The 2018 Academy Awards were a lot like its host Jimmy Kimmel, good, not great, and very predictable.
I am talking about the ceremony and the not the actual actors and films. They were fantastic and many were deservedly awarded. The Shape of Water was expected to dominate the top awards and took Best Picture and Best Director for auteur Guillermo del Toro, who looked as humbled and gratified as any winner of the night. He even provided the funniest moment, double-checking the Best Picture envelope from Warren Beatty, which was smart after last year's award handout mishap.
The film was a true transportation for the viewer, taking you out of the reality and into del Toro's world of mute loners finding their heart connecting with an endangered species. The Shape of Water was magic, so it was good for the world of movies to see it win.
Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell won Oscars for the powerful and darkly humorous Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which was fitting due to it being an actor's showcase. McDormand was the dark bruised heart of the story and Rockwell's character arc was better than any other performance this past year.
Gary Oldman won the Best Actor trophy the second he took off the pounds of latex after shooting Darkest Hour. He was given the award last night and thanked his mother as he accepted the trophy.
Allison Janney was an underdog heading into the evening, but she took home the trophy for her true blood portrayal of LaVona Golden in I, Tonya, a performance so despicable even the real LaVona hailed her work, which actually bummed Janney out. Bravo to her.
Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay for Get Out, a film that didn't scream Oscar to me, but still deserved some sort of recognition for the skill Peele showed in telling that story with a racial anxiety coat of paint. Like del Toro's film, I can't think of another director who could have pulled that film off.
Roger Deakins won for Blade Runner: 2049's cinematography. After 13 nominations, the ultimate cinematic eye won for a beautifully rendered film. It's about time!
The songs were all well played if not marvelous. There were ferocious speeches like McDormand asking every female award nominee to stand with her in a plea for equal pay for both sexes in the movies. Delirious and fired up, McDormand made the most of her speech time. Others, like Lee Smith, who won for Dunkirk's editing, were just happy to be recognized.
Kimmel didn't overload the opening monologue with politically scented jokes or start firing away on gun control or the Me Too movement, but as the ceremony stretched, it started to dominate a night usually reserved for recognition in film.
Allow me to be frank here: The Oscars happen once a year, so I don't care how long the thing goes. If you complain about that, turn the sound off and turn on some music and do chores during it. Check the page the next day for winners. It's the night for movies, so let it go.
I do wish politics and other distractions could be left out. I support female equality as much as the next fella, but like gun control and the state of government, save it for another time. Talk about it on Kimmel's talk show or at an appearance. I know how big the Oscar stage is. I just wish we could stay with the movies from the past year. I'll die on this hill, so please enlighten me.
The 90 years in film was celebrated with a wonderful montage and Eddier Vedder covered a Tom Petty tune for the In Memoriam section, which included small scenes from certain late actor's films. It was a pleasure seeing Martin Landau in Rounders again. Such a great and forgotten performance.
The people I wanted to see win won, which is great. Oldman, McDormand, Rockwell and Janney all took home the prizes just as I wrote they should in Saturday's column. There were some surprises, but overall, just another show.
The best speech came from Sam Rockwell, who recounted a story from his childhood when his dad pulled him out of school to go watch a movie. Rockwell also thanked his late friend, Philip Seymour Hoffman. I wanted more of that. Stories about what inspired THESE performances.
Yes, Kimmel and some actors went into a theater across the street to surprise some moviegoers in what seemed like a planned stunt. Are you trying to tell me that Luke Skywalker goes into a theater and no one absolutely lost it? Come on. It was cute, but not as heartfelt as expected.
Beatty and Faye Dunaway got to correct their gaffe from last year, which was cool. There were stone cold confusing stares, like Jennifer Garner's reaction to Kobe Bryant winning for Best Animated Short Film. Yes, the former NBA MVP owns as many Oscars as Leonardo DiCaprio, which is weird I guess.
Rousing speeches, political jokes, diversity cries and a cute gesture. Fun, but expected. The funniest part included The Big Sick star/writer/producer Kumail Nanjiani and Black Panther's Lupita Nyong'o talking about their ethnic backgrounds merging with American society.
This is one of those ceremonies I wish I would have taped and watched later, skipping through all the snooze-worthy moments and blah scenes. I was happy with the results, but not blown away. As much as I loved the past year in film, I'm ready for something new.
I'm ready for 2018 to thrill me. Let's go.