It was primarily business as expected at the 90th Annual Academy Awards, with most frontrunners from the guild awards taking home prizes. Still, there managed to be a few surprises over the course of the evening.
SNUBS: “Lady Bird” and “Mudbound”
In an evening where the love was spread around pretty evenly, Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed coming-of-age masterpiece went home empty, despite five nominations, including best picture, two for Gerwig and acting nominations for Saorise Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. Similarly, Dee Rees’ period drama failed to win any of its four nominations, including two historic ones for cinematographer Rachel Morrison and for Rees in adapted screenplay.
SNUB: Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Though he was passed over for a director nominations, the Irish writer was still expected to triumph in either the writing or best picture category. After a streak of wins including SAG Ensemble and both prizes at the BAFTA Awards, McDonagh’s film failed to take the top prize as “The Shape of Water” triumphed, and McDonagh saw Jordan Peele win in original screenplay for “Get Out.” Still, his film took home two acting awards for stars Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.
SNUB: Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and “The Post”: Going into Oscar season, this one looked like it could be the one to beat, with an unparalleled pedigree and a politically-relevant subject. But any buzz there was had long dissipated before final voting took place.
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SURPRISE: Roger Deakins, Cinematography, “Blade Runner 2049”
After 14 nominations and no wins to show, Deakins seemed cursed. But while many may have shifted their prediction his way after a British Academy win that seemed to firm things up after his American Society of Cinematographers win, it’s still noteworthy that “Blade Runner 2049” is the first non-best picture nominee to win in the category since “Memoirs of a Geisha” 11 years ago.
SNUB: “This Is Me,” Best Song
It was a hit on the charts, became the anthem of the Olympics and inspired countless covers on social media but at the end of the day, “The Greatest Showman” song ceded the award to “Remember Me” from “Coco.” But you can’t feel too bad for Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won this award last year, have “Dear Evan Hansen” currently storming Broadway, and has helped “Showman” to a worldwide gross of $375 million and counting
SURPRISE: “Icarus,” Documentary Feature
Frankly “Icarus” had the zeitgeist on its side — Russia, the Olympics, etc. But many thought Agnès Varda could finally win a competitive Oscar for “Faces Places,” with co-director JR. In the end, it seems like last November’s Honorary Oscar recognition sufficed for the motion picture Academy, and in turn voters gave Netflix its second Oscar, after landing the best documentary short last year for “The White Helmets.”
SNUB: “War for the Planet of the Apes,” Visual Effects
The modern “Planet of the Apes” franchise can not get arrested for its visual effects wizardry. The three films have fallen to “Hugo,” “Interstellar” and now, “Blade Runner 2049.” How do you pass three times on that innovation? One theory: Actors, who make for a large voting block in the Academy, are threatened by performance capture. Whatever the issue is, it’s a shame.