Movies

Countdown to the Oscars: Part 2

Hello Geeks + Gamers! Welcome to Part 2 of our Countdown to the Oscars! (Read Part 1 here.) This installment is going to be focused on the niche categories, the ones that don’t quite get the same amount of attention as the bigger awards of the night. Starting with one of my favorite categories, we have:

Best Animated Short Film:

Dear Basketball – Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant

Garden Party – Victor Claire and Gabriel Grapperon

Lou – Dave Mullins and Dana Murray

Negative Space – Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata

Revolting Rhymes – Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

This year’s batch of nominees is one of the more interesting ones that I’ve seen in recent memory. The two that really stand out in terms of their unconventional background are Dear Basketball and Revolting Rhymes. Dear Basketball is nothing more than Kobe Bryant reading the retirement letter he wrote to The Players’ Tribune, set to animation directed by Glen Keane and scored by John Williams. As for Revolting Rhymes, this was a two-part CG animated TV miniseries that aired in 2016 on the BBC. One can only assume the nomination was for part 1 only, since an animated short film cannot be submitted if it’s runtime exceeds 40 minutes. Both of these shorts were great, but I think ultimately the winner is going to be Lou, and not just because it’s from Pixar. Moving on to a different shorts category, we have:

Best Live Action Short Film:

DeKalb Elementary – Reed Van Dyk

The Eleven O’Clock – Derin Seale and Josh Lawson

My Nephew Emmett – Kevin Wilson Jr.

The Silent Child – Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton

Watu Wote/All of Us – Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen

Of all the major award shows broadcast on television, the Academy Awards are the only ones that really shine a spotlight on short films. This could either make predicting the winner incredibly easy, or incredibly difficult. Taking a complete shot in the dark, I’d have to go with The Silent Child, which won best short film at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. The short was based on writer Rachel Shenton’s personal experiences as the child of a parent who became deaf. Finally, for the short subject categories, we have:

Best Documentary – Short Subject:

Edith+Eddie – Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright

Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 – Frank Stiefel

Heroin(e) – Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon

Knife Skills – Thomas Lennon

Traffic Stop – Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

Unlike the previous category, there are some nominees in this bunch that are more widely available. For example, Traffic Stop aired on HBO in November of 2017, and Heroin(e) is available now to stream on Netflix. But the one that has garnered the most attention, and my prediction for the winner, would have to be Edith+Eddie. It helps that Cher happens to be the executive producer of this documentary, after learning about this couple from a local news story. That’s the end of the short subject awards; next we move up to the features, starting with:

Best Documentary – Feature:

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman

Faces Places – Agnes Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda

Icarus – Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan

Last Men in Aleppo – Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen

Strong Island – Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Of all the live action categories I’ve covered in this installment, this is the one I’m feeling the most confident in my prediction. Based on strong word of mouth, as well as taking home the “Most Popular International Documentary” award at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival, Faces Places sounds like a pretty obvious frontrunner. That being said, an argument could be made in favor of two nominees from Netflix, Icarus and Strong Island. Say what you will about their original movies, but at least their documentaries have gained the respect of the Academy. The last category we have in live action is:

Best Foreign Language Film:

A Fantastic Woman (Chile) in Spanish – Directed by Sebastián Lelio

The Insult (Lebanon) in Arabic – Directed by Ziad Doueiri

Loveless (Russia) in Russian – Directed by Andrey Zvyaginstev

On Body and Soul (Hungary) in Hungarian – Directed by Ildikó Enyedi

The Square (Sweden) in Swedish – Directed by Ruben Östlund

I’m not any better at predicting this award than I was at the time of the 75th Golden Globes. While these may not necessarily be the same nominees, I won’t make the same mistake twice. There might still be an argument in favor of Sweden’s The Square, but I think the safest choice would have to be Chile’s A Fantastic Woman, which has built up more momentum as the film is still playing in theaters close to the broadcast of the Oscars. Finally, to bookend this installment of the Oscar Countdown, we have:

Best Animated Feature Film:

The Boss Baby – Tom McGrath and Ramsey Ann Naito

The Breadwinner – Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo

Coco – Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson

Ferdinand – Carlos Saldanha

Loving Vincent – Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart

Since the very beginning of this awards season, there have been three close frontrunners: Coco, The Breadwinner, and Loving Vincent. The latter may have lost some steam, but those first two are still in a tight race. But there can only be one winner; so who’s it going to be? On the one hand, I would love it if the Academy surprised everyone with their choice of The Breadwinner, but we all know that Coco has had this award in the bag the whole time.

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So that concludes part 2 of the Countdown to the Oscars. How confident do you feel about these categories? Drop your predictions in the comments below, and stay tuned for the final installment coming real soon. Thank you as always for checking out GeeksandGamers.com, your source for all things Geek.

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