Top 5 things I learned from 2017’s Oscars.

  1. Qiu-Ju[1]When in doubt, always go with the less divisive, most widely supported – branch wise – film. 13 nominations, including 3 acting ones, did indicate “The Shape of Water” maybe wasn’t a #1 pic, but it was going to be flooded with #2 to #4 places. Probably “Get Out” was its main competition and “Three Billboards” never had a chance due to the passionate hate the film – deservingly – collected. I mean, you only needed to think twice to understand the film’s huge flaws.
  2.  Not enough people have seen Zhang Yimou’s “Qiu Ju: A Chinese Woman”, which is the obvious blueprint for “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”. Frances McDormand wouldn’t have won, if people would have noticed the similarities between both films and the extremely different approach Gong Li took on a similar character, with a richer story arc – McDormand’s is lacking that – and without the need of ever delivering an “Oscar clip”, always favoring the flow of the narrative and then realistic feel. I am worried for the state of film criticism, in 2018.
  3. Octavia Spencer is the new Thelma Ritter. Not only she’s been nominated three times and won one, but it could be argued that, had not Tilda Swinton competed for a supporting actress nomination in “Snowpiercer”, she could have also attempted to get that nom, too. She’s extremely likeable on and out of the screen, and we haven’t seen her for the last time in the noms and probably will win a second and even a third before she retires. Lesley Manville will be back, the moment she earns another candy role in a Best Picture nominee… but next time she’s given a chance, “Phantom Thread”‘s Vicky Krieps is not only getting a nom.
  4. I love Frances McDormand’s speech, and I love her as an actress. Despite I think she shouldn’t have been even nominated, I am certain, as long as people remember what she did on stage, she’ll be winning a third, and even a fourth.
  5. Guillermo del Toro is NOT going to follow Peter Jackson’s Oscar obsession. He is happy with two awards that he never intended to win – The Shape of Water isn’t Oscar material, at all, from the get-go – and will probably continue his way of constructing his career with love to fantastique and his personal obsessions. That’s why his victory is double important… it broke many Oscar taboos, including sci-fi, monster films, even interspecies relationships. It’s not a masterpiece but it’s a must see, anyways, and a deserving winner (even if it was my 4th pick, out of the nominees, after Get Out, Phantom Thread and Call me by your name)

Final Oscar Bets.

Picture: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (alt. Get Out) WRONG: THE SHAPE OF WATER WON in what it always was a 3-way race.

Director: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (alt. Jordan Peele, Get Out)

Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (alt. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water)

Actor: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (alt. Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out or Timotheé Chalamet, Call me by your name)

Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, I, Tonya (alt. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird)

Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (alt. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project)

Original Screenplay: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (alt. Get Out or Lady Bird)

Adapted Screenplay: Call me by your name (alt. Logan)

Animated Feature: Coco (alt. Loving Vincent)

Foreign Film: A Fantastic Woman (alt. The Square)

Score: The Shape of Water (alt. Phantom Thread)

Song: This is me, The Greatest Showman (alt. Remember Me, Coco)

Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049 (alt. The Shape of Water)

Production Design: The Shape of Water (alt. Blade Runner 2049)

Costume: Phantom Thread (alt. The Shape of Water)

Film Editing: Dunkirk (alt. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Sound Mixing: Dunkirk (alt. Baby Driver)

Sound Editing: Dunkirk (alt. Baby Driver)

Visual Effects: War of the Planets of the Apes (alt. Blade Runner 2049)

Make Up: Darkest Hour (alt. Wonder)

Documentary Feature: Faces, places (alt. Icarus)

2018’s watch list (updating constantly)

The Death of Stalin ***** / A

Black Panther ***** / A-

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight *** / C

Mazinger Z: Infinity ** / D


Oscar Nomination Suspictions (and edited with reality check)

… I am not playing the “prediction” game anymore, but I will share what I feel might be nominated.

BOLDED, actual nominees.

