Gold Derby has been in the Hollywood trenches chatting with several Oscar voters in recent weeks to learn their choices in eight top categories for the 2018 Academy Awards. Now that all votes have officially been submitted to the accountants, we can start exposing these mystery ballots.
Voter #4 is a member of the public relations branch who has achieved well over 100 Oscar nominations for his campaigns over the past quarter-century. The comments below in each category are part of the thought process in choosing these potential winners.
BEST PICTURE: “Dunkirk”
When you look at what it takes to make a picture and who’s behind it, I think “Dunkirk” is head and shoulders the Best Picture. Chris Nolan is a master if you really dissect everything that came into it. That’s why a lot of the technical categories have been recognized by their peers. A Best Picture in my opinion is the sum total of everything that has to go into telling a story. Second place is “The Post.” Third place is “Get Out.”
BEST DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
You have to look at it as what does the director do? He’s the quarterback of the team and brings all these different things together to tell a story. From a filmmaking standpoint it is a spectacularly made movie if you look at all the different components needed. Even though I wasn’t as emotionally invested in some of the characters, I think it’s the best of this year.
BEST ACTRESS: Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
It’s a terrific performance and she carries the movie. She’s in almost every scene and holds her on if not holds up Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson.
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”)
It’s the best performance that I saw. I have a personal resistance against impersonations and the Academy all too often rewards impersonations whether it was Meryl Streep as Maggie Thatcher or Helen Mirren as the Queen or Ray Charles played by Jamie Foxx. Those are not as difficult as original ones that are developed by the actor and director.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)
Of all the performances, she was definitely the most well-connected. If you look at some of the recorded footage of the mother, I think she nailed it to a tee, which is different than a famous person being impersonated because Allison probably didn’t even know about this woman before she studied the role.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)
I loved Willem Dafoe. It hasn’t been well marketed to the Academy folks. I’m voting for him because I think his performance is above and beyond the most important of one of my favorite movies of the year. I think Sam Rockwell is fabulous, but if you look at the nuanced, emotional performance from Willem Dafoe it’s head and shoulders above the others.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: James Ivory (“Call Me By Your Name”)
I think James Ivory did an amazing job. Having seen a lot of the Merchant/Ivory pictures and loved what James did, this is a very poignant story told about a confused adolescent. I’m not a fan of Aaron Sorkin, who kind of overwrites. “Mudbound” was OK but not great.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (“The Big Sick”)
My favorite is “The Big Sick” in terms of how it brought all the characters together and how their story was told through dialogue. It’s a phenomenal screenplay and spectacular.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.