Every year, the highlight of the “awards season” is the annual ceremony where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gives out their 8.5 lb gold-plated bronze statuette, commonly known by its name given by Margaret Herrick, the Academy’s secretary because it reminded her of her uncle.
Of course, I’m talking about the Oscars – but enough of the trivia for now.
Each year, the Oscars decide which of the many movies released in the previous year are good enough from an artistic and cinematographic point of view to be named “best”. While this doesn’t always coincide with what the viewers consider best (Wonder Woman, the biggest blockbuster of 2017, didn’t receive any nominations), winning them gives a certain prestige to the receiver. But this year, there are several movies on the shortlist that had the power to keep us away from our favorite pokie reviews and mobile games, at least for a while.
These are the movies to root for at this year’s Academy Awards – better known as Oscars.
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro has once again created something special by melding drama, romance, and fantasy in his unique and inimitable way. The protagonist of the film is the Amphibian Man (a bit similar to Abe Sapien from another del Toro flick, Hellboy) held in captivity for research by the military. A mute janitor, Elisa (Sally Hawkins) forms an unlikely relationship with the strange creature (played by the same Doug Jones who gave life to Abe Sapien) that evolves into a story described by many as a “romantic dark fantasy”.
The Shape of Water received nominations in the “Best Picture”, “Lead Actress”, “Supporting Actor” and “Supporting Actress”, “Best Director”, “Original Screenplay”, “Cinematography”, “Film Editing”, “Sound Editing”, “Production Design”, “Original Score”, and “Costume Design” categories.
The Sixth Sense was the last horror movie to receive an Oscar in 1999 (not counting, of course, Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, considered for the award of the best foreign film in 2006).
Before that, we’ve had The Silence of the Lambs in 1990, Jaws in 1976, and The Exorcist in 1973. So, the four nominations received by last year’s “Get Out” came as a surprise to many. Horror movies don’t usually make it to the Oscars, with the exception of a few truly “weighty” and “dramatic” ones – Get Out seems to have all the necessary qualities, it seems.
Get Out was nominated for the “Best Picture”, “Lead Actor” (Daniel Kaluuya), “Best Director” (Jordan Peele), and the “Best Original Screenplay” awards.
All movies nominated for the “Best Visual Effects”
This is the category where the opinions of the Academy and those of the public seem to meet. Visual effects can make or break a movie’s success today. But there’s a reason why the films nominated in this category received no nods for any other – they rely a bit too much on their visuals for them to be considered “artistic” enough for the Academy. But each of them is the result of hard work by the FX guys, so they all have to be honored in some way.
This year’s nominees for the “Best Visual Effects” Oscars are Blade Runner 2049, John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick; Kong: Skull Island, Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus; Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan; and War for the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist.