MoviefiedNYC’s 2018 Oscar Predictions: Who will Win and SHOULD win!

This weekend, the 90th Academy Awards will be held and Hollywood will bestow its highest honor to a deserving few. If you are going to an Oscar party and haven’t had time to see all of the nominated films, fear not, the MoviefiedNYC team has done all of the leg work for you. Managing Editors John David West and Myrna Duarte share their predictions along with Award Season Guru Ariadne Ansbro and Eddie Mouradian cinephile MoviefiefiedNYC contributor. Below are our picks for who will win and which of the nominees should win.

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Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, 
The Post, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Picture:

Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, 
The Post, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Ari: Who will Win: This is really a toss-up.  The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri have collectively picked up all of the pre-Oscar awards, and split them almost evenly.  I am going to say that ultimately, the fishman will steal the show and The Shape of Water will be the big winner.   Who Should Win: The film that really impressed me the most this year was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.  This film could have been very depressing a la Rabbit Hole, but it wasn’t.  It actually ended on a positive note, which was refreshing.

David: Who will Win: The Shape of Water.  Who Should Win: The Shape of Water with a Dunkirk chaser! I would love to see a Dunkirk upset.

Eddie: Who will Win: Smart money is on Three Billboards because we live in a world where racists get a redemption arc or The Shape of Water because #FishmanSex (and it’s beautiful). But I’ve never been smart of had money so I’m calling for a Get Out upset.  Who Should Win: It’s a great year for movies when the best Steven Spielberg film in years is basically given a consolation prize. Lady Bird and  Call Me By Your Name spoke to the anguished teen inside me, but no movie–maybe ever–has made me think more than Get Out.

Myrna: Who will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and I don’t understand why. Who Should Win: The Shape of Water, a beautiful haunting political fairytale, but wouldn’t it be great to have a real upset and have the un-nominated Florida Project win.

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

Best Director:

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

Ari: Who will Win: The Mexican and Spanish directors have been cleaning up in recent years.  Welcome to their ranks, Guillermo del Toro.  Who Should Win: I would really be happy if any of them would win.  They all did a phenomenal job.

David: Who will Win and should win: Guillermo del Toro  for the The Shape of Water. Would love to see Christopher Nolan, or Paul Thomas Anderson, or Jordan Peele win as well. 

Eddie: Who will Win: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water has this locked up. And it’s well-deserved and about time.   Who Should Win: Sorry folks, but Christopher Nolan‘s direction of the oddly forgotten Dunkirk was next level.

Myrna: Who will Win and Should Win: The Shape of WaterGuillermo del Toro, there are few directors that can take you into their dreams. The only upset I could live with is Jordan Peele for Get Out.

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Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour, Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread, Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name, Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out, Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq

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.

Ari: Who will Win: This is Gary Oldman’s year.  The only way he does not walk out of there with an Oscar is if Timothée Chalamet runs up on stage, steels it, and runs away.  Who Should Win: While it may be passe, I really enjoyed Oldman’s performance in Darkest Hour.  The film was very meh, but he elevated it and truly disappeared inside of Churchill.

David: Who will Win and should win: Gary Oldman in the Darkest Hour. It’s his to lose. If they’re running of time, Oscar telecast could just skip this category and have Emma Stone deliver the Oscar to his seat in the front row. Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name is a very close second.

Eddie: Who will Win:  Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour. I assume the space is already on his shelf. Who Should Win: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name was revelatory and shouldn’t be denied his Oscar just because he’ll surely have other opportunities in the future.

Myrna: Who will Win and Should Win: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour though I am concerned with all the brouhaha about Phantom Thread being Day-Lewis’s last film that he could steal the award from Oldman.

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Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water, Margot Robbie, I, Tonya, Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird, Meryl Streep, The Post

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

Ari: Who will Win: Frances McDormand is about to become a two-time Academy Award winner.  Who Should Win: I will probably be hanged for this, but Meryl StreepHer portrayal of Katherine Graham was filled with so many layers.  Her inner conflict and trepidation were palpable.

David: Who will Win: Frances McDormand  Who Should Win: Margot Robbie, I, Tonya. Oh, and where is Annette Bening’s name on this list? She was a bit more deserving for her performance in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool than a few of the other nominees this year–but I’m on team Robbie.

