Here’s our latest interview with a swath of Academy voters from different branches for their candid thoughts on what got picked, overlooked, and overvalued this year.
Best Picture of the Year
“Get Out” was such a great take on the genre. It was ground-breaking, the most innovative movie of the year — I’d like to see it win. And Danny Kaluuya makes a big impact. I’m now suspicious of anyone stirring their tea.
I was entranced by the subtle shifts in power between the three leads in “Phantom Thread,” and Daniel Day Lewis seemed well matched by his co-stars. With the current state of the US, it was proper escapism to watch this intimate piece — it somehow felt more relevant than many of the films tackling current issues head-on.
“The Post” was a little boring and not Spielberg’s best work. Showing what these historic journalists faced, when compared to the daily onslaughts we now witness daily, seems to diminish them.
But I suspect “The Shape of Water” could take the prize. It looks like the consensus movie of the year. But for me the box-ticking assembly of characters and the pointless self-reverential cinema beats were awful.
Yet it feels odd that the winner might be only third or fourth on many ballots. It’s a voting system that many don’t understand. But, in terms of being inclusive of women and people of color, it’s time to change things up and be more relevant to the audience.
Best Film Editing
For those that don’t really understand what editors do, it’s a safe bet to say that if you really enjoyed a story, editing’s a very substantial part of why you did. That’s the reason I believe “Three Billboards” should win. It was the most enjoyable of these five stories. The editing’s an ideal marriage of rhythm, handling of performance, comedic timing, and successful storytelling. But, as the consensus movie, “The Shape of Water” editing might benefit from that.
Although I wasn’t moved by “Dunkirk” — at all — I really admired the cinematic event it provided. The mathematical plans that guide it sometimes felt oppressive, but Lee Smith’s editing disguised that. In terms of a gripping experience, it really delivered. It’s the world’s most successful experimental art film.
“Phantom Thread” was an omission There are moments in that film that are completely made by the editing. Just perfect, surprising choices that chart the subtle shifts in power between the three leads. I suppose “Phantom Thread” is a chamber piece whereas voters’ tastes are more symphonic this year.
There were some pretty ropey face replacements in “I, Tonya” that I felt might have disqualified it from the Best Editing category, it being part of an editor’s clutch of responsibilities to bury them in the edit if they aren’t world class. But I enjoyed the snappy script, the film’s pace, and Margot Robbie was great fun, so I guess that’s why it’s in. Aside from the set pieces, I didn’t rate the performances in “Baby Driver,” so that’s a short-sighted nomination in my view.
Best Original Score
“Dunkirk” deserves to win. It’s such a sustained piece of anxiety and Zimmer successfully masks the cold formalism of Nolan’s diktat. “Shape of Water” could well win, which would be a matter of despair for me. It’s just such a by-the-numbers score. Such a well-trodden path.
Melinda Sue Gordon
The lushness of the “Phantom Thread” score was a beautiful departure from the more abstract contemporary work we expect from Greenwood. I also loved Daniel Hart’s music for “A Ghost Story,” it stayed in my mind a long time and I wish it was in the mix despite the film not being perhaps as captivating as its score.