The 2019 Oscar Nominations (and first thoughts)

So…the Oscar nominations have been released, and boy are they a mixed bag. Stan & Ollie has been completely ignored, while Bohemian Rhapsody has led in several categories. Here, I’ll run through the main list of nominations, while offering my thoughts on potential winners and definite snubs.

Before I start, I will just get my bias out of the way by saying that despite all of its incredible achievements, Mission: Impossible Fallout hasn’t received a single nomination. I’m not expecting best picture nominations, despite its incredible ambition, but nods in sound design, editing and cinematography (and honestly best score) should be there. I mean, they threw a cameraman out of a plane for god’s sake (and he kept in focus)! I’d like to see Roger Deakins do that (that’s not to say that I don’t absolutely worship Roger…I do). ANYWAY, that’s done, so on with the nominations…

Best Picture

The Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice.

Several problematic films here. Firstly, Black Panther, for everyone’s discussions, should not be in the race for best picture. Its cultural importance cannot be understated, and it is such an important film. However, it’s not even the best Marvel film this year, let alone best picture of the entire year. This is clearly a vote aiming to settle the public after the Academy’s failed attempt to introduce the ‘Best Popular Film’ category. The same should be said for Bohemian Rhapsody, because though it was fun, it is a patchy film that does not deserve to sit with the other nominations.

In my eyes, the award should go to Vice, A Star is Born or Green Book, for all three of these were stunningly made films with important messages but also were incredibly entertaining throughout.

Best Director

The Nominees: Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Adam McKay (Vice).

Bradley Cooper should have a nomination in this category, because with his directorial debut he created a stunning film. Of the nominees, however, hands down Adam McKay should win this. Spike Lee handled the racism topic with great style, and Yorgos Lanthimos’s bizarre methods made The Favourite work, but Adam McKay’s uniquely dark sense of sarcastic humour meant Vice was the funniest film about the darkest of important political topics.

Best Actor

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice) Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book).

The one category Bohemian Rhapsody deserves nomination is also perhaps the strongest one. While it would be a worthy win for Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury, Christian Bale deserves the Oscar for his total committal to the role of Dick Cheney.

Best Actress

The Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Forgive Me)

Another very strong category, I’d love to see Lady Gaga win. Her first major film acting role was one with raw emotion and a powerfully self-referential character.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliot (A Star is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) Sam Rockwell (Vice).

While this is another incredibly strong category, and Mahershala Ali and Sam Rockwell would both be very worthy winners, I’d absolutely love to see Richard E. Grant win for his performance. If nothing else, he is a national treasure who has been performing for over 30 years, and he is finally getting the awards recognition he deserves. In my eyes, a win for him would also mean a win for his stunning performance in Withnail and I, one of the most underrated performances ever seen.

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina De Tavira (Roma), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite).

A double nomination for the supporting leads from The Favourite, and frankly either would be worthy of winning. For my money, however, Emma Stone would be a more deserving winner, because her character went through such a massive evolution from a bumbling comedy character to one of menacingly power-hungry ambitions.

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees: The Favourite, First Reformed, Green Book, Roma, Vice.

Either Green Book or Vice should win this. We’ve established by now I’m a fan of true stories with a wicked sense of comedy, and these both had it. Perhaps it should go to Vice for its original take on a biopic, but either would be worthy winners.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, BlacKkKlansman, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born

Clearly The Ballad of Buster Scruggs should win this one. It offered another high for the Coen Brothers, but also offered 6 different stories, each with different methods of narrative, character and dialogue development. This would be an award for 6 deserving short films brought together into one great anthology.

Best Animated Film

The Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks The Internet, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.

In my opinion, Ralph Breaks The Internet and The Incredibles 2 are both space fillers. They were fun Disney romps but offered nothing exciting or new to the genre. Isle of Dogs or Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse would both be incredibly worthy winners, for they displayed new ambitions of where animated films could go.

Best Original Score

The Nominees: Black Panther (Ludwig Goransson), BlacKkKlansman (Terence Blanchard), If Beale Street Could Talk (Nicholas Britell), Isle of Dogs (Alexandre Desplat), Mary Poppins Returns (Marc Shaiman).

Where is Justin Hurwitz’s score for First Man? It won the Golden Globe and was a stunningly beautiful score that used minimalist themes and a Theremin to echo 1950’s Sci-Fi films. The other scores are all fairly level though so choosing a winner is tough, but for me BlacKkKlansman is the best of those nominated. Again, however, there are plenty of better scores from 2018 that have had no awards recognition.

Best Original Song

The Nominees: All The Stars (from Black Panther), I’ll Fight (from RPG), The Place Where Lost Things Go (from Mary Poppins Returns), Shallow (from A Star Is Born), When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings (from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs).

Of all the Mary Poppins songs, I felt there were several much better ones, such as ‘Trip A Little Light Fantastic’ and ‘The Cover Is Not The Book’. However, hands down, Shallow should win, for its use within the film was a stunningly powerful and emotional scene as Lady Gaga’s character first steps into the light of fame.

Best Cinematography

The Nominees: Lukasz Zal (Cold War), Robbie Ryan (The Favourite), Caleb Deschanel (Never Look Away), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), A Star is Born (Matthew Libatique).

WHERE IS FIRST MAN!!! Shot of 16mm film, First Man was the most beautiful film of the year, and this is a definite snub for it not to be included in this category.

Makeup and Hairstyling

The Nominees: Border, Mary Queen of Scots, Vice

I have to mention this category, because where the hell is Stan & Ollie’s nomination. This is a disgusting oversight by the Academy, who last year gave the award to the team behind Darkest Hour, who basically did the same job of making someone fat using only prosthetics.

The Rest

I will quickly mention that the Visual Effect category is strong, with Infinity War, Ready Player One and First Man all being worthy contenders; The Sound Mixing of A Star is Born or First Man should be awarded for their intense sound effect; The Best Editing category should be awarded to Vice for its bizarrely unique style; Production Design should be won by First Man and costuming should go to either Mary Poppins or The Favourite.

 

There are obviously many more nominations for the smaller technical awards, but you can read these on The Academy’s Website. We’ll have to wait until February 24th to find out who wins, but already I am feeling slightly hostile towards the ceremony.

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