Eddie: Who will Win: Frances McDormand, Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri will deservedly join an elite group of double Best Actress winners.  Who Should Win: I’m not mad that Franny is going to win her second Oscar, but Meryl Streep in The Post though…

Myrna:  Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I love Frances McDormand but I don’t think this is an award-winning role for her. Who Should Win: Margot Robbie in I, Tonya truly disappears into the role of Tonya Harding.

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Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriWillem 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

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 

Ari: Who will Win: This is Sam Rockwell’s year.  From the minute I saw Three Billboards, I knew that he would be the one to beat come Oscar season.  Who Should Win: Sam Rockwell.  I know that my fellow writers all think there were some writing flaws to his character, but I disagree.  He was just great in a great role.

David: Who will and Should Win: Sam Rockwell, despite some script problems, Rockwell rises above the material and delivers a killer performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Eddie: Who will Win:  Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Who Should Win: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri–it’ s not his fault his character has a weirdly problematic and completely unearned redemption arc.

Myrna: Who will Win: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Who Should Win: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project a film that deserved more nominations than it received.

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

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

Ari: Who will and should win: Allison Janney for her role as the tough as nails mother of figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.  Janney’s film work has been as exceptional as her television work and it is about damn time she was recognized. The bird deserves an award, too.

David: Who will and should Win: Allison Janney, I, Tonya. She killed, she owned it, she rocked–give Janney the prize!  HOWEVER, I would LOVE to see Lesley Manville win!

Eddie: Who will Win:  Allison Janney, I, Tonya – great performance, even greater bird. Who Should Win: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird gave my favorite performance of the year.

Myrna: Who will Win and Should Win: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

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Best Adapted Screenplay: 

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

Ari: Who will Win: James Ivory (of Merchant-Ivory fame) will pick up his first Oscar for his adaptation of André  Aciman’s pretentious novel, Call Me By Your Name  Who Should Win: Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game should win for anything he ever does.  His writing is always head and shoulders above anyone else’s.

David: Who will and Should Win: Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory. After three previous nominations, this is his time.

Eddie: Who will Win:  Call My By Your Name, James Ivory  Who Should Win: Despite the protests of the comic book nerd and West Wing fan inside me, Call My By Your Name, James Ivory.

Myrna: Who will Win: Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin Who Should Win: The script for Logan by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green brings us the emotional and character-driven Wolverine film we have all been waiting for.  

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The Big Sick

Best Original Screenplay:

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

Ari: Who will Win:  This is another close category.  Martin McDonagh has been receiving accolades for his script of Three Billboards and since he did not receive a directing nomination, this may be his conciliation prize. However, I would have to give the edge to Jordan Peele for his truly innovative and original script for Get Out. Who Should Win: The Big Sick was the best film that I saw this year.  Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani crafted a brilliant script out of the story of how they fell in love.

David: Who will Win: Get Out, Jordan Peele, this is an opportunity to give best the picture nominee Get Out an award.  Who Should Win:  Get Out, Jordan Peele or even The Big Sick, but certainly not Martin McDonagh clunky Billboards.

Eddie: Who will Win:  Get Out, Jordan Peele  Who Should Win: Toughest category of the night: Get Out couldn’t be more relevant, hilarious, frightening and eye-opening, but with Lady BirdGreta Gerwig redefined herself and spoke to the teenage girl living inside all of us.

Myrna: Who will Win: Get Out, Jordan Peele for a film that defines our time.
Who Should Win: The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon, and Kumail Nanjiani for a film that defines our heart.

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

Best Animated Feature:

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent

Ari: Who will Win: Never bet against Pixar.  Coco for the win. Who Should Win: Loving Vincent was one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen.  I would give it to that.

David: Who will and Should Win: Coco. The Breadwinner was a powerful and captivating work but I have to go with Coco.

Eddie: Who will Win & Should Win: Coco, because Pixar.

Myrna: Who will Win and Should Win: Coco, a joyous and stunning tribute to family and culture.

