By John H. Foote
At the end of the night, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, incident free, gave Best Picture to the beautiful science fiction fantasy love story, The Shape of Water. I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief that the awarding of Best Picture was free of an event, unlike the year before.
Looking back, 2017 was a solid year at the movies and made for an exciting year at the Oscars.
Taking a glance back at last year, remembering hindsight is always 20/20, here is how last year has fared after a year.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – ALISON JANNEY IN I, TONYA
Tough to argue, she was terrific as the mother from hell. The only real competition was Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird. Janney was a deserving winner. After years as CJ Craig on TVs The West Wing, it is refreshing to see this massive talent in movies at last.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – SAM ROCKWELL IN THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Brilliant performance and right from TIFF it was the frontrunner. Rockwell was superb and might find himself in the race again as former President George W. Bush in Vice. No argument, he was great as the conflicted deputy coming to terms with the consequences to his mortal soul if he continues in his arrogant, racist ways. The arc of his character was astonishing.
BEST ACTRESS – FRANCES McDORMAND IN THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
A fine, fearsome performance, classic McDormand. Personally, I was rooting for Sally Hawkins luminous work in The Shape of Water, she was brilliant. But hovering was Margot Robbie, magnificent as Tonya Harding in I, Tonya. The actress was gone, only Harding remained.
BEST ACTOR – GARY OLDMAN IN DARKEST HOUR
The evening’s worst award. Yet from the debut of the film at TIFF, Oldman was going to win. He was owed, they wrote, he was due. What does that even mean? And further, why should it matter? The members of the Academy suddenly feel guilty for snubbing an actor and decide to make up for it?
James Franco gave the best performance I saw by an actor last year in The Disaster Artist, as infamous director Tommy Wiseau. Both pathetic and heartbreaking, it is an uncanny performance whereas Oldman had the makeup working for him. Christian Bale deserved to be in the mix for his stoic, seething work in Hostiles.
BEST DIRECTOR – GUILLERMO DEL TORO FOR THE SHAPE OF WATER
His stunning fantasy was a bold film, beautifully directed by this Mexican Master. Del Toro became third Mexican Director to win the Oscar. His monster movie love story is in its way a superhero film, but you have to look to see it. The director takes bold risks other directors would not dare, and they work, brilliantly. From the haunting score, the stunning underwater sequences, the song, and dance number to the shocking perfect end, Del Toro gave us what an Oscar winner should be…a film for the ages.
BEST PICTURE – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Perfect. Breathtaking film.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.