The Oscars don’t have a host, but they do have nominees. And like every year there are surprises, snubs, and head scratchers.
I’ll break down the major categories as we get closer to the show, but here are a few quick thoughts:
Eight films qualified for a Best Picture nom: “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite,” “Green Book,” “Roma,”“A Star Is Born,” and “Vice.”
There are a couple of long overdue firsts. The Academy finally did the right thing, giving Spike Lee his first nod for Best Director. Black Panther becomes the first superhero movie to score a Best Pic nod. And while it wasn’t the best film in the genre last year (that goes to Avengers: Infinity War) it was the most important and most artistic film in the genre. Will it win? I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it.
The Favourite scored an impressive 10 nominations, tying Roma for most this year. The Academy loves, loves, loves period pieces. And each awards season, a studio dutifully trots out another one for consideration.
This film will surely clean up at the BAFTAS, and will likely win some of the minor awards (Cinematography, Production Design, Costume) but it may be too light considering the heavy hitters in the major categories (Glen Close, Amy Adams, Lady Gaga).
Roma If You Want To
Roma also pulled down ten nominations, including an eye-popping FOUR for Alfonso Cuaron (Director, Best Picture, Original Screenplay, and Cinematography). This movie is a 7/1 favorite (tied with A Star Is Born) to win Best Picture according to goldderby.com. The Netflix showpiece is a passion project for Cuaron, but isn’t getting a lot of buzz. Well, it could be, but Netflix doesn’t release ticket sales or streaming numbers so who knows.
I’ve seen it. It is beautiful. It is gripping. It winning is the worst thing that could happen to the Oscars.
In a year when you have three commercially popular films in Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, and A Star Is Born nominated, giving the award to a subtitled, black and white, foreign film that nobody saw and even fewer understand, would push this class of awards show even closer to irrelevance.
Green Book had two leads: Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortenson. Would the likely cancel each other out if they were nominated in the same category? Quite possibly. Does Ali being a Supporting Actor nominee make any sense? None whatsoever. It’s like giving Green Book an award for being the best comedy or musical. Oh.. wait.
Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are nominated in the Supporting Actress category for their work in The Favourite, while their co-star, Olivia Coleman, is up for Best Actress. I think this is completely backwards. They carry the movie. And while their characters orbit Coleman’s Queen, they are the ones doing the orbiting, which is much harder than being orbited (or so I’m told).
There are a couple of locks in the bunch: Gaga will win for Original Song. Roma will win Foreign Film.
I can’t believe Transformers prequel Bumblebee wasn’t nominated for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Sure, the franchise is trite. But just one transformation from car to Transformer is an intricate symphony of sound.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Petron, chilled, strained, and served with a lime in a salt-rimmed glass. It’s a good day for Mexican cinema.