The first little gold man of the evening went (deservedly) to Sam Rockwell, who stole scenes in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as an out of control, racist cop who was simultaneously completely oblivious and excruciatingly cruel. While the redemptive storyline for Rockwell’s character was problematic, to say the least, his portrayal of Officer Dixon was raw and compelling, a stand-out in a cast of venerable actors.
Only moments later, Mark Bridges (The Artist, anyone?) won the Best Costume Design Award for Phantom Thread, the Paul Thomas Anderson film that features some incredibly intricate dresses. Up against adapted pieces like Beauty and the Beast and Darkest Hour, alongside other period films like Victoria & Abdul and The Shape of Water, Bridges faced tough competition from his fellow nominees.
Allison Janney scored Best Supporting Actress for her role in I, Tonya, a revelation particularly disappointing to all those Laurie Metcalf fans out there (points at self). But honestly, guys; compare the Oscar bait clips! Someone give my girl Laurie her due! Janney also beat out Octavia Spencer, who portrayed the heroic best friend Zelda in The Shape of Water, wherein she had to be funny, serious, angry, and a slew of other things that Spencer so rarely gets credit for. In Janney’s defense, her performance as LaVona Harding was at least one of the two best portrayals of a mother in cinema this year (here’s looking at you, Laurie Metcalf).
Later in the evening, James Ivory and Call Me by Your Name nabbed the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a category where he faced very little competition; Virgil Williams and Dee Rees’s Mudbound and Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game were his fiercest competitors, but Ivory’s touching and nuance-driven script is impressive. He manages to capture much of André Aciman’s original charm and tension, keeping the dialogue sparse and the action compelling. Added bonus? He accepted the award in a shirt with Timothée Chalamet’s face on it.
Pixar’s glamorous and heartfelt Coco had a solid year, snagging Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. In the first category it faced competition from the gorgeously handcrafted Loving Vincent, an oil-painted retelling of the tumultuous life of Vincent van Gogh; in the second category, its toughest competition came from This Is Me, a big, loud, poppy number from The Greatest Showman that was better suited for the Tonys. The film’s win for Best Original Song made one of its composers, Robert Lopez, the first-ever double EGOT. That’s right: ya boy Robert has two Emmys from the Television Academy, two Golden Globes from the Hollywood Foreign Press, two Academy Awards and two Tonys courtesy of the American Theatre Wing. #resumégoals, you guys.
The first of The Big Four™ given out at the end of the ceremony went to the direction of Guillermo del Toro for his poignant and awe-striking fairy tale (fishy tale?) The Shape of Water. Del Toro’s film, which he also produced, wrote, and envisioned, follows a nonverbal custodian (Sally Hawkins) at a super-creepy, high-security experimental government facility, where she falls in love with a kidnapped amphibian god. Del Toro does a delightful job pushing his actors to their very best performance, as evidenced by Sally Hawkins’s lovely Oscar clip.
The Shape of Water also scooped up awards for three more of its thirteen(!!!) nominations. The film first earned a golden guy for Best Production Design, not surprising, given the detail-oriented designs for each character’s home, as well as the look of the government lab where Sally Hawkins’s fish friend is held for most of the film. The movie also took home a trophy for its jaunty score, each of Alexandre Desplat’s pieces perfectly suited to del Toro’s vision. And last but nowhere near least, del Toro also scored Best Picture, claiming victory over his seven fearsome fellow nominees (oh, and also The Post, which really had no chance). Excitingly enough, The Shape of Water, was the first female-led film (according to the nominations by The Academy) to win since Million Dollar Baby in 2004.
Best Acting went to two highly esteemed performances, Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour and Frances McDormand in Three Billboards. Oldman was quick to thank Winston Churchill, who he and his convincing prosthetics portrayed, in his speech, while McDormand used her time for a political message. McDormand, who starred as a angry, grieving mother in Three Billboards, asked all of the women nominees to stand up in the crowd while she called for an end to misogyny and racism in the workplace, ending her speech with two words: “inclusion rider.” (This led to about 97% of Oscars viewership to immediately Google “inclusion rider” and raise their eyebrows in unison when nothing helpful came up.)
McDormand’s speech was the limit of the spotlight received by the TIME’S UP and #MeToo movements on Sunday night. Greta Gerwig, who was the only woman nominated in the Best Director category, did not bring home any awards for Lady Bird. Yet, in a choice to inspire eye-rolls across the nation, the award for Best Short Film (Animated) went to Dear Basketball. The film was animated by Glen Keane and narrated by Kobe Bryant, who has faced resurfacing rape allegations in recent years. That’s right, you guys: Lady Bird walked away with zero Oscars and somehow, some way, Kobe Bryant wound up with one.