Oscars 2018: Our Look at the Disney Nominees
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 should win. 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.
Call Me By Your Name – I agree that Oliver’s looks, knowledge, and living life to its fullest reflects more of Armie Hammer’s real age (31) than a graduate student (I didn’t even know he was supposed to be 24). I’ve heard they shot enough footage for a 4 hour film; with the sequel now confirmed to be set 6 years in the future, they’ll probably use them as flashbacks.
Get Out – It was my vote (maybe the popular vote) for a horror-comedy to win Best Picture. I didn’t want 3 Billboards to win, which seemed like it had the momentum after the Golden Globes, SAG, and BAFTAs.
Shape Of Water – I was pleasantly surprised. A very deserving film.
For your readers, Cinemark has an Oscar Movie Week the week before the Oscars. This year, the festival pass was $35 and was shown at Century 25 on Katella in Orange (a short drive from Disneyland) or at Century Huntington Beach (Bella Terra). Each Oscar movie is shown at least twice between Monday and Oscar Sunday at 4pm, 7pm, or 10pm. (AMC also does an “Oscar Showcase” but seeing all the films in a 24 hour period or between 2 Saturdays is crazy.)
Cinemark also showed the short films (live-action and animated) which were a delight to watch. Again, I was pleasantly surprised “The Silent Child” won. I voted for “DeKalb Elementary” but my heart was for “Watu Wote” to win.
Good call on The Shape of Water. It was a truly different type of film, and I like it when those efforts are rewarded.
I’m impressed that you watched all these movies! I suspect not even all the Academy voters can say that. 🙂
I didn’t see most, so I don’t have a strong opinion outside of Coco for best Animated Feature (and agree it should be nominated for Best Picture. But the Academy created the animation category so they wouldn’t have to do that often.)
I suspect This is Me will beat Remember Me for best song, and I can’t argue with that. Remember me is great and fits the movie perfectly, but I don’t think it is that great of a “song” outside the movie. I actually prefer Proud Corazon to Remember Me.
Thanks to MoviePass, we saw a lot of movies in theaters last year. Even before that, we spend so much time flying that I typically see every Best Picture nominee in any given year.
For me, a song’s significance within the movie plays a big part in whether it should win. Remember Me might not be the best on its own, but now every time I hear it, there’s the emotional weight of scenes from the film, too.
Good point, and the Academy agrees with you!
Thanks so much for covering The Florida Project a little! At this moment I consider it my favorite movie of the year. It’s beautifully shot and the creep of the story is really haunting. After seeing it the first time I just had to see it again. It should have gotten a Best Picture nomination (as should have I, Tonya and Coco).
Lady Bird is my favorite of the nominated films, but I’ll be happy if The Shape of Water or Phantom Thread wins. Look out for Dunkirk, though. There’s a very real pathway for it to sneak in and win Best Picture!
I also loved I, Tonya. I think it, Coco, and Florida Project were all more deserving of Best Picture nominations than the bottom three here.
I’d be happy if any of the top 4 on my list won. All very deserving, in my opinion.