I’m going to make my picks but you should know a couple of things first. One, I didn’t see all the movies nominated. I saw most of them, though. The only films nominated in the major category that I DIDN’T see are…

Darkest Hour—Nominated for Best Picture and Gary Oldman is expected to win Best Actor for playing Winston Churchill. This one is already out on DVD so maybe I’ll see it before the Oscars air on Sunday. As it stands now, though, I haven’t seen it so Oldman and Darkest Hour will not be among my selections.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.---Denzel Washington is nominated for Best Actor for this movie that I don’t think more than 5 people total saw. He is considered an extreme long shot in this category, though, so I’m not going to sweat it too much.

I also didn’t see The Florida Project for which Willem Dafoe is nominated for Best Supporting Actor or Mudbound which has Mary J. Blige nominated as Best Supporting Actress. Other than that, I’ve seen ‘em all! So, here we go!

Best Picture

I think most people are predicting that The Shape of Water will win best picture. I don’t get what the big deal is about that movie. It’s my least favorite Guillermo del Toro movie yet. It doesn’t work for me as a sci-fi/monster movie or a love story. Michael Shannon was great in it and Doug Jones is one of the most consistently underappreciated actors in Hollywood. And neither of them are nominated for squat.

None of the nominated movies this year will go down as an “all-time favorite” for me but I really liked Get Out and Lady Bird. I’m going for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Mo. , though, because it was the movie that had the most “stickiness” for me. “Stickiness” is a word I use to describe a movie that I continue to think about after leaving the theater. Stickiness can last anywhere from hours to days. There are some movies that I find myself thinking about years later. Sticky movies are the best.

Best Actor

From everything I’ve read, Gary Oldman richly deserves the Best Actor award. But, I didn’t see Darkest Hour so, according to my own rules, I can’t choose it for any winners. So, with Oldman out of the running, I’ll go with…I don’t know, Timothee Chalamet? He was really good in Call Me By Your Name. This movie about a 30 year old man who has a summer fling with a 17 year old boy. Does anyone else think it’s weird that this movie is being lauded for its positive portrayal of a relationship that isn’t too, too different from “why Kevin Spacey is no longer allowed anywhere NEAR the Dolby Theatre”?

Best Actress

I think Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan will both win Academy Awards at some point in the future and Meryl Streep will probably win a dozen more before it’s done. This year it’s Frances McDormand,though, for her complex and complicated portrayal of a mother who is at the same time victim and bully in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I won’t complain if Sally Hawkins finally gets the recognition she deserves, though.

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Rockwell deserves this award for his portrayal of a violent, racist and incompetent policeman in Three Billboards. But get this…if Rockwell weren’t in the running my pick for Supporting Actor would STILL be someone from Three Billboards…Woody Harrelson who plays the beleaguered, bullied and ultimately doomed Chief of Police. As great as Rockwell is, Harrelson’s performance is right there on par.

Best Supporting Actress

My two favorites are Allison Janney for I, Tonya and Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird. The roles they play are similar. They’re both demanding and difficult-to-please mothers. Metcalf is more understated as Lady Bird’s put-upon and exasperated mom. Janney’s turn as Tonya Harding’s chain-smoking stage (ice rink?) mother is more of a tour de force: profane, funny and very unlikeable. I usually go for understated but this year I’m picking the scene stealing Janney as my winner.

Best Director

del Toro is the favorite in this category but, as I’ve said before, The Shape of Water only works for me as a maudlin origin story for Abe Sapien from Hellboy. My pick for best director is Greta Gerwig. If not for her breezy, semi-autobiographical light touch on Lady Bird, then at least for the fact that she’s the director whose name sounds most like a character from Harry Potter.

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