As myself and fellow movie fans awoke on Tuesday, we were presented with the Christmas gift that got lost in the mail and came three weeks late. The 2019 Oscar Nominations were released January 22nd, and to say the least, I think a lot of us were pretty shocked.
I was thrown off by a few nominations in the smaller categories but I’m going to dive right into the main ten categories that filmgoers care about: Best Picture, Director, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Costumes, and Visual Effects.
So the nominations for Best Picture are Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, Vice, and A Star is Born. And I can tell you right now that this just screams that Hollywood is lost. In my opinion, this list needs to delete two films, and I hope you already know which ones I’m deleting. Yeah, Marvel’s Black Panther and the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody need to get the boot. Both were fantastic films that told beautiful stories with culture and differences, but neither is Best Picture worthy. Black Panther represents the Marvel Universe well and received a lot of attention because of its cultural significance, but that doesn’t mean it is cinematically groundbreaking. Black Panther received seven nominations, which almost beat Nolan’s The Dark Knight eight nominations which is quite scary that people think Black Panther is even close to the groundbreaking #4 ranked movie on IMDB.com. Rhapsody was entertaining but too drawn out and should have focused on the band and music more than just Freddie. My prediction—sorry Cooper— is that the Netflix Original Roma wins.
The Best Director received most of my shock, because Bradley Cooper was not nominated for his credit on A Star is Born. It was a great day for Spike Lee getting the nomination for BlacKkKlansman, and there were three new names: Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War, Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite, and Alfonso Cuaron for Roma. I was glad that Adam Mckay was recognized for his satire comedy Vice depicting Dick Cheney’s slight tyranny in politics. My pick: Alfonso Cuaron for Roma.
Best Lead Actor
Lead Actor nominations are Christian Bale for Dick Cheney, Rami Malek for Freddie Mercury, Bradley Cooper as the alcoholic country artist in A Star is Born, Viggo Mortensen as the Italian bodyguard in Green Book, and Wilem Dafoe in At Eternity’s Gate. To be honest, never heard of that last movie, but I think this is a well-filled category but a no-brainer that Rami Malek will win this for his dedication and hard work for a legendary performance about a legendary artist.
Best Lead Actress
Lead actress nominations are Olivia Colman from The Favourite, Glenn Close for The Wife, Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Yalitza Aparicio in Roma, and Lady Gaga for A Star is Born. A strong category and will be a close call because there were a lot of great performances but I think it is between Glenn Close and Melissa McCarthy.
Best Supporting Actor/Actress
Supporting Actress surprisingly has two nominations from one movie for Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in The Favourite, but I think Regina King will easily win this for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk. The Supporting Actor category is a little stronger with Sam Elliot from A Star is Born, Marhershala Ali as Don Shirley in Green Book, and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush in Vice, which he portrayed perfectly. Adam Driver got the nomination for his role in BlacKkKlansman and Richard E. Grant got his for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, both were well-deserved, but Ali was the most impressive, depicting the distance Don Shirley felt from his own race and from the deep south in 1962.
Best Original Screenplay
I chose to discuss the Original Screenplay category because each story we see on screen was first told on paper. The hidden gem, First Reformed, starring Ethan Hawke could be in the lead for this category. It goes against Green Book, Vice, Roma, and The Favourite. This will definitely be a close call because Green Book has earned its love, as did Roma and Vice (for a unique portrayal and Satan’s inspiration—thanks Christian Bale—of Dick Cheney). I think Green Book will take this award.
Best Costume Design
Costumes give credit to the amount of time and dedication by crew members to make the perfect outfit for actors. I was glad to see Mary Poppins Returns honored for its colorful designs and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs for taking us back to the Wild West, but it will be between Black Panther’s African designs, and The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots’ elegant gowns. Although the gowns were beautiful, I still think Black Panther wins.
Best Visual Effects
Visual Effects these days can get out of proportion like The LEGO Movie or the Star Wars saga, but it has become an essential tool in storytelling. I was psyched to see Solo: A Star Wars Story receive a nom as well as Avengers: Infinity War. First Man earned it too for its depiction of a legendary exploration, but Spielberg’s Ready Player One was an orchestra of effects and easter eggs to his and other classic movies that it should win with ease—sorry Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin.
Overall, there were some surprising snubs, like Hereditary’s Toni Collette, A Quiet Place or Eighth Grade for Original Screenplay which were beautiful, original films. And the heartwarming documentary of Won’t You Be My Neighbor about Mr. Rogers didn’t even receive a second look! But shoutout Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for snagging the nomination for Best Animated Picture; I hope it wins. This year gave us some great films, but this selection shows that talent and art are being overlooked in favor of culture and outside influences. This will be an award ceremony for the books.