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2018 Academy Awards: A More Inclusive Age of the Oscars?


The 2018 Academy Awards is the next big awards show to address the #MeToo movement. This year’s nominees for best picture include many stories centered on women and people of color – selections especially notable after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of 2015 – amid the usual prestige dramas, fantasy, horror and comedy films that round out the nominee categories.

Are the new voters recently added to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ rolls helping to usher in a new, more inclusive age of the Oscars?

This year’s Oscars will also have plenty of off-screen drama. Past Oscar winners Casey Affleck, James Franco and Kevin Spacey are likely staying home for the awards after accusations of sexual harassment, and while films like “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Lady Bird” tell stories about women, the decidedly feminist action movie “Wonder Woman” received no nominations. Race was a central theme in the horror-comedy “Get Out,” but some found the way race was used as a plot point in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” to be less than deft. And, Golden Globe best picture winner “The Shape of Water” has been plagued by accusations of plagiarism.

We discuss this year’s nominees with Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune critic; and Rebecca Ford, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin film critic and counsel to the law firm Sharf Banks Marmor.

Below, a list of Ford’s picks for this year’s Oscars.

BEST PICTURE

• Should Win: “The Shape of Water”
• Will Win: “The Shape of Water”
• Shout Out to: “Get Out” for originality, hitting the zeitgeist, and box office blow‐out

LEAD ACTOR

• Should Win: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
• Will Win: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
• Shout Out to: Denzel Washington for his “Rain Man”‐worthy performance in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

LEAD ACTRESS

• Should Win: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
• Will Win: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards”
• Shout Out to: Margot Robbie, “I Tonya,” for nailing an unpopular character with humor and affection.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

• Should Win: Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
• Will Win: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards”
• Shout Out to: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project,” for a moving portrayal of a humane character in the “real” America.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

• Should Win: Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
• Will Win: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
• Shout Out to: Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread” for making us dream of Manderley again.

DIRECTOR

• Should Win: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
• Will Win: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
• Shout Out to: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird,” for representing women positively in every aspect of the film, behind and in front of the camera.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

• Should Win: James Ivory, “Call Me by Your Name”
• Will Win: James Ivory, “Call me by Your Name”
• Shout Out to: Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, “Mudbound,” for leaving the poetry in the script.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

• Should Win: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
• Will Win: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
• Shout Out to: Martin Mc Donagh, “Three Billboards” for its unpredictability.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

• Should Win: Bruno Delbonnel, “Darkest Hour”
• Will Win: Hoyte van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
• Shout Out to: Rachael Morrison, “Mudbound” for her outstanding use of light.


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