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Garden Par

Best Animated Short:

Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Negative Space
Revolting Rhyme

Ari: Who will Win: Even though it was the weakest of the shorts, it will probably go to Dear Basketball.  Everybody loves Kobe Bryant.  Who Should Win: Revolting Rhymes

David: Who will Win: Dear Basketball. The weakest of the group but the cool factor of Kobe Bryant winning, plus a score by John Williams may be too hard to resist for Academy voters. Who Should Win: Garden Party appealed to my darker taste but Revolting Rhymes might be the best of a strong group.

Myrna: I am sad to say I missed the shorts this year

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Best Cinematography:

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Ari: Who will Win:  The Shape of Water was tailor made for this category.  Welcome to the Winners Circle Dan Laustsen. Who Should Win: I was really taken with the photography of MudboundRachel Morrison really captured the feeling of a post WWII Mississippi farm.

David: Who will Win: Dan Laustsen, The Shape of Water  Who Should Win: Blade Runner 2049.

Eddie: Who will Win:  This will be the test to see how deep into The Shape of Water the Academy is. I think Dan Laustsen takes it for that visually sumptuous film. Who Should Win: I’m not mad at a The Shape of Water win, but did you see Blade Runner 2049? It was too beautiful to comprehend.

Myrna: Who will Win: Dan Laustsen for capturing the gritty beauty of fantastical film The Shape of Water   Who Should Win: The 14-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins for the stunning Blade Runner 2049 and so many other films.

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Phantom Thread

Best Costume Design 

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

Ari: Who will and should Win: Phantom Thread no contest.  Dresses in the style of Charles James? I am so on board.

David: Who will and should win: Phantom Thread

Eddie: Who will Win: I think this is where Phantom Thread picks up a win. It’s about clothes! (Well, not really.)  Who Should Win: Phantom Thread. 

Myrna: Who will Win and Who Should Win: Luis Sequeira for The Shape of Water. ‘Make it like a George Clooney of fish-men!’ – Guillermo del Toro

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Faces Places

 Best Documentary:

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Last Man in Aleppo
Strong Island 

Ari: Who will Win: Faces Places was a lighter film with beautiful imagery. I think it will probably get the award.  Who Should Win: Yance Ford’s Strong Island was a brilliant depiction of injustice and racism in what is supposed to be a progressive place.

David: Who will and Should Win: Faces Places is unforgettable for finding the extraordinary beauty in ordinary people. It will be a treat to see Agnès Varda, the mother of the French New Wave win an Oscar.

Eddie: Who will Win: Faces Places  Who Should Win: Last Man in Aleppo

Myrna: A difficult category but Faces Places will and should win. I am still haunted by the beautiful imagery of this documentary.  

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Baby Driver

Best Film Editing:

Baby Driver
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Ari: Who will and should Win: Dunkirk. While it annoys me that Christopher Nolan always has to do something weird with time in his films, he does it brilliantly with the help of long-time collaborator Lee Smith.  Not to mention he was robbed of a nomination for Inception.

David: Who will Win: I have a feeling that Baby Driver may be the upset here however, usually the best editing winner is also the best picture winner. So, I’m going with Dunkirk—what? Who Should Win: Baby Driver

Eddie: Who will Win & Should Win: Dunkirk, although the editing of I, Tonya was practically another lead character.

Myrna: Who will Win: Dunkirk for its amazing layering of time.  Who Should Win: Baby Driver for being an action dance piece set to music.

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A Fantastic Woman, Chile

Best Foreign Language Film: 

A Fantastic Woman, Chile
The Insult, Lebanon
Loveless, Russia
On Body and Soul, Hungary
The Square, Sweden

Ari: Who will Win: A Fantastic Woman will probably resonate with Academy voters.  Who Should Win: The Square

David: Who will Win: A Fantastic Woman. Who Should Win: I only saw The Square in this category and I don’t feel this one is strong enough to win.

Eddie: Who will Win & Should Win: The Square. That’s what you get for putting Elisabeth Moss in your movie!

Myrna: Who will Win and Who Should Win: The Square, Sweden 

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Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405

Best Documentary Short: 

Edith and Eddie
Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Ari: Who will Win: Netflix should pick up its second win in this category for Heroin(e).  Who Should Win: Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405, even though I haven’t seen it, I would give it a win for the name.

David: Who will Win: word on the street (the web) is that this one will go to Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405. 

