Metawitches 2018 Oscar Picks [Updated with Winners and Commentary]


And Maybe a Few Predictions…

Okay, after watching as many movies as I can cram into my brain in a relatively short period of time (actually, The Florida Project is still playing), I’m ready to make some choices here. I don’t want to name any names, but I was slowed down in my viewing by a certain usual movie-going companion who informed me at the last minute that he was abandoning me for the Winter Olympics, and would not only be watching every Men’s Hockey game this year, but the Women’s Hockey as well. How could I, as a feminist, complain about that? Yay, for women’s sports equality! Boo for it interfering with Oscar movie viewing season, and viewing partners who don’t schedule their time wisely!

Anyway, I eventually gave up on waiting for him and mostly went on alone, while the US Women took Gold in Hockey. 🎉 They were able to do so because people have made equality in  girl’s and women’s sports a big deal and fought hard for decades, plus the federal government has required public schools to provide girls with equal opportunities in sports since the seventies. Sports are viewed as important to male development in many ways, so it’s obvious to argue that access is an important aspect of female equality.

Now it’s time to find out how many women will get the gold in their chosen artistic fields in the film industry. After last year’s ceremony, I was struck by the lack of women at the podium who weren’t presenters or accepting as actors. No one was talking about it then and that post received VERY few hits. Thankfully, it only took a few months for brave women in the industry to start speaking up, and we’re in a different place today.

But the arts in general don’t get the societal support that sports do, and the federal government doesn’t require arts education, so there’s no requirement for equal opportunity. The arts community has remained stuck in a different era, with the casting couch of the early twentieth century intact, men exclusively at the top of every field with women doing the grunt work, when they’re allowed in, and men needing to be reminded, over and over, that women aren’t there to be playthings.

The gender bias is obvious if you actually look with an objective eye, starting with who gets taken seriously in childhood, continuing with who gets favored in film and art school, and culminating in extreme bias in hiring and employment practices. Given the male cronyism that women have faced since the film industry began, I’m not going to feel bad about favoring female nominees where I can. Token nominations, then being told to shut up and go sit quietly in corner until next year, aren’t enough. Especially when the awards are given to men who only pretend to make feminist films, or to films that would like to forget women even exist. If people of color and trans people need to be allowed to speak for themselves, so do women, thanks.

Now that my female rage has been expressed, let’s get on with what we’re here for.

Update Post Ceremony:

The winners weren’t surprising, for the most part. I’m happy that Blade Runner was recognized, since I loved that film and I wasn’t seeing it mentioned much in the predictions articles, outside of cinematography. The voters leaned heavily toward veterans who hadn’t won yet, picking James Ivory, Guillermo del Toro, Richard Deakins, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell and Alison Janney, among others.

And they leaned into choosing white men, of course, that was practically the only option, with a few people of color for token diversity. Women were still glaringly missing from the podium, unless they were accepting an acting award or presenting (or standing in the background when a film won “Best of” its entire category).

Female winners for “behind the camera” work:

Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Remember Me from Coco/ shared with her husband) for Original Song;

Rachel Shenton for Live Action Short Film (The Silent Child/ shared with her fiancé);

Darla K Anderson for Animated Feature (Coco/ as producer, cowinner with male producer-director); and

Lucy Sibbick for Makeup and Hairstyling (Darkest Hour/ shared with two male cowinners).

That’s a total of 4, with 0 winning on their own, other than the 2 acting awards (6 women won Academy Awards in total). In contrast, 37 men won, 8 with sole title to their award, 10 if you count the acting awards.

In 2017, out of 20 non-gender-specific awards:
– 14 were won by men.
– 5 were won by a mix of men and women.
– A woman won one.

In 2018, out of 20 non-gender-specific awards:
– 15 were won by men.
– 4 were won by a mix of men and women.
– None were won by a woman on her own.

For all that everyone spent the year speaking up about the abysmal treatment of women in the film industry, and the historical nominations for women, the actual awards went backwards in terms of rightful gender parity. We are more than 50% of the population. We are as artistic, funny, creative and business-minded as men.

Frances McDormand brought up an interesting idea in her acceptance speech last night, suggesting that anyone who is in enough demand add an inclusion rider to their contracts from now on. It’ll be interesting to see if that happens, and if it helps. It requires selflessness and setting aside greed in an industry not known for either. For it to help women, it will also require “inclusion” and “diversity” to specifically include women in the contract, including women of color.

