2018 Oscars Guillermo del Toro

2018 Oscar Winners

Following a year where Hollywood nearly self-destructed from countless scandal after scandal and huge cultural shifts, I suppose the fact that this year’s Oscars were largely boring and uneventful is something of a relief.

The ultimate Best Picture winner, ‘The Shape of Water’, was perhaps a mild upset (‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ appeared to be the front-runner in recent weeks), but not really much of a shock. The film did lead the nominations this year overall and was always in the conversation as being the main rival for the top prize. In many ways, the movie was a very safe pick for the Academy voters. Its subject matter was not terribly controversial (unless you happen to have a peculiar bias against imaginary fish-men). It also scores some diversity points for having a Mexican director (who also won), even though most of the on-screen cast was white. It’s a well-crafted film that most viewers seemed to like. I doubt many will be upset about it winning Best Picture the way, for example, past winners such as ‘Crash’ or ‘Birdman’ are widely considered mistakes today.

On the other hand, some of the other nominees this year had more complex and challenging material that might, at least arguably, be regarded as more worthy. Recent buzz in the past few days that ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Three Billboards’ would split the vote between them, allowing ‘Get Out’ to slip in as an underdog victor, seems pretty naïve now. Despite the infusion of some younger and more diverse members over the past couple of years, the majority of the Academy voting body remains overwhelmingly older and white, and was likely averse to anything too edgy this year.

Outside of Best Picture, the other top categories went exactly as they had been expected to, with zero surprises among the acting, directing, or writing awards. Jordan Peele landed Best Original Screenplay for ‘Get Out’, which is very often given as a token award to movies the Academy feels obligated to acknowledge but has no intention of letting win Best Picture.

‘Call Me by Your Name’ won for Best Adapted Screenplay. This could be perceived as another token victory for a film that had no chance of winning Best Picture, while also serving as a career achievement prize for the 90-year-old James Ivory, who was three times previously nominated as Best Director (‘A Room with a View’, ‘Howards End’, and ‘The Remains of the Day’) but had never won an Oscar before.

Most of the surprises of the evening came in the technical categories. Under cinematography, 13-time nominee Roger Deakins finally won an Oscar, for the visually dazzling ‘Blade Runner 2049’. The movie’s box office failure seemed to rule it out of contention of winning anything, but the film also picked up Best Visual Effects over flashier competition such as ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’.

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ beat out ‘Baby Driver’ for Best Sound Editing, which is a fucking travesty as far as I’m concerned. I can only imagine that not enough of the voters bothered to watch ‘Baby Driver’ or they would have no excuse for voting for anything else. Laughably, ‘Dunkirk’ also won Best Sound Mixing, even though Christopher Nolan’s mandate for all sound mixing is: “Turn everything up to 11, except dialogue, which should not be audible at all.”

I am notoriously terrible at predicting Oscars, especially in the lesser categories. In all, I got 14 out of 24 right, which is respectable but not great. My wife, meanwhile, had her best year of Oscar predictions ever, correctly guessing 22 – only missing Live Action Short Film and Best Picture. (She fell for the ‘Get Out’ buzz.)

Random Thoughts and Observations

Despite starting a half hour early at 8:00 PM ET this year (rather than 8:30), and despite host Jimmy Kimmel promising to reward the shortest acceptance speech with a jet-ski, the show still ran excessively long. When the scheduled end-time of 11:00 PM rolled around, we still had six categories and the In Memoriam reel left to go.

The tradition of having live performances of all the Best Original Song nominees really needs to end. Nobody gives a shit. Nobody wants to sit through these turgid things. Just stop it.

Likewise, the pointless montage reels felt even more painful than usual this year. I couldn’t even tell what the first one was supposed to be about. It was just a montage of random movie clips that had no discernible connection or theme.

Hosting for the second time, Jimmy Kimmel did as good a job as he was able, considering that he’s a white man asked to host the Oscars during a time when practically all white men in Hollywood have been vilified as enemies of the human race. He made the requisite jokes acknowledging the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the MeToo and TimesUp movements without dwelling on them for too long. He also tried to be mindful of how slowly the show was moving even as he had little power to change that. He kept the opening comedy skit and his monologue very brief in order to get right to the first award, which was appreciated.

