The 90th Academy Awards Nominations

Oh, don’t look so sour. You had a pretty damn good morning.

So I got up way too damn early to watch the Oscar nominations announcement, but was rewarded for my sacrifice with a few nice surprises and few, if any, unpleasant ones.

Here’s what I predicted would be nominated, along with my rationale for each. As a reminder, my batting average the last couple of years was around 75%.

And the nominees are…

Best Picture:

  • 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


I am fucking ecstatic about that. More so even than Dunkirk and Shape of Water getting in. Because those we knew were coming. This is the pleasantest surprise the Academy’s given us in a long while.

Sorry about I, Tonya, but once that missed a couple of categories down the line I figured it wasn’t likely. And Mudbound was always a long shot. But I had a gut feeling Darkest Hour was happening, based on how many other nominations it was bound to get. It’s my least favorite of the nominees, but it’s still quite solid in its own right.

And for the first time since I started scoring films, all the Picture nominees get at least an 80/100 from me. So that’s nice.

I got 8/9 here, but considering the one I missed, I don’t mind one bit. And my streak of seeing every nominee before the nominations continues.

Best Director:

  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
  • Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out


When they announced him, I was honestly terrified they were going to pull a Foxcatcher and snub the film in Picture, but they didn’t. Thank God.

Also – who saw McDonagh not getting in? I’m totally fine with that, because the direction wasn’t that amazing, but you have to wonder if the film could just Argo its way to a win without him.

Beyond that – Del Toro and Nolan finally get nominated here, Gerwig becomes the first female director to get nominated for directing her own original screenplay, and Peele joins the small but growing list of black nominees in this category. Great category overall.

I got 4/5, but again, I’m too delighted to care.

Best Actor:

  • 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.

They actually went for Washington! Interesting. I don’t mind Franco getting left off (the performance isn’t that good), I just haven’t seen Washington’s performance to compare. Hopefully I can see that film before the awards.

Other than that, no surprises here. Hanks was unlikely and no one else had the traction. No matter; this is a really good category and I have no complaints whatever (well, I’d have liked to have seen Colin Farrell, but…).

4/5, but they went with my alternate.

Best Actress:

  • 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

Got this one perfectly. Too bad they snubbed Jessica Chastain and Vicky Krieps to give Meryl yet another nomination, but this is a pretty solid list nonetheless.


Best Supporting Actor:

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

I should’ve just predicted Harrelson. I just never saw enough in that performance to think of it as a strong nominee (he’s good, don’t get me wrong, but Rockwell overshadows him). They got Plummer, which I figured they would. I thought this category could offer a surprise or two, but not this time.

4/5 (but more like 4.5).

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

LESLEY MANVILLE!!! My old so-and-so!

See that movie. She’s so great in it. (It’s also a great movie. As you might have gathered.)

Sorry for Hong Chau, but I’m not really that surprised, given the response to the film. And too bad about Holly Hunter, though I was never as big on that performance as others were. I am curious as to how I’ll feel about the Blige nomination when I finally see that film, but I’ll worry about that in due time. Otherwise, this shook out about how I expected.

4/5. Again, the one I missed makes me so happy

Best Original Screenplay:

  • The Big Sick
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Big Sick! Nice. Surprised it’s here over I, Tonya and The Post, but neither of those films went quite as big as I was expecting.

Too bad Phantom Thread didn’t get on here as well (it deserved to), but this category was fairly stuffed as it was.

4/5. Yet again…not complaining.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Call Me by Your Name
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Logan
  • Molly’s Game
  • Mudbound

Another one I got perfectly. Three of these films got just the one nomination. That’s a sure sign of a weak year. But hey, Mudbound had a solid day, with Dee Rees becoming the first woman of color to get a nomination in this category.

I was holding out some hope for a rogue Blade Runner nomination, but I wasn’t going to predict that.


Best Cinematography:

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Mudbound
  • The Shape of Water

And with her nomination for Mudbound, Rachel Morrison becomes the first female cinematographer ever nominated for an Oscar. Pretty damn impressive.

