So it begins. Oscar nominations morning. Always a day of outrage for me. Always a few snubs. Always a few head-scratching nominations. This year is nothing new. I will say, since I’m basically indifferent to all of last year’s crop of films, I’m less upset and surprised than in recent years.
A Star is Born
I’m surprised by the nominations for Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice, which received middling reviews. No one is surprised by Black Panther’s “historic nomination” after the Best Achievement in Popular Film idea fell through. Too much pressure on the Academy to nominate it. There was no choice. No, I don’t think it’s great, nor do I think it’s worthy of the nomination. Think about this: The Dark Knight, no nomination. Black Panther, nomination. That’s absurd. What’s the favorite to win among these films? Green Book seemed to carry some momentum, but then some trumped up controversy surfaced, perhaps hurting its chances. Is it really going to be cookie cutter Bohemian Rhapsody? I’d rather Roma become the first foreign language film to win.
- Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
- Paweł Pawlikowski – Cold War
- Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite
- Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
- Adam McKay – Vice
Happy to see Spike Lee finally get a nomination for Best Director. Unbelievable that he was snubbed for Do the Right Thing almost thirty years ago. That was my first thought in seeing these results. Second thought: I guess I need to see Cold War now. I didn’t here any experts predict Pawlikowski’s nomination, so that was definitely one of this year’s surprises. So too was McKay’s nomination. With the prominence of anti-Trump sentiment, it feels like politics have creeped into this year’s votes. It certainly looks like it’s Cuaron’s year for another win. The Oscars chose not to nominate Peter Farrelly, director of Green Book, most likely due to news of his flashing coworkers in the past. Is it too callous to say who cares? Not the most egregious of controversies, but enough to keep him off the list, apparently. No female nominees. Someone alert the whiners.
- Christian Bale – Vice as Dick Cheney
- Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born as Jackson “Jack” Maine
- Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate as Vincent van Gogh
- Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody as Freddie Mercury
- Viggo Mortensen – Green Book as Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga
No surprises here. Oh wait, Willem? Love Willem Dafoe, but I’m shocked to see him here. If you wanted to nominate an arthouse performance, it should have been Ethan Hawke. I believe his was the best performance of the year. As for the five nominated, I’d put early money on Rami Malek.
- Yalitza Aparicio – Roma as Cleodegaria “Cleo” Gutiérrez
- Glenn Close – The Wife as Joan Castleman
- Olivia Colman – The Favourite as Anne, Queen of Great Britain
- Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born as Ally Maine
- Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Lee Israel
I’d heard rumors, so the nomination for Aparicio isn’t out of nowhere, but I’m not very positive about it. Especially since Toni Collette was left off for her powerhouse turn in Hereditary. Predictable. The Academy just refuses to appreciate anything in the horror genre. Really, any genre. Genre films are the best films. Let’s put these five performances in a time capsule along with Collette’s and see which ones we’re still watching ten years from now. Congratulations to Glenn Close on nomination number 7, I believe the record for most nominations without a win. I’m thinking this is the year for her to take home a trophy.
Best Supporting Actor
- Mahershala Ali – Green Book as Don Shirley
- Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman as Philip “Flip” Zimmerman
- Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born as Bobby Maine
- Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Jack Hock
- Sam Rockwell – Vice as George W. Bush
I’m happy with this category. It’s consistently the most reliable, least upsetting every year. All fine performances (in my opinion, though my friend’s unhappy with Elliott’s nom), and Mahershala Ali should be a lock for the win. That’d be 2 in 3 years.
Best Supporting Actress
- Amy Adams – Vice as Lynne Cheney
- Marina de Tavira – Roma as Sofía
- Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk as Sharon Rivers
- Emma Stone – The Favourite as Abigail Masham
- Rachel Weisz – The Favourite as Sarah Churchill
I’m not sold on either of the two nominations Roma received in the acting categories. Regina King appears to be the obvious choice here. That would make it six nominations with no wins for Amy Adams. On a side note, I hate when actors with leading role screen time get nominated in the supporting actor category. It’s ridiculous. Emma Stone is the latest. Think Rooney Mara for Carol, or Timothy Hutton for Ordinary People. If there’s no room for them in their right category, then don’t nominate them.
This year’s results seem more influenced by outside pressures than ever before. I’d go so far as to say the Academy is pandering. Something they should never do. Pandering is the opposite of prestige. I think they checked off all their little boxes besides female director.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-