Variety has the list of winners with the names included, other than the producers for the Best Pictures.

Best Picture

It’s a tough choice between The Shape of Water and Lady Bird for me. Like Birdman and Whiplash a few years ago, they are both very, very well done, but at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as moviemaking goes. I picked Whiplash that year, but I’m going with The Shape of Water this time, because of its overall artistry and message.

I think the Academy is choosing between the Shape of Water, Three Billboards, and Get Out, with Lady Bird as a dark horse potential surprise winner. The Shape of Water is my prediction, because Three Billboard’s controversial flaws have been exposed as the film has played to American audiences. With so many other choices, there’s no reason to go with a potentially offensive choice this year. Guillermo del Toro is loved, and The Shape of Water hits a lot of buttons. Get Out made white people the enemy (the Academy is overwhelmingly old and white), and follows Moonlight winning last year, while Lady Bird is probably perceived as too inconsequential. Get Out and Lady Bird are the best written and constructed films of the nominees, so they could pull out the shocking win.

Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water WINNER
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actor
The hands down, no point in discussing it, favorite to win is Gary Oldman, but I’m going to be a heretic and choose someone else! Gary Oldman was amazing, but I always knew he was Acting, and probably choosing which Shakespearean character he was emulating, throughout the entire thing. Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name is my choice. That movie lived and died based on his performance as a 17 year old boy going through a romantic and sexual awakening, first love, and the loss of first love. He played the role with a dignity and subtlety that’s rarely seen when teenage boys and sex are shown on film. Chalamet’s performance was open, brave and vulnerable, raw and passionate in a way that Gary Oldman’s wasn’t.

Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) winner
Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

Best Actress
These performances were all amazing, and they each deserve to win in their own way. Frances McDormand has swept the preseason awards and is the favorite here, but my choice is Sally Hawkins. While McDormand’s performance is all sound and fury that in the end signifies nothing, Sally Hawkins owns her film without ever saying a word. She’s the heart and soul of the story, and we can’t take our eyes off of her. Her performance is both open and mysterious, expressive but secretive, mischievous but fierce. She turns a woman who’s been overlooked by everyone into a heroine who can outwit the US government’s finest, while we wholeheartedly believe she’s capable and cheer her on. It’s hard to imagine anyone else accomplishing what Hawkins did with the role.

Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) winner
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
Meryl Streep (The Post)

Best Supporting Actor

My pick of the nominated actors is Willem Dafoe, who played against type in The Florida Project. I normally hate him, and liked him and his humanity in this, so that’s an achievement in and of itself. Sam Rockwell will win, since he’s won every award running up to these. I wish I had the chance to choose between Gil Birmingham for Wind River, Sebastian Stan for I,Tanya, and and Michael Stuhlbarg, in any or all of the Best Picture nominees he performed in, especially The Shape of Water. His speech in Call Me by Your name was moving, and he managed to say that the mom didn’t know about the romance with a straight face. He disappeared into smug unrecognizability as Abe Rosenthal in The Post. But in The Shape of Water, he played a fiercely intelligent scientist who put the pursuit of knowledge above all else, without showboating. He played a spy who patriotically believed in his cause, but was quietly dissatisfied with his fellow operatives. He played a man who knew what his fate was, but faced that fate with the resolve to still make a difference, not for his own gain, but for the love of pure science and to do what’s right. It’s an underappreciated role, and he’s underappreciated in it. I pick Michael Stuhlbarg for 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) winner

Best Supporting Actress

Alison Janney is the favorite to win, and has won, over and over as the other awards have been given out. I think Laurie Metcalf deserves the Oscar, for her tense, bitter, hardened, restrained, but loving performance. Allison Janney was incredible, but she was able to let loose with her vitriol and become a monster, while Metcalf had to walk a very fine line and accomplished it. This is another category where all of the nominated performances were amazing and would be worthy winners. Mary J Blige also proved herself to be a formidable actress, and I look forward to seeing what else she can do.

Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)
Allison Janney (I, Tonya) winner
Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)
Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Best Directing

I gave Best Picture to The Shape of Water, so I’m going to split the difference and give Greta Gerwig Best Director. There’s just nothing wrong with Lady Bird, and that’s down to Gerwig’s vision, artistry, and direction of the people she worked with. She brought out the best in her cast and crew, which is an achievement that deserves to be recognized.

Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) winner

Best Adapted Screenplay

I loved Mudbound. Really, really loved it, and think it was snubbed for Best Picture and Director nominations. It’s a no brainer to give it Best Adapted Screenplay. I have no idea what the Academy will pick.

Call Me By Your Name winner
The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game

Best Original Screenplay

I’ll give this one to Get Out, which was very original, had a great script, and deserves some Oscars. I’d be fine with any of the nominees winning, except Three Billboards. I don’t think that The Big Sick paid enough attention to the wife’s journey, but it was a good film (would have rated it 3.5, had I gotten around to writing the review). The Academy will give it to either The Shape of Water or Three Billboards.

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

Best Animated Film

Didn’t see any. 😦

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco winner
Loving Vincent

Best Cinematography

Oh my gosh, this is the toughest call of all! Can I declare a three way tie between Blade Runner, Shape of Water and Mudbound? Of course I can, it’s my website! LOL. Or give it to Altered Carbon? No? Okay, if I have to choose, it goes to Shape of Water, with Mudbound as my sentimental favorite. The Academy will choose between Shape of Water and Dunkirk, and who wins will depend on whether the old white guys or the artsy youngsters prevail. That’s basically my prediction for most of the technical awards.

Blade Runner 2049 winner
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Best Costume Design

The Academy will give it to Phantom Thread, because they love couture and appearing classy. I’m giving it to Shape of Water, because those costumes were so perfectly and precisely tied in with the artistic vision of the film, managed to flatter the actors’ bodies, and were still appropriate to the period.

Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread winner of the Academy Award and the Jet Ski for Shortest Acceptance Speech (36 seconds?)
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

Best Documentary Feature

Didn’t see.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Icarus winner
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Best Documentary Short Subject
Didn’t see.

Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 winner
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Best Film Editing

I,Tonya, with Dunkirk as a runner up. I, Tonya switched between mediums, and Dunkirk switched between air, sea, and land, and both did it with great timing. The Academy will choose Dunkirk.

Baby Driver
Dunkirk winner
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Foreign-Language Film

Didn’t see.

A Fantastic Woman winner
The Insult
On Body and Soul
The Square

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Shape of Water. I don’t understand these nominations and refuse to acknowledge them in my own choices. Darkest Hour will win.

Darkest Hour winner
Victoria & Abdul

Best Original Score

The Shape of Water, absolutely no contest. The score was as essential to that film as it is to a silent movie or a musical, and as effective. No clue what the Academy will choose.

Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water winner
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Original Song

Mystery of Love. The music was part of the sweetness of the love story in Call Me by Your Name, and Sufjan Stevens’ songs blended seamlessly with the atmosphere of the film. The Academy likes to go big, and will choose Mighty River or This Is Me.

“Mighty River” (Mudbound)
“Mystery of Love” (Call Me By Your Name)
“Remember Me” (Coco) winner
“Stand Up For Something” (Marshall)
“This Is Me” (The Greatest Showman)

Best Production Design

The Shape of Water. That movie was a visual feast of care and incredible detail, without hitting the viewer over the head with its stuffy Artistry, like some of the other nominees. No idea what the Academy will choose.

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water winner

Best Animated Short Film
Didn’t See.

Dear Basketball winner
Garden Party
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Best Live-Action Short Film
Didn’t see. The Silent Child is a sentimental favorite.

DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child winner!!!!!!! And she signed her acceptance speech!
Watu Wote/All of Us

Best Sound Editing
Blade Runner had so much subtlety in the sound, and it was so important to the film.

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk winner
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Sound Mixing

See above.

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk winner
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Visual Effects

Guardians of the Galaxy. Gotta get in one Marvel pick. 😉

Blade Runner 2049 winner
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes


Photo Credits: Mubound-Netflix/I,Tonya-NEON/The Post-Twentieth Century Fox/Dunkirk-Warner Bros Entertainment/Call Me by Your Name-SONY Pictures Classics/Darkest Hour-Focus Features/Get Out-Universal Pictures/The Shape of Water-Fox Searchlight