Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Oscar Predictions - Part Two: Shorts and Features

Part One was full of fairly straightforward picks on who should take home each trophy, but Part Two is where Oscar picks are broken. With three short film categories that are the equivalent of throwing a dart at a two inch target while blindfolded, and the feature categories that are less up in the air but still could get crazy. Without further ado, the predictions for the shorts and features:

Animated Short

Favorite: Dear Basketball
Potential Spoiler: Literally Any of the Other Nominees

When I said that the short film categories could make or break your Oscar Picks in your office pool, I wasn’t kidding. While something like Dear Basketball may be receiving more picks than the other four, there is no guarantee that come March 5th Kobe Bryant will be an Oscar winner. And while Dear Basketball is a great little short for anyone who has loved a sport and left it, I’d hardly put it at the top of my personal list. From a sheer animation standpoint, Garden Party is kind of ridiculously well made, but from a story and animation angle, Lou has to take the cake. And let’s be honest, it’s hard to bet against Pixar.

Pick: Lou
Documentary Short

Favorite: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Potential Spoiler: Different Category, Same Result

This category is always interesting as it seems to be incredibly relevant subject matters every year. Whether this is a deliberate choice by the Academy is unknown, but it does provide for extremely captivating short films if nothing else. Every nominee is interesting in its own way but only two really stood out as potential winners, Traffic Stop and Heroin(e). Both feature incredibly timely material and tell their stories in effective ways, but at the end of the day I think Heroin(e), the story of Huntington, West Virginia and the overwhelming opioid crisis occurring there, will take home the award.

Prediction: Heroin(e)
Live Action Short

Favorite: DeKalb Elementary
Potential Spoiler: It’s Really Like a Broken Record Now

No other short film nominated this year feels as painfully relevant as DeKalb Elementary. While there is not really a week film in the bunch for this category, the story of a thwarted school shooting depicted in DeKalb Elementary should propel it over the other films. Any of the other films are equally able to win this prize, but if any were to get a boost, it would be DeKalb Elementary.

Prediction: DeKalb Elementary
Animated Feature

Favorite: Coco
Potential Spoiler: N/A

Best Animated Feature in 2018 is a reminder as to why this category maybe shouldn’t exist. Animation in 2017 was a fairly dour affair, with few films emerging as truly remarkable or award worthy (Boss Baby is nominated after all). But while films like The Breadwinner or even Loving Vincent are good little animated films, they can’t even come close to Coco. In one of the easiest categories to call all night, Coco runs away with another Oscar for Pixar.

Prediction: Coco
Documentary Feature

Favorite: Faces Places
Potential Spoiler: Jane Icarus

Faces Places isn’t like the typical documentary that people think of when they hear the word. Rather it’s just a mish mash of stories, highlighting everyday lives of people that Agnès Varda and JR come across. And while it is truly delightful, it was never the film I expected to be the favorite once nominations came out. That film was Jane, a film about Jane Goodall which was surprisingly left out when nominations were released, leaving the door wide open for Faces Places to win. Icarus, a look at the effects of doping and the Russian scandal surrounding it, may pose a small threat, but seeing Agnès Varda win an Oscar at 89 years old is just too great of an opportunity to pass up.

Prediction: Faces Places
Foreign Language Film

Favorite: A Fantastic Woman
Potential Spoiler: The Square

Foreign Language Film is another category that’s tough to call. Not because of the excellence of every film, but because the Academy makes some wacky moves here. Many years, films that have been awarded from multiple other voting bodies haven’t even made the shortlist much less made the nomination list. Just this year alone, Golden Globe Winner In the Fade and adored BPM didn’t get into the final five. That’s not to say the nominated films are undeserving, far from it in fact, but a surprise is not out of the question. If we operate under the assumption that it’s a two-horse race between A Fantastic Woman, a tender film with timely subject matter from Chile, or The Square, a far weirder film from Sweden, I’d say A Fantastic Woman takes it. But expect the unexpected in Foreign Language should never be forgotten.

Prediction: A Fantastic Woman

And that’s it for the shorts and features, the categories a majority of people struggle to see every year let alone predict correctly. Part Three starts to get to a few above the line categories before the big hitters hit on Thursday.

After 12 categories, here is the current tally:

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