Sunday, March 4, 2018

DEAR BASKETBALL wins Best Animated Short!

Well, tonight was the big night, the 90th Academy Awards. As you can probably tell, I didn't have a Live Blog, because I was watching it at a friend's house and didn't have my computer with me, but it was just as well. I found it somewhat hard to get excited about this one. I've seen maybe only half of the Best Picture nominees, and only one of the Best Animated Feature nominees. But I still care about the Best Animated Short category, so I was pretty excited when Mark Hamill, Kelly Marie Tran, and Oscar Isaac came out to announce that it went to:

Dear Basketball

That's right, the film adaptation of Kobe Bryant's retirement speech won an Oscar. Kobe Bryant, being a producer and a nominee, has won an Oscar, a fact that has gotten much of the Internet up in arms given his history of rape. But more importantly for animation fans everywhere, legendary Disney animator Glen Keane has won an Oscar, allowing him to join the likes of Ward Kimball, Chuck Jones, and Friz Freleng to win Oscars after long periods of working in anonymity in the old, oppressive studio system. A lot of people considered Dear Basketball too schmaltzy and too cliched to be an Oscar winner, but I thought it had the nice mix of sentiment and artistry. Having John Williams, the second most Oscar nominated individual in Oscar history, with the score also helps. This is also incidentally the first time that a film that I listed as the best by quality won the Oscar since Paperman, back in 2012.

Anyways, I don't really feel like going over all the winners, just some highlights.
  • For what seems like the first time ever they had the categories on the envelopes in massive text, possibly due to the Best Picture mix-up last year. They even invited Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway back to present the Best Picture category again.
  • The Shape of Water wins four Oscars, including Best Director for Guillermo del Toro, allowing him to join the likes of countrymen Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro G. Inarritu, and Best Picture, which was really the only up-in-the-air category. I was somewhat hoping that Lady Bird would become the first since Mutiny on the Bounty to win Best Picture and nothing else.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was probably seen as the front-runner for Best Picture as it won a heck of a lot of precusor prizes, but it only walked away with Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
  • Allison Janney wins Best Supporting Actress for I, Tonya, which was probably my favorite movie that was actually nominated for an Oscar. I was really hoping Margot Robbie would win, but there was no way she was getting past Frances McDormand.
  • Get Out was another Best Picture hopeful, bit it only won Best Original Screenplay for Jordan Peele, which evidently was the first African American writer to win in this category. (Lee Daniels won Best Adapted Screenplay for Precious back in 2009).
  • James Ivory wins Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name. He is the oldest Oscar winner in any category, which was nice considering he had directed several Best Picture nominees including A Room with a View, Howards End, and The Remains of the Day. Back in the 1980s and 1990s the Merchant-Ivory Picture was probably a genre of its own.
  • Coco becomes the first animated movie to win two Oscars since Frozen back in 2013. It was the same two Oscars that Frozen won: Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, for "Remember Me."
  • Icarus, the documentary about doping in Russia, wins Best Documentary Feature. It's actually on Netflix so maybe I'll watch it tomorrow.
  • A Fantastic Woman, a Chilean drama about a transgender woman and the persecutions she faced, won Best Foreign Language Film. A Chilean film had won in the Best Animated Short category two years ago for Bear Story
  • Roger A. Deakins, who had gotten 14 nominations in the Best Cinematography category dating back to The Shawshank Redemption in 1994, finally wins for Blade Runner 2049. It isn't quite the same as Kevin O'Connell winning last year after 20 defeats, but it was still a nice moment.
  • Margot Robbie is sensational.
  • Phantom Thread wins Best Costume Design, which made sense considering the film was about a fashion designer. More importantly, the costume designer Mark Bridges won jetski and an all expenses paid trip to Lake Havasu in Arizona, the gimmick designed to keep speeches short. Bridges won in 2011 for The Artist so he probably didn't have much else to say.
  • Other Oscar winners included Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour for Best Actor, The Shape of Water for Best Production Design and Best Original Score, Dunkirk for Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing, Blade Runner 2049 for Best Visual Effects, Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 for Best Documentary Short, The Silent Child for Best Live Action Short, and yeah that's about it.
  • Lady Bird and The Post went home empty handed.


  1. I don't think Keane was opressed during his time at Disney (neither were Chuck, Friz and Ward)

    1. I guess I was facetiously referring to the fact that they couldn't win their own Oscars if a film they made won, since the Oscars went to studio heads Eddie Selzer.