In a subtle but noticeable change to the ceremony, the order of the Best Actor and Best Actress categories was switched, which has the effect of suggesting that the latter is more important. Last year’s Best Actor winner, Casey Affleck, who has suffered his own sexual misconduct scandal, wisely declined to attend the ceremony this year or present the Best Actress trophy, as is normally tradition. Instead, former Best Actress winners presented both the male and female categories. (I’m not sure whether last year’s Best Actress winner, Emma Stone, was omitted intentionally or not.)

At the same time, all the voters sensitive to the MeToo movement appear to have forgotten that basketball legend Kobe Bryant (now an Oscar winner for Best Animated Short Film) has been accused of sexual assault. Figure that one out.

Poking fun at last year’s presentation screw-up, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway returned to announce the Best Picture winner again this year, and (presumably) got through it without error. Again, is putting a famed lothario like Warren Beatty on stage really a great idea during the time of MeToo? What kind of mixed message is that?

The gaudy jewel-encrusted stage was a real eyesore. Presenter Jane Fonda was completely on-point when she made a crack about it looking like one of the sets from ‘Barbarella’ (which, of course, she starred in).

Was Maya Rudolph’s dress made out of a slanket? I don’t usually pay any attention to Oscar fashions, but what the hell was that?

I’m not sure whether Gael Garcia Bernal actually sings in ‘Coco’, but based on his performance during the nominated song “Remember Me,” he should really not try to sing anything else ever again.

In Best Animated Feature, a lesbian and a gay man won for a movie about Mexicans. I don’t follow Twitter. How much of a meltdown has Donald Trump had about that?

Tiffany Haddish made the best joke of the evening in asking, “Are the Oscars too black now?”

I get that Frances McDormand is very impassioned about many things, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of her manic, incoherent acceptance speech. Her speech at the Golden Globes was much the same.

Best Picture

  • ‘Call Me by Your Name’
  • ‘Darkest Hour’
  • ‘Dunkirk’
  • ‘Get Out’
  • ‘Lady Bird’
  • ‘Phantom Thread’
  • ‘The Post’
  • ‘The Shape of Water’
  • ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missiouri’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Three Billboards’
Actual Winner: ‘The Shape of Water’

Best Director

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

Josh’s prediction: Guillermo del Toro
Actual Winner: Guillermo del Toro

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.’

Josh’s prediction: Gary Oldman
Actual Winner: Gary Oldman

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’

Josh’s prediction: Frances McDormand
Actual Winner: Frances McDormand

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’

Josh’s prediction: Sam Rockwell
Actual Winner: Sam Rockwell

Best Supporting Actress

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

Josh’s prediction: Allison Janney
Actual Winner: Allison Janney

Best Animated Feature

  • ‘The Boss Baby’
  • ‘The Breadwinner’
  • ‘Coco’
  • ‘Ferdinand’
  • ‘Loving Vincent’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Coco’
Actual Winner: ‘Coco’

Best Foreign-Language Film

  • ‘A Fantastic Woman’ (Chile)
  • ‘The Insult’ (Lebanon)
  • ‘Loveless’ (Russia)
  • ‘On Body and Soul’ (Hungary)
  • ‘The Square’ (Sweden)

Josh’s prediction: ‘The Insult’
Actual Winner: ‘A Fantastic Woman’

Best Original Screenplay

  • ‘The Big Sick’
  • ‘Get Out’
  • ‘Lady Bird’
  • ‘The Shape of Water’
  • ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Get Out’
Actual Winner: ‘Get Out’

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • ‘Call Me by Your Name’
  • ‘The Disaster Artist’
  • ‘Logan’
  • ‘Molly’s Game’
  • ‘Mudbound’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Call Me by Your Name’
Actual Winner: ‘Call Me by Your Name’

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’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Blade Runner 2049’
Actual Winner: ‘Blade Runner 2049’

Best Cinematography

  • ‘Blade Runner 2049’
  • ‘Darkest Hour’
  • ‘Dunkirk’
  • ‘Mudbound’
  • ‘The Shape of Water’

Josh’s prediction: ‘The Shape of Water’
Actual Winner: ‘Blade Runner 2049’

Best Original Score

  • Carter Burwell, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’
  • Alexandre Desplat, ‘The Shape of Water’
  • Johnny Greenwood, ‘Phantom Thread’
  • John Williams, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’
  • Hans Zimmer, ‘Dunkirk’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Dunkirk’
Actual Winner: ‘The Shape of Water’

Best Original Song

  • “Mighty River” from ‘Mudbound’
  • “Mystery of Love” from ‘Call Me by Your Name’
  • “Remember Me” from ‘Coco’
  • “Stand Up for Something” from ‘Marshall’
  • “This Is Me” from ‘The Greatest Showman’

Josh’s prediction: “Remember Me”
Actual Winner: “Remember Me”

Josh’s score: 14/24.

