Tonight on Disney-owned ABC, the 90th Academy Awards will air as Hollywood’s biggest stars gather at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. In the name of the almighty synergy, we thought we’d do a post on all things Oscars and Disney. (Because what’s Disney if not synergistic?!)
I’ll be real with you: the Disney connection to this post is tenuous at best, as I don’t really care about most of awards for which Disney’s films were nominated. This is really just an excuse to share my thoughts on the Best Picture nominees, plus one Disney-adjacent film that was not nominated for Best Picture.
With that, let’s dig into the Disney-related nominees, along with my picks for what shouldwin. If you actually care about what I think of the films nominated for Best Picture, none of which have anything to do with Disney, you can find that on Page 2…
Best Animated Feature: Coco – This was my favorite Disney film of the year (considering all films made by Disney-owned studios), and it unquestionably deserves to win Best Animated Feature against an abnormally weak slate of nominees. (Let’s be real, though, even if Your Name had been eligible, Coco would’ve won thanks to the “Disney-Pixar” name.)
Coco ranks pretty highly among the Pixar pantheon for me, and its ability to marry beautiful visuals, catchy music, a compelling story, cultural authenticity, and some pretty heavy topics without getting bogged down, is a testament to Pixar’s aptitude for storytelling. It’s emotional and powerful while still being fun, and I think an argument could be made that it deserved a Best Picture nomination (as did Inside Out two years before it).
Various Sound Awards: Star Wars The Last Jedi – I never had the chance to share my opinions on this divisive film here on the blog, but I’m firmly in the “I liked it a lot” camp. For me, a lot (but not all) attempts to critique its characters’ motivations, plot developments, etc., employ a level of scrutiny almost no film sagas could withstand. I’m not one to take an anti-intellectual stance when it comes to films, but at some point you do have to take a step back.
With that said, I don’t think it deserves either of these awards. I’d pick Baby Driver or Blade Runner 2049 for Sound Mixing and Dunkirk for Sound Editing.
Production Design: Beauty and the Beast – Hard pass. I know it appeals to a lot of people, but I actively dislike the visual style of the new live action Beauty and the Beast. I’d give the nod to Blade Runner 2049.
Original Score: Star Wars – It seems like there’s a sense of obligation to nominate John Williams for this, but as integral as the score is to Star Wars, he’s not exactly breaking new ground here. In any event, the Shape of Water’s score is more integral to its emotion, particularly given that there’s no dialogue between its two leads.
Original Song: “Remember Me,” Coco – As solid as “Mystery of Love” is, I’ve gotta give the nod to Coco again here. This song is just so catchy, effusive, and essential to the film.
Costume Design: Beauty and the Beast – Hard to overlook the Best Picture nominee that is literally about this very subject. I’d go with Phantom Thread.
Visual Effects: GotG2 and Star Wars – I prefer films where the effects fade into the film, and even though its obviously heavy on them, I feel that Star Wars’ approach has been very good for each of the last three films. I’m biased towards Blade Runner 2049 and thought War for Planet of the Apes looked incredible,but I’d still go with Star Wars here.
Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project – Okay, so this film is not produced by a Disney-owned studio and doesn’t have anything to do with Disney directly. Nonetheless, it has the original moniker for Walt Disney World in the title, and that gives me an excuse to talk about the Florida Project. I’m eager to jump on that chance. The Florida Project is an uncomfortable movie to sit through; it’s a poignant story about all-too-real human struggles, with a final scene that you’ll either find unsatisfying or a perfectly heartbreaking juxtaposition. (For me, it’s the latter.)
It’s also a film every Walt Disney World fan should see. It puts into perspective the nature of the escapist entertainment Disney offers, and the grim realities that exist only a few miles outside that bubble of that fantasyland. It’ll make you more empathetic, and that alone justifies sitting through what can be a sad and sometimes-devastating film. Even though I don’t think Dafoe should win (I’d give the nod to Richard Jenkins), the Florida Project should have been nominated for Best Picture. Click here to go to Page 2, to read my rankings of the films nominated for Best Picture.