Myrna: Who will Win: Heroin(e) Who Should Win: Knife Skills a powerful film about second chances.  

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Watu Wote/All of Us 

Best Live Action Short:

DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us 

Ari: Who will Win: DeKalb Elementary, unfortunately, became all too real two weeks ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.   Who Should Win: The Silent Child really brought you into the world of the deaf.

David: Who will Win: DeKalb Elementary is actually the weakest of the group, but I think the subject will resonate with voters. Who Should Win: The Silent Child.

Myrna: This is a hard category, I liked all the nominees but I believe My Nephew Emmett will win but it is  The Silent Child that should win for truly immersing us into the world of a deaf child.

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Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul

Ari: Who will and should Win: Darkest Hour for putting Gary Oldman in a fat suit.

David: Who will and should win: Darkest HourGary Oldman’s transformation into Winston Churchill by David Malinkowski, Lucy Sibbick, Anita Burger was brilliant.


Eddie: Who will Win & Should Win: Darkest Hour. Don’t even talk to me about Wonder.

Myrna: Darkest Hour will win but I, Tonya should win. 

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Original Score: 

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

Ari: Who will Win: Alexandre Desplat has been pulling in all of the pre-Oscar awards.  I would expect him to take home the gold for The Shape of Water.  Who Should Win: Hans Zimmer did a truly incredible job with this work on Dunkirk.

David: Who will Win: The Shape of Water.  Who Should Win: This was a strong year for movie scores. I loved Jonny Greenwood’s score for Phantom Thread, it complements the lush visual textures of the film, but I have to go with Hans Zimmer’s score for Dunkirk, it was essential to the film.

Eddie: Who will & Should Win: Dunkirk because it’s the only score that defined the movie.

Myrna: Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water will win, deservedly so but the sonic wonder of Dunkirk could come in as an upset.  

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“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

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

Ari: Who will Win: “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman since it is so hummable.   Who Should Win: “Remember Me” from Coco.  I have loved Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez since Avenue Q.

David: Who will Win: “Remember Me,” Coco.  Who Should Win: “Mystery of Love,” Call Me By Your Name.

Eddie: Who will Win:  “Remember Me” Coco. Who Should Win: I’m actually humming “This Is Me” right now.

Myrna: “This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman will win, the Academy loves a good anthem but it’s “Remember Me,”Coco that has my heart.

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The Shape of Water

Best Production Design: 

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

Ari: Who will and should Win: The Shape of Water was so visually stunning for both its cinematography and its production design.  This one should take home the prize.

David: Who will Win: The Shape of Water  Who Should Win: The Shape of Water

Eddie: Who will Win & Should Win: The production of The Shape of Water was almost too beautiful.

Myrna: The Shape of Water will win and should win. Guillermo del Toro’s and Paul Austerberry’s visual storytelling take us to a dreamy, romantic, fantastical world I never want to leave.

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Best Sound Editing: 

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

Ari: Who will and should Win: Dunkirk¸ full stop.

David: Who will and Should Win: Dunkirk 


Eddie: Who will Win & Should Win:I couldn’t imagine a movie more deserving than Baby Driver… until I saw Dunkirk.

Myrna: Dunkirk will win but I am voting for Blade Runner 2049 and it’s wonderful use of silence.

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Baby Driver

Best Sound Mixing: 

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

Ari: Who will and should Win: See above

David: Who will Win:   Who Should Win:

Eddie: Who will Win & Should Win: Please see my above answer for film editing. Dunkirk.

Myrna: Dunkirk will win and it would be totally deserving but there was some special kind of magic going on in Baby Driver.

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Blade Runner 2049

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

Ari: Who will Win: I am going to go out on a limb and say Blade Runner 2049 will pick up this award, but I would not be surprised if War for the Planet of the Apes is victorious. Who Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

David: Who will Win: This one will go to the amazing motion capture performances of War for the Planet of the Apes. Who Should Win: I loved Blade Runner but I think the Apes have it.

Eddie: Who will Win:  The sheer number of below-the-line nominations Blade Runner 2049 has received shows The Academy’s appreciation for the technical marvel. This will be a category where that appreciation pays off.  Who Should Win: Is it crazy to say that sadly forgotten Kong: Skull Island?

