The 2018 Award Season has been a mess and Tuesday’s Oscar accountments kept things par for the course. Big snubs, big surprises and bucking some old trends, the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards are here and Twitter is on fire. Here are the big categories with my thoughts, in what surely will be a civil and peaceful next month.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” will go down as one of the worst films to ever earn a Best Picture nomination (I didn’t hate it, but, come on) and “Vice” and “Green Book” are both divisive (at least if you ask Twitter). The biggest snub here is “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and it would have been fun to see “A Quiet Place” sneak in. “Black Panther” makes history as the first superhero movie is earn the top nomination (even if it wasn’t even the best Marvel movie from last year) and “BlacKkKlansman” scores Spike Lee a nod, Jordan Peele a random other and makes horror master Jason Blum a three-time nominee.
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Spike Lee earns his first career nomination for directing (and when partnered with producing and screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman” brings his career nod total to five) as does Yorgos Lanthimos. Pawel Pawlikowski and Alfonso Cuarón each get in for directing a black-and-white foreign film (with both movies also earning Cinematography nods), so that’s cool. And then there is Adam McKay for “Vice,” beating out Peter Farrelly for “Green Book” and Bradley Cooper for “A Star is Born,” which is probably the biggest joke of the morning, along with another “Vice” nomination we’ll get to in a minute.
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
Rami Malek played a cartoon version of Freddie Mercury, but his nomination was a sure thing from the moment the first on-set photo of him was released. I enjoyed Willem DaFoe in “At Eternity’s Gate” and he now has four career nominations so good on him, while John David Washington and Ethan Hawke, who have been critical darlings all season, miss the cut.
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
This is the race to watch, with Gaga, Close and Coleman all having a real shot at winning. Good on McCarthy for earning her second career nomination and Yalitza Aparicio getting an Oscar nomination for her first ever acting gig isn’t a bad deal. Olivia Coleman was completely a supporting character in “The Favourite” so her being her was nothing but strategy by the studio, and Emily Blunt will have to wait another year to get her first career nomination after missing out for “Mary Poppins Returns” and “A Quiet Place.”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”
Timothee Chalamet seemed like a safe bet to get his second straight nomination after showing up at the SAGs, Globes, BAFTAs and others but got bumped out by Sam Rockwell, who gave an SNL parody performance as George W. Bush in “Vice.” I love Sam Rockwell, but he already won his Oscar last year for “Three Billboards;” this nomination is straight-up an embarrassment for the Academy. In lighter news, Sam Elliot held on to earn his well-deserved first career nomination, as did Richard E. Grant. Mahershala Ali, who has gone through so much stress needing to constantly address and defend the behind-the-scenes drama involving “Green Book,” gets his second career nod (having won for “Moonlight”) and is the likely frontrunner at the moment.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”
After winning the Golden Globe but getting snubbed for nominations at the SAGs and BAFTAs, Regina King got her first career nomination (hell yes) while Amy Adams gets her sixth (she could finally win this year, otherwise one day she’ll get a career award). Rachel Weisz was my favorite female supporting performance of the year so glad she got in, and Marina de Tavira was probably the biggest out-of-left-field nomination of the morning.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born
The Academy loves the Coen Brothers so “Ballard of Buster Scruggs” getting in (along with Best Costume and Original Song) makes sense, and Barry Jenkins gets one of “Beale Street’s” three nominations. Unless “A Star Is Born” has a landslide of wins on Oscar night I feel this is “BlacKkKlansman’s” award to lose, which would net Spike Lee his first career win.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
I wasn’t a big fan of “First Reformed” but good on Paul Shrader for earning his first career nomination after years of getting snubbed for the likes of “Raging Bull” and “Taxi Driver.” “Vice” is a mess but clearly voters love the film and “Green Book,” while a good movie, doesn’t scream “nominate me!” for its script. This will likely go to “The Favourite,” c-bombs and all.
BEST ANIMATED FILM
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” came onto the scene at the right time, and is now the frontrunner to win the award. The Oscars love their Disney/Pixar so “Incredibles 2,” one of the weakest Pixar efforts ever, getting in was inevitable, but “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” 2018’s best animated film in my book, is more than deserving. Wes Anderson earns his seventh career nomination for “Isle of Dogs” (which also got nominated for Best Original Score).
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“All The Stars” (Black Panther)
“I’ll Fight” (RBG)
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” (Mary Poppins Returns)
“Shallow” (A Star Is Born)
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
Ever since Day 1 of the “Black Panther” soundtrack being released last February, I have blasted and stanned for “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar. I also really like “Shallows” by Lady Gaga, even if its not even the best song from “A Star Is Born.” None of the songs from “Mary Poppins Returns” were memorable but it felt inevitable that something would show up here, and on top of a Best Documentary Feature “RBG” got in here too.
A few other things of note:
“First Man” missing out on Best Score is one of the biggest surprises, although thank God both “Black Panther” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” got in. The Best Editing category is the biggest mess, since Best Picture frontrunners “Roma” and “A Star Is Born” didn’t get in while “Vice,” “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” did. This is important because since 1980, just one film (“Birdman” in 2013) has won Best Picture without an editing nomination, so the hype behind “Green Book” and the love for “Bohemian” and “Vice” are very real. “Avengers: Infinity War” got its Best Visual Effects nomination and rightfully so (on top of all the space battles the CGI motion-capture of Josh Brolin as Thanos is incredible) while “Black Panther” missed out in that category (also rightfully so, half of that film looks straight up unrendered and/or like a PS2 cutscene). “Black Panther” may have lost Disney millions of dollars but at least it got a VFX nod, too.
If nothing else, it has been and will continue to be an interesting awards season, and if I had to put my money on what the annual three-horse race will be for Best Picture would be I would say “BlacKkKlansman,” “Green Book” and “Roma,” although the industry love for “A Star is Born,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Vice” cannot be overlooked. Basically, all rules and precursors can be thrown out the window this year, which is as exciting as it is stressful.