If Jeff Sneider Had an Oscar Ballot, “Stronger,” “I, Tonya” and “Call Me by Your Name” Would Win Big

Ballot Quad

Even though I spent a single day as a production assistant on Best Picture winner The Departed, I am not a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But if I were lucky enough to have an actual Oscar ballot, mine would look something like the one below.

Please keep in mind that while I loved certain movies like Logan and War for the Planet of the Apes, it’d be hard for me to vote for either of them for Best Picture. I don’t know why that is, since it seems both 20th Century Fox tentpoles are in the awards conversation more than a movie like Stronger, but I guess it’s because I believe that the Academy has a chance, if not a responsibility to say something about here and now with its Best Picture winner, and I don’t think either of those blockbusters would send the right message.

Additionally, keep in mind that I haven’t seen every single movie, so don’t bother wondering why Judi Dench isn’t on here. I just didn’t get around to watching Victoria & Abdul yet, okay! I’ve also abstained from voting in categories about which I’m ill-informed (like Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Art Direction) or could not find five choices for due to my lack of familiarity with the possible nominees (animated/documentary/foreign language feature categories, as well as all shorts categories).

Feel free to show off your own Oscar ballot in the comments section below, and thanks in advance for reading. I hope you enjoy my choices.

Important Note: An asterisk (*) denotes my vote to WIN.

jakegyllenhaaltatianastrongerLionsgate

BEST PICTURE

The Big Sick
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
The Florida Project
I, Tonya
Patti Cake$
Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water
Stronger*
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Alternate: Get Out
Notes: As I said on Meet the Movie Press last week, I may be biased, but Stronger was by far the best film I saw in 2017, and if I had an Oscar ballot, I would rectify the giant mistake that industry voters appear to be making this season. Write this movie off at your own risk. It’s the kind of raw character piece that will be remembered decades from now, when the Boston Marathon bombing doesn’t seem quite so fresh in our memories.

Call Me by Your NameSony Pictures Classics

BEST DIRECTOR

Sean Baker, The Florida Project
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
David Gordon Green, Stronger
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name*
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Alternate: Craig Gillespie, I, Tonya
Notes: David Gordon Green delivered the best movie of his career with Stronger, but I decided to split the top two awards between that film and Call Me by Your Name, which was clearly made with such love and feeling. It’s the film that Luca Guadagnino seems to have been born to direct. Guillermo del Toro did a great job with The Shape of Water, but CMBYN never strikes a false note and I love the style with which it was done.

Jake Gyllenhaal StrongerLionsgate

BEST ACTOR

Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger*
Hugh Jackman, Logan

Alternate: Harris Dickinson, Beach Rats
Notes: Yeah, yeah… Gary Oldman is good in Darkest Hour, but I thought a lot of that performance was the makeup. Rising star Chalamet has been tipped for the upset win, but he should have a long career ahead of him and many more opportunities. No, if it were up to me, this would be Jake Gyllenhaal’s Oscar to lose. He was absolutely incredible as Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. The media turned Bauman into a hero, a role he never asked for, and Gyllenhaal plays that internal conflict beautifully. It’s a physically challenging role for the actor and he sells the mental anguish behind his disability quite well. I can’t believe he was snubbed by not just the Golden Globes, but his own peers in SAG. They should be ashamed of themselves.

I Tonya ReviewNEON/30West

BEST ACTRESS

Diane Kruger, In the Fade
Danielle Macdonald, Patti Cake$
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya*

Alternate: Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Notes: It was a great year for this category, and it’s a shame that younger actresses like Danielle Macdonald and Aubrey Plaza have been overlooked this season, but at least Margot Robbie is getting her due. She leaves it all out there as Tonya Harding, and makes us feel bad for this woman, who was stripped of the thing she loved most and turned into a late-night punchline. Robbie dazzles and proves that her breakout role in The Wolf of Wall Street was no fluke. All hail the new queen.

Call Me By Your NameSony Pictures Classics

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name*

Alternate: Barry Keoghan, The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Notes: As usual, there were a lot of strong supporting performances this year, but I didn’t have to think too hard about this one. Michael Stuhlbarg spends the first two acts of Call Me by Your Name patiently waiting for his chance to shine, and when that scene finally arrives in this third act, it packs a wallop thanks to his perfect delivery. Stuhlbarg’s heartbreaking monologue made it okay for all of us to cry, and that collective catharsis in the theater is a rare thing indeed.

Allison Janney I TonyaNEON/30West

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Bridget Everett, Patti Cake$
Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
Allison Janney, I, Tonya*
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Tatiana Maslany, Stronger

Alternate: Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Notes: I had my doubts at first, but it ended up being a pretty good year for this category, as evidenced by Octavia Spencer’s absence from this list. Some may see Tiffany Haddish as a trendy pick, but I’ve been saying on Twitter for months that if Melissa McCarthy was nominated for Bridesmaids, then Haddish could muscle her way into the final five. Manville is a latecomer to the category as Phantom Thread still hasn’t hit theaters, but she is appropriately ice-cold and goes holds her own with three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis. Maslany and Everett both impressed me, but in the end, Janney proved to be a force of nature. Part of it is the role itself, but Janney is fearless and attacks it with relish. She’s the clear standout this year if you ask me. 

the big sickAmazon Studios

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Big Sick*
I, Tonya
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Alternate: Ingrid Goes West
Notes: There’s nothing harder to write than comedy, and then within that genre, there’s nothing harder to write than a comedy that manages to move you when it isn’t making you laugh. That’s the gift on display in The Big Sick, written by the husband-and-wife team of Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, the latter of whom also stars. It happened to be a solid year for original screenplays, proving that there are people out there who are interested in fully realized stories rather than surface-level product, so congrats all around.