For the complete list of winners, see the official Oscars web site.


  1. Deaditelord

    I have to admit, I’ve never had any issues hearing the dialogue in Christopher Nolan’s movies and I’ve seen all of them except for Inception in a theater. I wonder if perhaps the theater had the mix wrong?

  2. Timcharger

    “The tradition of having live performances of all the Best Original Song nominees really needs to end. Nobody gives a shit. Nobody wants to sit through these turgid things. Just stop it.”

    I say, keep the performances. That’s about the only different change of pace things on the broadcast. And usually that’s when we can finally hear what 2-3 of the 5 nominated songs actually sound like. We can lose the 2 minute introductions to each song though.

  3. Timcharger

    Best Cinematography
    Josh’s prediction: ‘The Shape of Water’
    Actual Winner: ‘Blade Runner 2049’

    I did the same thing too. If you’re 0 for 13, might as well be 0 for 14, and be more noted for that. Be the greatest cinematographer most often ALMOST recognized by the Academy.

  4. Timcharger

    “Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ beat out ‘Baby Driver’ for Best Sound Editing, which is a fucking travesty as far as I’m concerned. I can only imagine that not enough of the voters bothered to watch ‘Baby Driver’ or they would have no excuse for voting for anything else.”

    I agree but not for THAT category. Baby Driver should win for Film Editing. It was the film cut to the music, not the other way around. And Sound Editing is more about the sounds of the planes, bullets, explosions, not the music. And music was the driver for Baby Driver.

    • Josh Zyber

      The gunshots, tire squeals, gear-shifting, and other sound effects were all edited in rhythm to the music in all of that film’s action scenes. That is the very definition of sound effects editing.

      • Timcharger

        We both like Baby Driver, and think it deserved to win an award.

        But the gunshots, tire squeals, were edited to the action-on-the-screen. It was the action-on-the-screen that was edited to the music. And the brilliance of Baby Driver wasn’t on how well the sound effects matched the action-on-the-screen, it was how well the action-on-the-screen matched the music.

        Hey, if Baby Driver won Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, too. That’s great. I’d like that.

        But it was Film Editing that Baby Driver has the strongest case for.

        • Josh Zyber

          What do you think Sound Effects Editing is, Tim, if not the editing of the sound effects?

          The gunshots and plane flyovers in Dunkirk were also edited to the action on screen. By your logic, that shouldn’t have won either. I know that you love to argue about everything, but your comments are sometimes just utterly bizarre.

          • Timcharger

            It’s only a disagreement if you think:
            Baby Driver SHOULDN’T have won for Film Editing.

          • Timcharger

            Other films:
            Action on screen, first.
            Cutting sound effects and music to it, second.

            Baby Driver:
            Music, first.
            Cutting the action-on-screen to it, second.
            Cuttting sound effects to it, third.

          • Timcharger

            What Baby Driver does last, editing sound effects is arguably as worthy (or more worthy) to other awarded films. So I’m not disagreeing with you about that.

            But what Baby Driver does that is rare, to start with music, and edit the film around that. That is Film Editing. And you don’t disagree about that.

            My comment amounts to saying that your argument is even more pertinent to the Film Editing category for Baby Driver.

          • Josh Zyber

            Tim, it is not possible to discuss sound effects editing with you if you fundamentally do not understand what sound effects editing means.

            Consider the shootout in the warehouse. You can hear the sounds of guns firing in rhythm to the music even when the characters firing them are not on screen. How do you not understand that that is sound effects editing? What do you think sound effects editing is? This argument is utterly baffling.

          • Timcharger

            My goodness Josh. Really? You don’t see my point? Okay, okay, okay. Let’s ignore all the Best Sound part. Let’s start all over…

            Tim: Hey Josh, in all you blog writing, you omitted the Film Editing category, what was your pick there?

            Josh: I picked Baby Driver. (I could be wrong; my guess.)