5/5. Rooting for Deakins (though my top three in this category are all here, so it’d be hard for them to disappoint).

Best Editing:

  • Baby Driver
  • Dunkirk
  • I, Tonya
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

So that’s two films that got on here that missed Best Picture. To me that’s more a sign that I, Tonya was snubbed than anything, since I predicted it would get on here. I am sorry they didn’t go with Blade Runner, but I’m not surprised.

5/5. If anything but Dunkirk wins, I’ll be shocked.

Best Production Design:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water

I’ll say it again: Dunkirk is an incredible film, but – what production design?

I figured they’d go for The Post here instead, but…well, I’ll say more about that film later.

4/5, and the fifth was my alternate (and really, the one I should’ve gone with).

Best Costume Design:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Darkest Hour
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Victoria & Abdul

Victoria & Abdul, huh? Not surprising. I actually for a moment thought Judi Dench might sneak into Best Actress after all.

4/5. So far I’m doing pretty damn well.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:

  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Wonder

I think it was Victoria getting on here that got me thinking I, Tonya was possibly/probably going to miss Best Picture. I didn’t see it coming since it missed the guilds, but no matter. This is a tricky category.

2/3. At least we didn’t get Bright.

Best Original Score:

  • Dunkirk
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

I figured Darkest Hour was a shoo-in here. Seeing Three Billboards here instead is a bit strange, but this can be a strange category. I’m also surprised that John Williams got nominated for The Last Jedi rather than The Post, not least because I found the score for The Post more interesting than any of the new music for Last Jedi.

But who cares? Jonny Greenwood finally got on here. Hope he wins, too, although Zimmer or Desplat would also be cool (though it’d be cooler if Zimmer was here for Blade Runner).


Best Original Song:

  • “Mighty River”, Mudbound
  • “Mystery of Love”, Call Me by Your Name
  • “Remember Me”, Coco
  • “Stand Up for Something”, Marshall
  • “This is Me”, The Greatest Showman

Damn, I was actually really close here. And I probably should’ve gone with “Mighty River” over “You Shouldn’t Look at Me That Way” – instead I had it as my alternate.

4/5, and that’s a lot better than I was expecting.

Best Sound Mixing:

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

5/5. Glad I bet on 2049 getting on instead of Wonder Woman. However…

Best Sound Editing:

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

4/5. I figured they’d get it on here instead of Last Jedi. Instead, we have matching sound categories for the first time in quite a while – or even the first time period.

Best Visual Effects:

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • War for the Planet of the Apes

Not overly surprised Dunkirk didn’t make it, actually. Guardians makes sense. Kong is a bit of an surprise, though. I figured Shape of Water would cruise on through to a nomination.

3/5. Blade Runner or War could win here and I’d be happy with it.

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • A Fantastic Woman
  • The Insult
  • Loveless
  • On Body and Soul
  • The Square

Oh, they actually didn’t go for In the Fade after all. Huh. I said this category was weird. The Insult was one I was skeptical about, but cool. On Body and Soul sounded intriguing, so I’m all right with that. The other three seemed solid.


Best Animated Feature:

  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Coco
  • Ferdinand
  • Loving Vincent

I would just share that Boss Baby meme I made, but I’ll refrain. For now.

Not shocked that got on. A little shocked Ferdinand got on, but given how they changed the nomination process for this category, it makes sense that it’d skew more populist. I wonder if they’ll change it back.

So much for banking on Lego Batman. Ah well.

4/5. Because I figured The Boss Baby was happening.

Best Documentary Feature:

  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  • Faces Places
  • Icarus
  • Last Men in Aleppo
  • Strong Island

I figured they’d pull this shit. They snubbed Jane, which was presumed by many (including myself) to be the front-runner. Fucking Documentary branch.

At least Faces Places is here. I hope that wins. I feel like it will, at least at the moment.

3/5. I said “I’ll be glad to get 3/5 here and more will be gravy.” And I meant it. At least my hunch on Last Men in Aleppo paid off.

