely
Who should win: Dunkirk (from this list)
Who should be here: See below

I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about who should win and why because, frankly, I really don’t like this list. These are all fine films, don’t get me wrong, but very few of them should be in the conversation for a nomination, let alone a chance to win.

So, rather than sit here and complain about the list, I’m going to present to you two lists of my own: (1) The films I’d nominate for Best Picture, complete with my original Twitter reviews, and (2) my reviews of the actual list of nominees.

But first – I really have no idea who is going to win, and neither does anyone else, it seems. The Shape of Water has the most nominations, and it seems to the safest bet because people seem to dig the fairy tale. But the film is so sleight in a time of Hollywood advocacy, I find it hard to believe it’s going to win. Three Billboards? Possibly. But it’s had its own controversy by idiots who, apparently, think that you can’t ever show racism in film for any reason at all (I guess that’s it for Civil Rights and Civil War films, right?). Dunkirk is the most epic and most interesting film on the list, but it’s gotten no love thus far in the Best Pic category for other awards, much like the rest of the films.

Okay, so I whined a little bit. Here’s my lists:

JACK’S NOMINEES FOR BEST PICTURE

Dunkirk
I, Tonya
Last Flag Flying
Logan
Molly’s Game
Mudbound
Phantom Thread
The Big Sick
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Wind River

#Dunkirk: Satisfying spectacle; compelling and emotionally satisfying. It’s a story that needed telling, and Nolan nailed it. 4/5*

#ITonya is unquestionably one of the best films I’ve seen this #Oscar season, and it’s a crime it didn’t get nominated for Best Picture. Robbie was transformative; Janney and Stan were amazing. The story was heartbreaking yet funny. The photography and editing top notch. 4.5/5*

#LastFlagFlying Just another amazing outing by Linklater. Cranston delivers the performance of his career in the deceptively deep, heartbreaking, hilarious, heartfelt road trip film. Hits on so many points without you even realizing it. Best film of 2017, hands down. 5/5*

#Logan Phenomenal #film. Joins The Dark Knight as the only two superhero films to surpass the genre. Photography, acting stellar. 3.5/4*

#MollysGame is Sorkin at his most Sorkinesque, which is always a good thing. The dialogue flows like music, the story is compelling, though 20 minutes too long in the middle. @jes_chastain is just amazing, with one of the best performances in any medium by anyone in years. 4.5/5*

#Mudbound In a weaker narrative, its split focus would be its undoing, but here it just adds to the strength and power of the story it has to tell. Rachel Morrison’s photography is stunning, and the entire cast just fantastic. It’s a crime it’s not nominated for Best Pic. 4.5/5*

#PhantomThread This one really sneaks up on you. It starts strange, but it subtlety builds while also continuing to evolve into a compelling meditation on relationships. Great detail, both in the writing and in front of the camera. Fantastic performances and photography. 4.5/5*

#TheBigSick Makes me believe in rom-coms again. Funny without being forced, heart without sappiness and even surprises along the way. 4/5*

#ThreeBillboardsOutsideEbbingMissouri is the blackest comedy I’ve seen in years, but also has shades of the underside of humanity, and the balance between the two makes the story funny, compelling and feel real all at the same time. McDormand and Rockwell are fabulous. 4.5/5*

#WindRiver is my least favorite Taylor Sheridan film, yet is deeply affecting, well done all around and one of the best of the year. 4.5/5*

MY REVIEWS OF THE ACTUAL BEST PICTURE NOMINEES

#CallMeByYourName The story is interesting, the acting compelling, the scenery gorgeous, but far too long. I like slow burns, but the filmmaker couldn’t seem to decide what the film was at many points, giving us 60+ minutes of unnecessary scenes and ~5 different endings. 2.5/5*

#DarkestHour runs on Gary Oldman’s absolutely transformative performance, which is just amazing from the word go. There’s some wonderful scenes in the film and the acting is top notch, but the narrative is poorly paced and often repetitive and lacks sense of urgency. 2.5/5*

#Dunkirk: Satisfying spectacle; compelling and emotionally satisfying. It’s a story that needed telling, and Nolan nailed it. 4/5*

#GetOut Funny, fresh, subversive, multi-layered and chock full of terrific performances. Erratic and wears thin after a bit. 2.5/4*

#LadyBird Seldom do I ever say this, but the pacing and editing absolutely made this film. Where your standard coming of age story might ruminate on each point, LB efficiently dealt and dispatched, allowing its titular character to learn and grow from the cumulation. 4/5*

#PhantomThread This one really sneaks up on you. It starts strange, but it subtlety builds while also continuing to evolve into a compelling meditation on relationships. Great detail, both in the writing and in front of the camera. Fantastic performances and photography. 4.5/5*

#ThePost Decent, but disappointingly superficial. A strong, compelling story that is almost too timely, but lacks in execution. First hour convoluted and repetitive. Doesn’t fully dig into its characters or their motivations. Streep and Hanks are terrific, as always. 3/5*

#TheShapeofWater is visually thrilling from beginning to end. The callbacks to old Hollywood, the music and the setting really do a lot to give color and depth. Hawkins’ performance is mesmerizing. Ultimately, the story comes up flat, empty and far too black and white. 3/5*

#ThreeBillboardsOutsideEbbingMissouri is the blackest comedy I’ve seen in years, but also has shades of the underside of humanity, and the balance between the two makes the story funny, compelling and feel real all at the same time. McDormand and Rockwell are fabulous. 4.5/5*