We all know who the Oscar goes to
Every year around the same time, we all turn our attention to the Dolby Theater to acknowledge and celebrate the best in film of the year. What may have originally been well intentioned has now been sullied by controversies, favoritism, and questionable behavior on behalf of the voters. As much as I love and respect the Oscars, I question them. I think the fact that I am able to guess what films will win based on my short history of watching the awards, kind of makes me wonder if they really do honor the best in filmmaking. And when you start asking that question, you start wondering if the Oscars really matter in the advancement of film as an art form.
Despite that, the Oscars are still fun to watch and I’m probably going to have some money riding on my predictions. So in honor of the “best in film” and my doubt in the system, let’s highlight the films that I think are a going to win and why it doesn’t really matter.
Best Original Screenplay: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Why It Doesn’t Matter: Four out of five of the films nominated are about acceptance to some degree. But the Academy’s going to go with the film featuring a crooked cop who tortures innocent black people who’s supposed to be redeemed because he helps a white lady? Racism cured! Classic Academy acknowledging the importance of acceptance but still picking the problematic undertones at the end of the day. Also, Three Billboards’ main competition is Get Out, but I think the Academy’s distaste for the horror genre will win out in the end.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name
Why It Doesn’t Matter: This is a consolation prize for this touching coming of age drama because this film about young love will ironically receive no love from the Academy all night.
Best Animated Feature: Coco
Why It Doesn’t Matter: Doesn’t Pixar have enough of these things? The last time they lost was when Cars 2 was nominated. It’s kind of expected that Pixar is in the run and that they’ll win by this point honestly.
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro
Why It Doesn’t Matter: The only way for Del Toro to get “From the Director of Pan’s Labyrinth” to mean anything anymore is to get Sally Hawkins to fuck a fish.
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney
Why It Doesn’t Matter: Allison Janney plays almost the exact same character on Chuck Lorre’s CBS comedy Mom.
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell
Why It Doesn’t Matter: Again, Sam Rockwell plays a racist cop who is known for torturing innocent black people. But by the end of the film, we’re supposed to sympathize with his character because he decides to help a white woman? What does that do for his inherent bigotry? Nothing! Oh well, I guess Sam Rockwell still played the very flawed character well.
Best Actress: Frances McDormand
Why It Doesn’t Matter: This is kind of a stretch, but… the performances this year in this category are all so good that I’m sad that they can’t all win. I mean how could you not love the silent tentativeness of Sally Hawkins in Shape of Water, or Margot Robbie’s hardened survivor, Saoirse Ronan’s confused young teen, or Meryl Streep’s conflicted storyteller? Even though McDormand already has an Oscar from Fargo, I think the Academy will reward her for playing almost the entirely opposite character in Billboards.
Best Actor: Gary Oldman
Why It Doesn’t Matter: While I’m sure this year’s Academy Awards are going to be outwardly supportive of the #MeToo movement, I think that the Academy is going to reward Gary Oldman for his performance despite his history of domestic abuse. The Academy loves to celebrate progressive movements, but they never punish those who’ve contributed to the problem – we saw this last year with Casey Affleck’s Best Actor win.
Best Picture: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Why It Doesn’t Matter: Don’t get me wrong, Three Billboards is great. I don’t think anyone can dispute that. But is it Best Picture great? I think the Academy will think so. Its depiction of crazy crime in the midwest has already been done (and arguably better) in the Coen Brothers’ Fargo (and hey! Lead by Frances McDormand again). Its problematic depiction of a sympathetic bigot kind of feels very classic Hollywood. But I think what is going to set Three Billboards apart from the competition is that it’s just plain entertaining beginning to end. This isn’t to say that the other nominees aren’t entertaining – I’d argue that not only are they entertaining but they’re all politically thought-provoking. But I think that this year, the Academy is going to find beauty in the simplicity that is Three Billboards, especially after last year’s wonderfully complex Moonlight.
Of course, this is a very cynical look at the Oscars. I honestly hope with my whole body that Get Out takes Best Original Screenplay, but I doubt the Academy. Because we all know that they are a bit predictable. Who knows? Maybe this will be a year full of surprises, like last year’s surprise Best Picture win. Whatever happens, I know that I’ll be sitting on the couch, eyes trained on the Dolby Theater, finding out who the Oscar goes to.
Mateo Flores is a first year Writing for Film, TV, and Emerging Media major who has put $500 on Get Out winning Best Original Screenplay.