The 90th Academy Awards

Every. Damn. Year. I write about the Academy Awards, because I’m a person who likes awards shows. And I do like most of the stuff around the Academy Awards – for the last couple of years, the criticism of it has been a useful instrument of bringing to light the heretofore under-spoken-of prejudicial behaviors on the part of the film industry. There are also a lot of heated arguments about things like dresses that I can get behind.

But, by and large, the Oscars themselves are just full of stuff that I find it difficult to engage with – they celebrate a medium I feel very little for, and they specifically exist to value those aspects of that medium (Acting, Producing) that I find least-conducive to constructing a narrative. But, y’know, it’s a good opportunity for jokes and all that, so I continue on.

That said, there’s no reason to take any more time about this stuff than is necessary, so please to enjoy the very fastest Oscars write-up I can manage.

Best Visual Effects

I can’t in good conscience say that it should be Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, since I feel like it robbed Thor: Ragnarok 1. And while it’s really impressive what War for the Planet of the Apes – the greatest Planet of the Apes movie ever made – managed to do visually, I believe it should also be noted that only one of these movies features a man actively milking a giant cow….thing. So that one. It’s that one.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Film Editing

Gotta be the one that was cut to non-purpose-built music.


Best Costume Design

I suppose there’s something to be said for The Phantom Thread, which is, y’know, literally about a designer or whatever 2, but not as much as can be said about a fish-man.


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Occasionally I am called upon to wonder: why these movies? This is why I used to give awards out to Mrs. Coach’s Hair all the time.


Best Cinematography

Hey, if Mudbound’s cinematography was so undeniably good that it finally got a woman nominated in this category, then it must be some damn fine cinematography, yeah? I mean, it is, but there’s also a certain logic at work here. I like when there’s logic. Especially when it’s certain.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Rachel Morrison, Mudbound

Best Production Design

Katie Spencer is nominated for Set Decoration 3 twice, which is certainly a fit, perhaps especially so given that the best production design was actually for The Shape of Water.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Paul Denham Austerberry, The Shape of Water

Best Sound Mixing

I always default, in the purely technical categories like these, to thinking that the person who does the most complicated job should be the winner. In that case, I think it’s probably Dunkirk, which has a bunch of different things going on at all times, and a bunch of different contexts, much of which ranges from enormously loud to very, very quiet.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo, Dunkirk

Best Sound Editing

Sound editing seems slightly less subjective than sound mixing, I guess? I’m not sure why I feel that way. Anyway, in this case I generally consider it less as a totality than as a “number of edits that I feel must have been necessary” which basically makes it more like a special effects category.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which has the benefit of also having the part where the sound drops out entirely, which I guess doesn’t seem that hard, as such, but was a cool bit of sound editing.

Best Original Song

Not much to say here, except it’s gotta be Coco.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: “Remember Me” from Coco

Best Original Score

The “Original Score” category of awards shows is so completely dominated by the same names over and over again that when someone who’s even a little bit new, or outside of that set of people, is nominated, it’s tempting to give it to them. In this case that would be Carter Burwell, but the score for 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri isn’t as good as the score for Phantom Thread.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread

Best Animated Short Film

Glen Keane is nominated here, which I suppose is noteworthy 4, and the film in question, Dear Basketball, is pretty cool I guess. It’s just not as cool as Negative Space

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, Negative Space

Best Live Action Short Film

I know that this crop of short films is here to take on serious issues and all that, and I think that’s great, I really do, but I’m a comedy sort of person, and I think The Eleven O’Clock is just brilliant.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Derine Seale and Josh Lawson, The Eleven O’Clock

Best Documentary – Short Subject

A movie about a guy on a crusade to give rehabilitated criminals jobs making food in Cleveland? There can be no other winner!


Best Documentary – Feature

As much as documentaries about bank crimes and the Syrian civil war are my catnip, even more my catnip are films where people just kind of talk to each other with no particular goal in mind except to communicate who they are. I love that stuff. 

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Agnes Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda, Faces Places

Best Foreign Language Film

The Square is funny-ish, but actually it’s On Body and Soul that should probably win, for being admirably weird and difficult.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: On Body and Soul, directed by Ildikó Enyedi.

Best Animated Feature Film

I don’t even know how to pretend this would go to anything but Coco. I would boycott this thing entirely for the affront to humanity that is the Ferdinand movie, but there’s no chance it will beat Coco, so I choose to overlook it.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Coco, Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson

Best Adapted Screenplay

None of these are bad, as such, which is nice, but it’s still probably a longshot to say that the most deserving is Logan. Nevertheless, this is where we find ourselves.


Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick is very good, and maybe even great, but Get Out is definitely great. Like, all-time great.


Best Supporting Actress

I don’t even have a witty or clever way to say that the rightful winner here is Noble Midwesterner Laurie Metcalf. Do try to forgive me.


Best Supporting Actor

When I wrote about the Golden Globes, I decided that the most impressive job was done by Christopher Plummer, who did it in the shortest amount of time 5, but I’ve decided to rethink this position, and instead grant it to Richard Jenkins. So there you have it.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Best Actress

Once again, one of these people interpreted and conveyed the journey of her character without speaking. That’s impressive, and it was done well enough that it should win awards.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Best Actor

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know this is going to Daniel Kaluuya, so I’ll use this space to say that he’s also going to play Bluebell in the upcoming Watership Down series, and that is awesome.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Director

While it’s true that I never actually thought that Jordan Peele would get nominated for this award, he absolutely deserves it, and I very much could not be happier for him.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jordan Peele, Get Out

Best Picture

After all that, the funniest thing to do would be to claim the rightful winner as something other than Get Out, but this clearly isn’t the place where I do the funniest thing. So there.


And that’s a big “so there” to the Oscars for another year! Take a bow, everybody.

  1.  I mean, I liked Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 more, but Thor: Ragnarok had better visual effects. 
  2.  He may not be a designer. Spoiler alert: I will never see The Phantom Thread. 
  3.  which is, I guess, a subset of the production design award or something? They’re just, like, listed alongside the production designer.
  4.  He’s Bil’s son. In Family Circus he’s “Billy”. The strip as it is is currently written by “Jeffy”. 
  5.  because he was a last-minute replacement for Kevin Spacey, see. 

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