Myrna: War for the Planet of the Apes the last film in the trilogy will win but it really belongs to Blade Runner 2049 with the Best Cinematography award for Roger Deakins.


The 90th Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday, March 4 on ABC. Join MoviefiedNYC for live streaming at @MoviefiedNYC


Throwback Thursday Oscar Edition: Who Should Have Won?

Carry and Oscar

The Academy Award is the most coveted award in the film industry.  When one receives this award, it translates to more parts, more fame, and bragging rights that for one year, “I was the best.”  Or not.  Since its inception, the Academy Awards have been known to be a bit of a popularity contest.  This is not to say that it doesn’t get it right sometimes (Vivien Leigh winning for Best Actress in Gone with the Wind, Schindler’s List winning Best Picture, etc.). However, the Oscar prognosticators spend time analyzing the awards and looking to see who the Academy deems the most popular for that year, but not necessarily the best.  There are classic Oscar missteps that have been addressed by many (see Shakespeare in Love winning for Best Picture instead of Saving Private Ryan or How Green was My Valley winning Best Picture over Citizen Kane).  For this Throwback Thursday, managing editor John David West and awards season guru Ariadne Ansbro look back at some of the lesser known Oscar mistakes and tell you who they think should have won.


1950 Best Actress
From top left: Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday, Bette Davis in All About Eve, and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd.

1950 Best Actress

Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday

Anne Baxter, All About Eve

Bette Davis, All About Eve

Eleanor Parker, Caged

Gloria Swanson, Sunset Blvd.

Ari’s pick: This is a tough one for me.  Judy Holliday was excellent at playing the dizzy blond Billie Dawn who starts to receive an education in Born Yesterday, but she was not even in the same league as Bette Davis or Gloria Swanson. Pitting Davis and Swanson against each other in career defining roles is an almost impossible choice.  However, I am paid to make impossible choices, so I would have to say that the winner that year should have been Bette Davis.  Her performance in All About Eve was the stuff of legends.  Can you imagine anyone else saying, “Fasten your seatbelts.  It’s going to be a bumpy night.”?

David’s pick: Judy Holliday?  Holliday is solid as Billie Dawn, the same role she played on Broadway, but let’s have a reality check here: Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. Choosing between those two is unfair (like Meryl Streep and Jessica Lange in 1982)—and that’s probably why Holliday won. They cancelled each other out. Since life is unfair, I’m going to make a choice and say that the 1950 Best Actress should have gone to Gloria Swanson for her larger than life performance in Sunset Blvd. Her movie icon status was solidified when she said, “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”


1959 Best Actor
Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur and Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot

1959 Best Actor

Charlton Heston, Ben-Hur

Jack Lemmon, Some Like it Hot

James Stewart, Anatomy of a Murder

Laurence Harvey, Room at the Top

Paul Muni, The Last Angry Man

Ari’s pick: I am going to start by saying one of the most unpopular things I could ever say: I don’t like Ben-Hur.  This does not mean that I cannot see past my dislike for a film, yet see the brilliance in a performance (i.e. Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, don’t hate me).  However, Charlton Heston played Charlton Heston.  He was the exact same tough guy that he played in every movie before, and all of the Bible epics he did after.  Laurence Harvey was wonderful in Room at the Top.  I generally think that Harvey is an actor who is largely forgotten about, mostly due to his untimely death at age 45.  James Stewart really played against type in Anatomy of a Murder as a slightly dubious defense attorney who defends a man accused of murder.  In the end, I have to go with Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot.  There are so many great things in this film, but Lemmon is a true stand out.  Sadly, Oscar is not big on honoring comedic performances.  

David’s pick: I have to confess, I’m not familiar with many in this category and not a fan of the tediously long Ben-Hur. My choice is Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot for his comic performance as a musician who is forced to dress as a woman in order to hide from the mob. It’s a solid iconic comic performance in one of cinemas great classic comedies. 



