Pitt film fanatics offer 2018 Oscar predictions


(Illustration by Abigail Katz | Staff Illustrator)

Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the film industry will recognize some of the most well-crafted, impactful films of the year at the Oscars Sunday night.

But Hollywood’s biggest night will also likely be consumed by social issues such as the Time’s Up movement, which Hollywood celebrities started in response to the #MeToo movement and the sexual assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein.

Time’s Up displayed a strong presence at the Golden Globes earlier this year, with women dressing in black and men wearing pins in solidarity with sexual assault survivors who publicized their encounters, hoping to motivate others to come forward with their stories.

As expected, this year’s Oscar nominations delivered a plethora of diverse films spanning multiple genres. Leading with 13 Oscar nominations is Guillermo del Toro’s romantic monster fable, “The Shape of Water,” a contender for Best Picture.

The Pitt News spoke to some campus film fanatics to gather their 2018 Oscars predictions before Jimmy Kimmel takes the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California to host the 90th Academy Awards, which will air on ABC at 8 p.m.

The Pitt News: Who do you predict will win Best Director [from nominees Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro, Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele]?

Jesse Anderson-Lehman, film graduate student: I think it’s del Toro. I think del Toro has it. “The Shape of Water” is great and there’s also that he’s an auteur that’s recognizable by the Academy.

Sean Gallagher, senior theater arts major: Guillermo del Toro will win for “The Shape of Water” — his direction was lovely, but I’d be so happy to see Gerwig or Peele win for historical reasons — plus, their work is excellent too. Also, it should be noted that Paul Thomas Anderson is a genius, so it’s a very strong category this year.

Delena Obermaier, senior film studies major: I think it will go to del Toro. Would I love to see it go to Peele or Gerwig? Yes. But don’t get me wrong, del Toro deserves it too. His imagination is limitless and “The Shape of Water” proves once again that he’s quite the fantasy auteur.

TPN: Do you feel that any film was snubbed an Oscar nomination?

Anderson-Lehman: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of cheating, but I loved “I, Tonya.” It was my favorite film of the year and to not get a nomination for Best Picture was a little strange.

Gallagher: Luckily, the film was nominated for Best Picture, but I fear “Call Me By Your Name” won’t win Best Picture. That in itself is a snub, because it’s one of the most beautiful movies ever made.

Obermaier: I think “Good Time” was one of the best films of the year and it’s nowhere to be found. I understand the Oscars aren’t exactly the place for indie films to shine, but I still would have liked to see it somewhere.

TPN: What film do you think will win Best Picture?

Gallagher: “The Shape of Water” will win Best Picture, because at its heart it is a simple love story with some very cinematic influences that the Academy will eat up.

Obermaier: I think it will be “The Shape of Water.” If it were up to me, it would be “Get Out.” But “The Shape of Water” is a gorgeous and touching film — I definitely won’t be upset to see it win … It’s a fantasy film, but an “adult” one.

Anderson-Lehman: Oh man, that’s a tough one. It’s funny because last year I was stuck in this position where you want to vote for something because you like it, but you have to go with what will probably win. Last year, the film that I wanted to win, “Moonlight,” ended up winning in a wild fashion. The film that I want to win this year is “The Shape of Water,” which is also the film I think will win, but it’s a tough one.

TPN: Do you think Rachel Morrison will be the first female to win an Oscar for Best Cinematography?

Gallagher: I’m rooting for Rachel, but I really do expect Hoyte van Hoytema to take an Oscar home for “Dunkirk.”

Obermaier: While it’s about time a woman was nominated for Best Cinematography, I think the award will go to Roger Deakins for “Blade Runner 2049.”

Anderson-Lehman: It’s tough, but I think Roger Deakins is going to take this for “Blade Runner 2049.” The thing you have to keep in mind is that Academy members are voting, and when someone like Roger Deakins makes a film like “Blade Runner” that was just beautifully shot and really speaks to his ouvre and his abilities, I think it’s going to win.

TPN: Do you think the Oscars are addressing its diversity problem in recent years with some of the nominations this year?

Gallagher: Yes — I believe the nominations for both Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig as directors are a major step in the right direction. More of this, please. Also, the great cinematographer Rachel Morrison was nominated for “Mudbound” — all kinds of technical excellence is being recognized this year.

Obermaier: I actually do a gender and race breakdown of the Oscars every year. I found that some of the categories are more diverse (Best Director, for example) and there are some great firsts (first female cinematographer, first openly trans man nominated in general, etc). However, the number of nominees that are men of color stayed about the same and the number of nominees that are women of color actually went down. The only group that saw an increase in nominees were white women. This being said, diversity in the film industry and at the Oscars is not a numbers game. It’s not a matter of reaching quotas. It’s about offering more opportunity, access and recognition to a wider group of voices… Obviously we’re not there yet, but I think this past year in particular will open the floodgates to more equity in the industry as a whole.

Anderson-Lehman: It’s complicated. I think the Oscars are addressing their diversity issue with nominating “Get Out” this year and “Moonlight” winning last year. I think they’re trying to address the #OscarsSoWhite impression. Now, as to whether they actually are — I don’t think they are anywhere close in terms of the resources given to creating products that feature a diverse range of people.