The 2018 Oscar Nominations: Surprises and Predictable Politics
Anti-Trump-driven content like 'The Post' predictably received attention from the Academy, but there were shockers, too
The 2018 Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning — and though the Hollywood awards season is typically a dry and predictable affair, there were some surprises for sure.
While the Academy Awards usually ignore more popular films in favor of little-seen, agenda-driven content, a handful of movies that have found success with everyday audiences pulled off some major nominations.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a film that has been attacked by many leftist outlets for being too politically incorrect, pulled off seven nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), and Best Supporting Actor (for both Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell).
The flick has been a sleeper hit at the box office, and it’s a pleasure to see a PC-free movie set in Middle America get some real attention from Academy voters.
"Dunkirk," a politics-free box-office juggernaut directed by Christopher Nolan from this past summer, has pulled off a handful of nominations as well. The war film, which tells the story of the Battle of Dunkirk, was nominated for eight awards, including Best Director (Nolan) and Best Picture.
Other popular films such as "Get Out," "Logan," The Shape of Water," "Lady Bird" (pictured above left), and "Darkest Hour" (pictured above middle) pulled off major nominations, suggesting there may be hope the Oscars might eventually evolve from the current political nightmare that many artists and others recognize it to be.
Of course, voters could not cast their ballots without recognizing a few end-of-the-year, politically driven films whose creators seem to talk in interviews more about politics and social causes than about what their actual films cover.
"The Post," which tells the story of the release of the Pentagon Papers, pulled off two major nominations. The movie, directed by the liberal Steven Spielberg and starring the anti-Trump Meryl Streep, was reportedly rushed into production in order to be timed just right with the first-year anniversary of Trump's presidency.
The film's stars (Tom Hanks also has a lead role) have name-dropped Trump plenty of times in various interviews in a clear attempt to draw parallels between the current president with the highly controversial former President Richard Nixon.
Tom Hanks also said in an interview that he'd refuse to attend a White House screening of the movie should there be one and should he be invited. That should tell us everything we need to know about the level of thought that was put into the movie itself.
Though two nominations is not the sort of sweeping attention many expected for the press-loving movie, it's a good bet the film will go home with both of those awards on March 4.
The other "socially conscious" movie to be nominated by Hollywood is "Call Me By Your Name," a film that examines the homosexual relationship between a 17-year-old boy and his father's 24-year-old teaching assistant.
It's a curiously timed picture — considering the sexual misconduct scandals in Hollywood, but the movie has won praise from Hollywood insiders (despite not gaining much traction with the rest of the country). It was nominated for Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay (James Ivory), Best Picture, and Best Original Song ("The Mystery of Love" by Sufjan Stevens). Again, considering the political and social push the movie has had, one can expect it to win most or all of its categories. Best Picture, though, will probably go to "The Post" so viewers can be subjected to a long-winded, anti-Trump speech about how important the press is — and blah, blah, blah.
Another notable nomination was for Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in "Phantom Thread," a movie he has assured viewers will be his last. Though some have doubted his commitment to retiring, the "Last of the Mohicans" and "Gangs of New York" star has a real chance of going home with the Best Actor Academy Award as almost a parting gift for a highly praised actor of our time.
Rachel Morrison also notably became the first female in the Academy's history to be nominated for Best Cinematography. She was recognized for her work on "Mudbound," a Netflix drama. The fact that it's 2018 and a woman is just now being recognized in this category tells us just how shallow Hollywood's "socially accepting" politics really are. Many in the industry won't admit it, but it's far more behind the times than other industries.
All that is left now is the actual Oscar ceremony, which may end up being the most political in history.
Greta Gerwig (nominated for Best Director for the much praised "Lady Bird") is also only the fifth woman to ever be nominated in the Best Director category by the Academy. How very "woke" of you, Hollywood.
All that is left now is the actual Oscar ceremony, which may end up being the most political in history, considering the host is Jimmy Kimmel, a late-night star who has become increasingly political and noticeably less funny as he continuously tackles politics on his program and focuses his material more and more on the president.
PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected].