Due to the significant outrage sparked by our previous “Oscar Snubs” list, and the end of Oscar season forecasting a barren eight months for movie thinkpieces, The McGill Tribune is proud to present our latest innovation in the Oscar-related content you crave. Welcome to The McGill Tribune’s Oscar Snubs Snubs. The snubs from our original snubs list. “Snubception,” if you will. We haven’t published any Paddington 2 content yet and this fills that gap.
Supporting Actors – 2018’s Mount Rushmore of best supporting fathers
Meet your new founding fathers. I know there’s already a long list of towering patriarchal figures in film–from Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972) to Marlin in Finding Nemo (2003)–but it’s this year’s Oscar-snubbed crop that has me up in arms and ready to start a Movie Dad Hall of Fame.
In Call Me By Your Name, Elio’s father, Samuel Perlman, plays unintentional matchmaker in bringing the lead couple together—and Michael Stuhlbarg is brilliant in the role. When he ‘challenges’ Armie Hammer’s Oliver on etymology, you pay attention. But then he proceeds to stomp all over your heart with an all-time monologue—a beautiful message of love and acceptance, saying all the right words Elio needs to hear from his dad—and that is the moment you realize that he deserves an Oscar nomination.
While the mother-daughter centered Lady Bird soared on the shoulders of Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts delivered a scene-stealing performance in the wings. He cracks good jokes, helps Lady Bird apply to her dream school, and has an excellent character arc all his own. Most of all, he deserves to take home this year’s award for the the best declaration of intent to buy Doritos.
And, finally, legendary sitcom father Ray Romano makes his return to fatherhood in The Big Sick. Delivering dad jokes and some nonsensical pseudo-philosophy with heart and wit, Romano handles his character’s emotional development beautifully.
Best Picture – Una (dir. Benedict Andrews)
In Una, Benedict Andrews’ adaptation of David Harrower’s play Blackbird (2004), Rooney Mara stars as the titular young woman who confronts her childhood neighbour and abuser, Ray (Ben Mendelsohn). Set almost entirely in an empty factory warehouse, Una plays out like an intricately choreographed dance between Mara and Mendelsohn, wandering through a labyrinth of corridors and storage rooms as they revisit the painful and murky past. Andrews avoids reinforcing stereotypes of the helpless victim and remorseless predator, instead crafting a believable and heart-wrenching–albeit toxic–relationship between the two characters.
In a year when sexual abuse has been at the forefront of popular discourse, Una is potent and relevant, making a bold statement about blurred lines of consent, healing from abuse, and reclaiming one’s self-worth.
Best Actor – Hugh Jackman in Logan
Although Logan already made Oscar history as the first superhero movie nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, the word “comic book” remains an Academy taboo. Hugh Jackman gives the performance of his career as a decrepit version of the iconic Wolverine–a role which he has been playing for close to two decades. Jackman’s brutally honest portrayal in Logan is emotional and mesmerizing, telling a mature story about regret, sorrow, and death that should be commended. Logan transcends typical hero-fantasy clichés, and Jackman’s performance in particular redefines the meaning of “superhero”—an achievement that merits recognition, regardless of genre or source material.
Best Director – Sean Baker for The Florida Project
More so than almost any other film that came out this year, The Florida Project succeeds because of the way it is shot. To tell a tragic story about Florida’s very real and hidden homelessness problem, Baker boldly chose to adopt the point of view of Moonee, a precocious six-year-old. The camera almost always stays at her eye-level, often completely leaving too-tall-adults’ faces off-screen. This technique allows audiences to see the world as she does, and Baker’s camera turns rundown motels into a colourful Disneyland. Adopting this childlike perspective makes the movie, transforming its tone while forcing audiences to decipher the drama unfolding in the background. If the best directors are indeed those who know best where to put the camera, then Sean Baker feels like a no brainer.
Best Supporting Actor – Hugh Grant (Paddington 2)
Hugh Grant was robbed. Often relegated to the affably-charming romantic interest, in Paddington 2, Grant steps out of his comfort zone into multiple disguises (including dog, nun, and pirate) as Phoenix Buchanan, a dastardly failed thespian. Historically, the Oscars have overlooked comedic roles in almost all categories—and that’s a shame. Grant plays Buchanan with such chutzpah and charisma that it’s impossible to look away. This turn earned Grant a BAFTA nod for Best Supporting Actor, which makes his exclusion from the Oscar ballot all the more disappointing.
Best Original Screenplay – Brigsby Bear (Kyle Mooney & Kevin Costello)
Although original and entertaining comedies have become increasingly few and far between over the past decade, 2017 brought two (The Big Sick and Lady Bird) deemed worthy by the Academy for their clever and heartfelt screenplays. However, Brigsby Bear, likely the year’s funniest and most inventive comedy, was sadly overlooked. Written by SNL star Kyle Mooney (who also stars) and childhood friend Kevin Costello, Brigsby Bear is the story of a man-child thrust into a terrifying new world with who longs only for a new episode of his favourite TV show. It is thoroughly heartfelt without bordering on cliché, and absurdly hilarious without being vacuous. Mooney’s superb performance steals the show, but the film is anchored by its surprising and intelligent script, offering commentary on pop culture obsession, the complexities of family, and countless laughs.