Having seen all the films nominated in the major categories, I have long recognized that my picks are poisoned by my personal experience. While I could just quit and go away, I have long followed Warren Zevon’s famous song and motto, “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.” So, here we go.
Best picture — “The Shape of Water”
While “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is still my favorite film of the year — followed closely by “Lady Bird” — “The Shape of Water” is a deserving winner. In many ways it is like E.T. coming back to Earth 25 years later and developing his relationship with a now-mature Drew Barrymore.
Best directing — Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Ironically, while I think that the unnominated Martin McDonagh is more deserving for “Three Billboards” — and Greta Gerwig would be a spectacular selection for “Lady Bird” — I strongly feel that del Toro wins this award hands down.
Best actor — Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
While Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”) sits in the weeds for this award, Oldman finally walks away with the great prize. His performance as Winston Churchill is memorable by any definition.
Best actress — Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
This is a tough pick, as Sally Hawkins, Frances McDormand and Margot Robbie are equally deserving of this award. However, this is Ronan’s third Oscar nomination, and the Academy can’t keep ignoring her.
Best supporting actor — Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
While I loved Richard Jenkins’ performance in “The Shape of Water,” Rockwell deserves this award as a troubled racist police officer who finds redemption.
Best supporting actress — Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
If I had to bet my last dollar on any category, it would be on Allison Janney, who played Tonya Harding’s disturbed mother. This is a performance that will long be remembered.
Best animated feature — “Coco”
This film justifiably could have been nominated for best picture. It is an adult film with penetrating significance, and its hit song “Remember Me” will challenge in the original song category. Having said that, you still need to see the moving “Loving Vincent.
Best adapted screenplay — “Call Me by Your Name”
Though I was unable to see “Mudbound,” I loved both “Logan” and “Molly’s Game.” However, the screenplay for “Call Me” will quietly wrap its arms around you from beginning to end.
Best original screenplay — “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
This is a tough pick, as I truly loved the other four nominees. “Get Out” will challenge for this award, as will “Lady Bird” and “The Shape of Water.” On top of that, “The Big Sick” was one of my favorite films of the year. But “Three Billboards” has a penetrating significance that I hope is recognized.
Best original song — “This Is Me,” “The Greatest Showman”
While “Remember Me” from “Coco” is incredible, this award to “The Greatest Showman” will allow that film to receive deserved recognition. Furthermore, recognizing “Stand Up for Something” allows the historically important film “Marshall” to be grabbed out of the shadows.
Best original score — “The Shape of Water”
This is a dangerous pick as “Dunkirk,” “Three Billboards” and “Phantom Thread” will challenge, but win lose or draw, I pick “The Shape of Water.”
Best makeup and hairstyling — “The Darkest Hour”
How can anyone deny this film’s achievement in recreating Oldman as the legendary Winston Churchill?
Best cinematography — “Dunkirk”
There are those who feel that “Blade Runner 2049” is a lock for this award, and they may be right. However, the cinematography is what made Dunkirk a smash on IMAX screens, and I will stay in its corner.
Best costume design — “Beauty and the Beast”
This will be an unpopular pick. Many feel “The Shape of Water” will add this award to its collection. However, no costumes remotely compared to those in this enjoyable film that was nearly ignored by the Academy.
Best film editing — “Dunkirk”
I secretly wish that either “Baby Driver” or “I, Tonya” would get this award, because I was captivated by both films. On the other hand, it will probably come down to a contest between “Dunkirk,” “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards.” I simply choose Dunkirk given the way it incorporated so many different approaches to that historical event.
Best production design — “The Shape of Water”
“Beauty and the Beast” and “Blade Runner 2049” will again knock on the door, but how can you ignore a film that was able to capture a love story between a deaf janitor and an aquatic beast?
Best sound mixing, best sound editing — “Baby Driver”
I hope I am right, as it was the sound that made this film one of the best pictures of 2017.
Best visual effects — “War for the Planet of the Apes”
This was a very powerful film that was able to penetrate a viewer emotionally based on its visual effects.
Best live action short film — “My Nephew Emmett”
I love all of these nominees, particularly “The Silent Child,” but this movie dealing with the murder of Emmett Till in 1965 Mississippi is a heartbreaking recreation of the consequences of racial prejudice that poisoned our country.
Best animated short film — “Garden Party”
I couldn’t see these films by my deadline, but “Garden Party” looks precious for a host of reasons.•
• Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or the office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters watching and preparing to review the latest films. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.