The Oscars are over, and the plethora of diversity was the real winner of the night. Eclipsed by years past with #OscarsSoWhite and this year with Time’s Up and #metoo, Hollywood has grown to be more inclusive than years past. But some choices felt tone deaf in a time when social change is impacting all industries.From some unimpressive nods like Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant to some seriously game-changing wins from Jordan Peele and A Fantastic Women, here are some of the year’s most important wins.
Who won: Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
McDormand’s performance in Three Billboards was nothing short of amazing. Her portrayal of Mildred Hayes as the grieving matriarchal protagonist turned antagonist was one half of the controversial film’s story. McDormand brings a certain essence and flair in her portrayal of rage and decision making, but the film fell flat for me when it portrayed a redemption arc in a way that didn’t seem very appropriate in the age of Black Lives Matter and the Trump administration. Nevertheless, the Oscar was well deserved.
Who should have won: Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in I, Tonya
Margot Robbie brings life to a person we have always considered a villain. I, Tonya is mostly a dark comedy, but it has moments that leave its audience devastated. The film muddies the waters to a story we all know so well, and Robbie’s performance as Tonya Harding really held this fantastic movie together. Her repertoire of acting emotions is on full display here. Grief, sadness, excitement, anger. Margot does a fantastic job of portraying all of them in this complicated character. Of all the great acting performances from this year, this one felt the best.
Honorable Mention: Sally Hawkins as Elisa Esposito in The Shape of Water
Sally Hawkins exhibits the complexities of the mute janitor Elisa is the Shape of Water. From love to fear and everything in between, Hawkins leads this film without speaking a word of dialogue. It is truly acting at its finest.
Who won: Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour
In a film that was basically manufactured to give a great actor his Oscar, Gary Oldman won, and no one was surprised. The Darkest Hour was two hours of Winston Churchill’s decision to evacuate the British Army from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. It was a boring snoozefest of a film. The transformation from Oldman to Churchill was very impressive, but nothing Hollywood hasn’t done before. The Academy loves to reward actors that portray historical characters yelling dialogue on screen. This win honors that questionable tradition.
Who should have won: Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock in Phantom Thread
Sir Daniel Day-Lewis says farewell to acting in his stunning performance as the fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock in Phantom Thread. In this complicated love story, Lewis steals the show with his impressive wit, subtle emotion and breathtaking monologues.
Honorable Mention: Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington in Get Out
In arguably the most important film of the Year, Kaluuya portrays embattled Chris Washington in Get Out. The character’s struggles are a reflection of societies’ issues with subtle racism, pandering, and ignorance. Washington’s personal woes are also on display and beautifully crafted by Daniel in a scene that is truly ravishing. Daniel Kaluuya has an amazing career ahead of him.
Best Original Score
Who won: Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water
Desplat never disappoints with his music. The Shape of Water’s magnificent score is no exception. I usually have a hard time describing what makes a film score great. In this case, it’s the beauty. In a movie where the main character doesn’t speak, the music speaks for her. The emotions are portrayed through soaring melody and tension in a way that is hard to master for most of the trade. This win was well deserved.
Who should have won: Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water
Seriously. Go listen to it.
Honorable Mention: Johnny Greenwood for Phantom Thread
The Radiohead alum’s 8th film score is a triumph. The music in Phantom Thread fits the period in a simplistic way. The orchestration isn’t on the level of a Hans Zimmer or a John Williams score, but it competes in its ability to emote and capture the audience in the complicated drama on the screen.
Who won: Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water
Del Toro’s win for best director was no surprise. The Shape of Water was a fantastic feat in filmmaking, and a big part of that triumph is owed to Guillermo’s vision.
Who should have won: Jordan Peele for Get Out
In Peele’s directorial debut, Get Out felt like the perfect epitome of satire and suspense. It’s hard to judge the decisions someone makes behind the camera, but the cadence of this movie feels like the mastery of a truly gifted director.
Honorable Mention: Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig mixes amazing talent with a fantastic screenplay to bring viewers a phenomenal coming of age drama that captures audiences in a special way. This film will have forever fans thanks to her leadership behind the camera.
Who won: The Shape of Water
Although it wasn’t the clear favorite amongst critics, The Shape of Water reigned supreme on the nights most coveted prize. There’s a lot to love here. Amazing performances, a beautiful score, a story that feels foreign but relatable. The diversity was vast, and the talent was exquisite. A well-deserved win for a film that will enjoy years of viewership.
Who should have won: Phantom Thread
This film was never going to win the top prize, but it should have. It’s not the most culturally significant work from 2017, nor was it the most popular. But Phantom Thread showcases filmmaking at its finest. The performances were perfect, the story was bold, the music was stunning, and the film was beautiful. This movie is one of my favorites of all time.
Honorable Mention: Get Out
Not much more to say about great this film was. It’s an important film for the cultural moment.
Other Notable Wins
Best Foreign Film: A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
Daniella Vega stuns in this movie as Marina, a trans woman who struggles with identity and love as her partner passes away. It’s a wonderful film that is a true win for the global queer community.
Best Documentary: Icarus
Icarus follows Bryan Fogel as he uncovers the intricacies of the Russian doping scandal while examining the practices intimately. This film inspired real change in drug testing across the world.
Best Aminated Short Film: Dear Basketball
Kobe Bryant, accused rapist, won an Oscar during the first Oscars of the #metoo movement. Regardless of quality, this choice was classless.
Best Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049
This movie was about 30 minutes too long, but it was a stunning film.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me by Your Name
Based on the novel of the same name by Andre Aciman, Call Me by Your Name follows Elio and Oliver through their short-lived relationship in 1980s Italy. It’s a beautiful movie with fantastic writing that honors its source material.