Best Picture (8 nominees) (they were 9)

  • Call me by your name
  • Dunkirk
  • The Florida Project
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

… if 9, “The Big Sick” or “Phantom Thread” or “Darkest Hour” (reminds me of “Capote”)

Best Director

  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Steven Spielberg, The Post
  • Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

alternates: Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”; Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards” and Luca Guadagnino, “Call me by your name”


Best Actress

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

alternate: Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (over Robbie or Streep)


Best Actor

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call me by your name
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Tom Hanks, The Post
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

alternates: Denzell Washington, Roman Israel ESQ and James Franco, The Disaster Artist (but those accusations of sexual harassment before voting just derail his chances).


Best Supporting Actress

  • Mary J Blige, Mudbound
  • Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
  • Allison Janey, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water


alternates: Hong Chau, Downsizing (but the movie tanked with critics) and Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread


Best Supporting Actor

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call me by your name

alternates: Arnie Hammer, Call me by your name; Christopher Plummer, All the money in the world and Patrick Stewart, Logan


Best Original Screenplay

  • The Big Sick
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri

alternates: Phantom Thread, The Post and I, Tonya


Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Call me by your name
  • Molly’s Game
  • Mudbound
  • Wonder
  • Wonder Woman

alternate: The Disaster Artist (which I think it’s done due to the Franco’s scandal) I missed Logan, which I thought too good to be true, and that it would not get in, over Wonder Woman


Short reviews (catching up)


Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missoury *** 1/2 / C+

Maybe the overrated film of the year. It’s not without merit, and some interest, but this attempt to recapture the spirit of “Fargo” in a “Crash” key (2005’s, not the masterpiece by David Cronenbert), feels continuously forced, the situations don’t feel earned too many times, the violence goes over the top too easily and there’s an anger that requires huge suspension of disbelief, as the “ex machina” situation that propels the last quarter of the film into the ending, just when the movie seemed to not be going anywhere. Woody Harrelson is the stand out, followed by Peter Dinklage, McDormand and Rockwell have the easier roles, but as they seem to be the showiest, both are in the frontrunner status for earning Oscar gold, which I honestly think don’t deserve for this one. I’ve seen them both do better, in more interesting roles and films.



Thor Ragnarok ***** / A-

Basically, the film that the MCU (and Thor) needed. A pumped up – in fun – Guardians of the Galaxy, whithout renouncing to the spirit of the source. Chris Hemsworth is allowed to finally shine in his comedic timing, star and center of the comedy (in Ghostbusters he quite outshined his costars way too often, for a non-comedian) and gives a twist to a franchise that was aimed to be a trilogy, and that we’re unexpecedly feeling it deserves way more from this… as long as the genius of Taika Waititi continues with it. Everyone involved is excellent, sets and costumes, visual effects, everything is extraordinary and it sets a new bar of what the superhero genre can achieve. One of the year’s best films, also.



The Disaster Artist **** / B

Fuelled by an outstanding James Franco impersonation of Tommy Wisseau, the film certainly trascends the anecdotic situation, mesmerizing the spirit of Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood”, but certainly also, there’s little more than a surface of friendship and achieving success in the unexpected way. On filmmaking level, Franco does not impress that much beyond the point that his direction doesn’t attract attention to itself, which is certainly no small achievement anyways, but the film becomes more enjoyable than important when the dust settles.


It **** / B

So far, among the best Stephen King adaptations to date. It’s no “The Shinning”, nor “Carrie”, though, but certainly up there among the ones that needs to be seen. I’m holding a better grade, mostly because it’s the first half of the final film, and I think it deserves to be judged as one. But so far, it’s pretty great.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi ** 1/2 / D

Yes, it’s the best Star Wars film in visuals, by a landslide. But it is also a mess that continuously jumps the shark, and that only got me interested in the Casino planet part, when it dared to do some social and political commentary… have we forgotten that a WAR has motivations? I’m as much in shock by the general critical reception of this film, as I was in the even worse “The Force Awakens”. Thankfully, “Rogue One” gave me hopes to finally see another great Star Wars film again. Some day. Not this one.


Justice League *** / C

So, this is folks, what happens when you try to rush a reunion film without properly introducing the characters. Not as bad as Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the final battle in Russia became a blur to me, and I would have fallen asleep if it was not for all that noise. Saving grace: Jason Momoa. I need an Aquaman in my life. Period.


