SN&R Oscars Recap

“Hand over the tiny golden man.”

“Hand over the tiny golden man.”

The 2018 Academy Award nominees were announced last week, capping off the awards season with the usual mixed bag of overhyped mediocrities, bloated atrocities and genuinely profound works of art. Many of the nominations were satisfying: Sacramento’s own Greta Gerwig picked up multiple nods; Phantom Thread and Get Out had strong showings; Willem Dafoe prevented The Florida Project’s shutout; Mudbound cinematographer Rachel Morrison became the first woman ever nominated in her category; and Agnes Varda and JR’s delightful Faces Places scored a Best Documentary nomination.

However, there were just as many utterly annoying nominations, enough to make up their own category. Once again, the Academy limited Best Picture to nine movies for no good reason, other than to trigger my obsessive-compulsive disorder. Therefore, for no good reason, I present my list of the nine most annoying Oscar nominations of 2018:

Anyone and anything associated with Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri:

Martin McDonagh’s morally repugnant morallity tale grabbed seven nominations, including Best Picture, as well as acting nods for Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. I love the actors, and I enjoyed McDonagh’s previous two films, but this is easily the I-Didn’t-Get-It movie of 2017. Others see complexity and grace. I only see lazy shock tactics and vapid condescension.

Gary Oldman, Best Actor, Darkest Hour:

The acting nominations were largely inoffensive this year, with the obvious exception of Oldman’s hammy, blubbering, prosthetic-slathered turn as Winston Churchill.

Molly’s Game, Best Original Screenplay:

A total legacy pick, as Aaron Sorkin’s forgettable directorial debut feels like it was written on auto-Sorkin. No one seems to care about this movie, so why nominate it for anything?

I, Tonya, Best Editing:

I sort of understand the nominations for Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, even though they are both quite poor in a bad film, but I, Tonya beating Get Out and Phantom Thread for a Best Editing nomination is baffling. Best Editing, just because there was a lot of it?

The Big Sick, Best Original Screenplay:

Aggressive schmoozing is the secret sauce of awards season, and no one has been better at pandering to voters than Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who managed to elevate an extremely average film to awards status by almost literally begging people not to dislike it.

The Disaster Artist, Best Adapted Screenplay:

Minus James Franco’s sublime performance as Tommy Wiseau and the loving visual recreation of his disaster-piece The Room, this movie is a total dud, and the script is largely to blame.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, Best Visual Effects:

Only because the visual effects look terrible.

Beauty and the Beast, Best Production Design:

Only because the entire movie looks terrible.

Darkest Hour, Best Cinematography:

While Phantom Thread fared surprisingly well, it was inevitable that Paul Thomas Anderson would get snubbed for bypassing the unions and serving as his own cinematographer. Of the five films that made the cut instead, Bruno Delbonnel’s monotone work on Darkest Hour is the least laudable.