If I Had An Oscar Ballot: Films Of 2018 Edition

I feel like I agree a lot with the Oscar selections every year. I think they do a pretty good job, for the most part. But this year has felt l have diverted from the Academy more than usual. So, as a fun exercise, I’m going to submit my ballot to the internet. A ballot of who I would have nominated and my winner for each category.

Let’s. Get. To. It.

Best Shorts Programs (Doc, Animated, Live Action):
I don’t have enough background on these, so let’s not act like I do, but Bao was really adorable!

The Oscars actually did a pretty great job in the Sound categories. I don’t get the Bohemian Rhapsody side of things, but I don’t get anything about that movie. But let’s see who I would go with here.

Sound Editing – My Nominees:
Annihilation
First Man
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Roma
Suspiria

And The Award Goes To: ROMA
Roma is a technical marvel and the sound design stands up to that. The ambience of the film is all a part of the mise en scene, and seeing this film in the theater really sells you on all the noise that is put together for this film to recreate Mexico City.

Sound Mixing – My Nominees:
Annihilation
First Man
Incredibles 2
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Roma

And The Award Goes To: ANNIHILATION
Roma is close, for the reasons listed above, but the best aural experience of the year is the finale of Annihilation. I would love to see this movie in a loud ass theater again, but it still sounds pretty damn amazing at home. The credits too, I could watch it all day!

Visual Effects – My Nominees:
Aquaman
First Man
Isle of Dogs
Paddington 2
Ready Player One

And The Award Goes To: FIRST MAN
The effects work in First Man is seamless. You feel like you are in space. You feel like you are on the moon. And every step of the way Chazelle puts you right in the mix and his effects team never lets him down.

Production Design – My Nominees:
Black Panther
Isle of Dogs
The Favourite
First Man
Roma

And The Award Goes To: ROMA
Roma’s Mexico City feels alive, like Cuarón transported us to 1970, and the amount of re-creation that was done by he and his team is unassailable. This is a strong field though, I could be excited with any of these picks.

Costume Design – My Nominees:
Black Panther
Isle of Dogs
The Favourite
The Old Man & The Gun
Roma

And The Award Goes To: BLACK PANTHER
Black Panther transports us to Wakanda and the production and costume designs are a big reason that happens. There are so many styles and details spread across this world, and the costume team creates a million unique look for all of them, the most beautiful of the MCU movies, fine work.

Makeup and Hairstyling – My Nominees:
Isle of Dogs
Sorry To Bother You
Suspiria
Vice

And The Award Goes To: ISLE OF DOGS
There is so much hair in this movie, and it all looks amazing. Yes, Christian Bale looked just like Dick Cheney, but let’s think out of the box a bit, no?

Best Documentary – My Nominees:
Free Solo
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding The Gap
The Price Of Everything
They Shall Not Grow Old

And The Award Goes To: FREE SOLO
Free Solo is an amazing experience to behold. Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin’s portrait of Alex Honnold and his climb of El Capitan has everything you could ask for in a movie, and it’s all real! One of the best shot, best edited and best directed films of the year. Do not miss.

Original Song – My Nominees:
Shallow – A Star Is Born

And The Award Goes To: SHALLOW
It’s the only choice, it was unstoppable, from the moment the trailer dropped, and it is incredibly effective in the film. There are some other good songs this year, but, come on.

Original Score – My Nominees:
Black Panther – Ludwig Göransson
First Man – Justin Hurwitz
Isle of Dogs – Alexandre Desplat
Old Man & The Gun – Daniel Hart
Suspiria – Thom Yorke

And The Award Goes To: FIRST MAN – JUSTIN HURWITZ
If you read my 2018: A Year In Film, I already awarded this prize to First Man, and it is a travesty that this isn’t nominated at the Oscars. What the hell happened. Why did everyone brush off this film in general. Gah!!!

Film Editing – My Nominees:
First Reformed
Free Solo
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Unsane

And The Award Goes To: FREE SOLO
The pacing, the tension, the evolution of Alex Honnold and his relationship, it is all parceled out beautifully over the tense, funny and heartwarming adventure that is Free Solo.

Cinematography – My Nominees:
Cold War
First Man
Free Solo
Paddington 2
Roma

And The Award Goes To: ROMA
Free Solo almost gets this for the death-defying camerawork, but Cuarón’s work on Roma is just a thing of beauty. Every frame, as the cliché goes, could be hung on a wall. Naked sword play. Wide shots of a grand theater. A fire burning in the distance. A stairwell to the help’s quarters. A march into the ocean. I could go on.