Best Films, yearly (1970-now)

2015 Mad Max: Fury Road

2014 Stranger by the Lake (L’Inconnu du Lac – El Desconocido del Lago)

2013 The Wolf of Wall Street (El Lobo de Wall Street)

2012 Life of Pi (La Vida de Pi)

2011 The Tree of Life (El Árbol de la Vida)

2010 The King’s Speech (El Discurso del Rey)

2009 In the Loop

2008 The Dark Knight (El Caballero Oscuro)

2007 Hairspray

2006 Borat: Cultural Learnings of America to Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

2005 Brokeback Mountain

2004 Hero

2003 Lost in Translation

2002 Bowling for Columbine

2001 Hedwig and the Angry Inch

2000 Requiem for a Dream

1999 Fight Club

1998 El Milagro de P. Tinto

1997 Chasing Amy

1996 Trainspotting

1995 Babe

1994 Pulp Fiction

1993 The Piano

1992 Unforgiven

1991 JFK

1990 The Godfather, Part III

1989 Do the Right Thing

1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

1987 Good Morning, Vietnam

1986 Little Shop of Horrors

1985 The Color Purple

1984 Amadeus

1983 Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

1982 John Carpenter’s The Thing

1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark

1980 Airplane!

1979 Apocalypse Now

1978 The Deer Hunter

1977 Annie Hall

1976 Network

1975 Dersu Uzala

1974 Day for Night (La Nuit Américaine)

1973 The Exorcist

1972 Cabaret

1971 A Clockwork Orange (La Naranja Mecánica)

1970 M.A.S.H.


2017’s Watch List (and rank)

Colossal ***** / A+
Get Out ***** / A+
Blade Runner 2049 ***** / A+
Phantom Thread ***** / A+
Call me by your name ***** / A
The Shape of Water ***** / A
Lady Bird ***** / A
Logan ***** / A
T2: Traispotting ***** / A
Coco ***** / A-
Okja ***** / A-
Thor: Ragnarok ***** / A-
The Post ***** / A-
I, Tonya **** 1/2 B+
El Bar **** 1/2 / B+
Train to Busan **** 1/2 B+
Spiderman: Homecoming **** 1/2 B+
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 **** 1/2 / B+
The LEGO Batman Movie **** 1/2 / B+
Tom of Finland **** / B
Battle of the Sexes **** / B
Split **** / B
It **** / B
God’s Own Country **** / B
Darkest Hour  **** / B
The Disaster Artist **** / B
The Autopsy of Jane Doe **** / B
Wonder Woman **** / B-
Murder in the Orient Express **** / B-
I am a Hero **** / B-
Tour de Pharmacy **** / B-
It stains the sand red **** / B-
Kong: Skull Island *** 1/2 / C+
Three Billboards outside of Bedding, Missouri *** 1/2 / C+
Seoul Station *** 1/2 / C+
BearCity 3 *** 1/2 / C+
Dunkirk *** / C
Happy Death Day *** / C
Girls Trip *** / C
Ferdinand *** / C
Justice League *** / C
Boss Baby *** / C
Life *** / C
Star Wars: The Last Jedi ** 1/2 / D
The Mummy ** / D
Rings ** / D
Beauty and the Beast ** / D
Guardians ** / D
Alien: Covenant * / E
Geostorm 1/2* / F
The Emoji Movie 1/2* / F
(to be updated)
Best Picture: “Colossal”
Best Director: Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Colossal
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Best Supporting Actress: Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Best Supporting Actor: Ewen Bremner, T2: Trainspotting
Best Original Screenplay: Colossal
Best Adapted Screenplay: Blade Runner 2049
Best Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049
Best Production Design: Thor: Ragnarok
Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Best Film Editing: Get Out
Best Score: Phantom Thread
Best Sound: Logan
Best Sound Mixing: The LEGO Batman Movie
Best Visual Effects: War of the Planet of the Apes
Best Make Up: Thor: Ragnarok
Best Film not in English Language: El Bar, by Álex de la Iglesia (Spain)
Best Animated Feature: The LEGO Batman Movie