Predictions for 90th Academy Awards on March 4, 2018

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The odds at favor Christopher Nolan’s latest opus, “Dunkirk” (+250), to win the Oscar for Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards. The movie has quite a bit going for it. At 106 minutes, it is nowhere near as overlong – or convoluted, overbearing, and pretentious – as most of Nolan’s oeuvre (e.g., “Memento,” “Inception,” “Interstellar”). It isn’t perfect either, though. For starters, its cast includes ‘singer’ turned ‘actor’ Harry Styles, of One Direction infamy. On the other hand, Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine are in it! Yay! Nolan, who also wrote “Dunkirk,” has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay twice.

Other candidates for Best Picture include the following.

Blade Runner 2049” (+2000)

There exist seven versions of the original “Blade Runner” (Workprint prototype version, San Diego sneak preview version, US theatrical release, International theatrical release, US broadcast version, The Director’s Cut, and The Final Cut). None of those versions needed a sequel. Let alone one with Ryan Gosling in it. One would have hoped Harrison Ford had learned his lesson not to return to a franchise (especially one that should have remained a standalone movie) after “The Force Awakens”. At least Ridley Scott had the good sense of (eventually) leaving well enough alone. Though a few sequels have been nominated to and won Oscars, only “The Godfather II” really deserved it.

The Greatest Showman” (+2800)

Like sequels, musicals haven’t fared really well, at least of late. Long gone are the days when five musicals (“Gigi,” “West Side Story,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Sound of Music,” “Oliver”) won best picture between 1958 and 1968. The last one to win has been Chicago in 2002. The closest to a musical to take home the gold ever since was The Artist in 2011. Which brings us to…

The Disaster Artist” (+2800)

Could one of the worst movies in the history of the ever be indirectly responsible for one of the best (or at least one that is voted, by a group of subjective individuals, as the best of the year)? Bad movie geeks hold a special place in their nerdy hearts for “The Room,” written, directed, and produced – as it were – by one Tommy ‘I Did Not Hit Her’ Wiseau. Oh, hai Tommy! If “The Room” is indeed the “Citizen Kane” of bad movies, then Wiseau makes Ed Wood seem like Orson Welles. And now James Franco has produced and directed a movie about the making of The Room because of course he did. Franco made a mistake though, casting himself as Wiseau. This is a role that has Joaquin Phoenix (or Vincent Gallo) written all over it.

Wonder Woman” (+6600)

And finally we have James Cameron’s least favorite movie. Kind of a long shot too, because superhero movies are seldom critics’ darlings. This one is one the few exceptions (which also include Nolan’s recent Batman trilogy), but its association with the poor man’s Marvel, aka the DC cinematic universe, makes it a textbook case of guilt by association. Is “Wonder Woman” the best thing since sliced Wonder Bread? We shall see.

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