1962 Best Actress
Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker and Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate

1962 Best Supporting Actress

Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker

Angela Lansbury, The Manchurian Candidate

Mary Badham, To Kill a Mockingbird

Shirley Knight, Sweet Bird of Youth

Thelma Ritter, Birdman of Alcatraz

Ari’s pick: Patty Duke won an Oscar for her role as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker.  This film was poised to pick up acting Oscars for both Duke and Anne Bancroft in the lead actress category, as the Oscars love to reward people for playing real people and characters who must overcome some sort of physical or mental disability (check and check).  The problem is that years later, the performance that stands out the most in this category is Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate.  These days it is hard to think of Lansbury playing someone so diabolical.  Lansbury’s performance is so memorable that AFI named her portrayal of Mrs. John Iselin as one of the 50 best villains of all time.  

David’s pick: Of all the fine supporting performances in 1962, it’s Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate, who should have won for her performance as the cold and calculating, communist agent who is part of a plot to brainwash her son to commit murder. Yes, that’s right, our beloved Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote played an evil communist operative. It’s an unforgettable performance that still holds up today. It’s a damn shame that Lansbury was overlooked for her most deserving Oscar.


1985 Best Actress
Geraldine Page in A Trip to Bountiful and Whoppi Goldberg in The Color Purple


1985 Best Actress

Geraldine Page, A Trip to Bountiful

Anne Bancroft, Agnes of God

Jessica Lange, Sweet Dreams

Meryl Streep, Out of Africa

Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple

Ari’s pick: Over the years, the Academy has given out awards to actors for their body of work instead of their individual performance in the film for which they are nominated.  For example, Henry Fonda for On Golden Pond and Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart.  Both are fine performances, but no one would say that those were necessarily the “best” performances of their careers.  Geraldine Page’s win in 1985 is much the same.  She had been nominated seven times prior to this win and, as it turned out, didn’t have much longer to live (she died in 1987).  So the Academy felt that it was her time.  I don’t.  Whoopi Goldberg should have won for The Color Purple.   She was perfect as a woman trapped due to her circumstance, who eventually learns to find her voice.  The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Oscars, and didn’t win any.  What a shame.

David’s pick: This is a tough one for me because I’m pretty happy with Geraldine Page, but I have to admit that her Best Actress win does kind of feel like a lifetime achievement award. Streep and Lange are fantastic, and I was almost ready to go with Lange as Patsy Cline. But I have to go with Whoopi Goldberg for her breakout performance in The Color Purple. She was the most authentic and heartbreaking thing in a film that tended to be a bit stagy, over the top, and even silly; Goldberg kept it real.



1993 Best Sup Actor
Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive and Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List

1993 Best Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive

Leonardo DiCaprio, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List

John Malkovich, In the Line of Fire

Pete Postlethwaite, In the Name of the Father

Ari’s pick: This is a great category.  Each of these performances were so intricate and mesmerizing that they are all memorable.  However, there was one that was better than all the rest: Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.  In life, most people are not all good or all evil; everyone has nuance.  Fiennes plays Amon Goeth as an evil, conniving, murderous bastard, but he also shows a human side to him.  Fiennes was asked about how he could play Goeth as a human being and not as a mustache twirling villain.  He said, “I mean, I could make a judgment myself privately, this is a terrible, evil, horrific man. But the job was to portray the man, the human being. There’s a sort of banality, that everydayness, that I think was important.”  The best scene that illustrates this is when he attempts to show a human side and does not immediately punish a Jewish worker for not getting the stains off his bathtub.  Watch it here.

David’s pick: 1993 was a great year at the Oscar, and this category is a difficult one. There’s not one clunker here. But Tommy Lee Jones Oscar for The Fugitive feels like he won for one of those big performances that inspires Academy voters to award more for career achievement than a specific performance. Without a doubt the Oscar should have gone to Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List as Amon Goeth, a Nazi concentration camp commandant. His portrayal of Amon was not just a two-dimensional evil Nazi that’s a pleasure to hate, but rather he played him with depth and complexity, which adds a level of tension and intensity.

Movie-Still Monday Oscar Edition: Willem Dafoe

Shadow of a Vampire
Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

This year, Willem Dafoe received his third Oscar nomination for The Florida Project, playing the manager of a down-and-out motel near Disney World (aka the Happiest Place on Earth).  Dafoe received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Max Schreck, the star of the silent classic Nosferatu (1922), in Shadow of the Vampire (2000).  Dafoe brillantly embodies Schreck, masterfully making what could have been a characature into a work of art.

MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2017

Here it is, better late than never, MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2017. It was not a banner year for great movies but once the last quarter arrived, September through December ultimately redeemed 2017 and proved to be an ok year at the movies!        Here are the Ten Best of 2017 as seen by John David West:

1. Dunkirk

Witnessing Christopher Nolan’s latest experiment with time was initially frustrating, but ultimately mind-blowing. It was a unique cinematic experience making for a refreshing departure from the sappy Hollywood war film—or any predictable narrative, plot-driven movie. Nolan takes viewers through a turning point of WWII with an immersive experience on land, sea, and air, revealing the soldiers’ confusion, fear, and drive to survive. Their experience is the viewer’s experience and is historic and important from a cinematic perspective. Hans Zimmer’s score is equally effective as are incredible visuals by Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar).

2. The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is at the top of his game with this beautifully conceived fairytale for adults. With exquisite art direction, fluid cinematography by Dan Laustsen, a dreamy score by Alexandre Desplat (The Tree of Life), and a strong performance by Sally Hawkins; the world that del Turo has created makes this film stand out as one of the most unique movies of 2017. One can’t help but think of the 1955 classic B-movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but this m/animal has more depth and love. And there’s a Good versus Evil element, with Good represented by characters on the margins of society.

3. Phantom Thread

Director Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a quiet mood piece that is beautifully styled, and artistically stylized. It’s lovely to look at, thanks to Anderson’s careful attention to detail in every shot. The cinematography—by Anderson himself—brings viewers in close contact with the fabric and feel of dresses as the characters make them. The score by Jonny Greenwood equally matches the lush visual textures seen on screen. This is a film involving three people: dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), and Reynolds’ lover, Alma (Vicky Krieps). All actors are as exquisite as the other elements of this film and delicately funny.

4. Call Me by Your Name

Is this the annual pretentious film appealing only to lovers of high art, beauty, language, and the finer things in life that elevate us? Those elements are all there in a multi-linguistic script that is balanced and restrained, thanks to Luca Guadagnino’s measured direction. The film’s elements are indeed beautiful (the “Somewhere in northern Italy” location, the actors, and the soundtrack), but above all, the film’s subject is universally relatable. No matter whom you love, the pain of love and loss sticks with you long after the film’s credits end—and what’s portrayed behind those final credits makes the film devastating and unforgettable.

5. I, Tonya

Movie snobs beware, Tonya Harding is the subject of a narrative film and it’s funny and campy, it winks at its audience in a faux documentary style, it’s a tragic comedy about a comically tragic event, and it’s damn good. When I first heard about I, Tonya, I thought, “oh hell yes, this will be a hoot to watch,” a hoot in the campy Lifetime movie sense—certainly not in the Academy Award level sense! Margo Robbie kills it as Tonya. We are with her—elevated with joy—when she triple axels her way to the top of the podium at the US Championships, and we feel the pain of a too harsh sentencing when she’s stripped of her US figure skating rights and never allowed to skate again. One can’t help but think, “Jesus, at least let her skate in an animal suit in Ice Capades; she’s not a child molester or a drug kingpin—it’s just ice-skating after all!” Allison Janney also kills as Tonya’s monstrous mother. For a film about a kooky moment in sports history that centers on a bunch of foolhardy “Boobs,” it’s impressive how moving I, Tanya is.

6. Get Out

get-out 2

Jordan Peele brilliantly takes the anxiety felt by American minorities and submerges it into a thriller to capture today’s racial tension. This multilayered horror, sometimes-comedy draws on the ever-present U.S. issues of black and white racial tensions and the legacies of American slavery. Peele makes us question where all the racists suddenly came from when Trump became President, folks who were previously silenced and muzzled by political correctness. Get Out is not only a good horror film—a difficult achievement in itself—it’s a film that will be remembered as an important movie that reflects the time in which it was made.

