By JUN YUN
The 90th Academy Awards, known as the Oscars, took place on March 4th at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. As expected, the two movies with the most nominations succeeded immensely. The Shape of Water, with a leading thirteen nominations, and Dunkirk, with eight nominations, won four awards and three awards, respectively. In terms of awards, this year’s Oscars did not surprise many critics; despite a couple of minor surprises in the major awards categories, the winners were clear prior to the show. In addition, it was quite interesting to note how the awards were well-distributed amongst the nominated films; no single movie dominated the field.
Starting with The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy drama film won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Production Design. This was a visually distinct and emotionally charged movie, one that clearly stood out from its competitors. Dunkirk and Call Me By Your Name were close seconds to achieving Best Picture. The Shape of Water, due to its large volume of nominations, unsurprisingly won Best Director for del Toro’s fantastic work in crafting his unique romantic story. The number of nominations is often the best indication of success in other categories.
Get Out deservedly won Best Original Screenplay, but should have also won in other categories. Daniel Kaluuya’s fantastic performance truly captured both the horror and comedy of this movie. Get Out’s nomination for Best Director should also have gained more consideration; director Jordan Peele’s work in capturing race relations probably did not receive enough admiration. Coco, arguably one of the best Pixar animations, deservedly won both Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song. Coco, a visually beautiful film, was only nominated twice but also could have gained more recognition for its incredible handling of mature themes, like death and revival, through a marvelous plotline.
Baby Driver, one of the more popular action-comedy movies from the past year, was nominated three times but did not win. It was nominated for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. The way in which the actors’ actions synchronized with the music and soundtrack was a tremendous quality of Baby Driver. There can even be an argument for Ansel Elgort’s performance to be nominated as Best Actor. Unfortunately, Baby Driver was dominated by Dunkirk in all three categories. Dunkirk, a historical war film depicting the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II, was more acclaimed and impactful than Baby Driver, so its dominant Oscar performance in the sound category is expected.
Overall, the 2018 Oscars was a worthy show. Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue addressing Hollywood-relevant issues of the MeToo movement was a notable introduction to the show. Winners were unsurprising, producing a quietly successful Oscars. There was neither outrage nor shock accompanying the distribution of awards. This year’s Oscars was a nice contrast to the radically controversial and disputed Academy Awards of the past few years.