No Real Surprises at the Academy Awards Ceremony

Academy Awards

By The Nerdling

There were a couple of pleasant surprises when the nominations were announced yesterday (Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, Logan).  The expected snubs happened (Armie Hammer, James Franco, all things Wonder Woman).  But let’s be honest, here.  When the golden, bald guy gets handed out on March 4th, there will be no revelations when the envelopes are opened.

There is nothing more predictable when it comes to Hollywood and the awards they love to give themselves.  In recent decades, there were happy miracles like last year when underdog Moonlight beat out the heavy favorite La La Land for Best Picture, and in the most unforgettable way.  But in the years, after the Academy decides it is going to honor someone who has been long overlooked due to skin color or a movie in which the cast is not all Caucasian, everything goes back to the status quo.

2016 Oscar Winners
Image Courtesy of ABC

Right now, I can tell you exactly who is going to win in the big six categories:

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Golden Globes are the best predictors when it comes to thespians getting the prize.  When Jason Bailey at Flavorwire ran the numbers, he found the Academy nearly 90% of the time choose the same winners as the Hollywood Foreign Press in the acting categories.  Looks like Rockwell is a shoe in.

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Would I rather see Mary J. Blige take the award for her intensely beautiful performance as the matriarch of a sharecropping family in Mudbound?  Or Octavia Spence because she is freaking awesome (confession time, I haven’t seen The Shape of Water, yet)?  Absolutely!  But Janney has been the favorite since I, Tonya premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Best Actress: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Meryl Streep (The Post) might steal this one away, but McDormand’s portrayal of a grieving, angry mother standing up to the “man” will be the winner and Hollywood’s champion for #MeToo and #TimesUp.

On a depressing side note, no woman of color has won Best Actress since Haley Berry in 2001 (Monster’s Ball).  In the 90 years of the Academy Awards, only 15 women of color have ever been nominated in this category.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread

This is going to be one of those very few times the Golden Globes and the Oscars are going to differ from one another in the best actor category.  The prolific performer announced Phantom Thread would be his final performance and I don’t see the Academy passing up the chance to honor him one last time.  Plus, the winners for the Best Actor categories from the Golden Globes were James Franco and Gary Oldman.  Franco was not nominated, supposedly due to the recent string of sexual harassment accusations, and Oldman’s ex-wife has launched domestic abuse allegations against him.  Daniel Kaluuya was amazing in Get Out and Timotheé Chalamet might be the talk of the town for his performance in Call Me by Your Name, but they do not stand a chance against the much beloved DDL.

Get Out
Image Courtesy of Blumhouse Productions

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

This category is the only one that will even be close to a toss-up on, but it is still pretty obvious to me who’s name will be called.  I am a massive fan of del Toro’s and as a Latina I will be incredibly happy if and when he takes the stage on Oscar night.

Lots of positive chatter has surrounded Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and Jordan Peele’s (Get Out) nods, especially since the Hollywood Foreign Press snubbed them both.  But del Toro doesn’t stray too hard from the status quo and he can be pointed to when the Academy wants to boast their “diversity”.

Don’t hate me, but I’m pretty stoked over Christopher Nolan’s (Dunkirk) nom.  I am a huge fan of his films.  He has a talent for making compelling and beautiful films that don’t rely on emotional manipulation to make you feel something (*cough* Steven Spielberg *cough, cough*).  I am a little bit bummed he is not in the conversation.

Best Picture: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

So many people think there is no strong front-runner for this group, but it is crystal clear.  Hollywood wants to make a statement this year and only Three Billboards checks all the things-Hollywood-thinks-makes-them-progressive boxes.

  • Strong female lead.
  • Woman was abused by spouse.
  • Woman standing up to abusive men.
  • Racists being called out for being racist.
  • White people doing the calling out.
  • Bonus: White woman doing the calling out.
  • Racist person repents for their racists ways thanks to the white savior.
  • White woman as the savior bonus.

Just hand the damn Oscar to those guys already.

Eye Roll

Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, and The Shape of Water are generating a lot of good buzz, but last year Academy honored a movie centering on an African-American man in an unconventional (read: homosexual) relationship.  Three movies separately tackling the struggles of African-Americans in a white world or taboo relationships are not going to obtain the big award this year.  Consecutive radical wins do not happen.  Messes with the status quo too much.

In the time of Trump, you would think The Post would be the big favorite.  It checks many of those boxes (woman in a position of power, humble reporters standing up to the big government who would censor them, timely release).  With #MeToo and #TimesUp dominating the conversation in Hollywood, Lady Bird, a movie about a strong-willed female teen and relationships between women, should see some love.  But both films do not check as many of those boxes as Three Billboards.

Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, and Phantom Thread are not even in the conversation.

Could I be talking out my ass and be proven wrong.  Sure.  But I don’t think I will be.

The Nerdling was born in the majestic land known as Texas and currently resides there after several years of journeying through Middle Earth in a failed attempt to steal the one Ring from that annoying hobbit, serving the Galactic Empire for a time, and then a short stint as a crew member on the Serenity. Since moving back to her homeland, Nerdling flirted with a hero reputation. Saving children from the dangers of adoring domineering, sparkly vampires (champions with souls are the only vampires worth loving) and teaching normals the value of nerdom, all while rooting for her beloved Dallas Stars. Then came the Sokovia Accords and her short spell of saving others came to an end. With Darth Vader’s reputation rightfully returning to badass status, Nerdling is making her way back to the Empire. They do have cookies, you know. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale.


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