Call Me by Your NameSony Pictures Classics

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Call Me by Your Name*
Last Flag Flying
Molly’s Game
Mudbound
Stronger

Alternate: The Disaster Artist
Notes: Sorry, but Michael Stuhlbarg’s monologue alone earns my vote for Call Me by Your Name. I may have no idea how much of it was lifted straight fromAndré Aciman’s novel, but I’m not sure a finer piece of writing existed this year, so somebody deserves an award!

DunkirkWarner Bros.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Blade Runner 2049
Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk*
The Florida Project
The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Alternate: I, Tonya
Notes: Again as gorgeous as Blade Runner 2049 was, and as gripping as The Killing of a Sacred Deer was, there’s no substitute for Hoyte Van Hoytema’s work on Dunkirk, which makes you feel like you right there on the beach with those boys or in the cockpit with Tom Hardy. 

Phantom Thread ReviewFocus Features

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Phantom Thread*
Thor: Ragnarok
Wonder Woman

Alternate: Darkest Hour
Notes: Is there really a question? Sure, Ryan Gosling’s trenchcoat is now iconic and people dug Wonder Woman’s costume, which was worn from coast to coast by thousands of young girls on Halloween, but this might be the easiest call of all. Phantom Thread is about a freakin’ clothing designer. Every stitch is labored over with great care. Mark Bridges takes this one in a landslide.

DunkirkWarner Bros.

BEST EDITING

All the Money in the World
Dunkirk*
The Florida Project
I, Tonya
Phantom Thread

Alternate: Call Me by Your Name
Notes: Hats off to Claire Simpson for re-cutting All the Money in the World at the last minute, which is an accomplishment all on its own. But it’s hard to compete with Dunkirk, which just felt so tight — Nolan at the peak of his powers, technically-speaking. As usual, Lee Smith does a terrific job.

Twentieth Century Fox's "War for the Planet of the Apes."Disney/20th Century Fox

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Dunkirk
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
War for the Planet of the Apes*

Alternate: Good Time
Notes: Jonny Greenwood delivers another sumptuous score for Paul Thomas Anderson, just as Hans Zimmer’s latest collaboration with Christopher Nolan was mighty effective, but Michael Giacchino’s work on War for the Planet of the Apes felt like its own character. the third Apes movie almost felt like a silent film, with the music telling the story as much as the plot.

Call MeSony Pictures Classics

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Buddy’s Business”, Brawl in Cell Block 99
“Mystery Of Love”, Call Me by Your Name
“Visions Of Gideon”, Call Me by Your Name*
“The Pure and the Damned”, Good Time
“Tuff Love (Finale), Patti Cake$

Alternate: “Byron/Myron”, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Notes: It was a pretty good year for original songs, and yet as much as I loved the Patti Cake$ soundtrack, the sheer emotion evoked by continuous replays of “Visions Of Gideon” can’t be ignored. Sufjan Stevens is this year’s Elliott Smith, and Gideon is the more haunting of his two eligible songs.

War for the Planet of the ApesDisney/20th Century Fox

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Dunkirk
Logan
The Shape of Water
Stronger
War for the Planet of the Apes*

Alternate: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Notes: As impressed as I was with the VFX work done on Jake Gyllenhaal’s legs in Stronger and the stunning work in general on Dunkirk, I had to go with the team behind Apes for making Caesar look so incredibly life-life. That whole franchise has been an achievement worth noting. Apes was one of ten films to make the actual Academy’s shortlist, so here’s hoping it manages to score a nomination in the midst of a fairly competitive year.

StrongerLionsgate

BEST ENSEMBLE (not an actual award)

Call Me by Your Name
I, Tonya
Last Flag Flying
Logan
Stronger*

Alternate: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Notes: Gyllenhaal has sucked up all the attention for this film, but look closer at the ensemble of Stronger and you’ll find exemplary work all around, from Tatiana Maslany as his girlfriend, to Miranda Richardson and Clancy Brown as his parents, to Lenny Clarke as his Uncle Bob, to Nate Richman and Richard Lane Jr. as his closest friends, to Danny McCarthy as his boss, to Carlos Sanz as the man who helped save his life, to Jimmy LeBlanc as a fellow Red Sox fan. I’m willing to bet you haven’t heard of half those names, but they deserve recognition, because all of them did an excellent job. I tip my own Sox cap to the entire cast.

Final TallySony Pictures Classics/Lionsgate

FINAL TALLY (out of 15):

Call Me by Your Name – 4 (Director, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Original Song)
Stronger
 – 3 (Picture, Actor, Ensemble)
Dunkirk – 2 (Cinematography, Editing)
I, Tonya – 2 (Actress, Supporting Actress)
War for the Planet of the Apes – 2 (Original Score, Visual Effects)
The Big Sick – 1 (Original Screenplay)
Phantom Thread – 1 (Costume Design)

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Still quiet here.sas

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