Here is my favorite shot:

Animated Feature Film – My Nominees:
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

And The Award Goes To: ISLE OF DOGS
Wes Anderson is a perfect match for stop-motion and I hope he makes one a decade until he is done. Fantastic Mr. Fox is my favorite film, period, and that one only grew on me with each viewing. I hope Isle of Dogs does the same, in what was already one of the best films of the year.

Adapted Screenplay – My Nominees:
Annihilation
First Man
The Old Man & the Gun
Paddington 2
Wildlife

And The Award Goes To: FIRST MAN
To take a guy like Neil Armstrong, and harvest every bit of thrills and tension this movie builds up around his life, the screenplay is a huge part of why this film sings. It doesn’t try and oversell anything, it lets the drama speak for itself, it doesn’t feel beholden to give everyone big speeches about how important this all is. Did you guys realize First Man is underrated yet?

Original Screenplay – My Nominees:
First Reformed
The Favourite
Isle of Dogs
Roma
Sorry to Bother You

And The Award Goes To: SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
No movie felt more original than Boots Riley’s anti-capitalist comedy. It’s full of imagination on every level, but the script is the groundwork for all of the insanity to come. It’s so full of ideas and clever bits and dialogue; I can’t believe it’s not up for an Oscar, it should win.

Actor In A Supporting Role – My Nominees:
Daniel Kaluuya – Widows
Hugh Grant – Paddington 2
Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther
Steven Yeun – Burning
Tim Blake Nelson – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

And The Award Goes To: TIM BLAKE NELSON – THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
The Oscars missed big on this category, I wiped them all out. I’m going with Tim Blake Nelson because he comes in for 15 minutes, is hilarious, psychotic and out of control and then floats off like an angel to heaven. It’s one of the most biggest and most fun performances of the year, which is a bit easy to reward, but this was one of the best 15 minutes of the year in movies and he’s in every scene.

Actress In A Supporting Role – My Nominees:
Blake Lively – A Simple Favor
Marina de Tavira – Roma
Miranda July – Madeline’s Madeline
Natalie Portman – Vox Lux
Sakura Ando – Shoplifters

And The Award Goes To: MARINA DE TAVIRA – ROMA
Marina de Tavira is so damn good in Roma, even better on a second viewing. The way she hysterically fluxuates her emotional state feels honest and her evolution as a lost woman to a woman ready to stand on her own is one of my favorite arcs in a film all year. I hope she gets cast beyond this film.

Actor In A Leading Role – My Nominees:
Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
Matt Dillon – The House That Jack Built
Robert Redford – The Old Man & The Gun
Tom Hardy – Venom

And The Award Goes To: BRADLEY COOPER – A STAR IS BORN
A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s movie, through and through, and while I don’t appreciate where it went, with the darkness of the film, everything he does wallowing in it as Jackson Maine is excellent. But, it is the first half of the film, where he is falling for Ally and being her biggest cheerleader that you swoon for him. Just watch him the whole time, his eyes are so in love and so happy. Sigh. I wish that movie didn’t lose that love.

Actress In A Leading Role – My Nominees:
Carey Mulligan – Wildlife
Helena Howard – Madeline’s Madeline
Olivia Colman – The Favourite
Rachel Weisz – The Favourite
Yalitza Aparicio – Roma

And The Award Goes To: CAREY MULLIGAN – WILDLIFE
Carey Mulligan’s performance was one of the last I saw before writing this, but the recency bias isn’t why she’s here. She’s incredible. Her ability and desire to spread her wings as a 60’s housewife is perfectly reserved until it isn’t. Passive-aggressive yet tender with her son. Fed up with her husband. Balancing being free like she dreams to be or securely finding a man to keep her safe as society says. There is so much going on here and she has never been better. Cast Carey Mulligan In Everything!

Best Director – My Nominees:
Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin – Free Solo
Paul King – Paddington 2
Steven Soderbergh – Unsane
Wes Anderson – Isle of Dogs

And The Award Goes To: ALFONSO CUARÓN – ROMA
Cuarón’s ownership of Roma is as much his as almost any director in recent memory. He wrote, directed, produced, shot and edited his film. And it is a masterpiece. But, don’t think this is an award just because he did the MOST. You could argue he was the best of the year in each of those categories. It’s an insane feat.

Best Picture – My Nominees:
Annihilation
The Favourite
Free Solo
The House That Jack Built
Isle of Dogs
The Old Man & The Gun
Paddington 2
Roma
Unsane
You Were Never Really Here

And The Award Goes To:……………….

Check out my end of year breakdown The Best of 2018: A Year In Film to see the ranking of these ten movies!

Thanks for reading, and clicking through!

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