The Bock’s Office: Who will take home Oscar gold?
For the ninth decade, Tinseltown trots out its favorite folks for the yearly celebration of cinema as the 90th Academy Awards take place Sunday.
Each year, I watch with bated breath to see which of the top-quality movies of the past calendar year takes home the coveted gold, and each year I like to provide a list of how I think the ceremony will unfold.
As such, here’s my list of picks for which recipients we’ll see taking home the Oscar.
Best Sound Mixing — “Dunkirk”
Best Sound Editing — “Dunkirk”
The technical magnificence of this World War II epic is what makes it such an endearing but also incredibly tense watch, chiefly because of impeccable design in sound. Though there are plenty of worthy nominees — and who knows, “Baby Driver,” “The Shape of Water” or “The Last Jedi” could make a run at either — there’s no need to think that these two sister awards would be split up.
Best Original Song — “Remember Me” from “Coco”
Best Original Score — “The Shape of Water”
Musical accomplishments abounded in the past year with uplifting tunes to spare. It’s a safe bet to think that the simple yet sensational “Remember Me” from Pixar’s “Coco” by Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez will take Best Song, though the calls for dignity from “Mudbound,” “Marshall” and “The Greatest Showman” have just as good a chance.
Best Score is a little more subjective, yet you can bet that Alexandre Depslat’s composition from “The Shape of Water” winning at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards won’t be lost on Academy voters.
Best Animated Short Film — “Lou”
Best Live Action Short Film — “My Nephew Emmett”
Again, Pixar’s name recognition all but ensures it another win for “Lou,” about a playground bully who learns to share thanks to a weird, wonderful creature, though the modern fairy tale “Revolting Rhymes” would be a better pick.
Any of the live shorts would be worthwhile winners, though I’m torn between the following “The Silent Child,” a tale of a deaf girl coming out of her shell thanks to a loving teacher, and “DeKalb Elementary,” a harrowing look at the de-escalation of a school shooting.
I’ll go with “My Nephew Emmett,” the true depiction of a black teen who went missing and was found dead in the South after false accusations.
Best Documentary, Short Subject — “Edith+Eddie”
Best Documentary, Feature — “Faces Places”
Admittedly, like most folks, the documentary nominees are less readily available to me. Still, I’ve heard good buzz about the French “Faces Places” about a multigenerational duo who gather photos for a large-scale art project, and the short “Edith+Eddie” about the trials and tribulations of an elderly, biracial couple.
Best Visual Effects — “War for the Planet of the Apes”
Best Film Editing — “Dunkirk”
As previously mentioned, the proficiency behind the scenes of “Dunkirk” is precisely why it manages to have such an impact, and editor Lee Smith deserves the statuette.
Though it’s up against more than one flick in a galaxy far, far away and isn’t even the only big monkey movie in the category, “War for the Planet of the Apes” seems the most logical winner for its magnificent motion-capture artistry, with multiple wins from Visual Effects Society hearkening for the bigger prize.
Best Costume Design — “The Shape of Water”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling — “Darkest Hour”
Anyone can make everyday clothes look presentable, but the glamour of mid-20th century dress of “The Shape of Water” came alive thanks to designer Luis Sequeira, whose trophy from Costume Designers Guild should prove a clue for who wins Sunday, a tough call since they’re all period pieces.
I’d be more inclined to give Best Makeup to “Wonder” for the inimitable look of a sweet kid with an unusual face, but industry specialists are leaning toward the team from “Darkest Hour,” who to their credit, made a pudgy, middle-aged British prime minister look far more appealing than you’d think.
Best Foreign Language Film — “The Square”
Best Animated Feature Film — “Coco”
Sweden’s entry in the contest, the winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or , focuses on a museum curator in the midst of unusual circumstances as part of his latest art exhibit. The Chilean romantic drama “A Fantastic Woman” stands as good a chance in a category where anything can happen.
I’ll say it again — Pixar is always the front-runner thanks to its familiarity, but picking up the award for top cartoon would be more than justified for a supernatural story about a close-knit Mexican family that doesn’t allow death to separate them.
Still, the more experimental “Loving Vincent” stands a chance for an upset, as does “The Breadwinner” about a young girl in war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Best Cinematography — “Blade Runner 2049”
Best Production Design — “The Shape of Water”
Roger Deakins has yet to win an Oscar despite more than a dozen past nominations, but his sumptuous camerawork on “Blade Runner 2049” could win him the honor, holding the advantage thanks to a nod from American Society of Cinematographers, though “Dunkirk,” “Mudbound” and “The Shape of Water” were just as well-shot, so don’t be too sure of anything
The inspired sets of “The Shape of Water” — including a grand old movie theater — likely were catnip for all eligible voters for production design, so expect that to be a lock.
Best Adapted Screenplay — James Ivory, “Call Me by Your Name”
Best Original Screenplay — Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Ivory’s name isn’t one we’ve heard at the Oscars much in the past decade, but there’s always time for a return, and his adapted script about an American teen’s sexual awakening has already garnered him some big prizes, including one from Writers Guild of America.
Taking home the other big accolade from WGA was Peele, whose mix of dark comedy, sci-fi and horror made for a bizarre and poignant filmmaking debut in “Get Out.”
Best Supporting Actress — Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Best Supporting Actor — Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Rockwell and Janney swept the board in the supporting category at Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, so there’s little reason to think they won’t repeat.
You may hate Rockwell’s dimwitted, racist cop and you may hate his questionable redemption even more, but you can’t deny he plays the role perfectly, though if it were up to me, I’d give the Oscar to costar Woody Harrelson for one of countless fine performances in the past year.
Janney likewise is lovably loathsome as the chain-smoking, filth-spewing mother of figure skater Tonya Harding, though just as worthy are Mary J. Blige as the staunch matriarch of a poor black family in “Mudbound” or Laurie Metcalf as the neurotic mom of the title character of “Lady Bird.”
Best Actress — Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Best Actor — Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
McDormand and Oldman have also been going full steam ahead during awards season, nabbing all the big baubles and heading in for a final stop at the Dolby Theatre.
With a great propensity for profane tirades and a knack for playing unyielding yet vulnerable woman, McDormand is all but a certainty to win another Oscar as a grieving mother demanding answers. Still, Saoirse Ronan’s delightful comic capabilities in “Lady Bird” could split the vote between McDormand and Sally Hawkins, who may strike a chord with voters impressed that she speaks not a word in “The Shape of Water.”
As far as male actors, Timothée Chalamet, Daniel Kaluuya and Denzel Washington have likely already accepting there’s no beating Oldman, mesmerizing and barely recognizable as Winston Churchill.
The only possible surprise — voters deciding to hand it to Daniel Day-Lewis for “Phantom Thread” as a gift for his self-imposed retirement.
Best Director — Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Best Picture — “Dunkirk”
One of the more diverse selections ever in the Best Director race — for Oscar, anyway — includes African-American Jordan Peele and woman — gasp — Greta Gerwig, nominees for personal and powerful films “Get Out” and “Lady Bird.”
Unfortunately, neither seems likely to win, but that’s not to say Guillermo del Toro shouldn’t get the Oscar for his romantic fantasy “The Shape of Water,” a slew of other directorial awards an indication he won’t go home empty-handed.
Nevertheless, don’t underestimate Christopher Nolan for helming the war epic “Dunkirk,” which is my personal pick for Best Picture, a race that’s by no means certain with a shocker always possible.
Speaking of which, a personal request to the Academy — please don’t let Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty open the envelope this year.
Moffat County’s Dinosaur National Monument has been given a designation that could attract planet-watchers and star-finders from around the world.