So, now to do some math:

Out of 107 nominations, I correctly predicted 87. That’s 81.3%. A major increase on my scores for the last two years. I’m very, very happy with this.

Of 21 categories:

  • I got five perfectly: Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, and Sound Mixing.
  • I missed one nominee for 12 more: Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Original Song, Sound Editing, and Animated Feature.
  • The other four, I missed two apiece: Original Score, Visual Effects, Foreign Language Film, and Documentary Feature.

Really, really happy with how I did overall.

Totals (multiple nominees only):

  • 13: The Shape of Water
  • 8: Dunkirk
  • 7: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • 6: Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread
  • 5: Blade Runner 2049, Lady Bird
  • 4: Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, Mudbound, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • 3: Baby Driver, I, Tonya
  • 2: Beauty and the Beast, Coco, The Post, Victoria & Abdul

Finally, some general thoughts on the nominees:

  • The Post was clearly the film everyone felt ought to be nominated, but which wasn’t really loved enough to get nominated for anything else. So it ends up with two nominations and is just a a weird lame-duck nominee rather than a contender. I’m still not sure how it missed Production Design (or Score, even), but miss them it did.
  • Phantom Thread is the first film since 2012 to get into Picture and Director without being nominated for either by the Globes or BAFTA. The last film to achieve that was Beasts of the Southern Wild. How much it’ll end up winning remains to be seen, but they definitely liked it.
  • For the first time since the expansion of the Picture category, we have two Editing nominees that didn’t get into Picture. I predicted both nominees, but I figured I, Tonya had a solid chance to crack Picture. Baby Driver never did, despite its own critical and popular acclaim.
  • Not only does The Shape of Water have the most nominations by far, it is the only film to have nominations for Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Editing – the four which are nowadays assumed to be required to win Best Picture. That doesn’t mean it will – there are several precedents it’d have to break in order to do that – but it’s hard to imagine anything else beating it.
  • Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri gets 7 nominations, including Score and Editing, but misses Director, despite Globe, BAFTA, and DGA nods. Given its success elsewhere this season, I’m not prepared to count it out, but it’s definitely going to have a tougher time winning Picture than before.
  • Get Out and Lady Bird both got Picture, Director, and Screenplay nominations, and got in for acting (Lady Bird twice), but neither earned any technical nominations. This doesn’t bode incredibly well for either, but we’ve got a month to hash out what each film’s chances are.
  • Of the 9 Picture nominees, 7 have grossed at least $30 million in the U.S., and the other two are just now beginning to expand their releases, those two being Call Me by Your Name ($9 million to date) and Phantom Thread ($6 million to date). It’ll be interesting to see how far each of them go.
  • Two of the nominees have grossed over $100 million, and both have done far better than that: Dunkirk has $188 million and Get Out $175 million. The next highest grosser, The Post, is currently at $44 million.
  • It’s a comparatively trim set of nominees; no film tops 135 minutes, and only three top the two-hour mark. The average running time for the nominees is 115 minutes; not incredibly short, but well shy of the epic length frequently assumed of nominees.
  • Logan is the first superhero film to earn a writing nomination. That, and not The Dark Knight, which is still quoted to this day. Logan is quite a good film, but it’s clearly the beneficiary of a weak year.
  • Mudbound gets four nominations, far better than any previous Netflix film, including Supporting Actress and Adapted Screenplay. You have to wonder if it’ll get some kind of a theatrical release in the wake of that. (Probably not, but I’d go if it did.)
  • Just on a personal note, it’s been a while since there were this many nominees I still have to see: Mudbound, Roman J. Israel Esq., Victoria & Abdul, Wonder, Marshall, and The Boss Baby all come to mind.

I have to wrap this up now, but I’d just like to say that I’m pretty happy with how this batch of nominees turned out. Yes, I’d have made different choices here and there, but there’s very little I can point to and say it actively shouldn’t be there.

And now we have a month to decide who’s actually winning. And I have a month to catch up on some movies.

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