Oscar Noms and Hot Takes


Gentle readers:

Oscar nominations were announced today and if you’re anything like me, you are drowning in Oscar coverage. So here is some more coverage. (You’re welcome.)

I’m adapting this blog from an email where I regaled my friends with my very unsolicited, very lengthy opinions about said nominations. And they were like, “OK.”

I hope you aren’t as equally annoyed.


Best Picture:
“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Hot Take: I have zero interest in “Dunkirk” (sorry, Nolan) or Darkest Hour (sorry, Oldman). That said, I’m going to hit “Call Me By Your Name” and “Phantom Thread” soon. DUDES, I AM SORRY BUT “GET OUT” IS NOT THAT GOOD. GTFO OF ME. It’s an entertaining movie. It does a lot of things very well. Best Picture?! No. I’M SO TIRED. My pick for this: It’s hard to beat the emotion of “Three Billboards” and you should really check that one out. Are they really going to give a movie about a high school girl the statue? I’m just not sure.

(Aside re: “Get Out”: Usually I love a good genre-bender, but I felt like I couldn’t really grasp what it wanted to BE. What it wanted to SAY was crystal clear and brilliantly worked into the story. However, I wanted it to be scarier. I thought it was going to be a straight up horror movie (damn marketing (#mother!)), and it wasn’t. I hope you can forgive me.)

Lead 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.”

Hot Take: Eye rolls at “Get Out.” NO FRANCO UGHHH THEY ARE TEARING ME….eh the internet has ruined that quote. Moving on. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of that Denzel movie and I gotta see CMBYM/PT still. This take is only lukewarm.

Lead 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”

Hot Take: I don’t support “The Post” winning anything. It was good, but far from exceptional. My least favorite of everything I’ve seen thus far (sorry, Meryl). Out of the other 4, holy fucking shit is this a stacked category. Margot Robbie was TRANSCENDENT. Ronan, McDormand, Hawkins…..,sadjf;alsdjf!!! Can they just share joint custody of this one?

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”

Hot Take: Rockwell’s gonna rock this. Plus, he’s already won the Globes, SAG and Critics Choice Award in this category. Having said that, I have much love for Jenkins, but it’s Sammy’s to lose.

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

Hot Take: You guys know how I feel about Metcalf, but Janney is a lock. “I TONYA” IS AMAZING and the performances are a relevation.

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

Hot Take: I’m pulling for Gerwig or del Toro. I’m concerned the Academy might give it to Gerwig because yay-women-in-2018-and-forever-and-women-are-better-in-every-conceivable-way…but I’m honestly not sure if she deserves it more than del Toro, though. But I’m cool with either (The Academy is very concerned with how cool I, Nick Caruso, am with these wins, btw).

Adapted Screenplay:
“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Hot Take: Gonna pull for the “Disaster Artist” team on this one, if that’s all we got. (“We.” Like sports. WE. I hate the “we.” I don’t leave a concert and am like, “Wow, we played great tonight, you guys.” No. I’m in my car already singing to myself, by myself.)

Original Screenplay:
“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Hot Take: This could really be the moment to give “The Big Sick” some love. It had great word of mouth and was a fantastic dramedy. But but but…the creativity and beauty of “The Shape of Water” was divine.

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Hot Take: “Blade Runner.” Don’t @ me.

Film Editing:
“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory

Hot Take: “BABY DRIVER!” It’d be so great to see “Baby” score a win, but “Tonya” had some slick editing skillz, too!

Sound Editing:
“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing:
“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Editing and Mixing Hot Take: “Baby” and “Blade Runner” had STYLE in picture and sound, but once you add Jedis into the mix, all bets are off.

Production Design:
“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau

Hot Take: “Blade Runner” or “The Shape of Water.” They were so damn pretty.

Original Score:
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell

Hot Take: I am only human and can not accurately opine in a category including the legendary John Williams.

Visual Effects:
“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,”  Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist

Hot Take: Another stacked category. I’m gonna go with NOT “Kong Skull Island.” Goddammit, that movie sucked. Despite this personal bias, the effects were solid, but I’m still rooting for “Blade Runner.” Yes, even over “Star Wars.” Sorry, not sorry.

I do not have hot takes on the following, but these noms are still news af: