Oxford Filmmakers Talk About Their Favorites for Oscars Night

The Shape of Water

It’s Oscar season, and the buzz around this year’s crop of Academy Award nominees is in full throttle. The list of nominees was announced Tuesday, Jan. 23, and “The Shape of Water” led the way with 13 nominations. “Dunkirk,” which received eight nominations, and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which received seven, also emerged as strong contenders. “Get Out” made big waves with its use of social satire mixed with horror and suspense.

With awards season chatter at every water cooler, it’s no surprise that several of Mississippi’s own filmmakers are talking about the Oscars.

Negative Space

“I was excited to see ‘Negative Space’ get a nomination [for Best Animated Short Film] as we are showing it in our animation block at the film festival,” said Oxford Film Festival Executive Director and filmmaker Melanie Addington. “This is the third year in a row we have been able to show an Oscar-nominated film, which is exciting!”

Brian Whisenant

Brian Whisenant, an Oxford-based actor and the head programmer for the Oxford Film Festival’s LGBTQ film block said, “There is so much to be happy about here. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for Best Picture, Timothee Chalamet for Best Actor, Sufjan Stevens for Best Song for ‘Mystery of Love.’ First female cinematographer nomination ever for [‘Mudbound’s] Rachel Morrison!’

Derek Andre Brown

Derek Andre Brown of Oxford-based Life Long Productions added his two cents’ worth. “As an African-American filmmaker, I am really excited for Jordan Peele,” Brown said. “His breakout film debut, ‘Get Out,’ turned a lot of heads, and I am glad to see it nominated in four categories! I am also pulling for Yance Ford and her documentary, ‘Strong Island.’ It was very moving. I hope she takes home a win.”

Brown wasn’t the only one excited about “Get Out.”

“If there’s any justice in Hollywood, it should win by a mile,” said Joe York, Oxford’s perennial documentarian. “It’s just such a smart and moving take on the central issue of our time. If that’s not enough to win an Oscar, then an Oscar isn’t worth winning.”

Maggie Bushway

Added Maggie Bushway, a filmmaker and University of Mississippi student, “I’m very excited that ‘Get Out’ is getting the recognition it deserves. I’m also rooting for ‘Dunkirk’ to get Best Cinematography, and I think ‘Beauty and the Beast’ should win Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.”

 

Coop Cooper is a Clarksdale-based filmmaker and a Hollywood veteran who also runs the website smalltowncritic.com. Needless to say, a critic is always going to have strong opinions. “I’m disappointed ‘The Post’ and Meryl Streep got nominated as it was one of my least favorite Oscar-bait films of the year,” said Cooper. “It got shut out at the Globes, so I don’t expect it to do well here. I’m rooting for Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand for their leading role nominations and Roger Deakins for his Cinematography in ‘Blade Runner 2049.’ I must be one of the few critics/horror fans out there who didn’t care anything for ‘The Shape of Water.’ All in all, [it’s a] a predictable but disappointing Oscar lineup for me this year.”

So who got undeservedly snubbed by the Academy this year?

The Shape of Water

Melanie Addington has a pick: “Personally, the one big snub to me was Michael Stuhlbarg, who is in ‘The Post,’ ‘The Shape of Water’ and a stunning performance at the end of ‘Call Me By My Name.’ How he was ignored this year I cannot understand, as he played three wonderful roles!”

Derek Brown added, “I would have liked to see Dee Rees get a nomination for Best Director for ‘Mudbound.’”

Mudbound

“Either Michael Stuhlbarg or Armie Hammer for supporting actor,” Brian Whisenant suggested.

Oscar nominee “Negative Space” will be featured in the Oxford Film Festival’s Animation Block on Saturday, Feb. 10th, at 10:15 am.

Melanie Addington, Maggie Bushway, Derek Andre Brown, Brian Whisenant, and Coop Cooper all have film projects playing in this year’s Oxford Film Festival. For more info, visit www.oxfordfilmfest.com

See the complete list of Oscar nominees below:

BEST PICTURE

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post” 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” 

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water” 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” 

DIRECTOR

Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Paul Thomas Anderson “Phantom Thread”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water” 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“A Fantastic Woman”
“The Insult”
“Loveless”
“On Body and Soul”
“The Square” 

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

“Edith + Eddie”
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405”
“Heroin(e)”
“Knife Skills”
“Traffic Stop” 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Faces Places”
“Icarus”
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“Strong Island” 

ORIGINAL SONG

“Mighty River,” “Mudbound”
“Mystery of Love,” “Call Me by Your Name”
“Remember Me,” “Coco”
“Stand Up For Something,” “Marshall”
“This is Me,” “Greatest Showman” 

ORIGINAL SCORE

“Dunkirk”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” 

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“Ferdinand”
“Loving Vincent” 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Disaster Artist”
“Logan”
“Molly’s Game”
“Mudbound”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“The Big Sick”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

“Beauty and the Beast”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water” 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Blade Runner 2049”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Mudbound”
“The Shape of Water” 

COSTUME DESIGN

“Beauty and the Beast”
“Darkest Hour”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
“Victoria and Abdul”

SOUND EDITING

“Baby Driver”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” 

SOUND MIXING

“Baby Driver”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” 

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Dear Basketball”
“Garden Party”
“Lou”
“Negative Space”
“Revolting Rhymes” 

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“DeKalb Elementary”
“The Eleven O’Clock”
“My Nephew Emmett”
“The Silent Child”
“Watu Wote/All of Us”

VISUAL EFFECTS

“Blade Runner 2049”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
“Kong: Skull Island”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
“War for the Planet of the Apes” 

FILM EDITING

“Baby Driver”
“Dunkirk”
“I, Tonya”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Darkest Hour”
“Victoria and Abdul”
“Wonder”


D.L. Perea is an Oxford-based filmmaker, photographer, musician and writer and also serves as senior media producer for Oxford-based PMQ Pizza Magazine.

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