As a regular Oscars viewer, Hollywood’s annual patting itself on the back session can be dull and endlessly boring. Last year’s Best Picture debacle provided some drama, but Oscars 2018 was back to more of the same. In a bad way.
If Oscars 2018 was March Madness, a lot of folks who picked the top seeds would have won their office pools. There weren’t any shocking upsets as the various critic and build-up award shows tipped the Oscar voters’ hands here.
And this year heavily featured another cause that’s embarrassing that it had to be a thing — the end of sexual harassment and fight for equal rights for females. It’s hard not to think back to a few years ago when Harvey Weinstein was heavily applauded and Kevin Spacey wasn’t charming viewers by popping in for Ellen’s iconic celebrity selfie.
Keeping up with Hollywood’s cause of the moment can be tricky and there’s no denying the hypocrisy of indulging a toxic environment that made so many deplorable acts possible and make a deal of standing against it. On a night where Hollywood could have made its biggest statement about #TimesUp and #MeToo, Academy Award voters played it predictably and disappointingly safe.
Here’s some Top 8 Oscars 2018 thoughts:
Time Wasn’t Up for Business as Usual
It’s a callback to that timeless saying — talk is cheap. When it came time to truly make a statement about the changing times in Hollywood, the clock still had yet to strike midnight.
For all the celebration of female filmmakers and the start of a level playing field, the nominations didn’t entirely reflect that lofty idea.
Greta Gerwig broke through the boys’ club as a nominee for Lady Bird. Granted, Lady Bird wasn’t a biopic or featured Meryl Streep, but it was the kind of harmless to male voters’ egos that deserved more love. Instead it got shut out despite five nominations.
Rachel Morrison made history as the first female cinematography nominee for Mudbound. Roger Deakins finally won his long overdue Oscar after 14 nominations for Blade Runner 2049. Deakins was a well deserved winner, but he’d been snubbed before so another year wasn’t going to be the worst thing.
Morrison winning really would have made a better statement than extended applause segments and recognizing females contribute behind the scenes. A Morrison win likely would have opened more doors for female cinematographers. It’s possible Oscar voters already have Morrison penciled in to win next year for Black Panther. That should be a lock for a cinematography nomination, and everything else, but that’s next year’s write-up.
Paul Sheehan of Gold Derby broke down that 47 women were nominated for non-gender specific categories and only four won Oscars. That’s a 8.51 % chance a woman would win versus a 21 % chance a guy would win. Those odds need to dramatically change to really show time truly is up.
It was more than a little annoying reading tweets with folks trying to drag Kobe Bryant into the #TimesUp mess. The big difference between Bryant and pond scum like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Laurer, Brett Ratner, etc. is that Bryant went to court for his alleged crimes.
Fourteen days after the alleged incident, Bryant was facing a judge. Argue the legal system all you want, but Bryant had to face the music for his charges. And no, you haven’t missed the trials of Weinstein, etc. They haven’t happened yet. And undoubtedly some more stars who were in attendance will get outed for their history of sexual harassment or assault. It’s more a matter of time.
Get Out makes history
It was kinda crazy that it took 90 years for a black screenwriter to win best Original Screenplay, but Jordan Peele accomplished that with Get Out. I was pulling for Get Out to upset The Shape of Water for Best Picture, but with reports of some Academy voters not even wanting to watch Get Out that seemed like a real long shot.
And man, was this a great shot of Peele’s pal Keegan-Michael Key reacting to Peele’s win. It was pretty cool seeing Key even more excited than his longtime collaborator.
Great moment here when Jordan Peele wins for Get Out ! pic.twitter.com/cRTkdTNczZ
— Ben Winston (@benwinston) March 5, 2018
Between Coco and The Shape of Water, it was a great night for Latino filmmakers. Guillermo del Toro won Best Director for The Shape of Water, which also won Best Picture (and Best Original Score and Production Design). Pixar’s Coco racked up Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.
Guillermo del Toro kept the dominance of Mexican directors going in the Oscars with this category. Alejandro G. Iñárritu won Best Director in 2014 with Birdman, then repeated in 2015 with The Revenant. And in 2013, Alfonso Cuarón won in 2013 for Gravity. Damien Chazelle broke the streak last year with La La Land.
Shout out to the popular kids
Just once I’d like to watch an Oscars where all the stars from films that people actually paid to see weren’t so heavily featured. It’s weird how films like Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Spider-Man: Homecoming were so heavily represented whether via skits or presenting awards, but get slighted for the real awards.
Black Panther gets a pass since it wasn’t eligible, but it was hardly a coincidence so many Oscar highlight reels made sure to include the newest member to Hollywood’s $500 million club.
It always comes off like the Academy Awards is this weird drama that invites the jocks and geeks to its party to ensure people tune in. If Oscars truly are too sophisticated for films the paying customer wants to see, don’t spend so much of the night catering to them.
Yes, Margot Robbie was nominated as Best Actress for I, Tonya, but did anyone else not immediately think of a Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn movie when she was hanging out with Gal Gadot?
We’ve found our new Golden Globes hosts
The best thing about Tiffany Haddish is she never stops being Tiffany Haddish regardless of the setting. She doesn’t try and pretend to be anything she’s not, which makes her very unpredictable and a lot of fun. Teaming with Maya Rudolph, Haddish provided easily the most energetic award presentation. But a five-minute bit wasn’t nearly enough.
While Haddish and Rudolph are probably too lively for the Oscars, they should definitely follow in the footsteps of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and become the front-runner to host the 2019 Golden Globes. I’d probably be counting down if they get the nod.
Nolan foiled again
What does Christopher Nolan have to do to get that elusive Oscar? Dunkirk seemed like his best shot at getting his make good Oscar. That’s when the Academy finally realizes Nolan should have won for The Dark Knight and Inception and award him the Oscar for one of his other films.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Dunkirk, but it seemed like the time for Nolan to get his due. In maybe the Oscars one big surprise, The Shape of Water took both Best Director and Best Picture. I figured Nolan would get Best Director and Shape of Water would win Best Picture.
Celebrities being normal is ratings gold
Host Jimmy Kimmel always finds charming ways to get the celebrities to act normal, which is great for a show where they tend to get so stuffy and polished. Having stars like Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill, Ansel Engbert, Armie Hammer, Lupita Nyong’o and Margot Robbie pass out concessions at a sneak screening of A Wrinkle in Time was one of the best moments of the show. It helped that Kimmel asked for volunteers resulting in much more enthusiastic participation this year.
This was not your average screening of #WrinkleInTime… #Oscars @GalGadot @AnselElgort @MargotRobbie @HamillHimself @RealGDT #EmilyBlunt @Lupita_Nyongo @ArmieHammer @Lin_Manuel @IamGuillermo @ChineseTheatres pic.twitter.com/CdpwRO6NS0
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 5, 2018
Photo Credit: Getty Images