Marie Asner’s Academy Award Picks for 2017 Films---The Oscars in 2018

This has proven to be an average, or even less than average year for movies. If it isn’t “Star Wars,”  or “Wonder Woman," then forget it. Films that I thought were average (“Get Out”) and over-acted (“Ladybird”) are top contenders this year. A horror film and teenage angst are in contention, not to mention a variety of romance including, fantasy, teenage and high fashion.  WWII is present in battle and characterization, while a film not made in Missouri but has the state in its title, and a newspaper, round out the nominees for Best Picture.  Familiar names include, for Best Director Christopher Nolan (WWII), and Guillermo del Toro (fantasy), Best Actress, Meryl Streep (newspaper), Best Actor, Daniel Day Lewis (fashion), Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer (money) and  Soundtrack, John Williams (“Star Wars.”)  The rest are rather new to the ballot. There is a woman director (Greta Gerwig) nomination and an African American director (Jordan Peele) nomination.  Will there be political talk, women power and diversity talk at the Academy Awards ceremony? What do you think?

Listed below are the Oscar  Nominations and my comments, plus the “what-ever-happened-to” listof films that didn’t make the cut, but are still out there, performing well. Maybe Oscar had a year-long migraine in 2017. An asterisk by the name or title is my pick for winning. What are your choices?



Call Me by Your Name---romance with a surprise
Darkest Hour---Gary Oldman’s film all the way as Winston Churchill
Dunkirk---a feat of expertise in filming
Get Out---horror film that caught attention of anyone under age 21
Lady Bird---over-acted and what was the point they were making?
Phantom Thread---a tale of creativity with Daniel Day Lewis in the fashion world
The Post---low-key newspaper film that should have been a documentary
The Shape of Water---creativity in casting, script and soundtrack. Science fiction hits the mark.
*Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri--- title catches the eye as does the contemporary story line

What Happened To?  
I, Tonya with its dark humor
Hostiles and a gripping western theme of loss and courage
In The Fade with a tale of revenge
Maudie, another Sally Hawkins dramatic film of wounded love
Wind River with finding a murderer in a northern state

*Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk---grace under pressure and courage, too
Jordan Peele for Get Out---average horror film
Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird---what is the point of the story?
Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread---creativity and how it shines in a material world
Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water---another creative film, this time of science fiction and romance

What Happened To:
Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri and the film was made without a director?
Taylor Sheridan for Wind River for keeping the storyline intact
Scott Cooper for Hostiles, so the western theme is no longer current?
Craig Gillespie for I, Tonya and combining dark humor with skating

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet for Call Me by Your Name---touching portrayal of young love
Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread---last film before he retires and it is artistic
Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out---not a memorial performance
*Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour---submerses himself into Winston Churchill
Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel, Esq---this film  did not play widely at all

What Happened To:
Ryan Gosling for Blade Runner 2019 and left us guessing to the end
Jake Gyllenhaal for Stronger with how to fight against discouragement
Robert Pattison for Good Times and how not to be a crook

Best  Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project---the adventures of a motel manager
Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri---good performance, but outranked by Sam Rockwell
*Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri---portrays a person who somehow manages to get it right
Christopher Plummer for All The Money in the World---did the best he could under the casting circumstances
Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water---he and the hairpiece steal his scenes

What Happened To:
Michael Shannon for The Shape of Water with being a villain wearing a bandage
Harrison Ford for Blade Runner 2049 and this was his film all along
Patrick Stewart for giving life to his character in Logan

Best  Actress
Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water---eloquent portrayal of love from afar
*Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri---stoic woman who wants to catch a murderer
Margot Robbie for I, Tonya---got into the character of a misunderstood woman
Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird---over the top with teen angst
Meryl Streep for The Post---what is Meryl doing here?

What Happened To:  
Sally Hawkins could have gotten a nomination for “Maudie,” with a portrayal of a woman with disabilities
Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman for giving us courage amidst obstacles

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige for Mudbound---emotional tale of the Deep South
*Allison Janney for I, Tonya---the mother from Hades
Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread---helping a creative person isn’t easy
Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird---much like characters she has played on television
Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water and being a friend can be difficult

What Happened To?
Michelle Pfeiffer for Murder on the Orient Express and hiding information
Holly Hunter for The Big Sick with motherhood a trying occupation
Rosamund Pike for Hostiles and a tragic life on the prairie

Best Animated Feature Film
The Boss Baby and oh...that’s humor?
The Breadwinner was not widely shown
Coco with catchy songs but beware of skeletons
Ferdinand and the friendly bull is all heart
*Loving Vincent and taking animation to artistic levels

What Happened To:
Cars 3 with great chase scenes
Lego Batman and who would have thought?
Despicable Me 3 and does well as a double sequel

Best Documentary Feature and nominated films were not shown in the Midwest
Abacus (Small Enough to Jail)
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

What Happened To?
Jane and based on Jane Goodall’s life of studying chimpanzees in Tanzania---emotional and great photography

Best Foreign Language Film
A Fantastic Woman
The Insult
On Body and Soul
The Square---this film was the only one on the list to be shown in the Midwest and confusing

What Happened To?  (which did play in the Midwest)
The Wedding Plan about trying to find a husband in 30 days
Menache and living in your religion and being a father
First They Came For My Father and Angelina Jolie hit a high note with this real life story of survival in the Far East
In The Fade with a woman out for revenge

Best Original Screenplay
The Big Sick---love between religious beliefs with humor and pathos
Get Out---horror story that missed the mark
Lady Bird---angst and more angst
*The Shape of Water---story that unfolds with humor and romance and science fiction
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri---actually not filmed in Missouri, but who cared with this story of tracking a killer

What Happened To?
Wind River with a story of finding a killer, and in the frozen north
Good Times and how not to be a crook

Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name---and summer romance abroad
The Disaster Artist---title speaks for itself
Logan---Wolverine is still with us
Molly’s Game---how not to gamble
Mudbound---intense story of the Deep South

What Happened To?
Maudie and the story of Maud Lewis and her artistic achievements
Blade Runner 2049 and an excellent continuation of the first film
The Man Who Invented Christmas gives Charles Dickens new life
The Lost City of Z and what makes a person go on a hunt for new civilizations
Hostiles and western  life with tragedy
Best Original Score

Dunkirk---has the might of WWII
Phantom Thread---how to create
The Shape of Water---ethereal
*Star Wars: The Last Jedi---Guess who? John Williams
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri---western themes with guitar interludes

What Happened To?
Wind River and the sound of the north country
Wonder Woman and the power
The Man Who Invented Christmas with modern Old England
The Lost City of Z and the wildness of the Amazon
Jane and Philip Glass with inventive music for nature study
Hostiles and life in the Old West

Best Original Song
Mighty River from Mudbound---powerful
Mystery of Love from Call Me By Your Name---emotional
Remember Me from Coco--- haunting
Stand Up for Something from Marshall---powerful
*This Is Me from The Greatest Showman---defining

What Happened To?
Evermore from Beauty and The Best--eloquent
Run That Race from Cars 3---energetic


Enjoy the experience of going to a movie theater, travel safely and live well.

Copyright 2018 Marie Asner