On Tuesday, January 23, the Academy hit us with its 2018 Oscar nominations.
As with any group of nominations, there were some questions and we have answers. My friends Rachel Casey, Justin Harris and Maddie Weiner joined me to sort out our thoughts.
Unfortunately, I believe all of us were stone cold sober while thinking about this. Send your own answers to these questions to @StrangerBeers on Twitter!
Which performance nomination character would you like to drink with?
Rachel: Lesley Manville as Cyril Woodcock in Phantom Thread. I spent a long time considering Allison Janney as Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona, in I, Tonya because I always get a kick out of cruel criticism of my personal faults when I’ve had a few drinks. Ultimately, I decided that LaVona’s natural state is day drunk and I’m not sure I want to bring that sort of darkness into my Friday night. Cyril, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of cynical drinking partner I’m looking for. She spends half of her time managing a profitable business and the other half of her time managing Daniel Day-Lewis, so I am ready to be her tipsy confidant. We can both complain about how ridiculous men are and then belt out “Love is a Battlefield.”
Justin: My first answer woulda been James Franco aka Tommy Wiseau aka Johnny. “You must be crazy, I cannot drink this!” he’d say as I handed him his first pint. “Ha-ha-ha-ha.” To which I’d respond, “If you love me Johnny, you’ll drink this,” and we’d proceed to get hamdogged. As we get more and more greased up, I’d ask what it’s like to wear a dong sock and how his body looks both incredibly chiseled and also like it’s going through a weird form of existential decay. But alas, Franco wasn’t nominated, probably because he’s a piece of shit to women, so fuck you James, stop being a piece of shit. Next would be Daniel Kaluuya, who plays Chris in Get Out. After what Chris goes through, that dude could for sure use a beer and I’d be happy to buy it for him. I’d also be holding out hope that he’d bring his boy Rod, aka Lil Rel Howery, with him.
Maddie: The Fish Man from Shape of Water!! Oh, wait, he wasn’t nominated. Of the performances I’ve seen, I think I’d probably most like to drink with Elio from Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird just so I can give them some life advice and be their cool older mentor. I still haven’t seen Phantom Thread, but Cyril Woodcock seems like she’d be fun to drink with, too.
Jonathan: Let’s break this down. More important than the one person I’d like to drink with are the many I want nothing to do with. Robbie’s Tonya Harding? No. Rockwell’s Dixon? C’mon. Day-Lewis’ Woodcock? FOH. Some meh options too. Lady Bird? Underage. Her mom? Condescending. Think I’m going with Octavia Spencer’s Zelda Fuller. She seems fun and outgoing, and would likely spend most of our time roasting her coworkers. Also curious what else is going on in those labs?
What is your safest bet for an Oscar winner?
Rachel: Coco. I haven’t even seen the movie, but if there is one thing I know it’s that Pixar can do no wrong with Oscar voters. It’s hard to remember the last time a Pixar movie didn’t get a nomination (other than 2015’s juvenile The Good Dinosaur), and with the studio’s resurgence of quality original content it’s hard to bet against it. Although it is heartening to see movies like Loving Vincent and The Breadwinner get the recognition they deserve, I don’t see anyone other than Coco walking away with Best Animated Feature.
Justin: Kobe Bryant, Best Animated Short for his work on Dear Basketball. Why? Because when has Kobe ever failed? The dude scored 81 points in one game in the modern NBA. You gonna doubt him in something as easy as Best Animated Short? Shaq, dude, tell me how my Oscar taste. But really, I think it’s Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but ol’ girl has already taken home the trophy at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the IGN Summer Movie Awards, three of the biggest predictors of Oscar success. The golden man statue seems like a formality at this point.
Maddie: This year is pretty stacked and has a surprising amount of diversity in genre and tone, but my honest answer is probably The Shape of Water! I think it’s just weird enough to make Oscar voters feel progressive and artsy and cool, but it’s also a love letter to cinema, which Oscar voters are All About, and its characters are “diverse,” so they’ll be able to pat themselves on the back. (And yes, Shape of Water was my favorite movie of the year, but I genuinely believe it has the best chance).
Jonathan: I’ma go out on a limb and lock in Call Me By Your Name for Best Adapted Screenplay. There isn’t a particularly strong field in this category, although I did enjoy The Disaster Artist. But in case Timmy doesn’t win Best Actor, guessing many will hope to ensure the movie does win something. Confidence may go through the roof once I’ve actually seen it.
What is your Snub-Proof Frankenstein?
In other words, what combination of snubbed things would be unsnubbable?
Rachel: I’ll start with Sofia Coppola, who directed one of my favorites of the year and is one of five women to be nominated for Best Director. Next up is cinematography, where PTA shined in his debut and is a contender in any category where the Academy is concerned. My original screenplay writer is Yorgos Lanthimos, an Oscar nominee last year in the same category for The Lobster, but I thought The Killing of a Sacred Deer was even better. The leading roles will go to 7-year-old Brooklynn Prince, the subject of the only scene all year to make me sob, and Robert Pattinson for his dynamic performance in Good Time. Rupert Gregson-Williams, who’s work on Wonder Woman was the best superhero score in the age of Marvel, will compose my original score, and production will be handled by Kathleen Kennedy, a living legend who continues to astound with her accomplishments each year. No way the Academy would be able to resist.
Justin: Serious/Crazy Jim Carrey and Scarlett Johansson star in this David Fincher-directed film about yuppie parents living in New York City in 1983. When their daughter, played by Brookylnn Prince, gets terminally sick, Carrey and Johannsson are forced to come to terms with the dynamics that have hollowed their marriage. Scored by John Carpenter, this tense family drama is sure to score first-time Oscar wins for all involved. Fuck, I wanna watch this movie right now.
Maddie: Let’s see… If you want to make something unsnubbable, you need to make it so that Academy voters would feel too guilty not to recognize the film, so we’ll stack it with people who have been nominated but never won. I’m thinking Annette Bening, Woody Harrelson and Javier Bardem, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, cinematography by Deakins, music by Mica Levi (I just love Mica Levi).
Jonathan: Hear me out. Trailer rolls. Robert Pattinson is strung-out, in Good Time fashion, looking for his daughter. Her step-dad, The Post’s Tom Hanks, is yelling on the phone, expecting her home by now. Pattinson checks the rusted trampoline out back. It’s Mooney from The Florida Project! She tells him to piss off; Pattinson yells “Queens, baby!” Directed by Patty Jenkins. This may not be far off of Monster? Not sure. Five stars.