7. Florida Project

Florida Project 2

Sean Baker’s latest social-realistic film introduces viewers to another set of enigmatic characters who live on the fringe of society. Halley (Bria Vinaite) and her daughter (Brooklynn Prince) survive on the edge of homelessness in a motel called the Magic Castle, near Disney World. The exterior of the motel is a vibrant cheap purple, and this creates a delightfully colorful world in contrast to occupants’ poverty, but at the same time reflects the children’s joyous summertime play. The film easily brings back memories of those days of childhood wonder, regardless of one’s economic status or what neighborhood you grew up in. Their world contrasts sharply to Disney’s with its pricy fun far out of financial reach to many. Too obvious a metaphor? Perhaps, but watching these characters live makes the film remarkable.  Florida Project doesn’t have a deeply complicated plot and the mother doesn’t have a traditional character arc whereby she learns and grows—she’s a tragic figure. Above all Brooklynn Prince, whose naturalness infuses Florida Project with energy and charm, makes you want to keep watching her—and everyone—live and behave in their world.

8. Faces Places

Faces Places 5

At 89 years old Agnès Varda—a legend of the French New Wave—is still making movies, and this time she’s found sweet perfection as she teams up with 35 year old photographer, JR. Together they make for the most unlikely duo to entertain audiences in years. Faces Places is a road movie that travels through rural France and shows us the extraordinary beauty of seemingly ordinary people. And the movie may make a historic stamp on cinema when the father of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard, makes the mother of the French New Wave cry—he doesn’t even appear in the movie and yet Goddard is still affecting cinema.

9. Good Time

Good Time 1

Who is that scruffy skinny actor so full of energy? Why it’s Robert Pattinson! He plays the worst brother a sibling could be cursed with, especially one who is mentally disabled. After a bank robbery that goes really bad, Connie’s (Robert Pattinson younger brother Nick (Benny Safdie one-half of the film’s brother directors) ends up in prison. Good Time has been compared to Martin Scorsese’s 1985 Tribeca odyssey After Hours. The comparison is certainly fair, only this NYC odyssey pushes it to full-throttle taking viewers in a rapid fire pace through Manhattan and God knows which borough of New York City.

10. mother!

mother! 2

Without a doubt mother! is the most polarizing film of the year. It pissed a lot of people off, made others laugh, and inspired endless “WTF” text messages upon its release. Once the allegory is clear, mother! sends your mind spinning. It’s an apocalyptic, biblical tale that layers on elements of war, invasion, and climate change, resulting in an experience that is disturbing, maddening, and sits with you for days. Michelle Pfeiffer delivers one of her best performances in years, and Jennifer Lawrence (this year’s Razzie nominee for worst actress), is well cast in one of her best role since Winter’s Bone.

Honorable Mention:

Blade Runner 21. Bladerunner 2049
2. Lady Bird
3. Coco
4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
5. Mudbound

Movie-Still Monday (on Tuesday) Oscar Edition: Lesley Manville

Another Year
Lesley Manville in Another Year (2010)

Lesley Manville received her first Oscar nomination for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread playing the sister and business partner of fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis, who also received a nomination).  Manville has been active in mostly British films and television since the 1970s.  She is a favorite of director Mike Leigh appearing in Secrets and Lies (1996), Topsy Turvy (1999), Vera Drake (2004), and Mr. Turner (2014) to name a few.  In Leigh’s Another Year (2010), Manville plays Mary, the desperate woman of a certain age who is both pitied by and annoying to her friends.

Movie-Still Monday Oscar Edition: Denzel Washington

Cry Freedom
Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington in Cry Freedom

Denzel Washington is celebrating his eighth acting nomination (ninth career nomination) for his work in this year’s Roman J. Israel, Esq.  He is tied with Paul Newman and Spencer Tracy as third most nominated actor in Oscar history (behind Jack Nicholson with 12 and Laurence Olivier with 10).  Washington received his first Oscar nomination 30 years ago for his role as South African activist and martyr for the cause Steve Biko in Cry Freedom (1987).


Movie-Still Monday Oscar Edition: Saoirse Ronan


Saoirse Ronan (with James McAvoy) in Atonement (2007)

We begin our celebration of Oscar season by celebrating the previous films of this year’s nominees.  Saoirse Ronan is celebrating her third nomination this year for her performance in Lady Bird.  Ronan is the second youngest woman (behind Jennifer Lawrence) to receive three nominations.  Ronan received her first nomination at age 13 for her role as the little girl you love to hate in Atonement (2007).