            Tim: I agree. What “a fucking travesty as far as I’m concerned. I can only imagine that not enough of the voters bothered to watch ‘Baby Driver’ or they would have no excuse for voting for anything else.”

            Josh: You said it.

          • Josh Zyber

            An argument can be made that Dunkirk also had an innovative editing structure juggling three different timelines running at different speeds than one another. In terms of overall editing, Dunkirk and Baby Driver are trying to achieve different things. I can understand why people may have voted for Dunkirk there.

            No argument can be made that Dunkirk had better sound effects editing than Baby Driver. It objectively did not.

          • Timcharger

            Somehow you think my point of saying, the case for Baby Driver for Best Film Editing undermines the argument for Best Sound Editing.

            Saying the case is even stronger for Film Editing, does not diminish the case for Sound Editing.

  5. Timcharger

    “At the same time, all the voters sensitive to the MeToo movement appear to have forgotten that basketball legend Kobe Bryant (now an Oscar winner for Best Animated Short Film) has been accused of sexual assault. Figure that one out.”

    I’ll figure it out for you. 90% of the Academy live in L.A., maybe even higher than that. Imagine if the Oscars were held in Boston, and Tom Brady, Larry Bird, or David Ortiz was up for an award. L.A. is Lakers-obsessed.

    And I actually went to watch all the Oscar nominated Animated Shorts this year. So because I saw how crappy Dear Basketball was, I didn’t vote for it. It was like a 4 minute commercial (and 1-2 mins of it was the credits). And if it was a Nike commercial, it would be a below average one. After it ended, the audience was like, THAT was nominated for an Oscar?! (We weren’t in L.A.)

    • EDIT: I always felt the Oscars were skewed, but after this James Franco bit of not even being nominated, I know that all the content that is presented via the Oscars is highly filtered.

      It’s like saying “2018 Best Movie on Netflix streaming”….or “Best Approved Actor”.

    • Josh Zyber

      I think Gary Oldman had this locked up regardless. Franco won the Golden Globe for acting in a comedy and Oldman won there for drama. At the Oscars, they’d be pitted against one another.

      • Thank you for clearing that up for me. Having seen Oldman’s performance, and not Franco’s, I was surprised if/that Franco won over Oldman.

        Still, a Golden Globe winner for Best Actor in a Comedy should have at least been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Even if they have no intention of giving him the award (‘*cough*Get Out*cough*) it would have made the Academy seem more like a movie-centric entity than a socio-political award show.

  6. Timcharger

    When Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence were together on stage, anyone else did a double take?
    I thought dwarfism? Or is JLaw an Amazon?

  7. Matt

    The Oscars have turned into an event where I actively vote against certain movies winning, as sophomoric as that is. I was fine with Phantom Thread, Shape Of Water, or Call Me By Your Name winning best picture because they were so obviously head and shoulders above the quality of the rest of the films. If Get Out or Lady Bird had won best picture I was ready to riot.

  8. Matt

    Oh, and like your wife, I went 22 of 24 in my predictions (I picked Three Billboards to win best picture, and The Insult for best foreign language film). You know if you can safely get that many right without even trying, the Oscars are getting way too predictable.

    • Timcharger

      “the Oscars are getting way too predictable.”

      Getting the Best Picture wrong is the big one, though. With it being the last rewards show chronologically, and how much easier it is now to get info on the results of the Globes, guilds, BAFTA; it’s actually we the predictors getting better, not the Oscars necessarily getting easier. And Josh published his guesses 5 weeks ago. I would wager that you made quite a few ballot changes in the past weeks or you made your picks with the latest info. But, ICBW.

      • Matt

        That’s a fair point. I definitely was convinced Billboards would win because it seemed like the one movie that the largest amount of people could get behind. I’m not sure I would have cast my votes any differently prior to the Globes, guilds, etc, though. Oscars are getting more and more littered with politics each year leaving the predictions easier to make. Like what you say about the Get Out winning best original screenplay: to me that was a slam dunk choice for the exact reasons your expressed. I’d still make the argument that the Oscars are getting easier. As long as we fans can separate what we want to win apart from those that will win for extraneous circumstances, I’d say the Oscars are a simple formula.

        For what it’s worth, Phantom Thread was my favorite this year. Just hands down the best movie.

        • Timcharger

          What! Civil discourse? But I’m obtuse. Well, next year will be as or even more political, so it should be a slam dunk for you.

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