Entirely Unnecessary Thoughts on the 91st Academy Award Nominations

I’m on record as saying that, despite often choosing mediocre or outright bad movies, the Academy Awards are generally speaking a force for good. I put that tweet out there mere days before the nominations were announced and…then got so busy that I never managed to write out my thoughts on the nominees. So, with perpetual lateness, here are my thoughts on the nominees for the 91st Academy Awards:

Best Picture:

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star is Born

Vice

The gulf between good and bad nominees here is vast, with a lot of my best 10 here and also a lot of garbage. No Annihilation, Death of Stalin or Sorry to Bother You though. Cause they’re cowards. Most of these movies probably wouldn’t stand a chance in another year but here maybe they all do? Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book have no right to be here though. I’d say the best bets are BlacKkKlansman or The Favourite with maybe Black Panther or Roma on the outside.

Best Director:

Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman

Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite

Alfonso Curaon for Roma

Adam McKay for Vice

This is a lot better, as all these directors either did great work or have done great work elsewhere if I haven’t seen their movies. I’d say that Spike Lee is probably the shoe in, although Yorgos Lanthimos might grab it if it’s a split year.

Best Actor:

Christian Bale for Vice

Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born

Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate

Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen for Green Book

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, this category is a wasteland with really only bad choices (except maybe Dafoe? I haven’t seen it). I’d say Malek is probably the best bet, although maybe they’ll give to Viggo as an apology for not giving it to his jaw dropping performance in Eastern Promises. Also, where is Steve Buscemi for Death of Stain? Cowards.

Best Actress:

Yalitza Aparicio for Roma

Glenn Close for The Wife

Olivia Colman for The Favourite

Lady Gaga for A Star is Born

Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Much better, all of these would be worthy wins (I haven’t seen The Wife but it’s Glenn Close so I’m sure she’s fine). I’d say Olivia Colman is probably walking away with it, but it could go to someone else, and it’s nice to see Melissa McCarthy get a nomination for a deeply underrated movies.

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali for Green Book

Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliot for A Star is Born

Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Sam Rockwell for Vice

We’re back in middle ground here, although the distinct lack of Michael B. Jordan irritates me more than a little. This is also usually a good spot to nominate some weirder movies or performances, something they completely failed to do. Honestly, any of the three middle ones would be worthy wins (I’m not even a fan of A Star is Born but Elliot is doing his damndest to hold up every scene he’s in), but if I had to put money I’d probably say either Elliot or Adam Driver.

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams for Vice

Marina de Tavira for Roma

Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone for The Favourite

Rachel Weiz for The Favourite

All good choices here. With The Favourite’s votes split between two people, Regina King should walk off with this pretty effortlessly, although they might give it to Amy Adams as an apology for not giving it to her in…fuck, there’s too many, let’s say The Master for now. Or Arrivial.

Best Original Screenplay:

The Favourite

First Reformed

Green Book

Roma

Vice

Green Book aside, this is a good set and an early one to watch for hints at what’s gonna grab best picture. I’d say The Favourite is a heavy favorite (pun intended) but don’t count out Roma. Disappointed, but not surprised, to not see Sorry to Bother You here.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

BlacKkKlansman

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

If Beale Street Could Talk

A Star is Born

No real bad choice, although A Star is Born would be deeply subpar. I’d like to see it go to BlacKkKlansman (which is where it’s probably going) or Can You Ever Forgive Me? but I wouldn’t say no to Beale Street either.

Best Animated Feature:

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

There’s really only one right answer here. Give it to Spider-Verse academy. No, don’t think, don’t question, just do it.

Best Foreign Language Film:

Capernaum (Lebanon)

Cold War (Poland)

Never Look Away (Germany)

Roma (Mexico)

Shoplifters (Japan)

Roma has this sewn all the way up. The ONLY way it’s not getting it (in which case it’ll be Cold War) is if Roma is getting Best Picture, which I doubt.

Best Documentary Feature:

Free Solo

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Minding the Gap

Of Fathers and Sons

RBG

The STUNNING failure to nominate Won’t You Be My Neighbor means that this going to RBG. Seriously academy, how do you fuck up that bad?

A Few Technical Award Thoughts:

Most of the technical awards should be going to either The Favourite or Black Panther, although it’s nice to see Border (a movie I’ve been desperately trying to see) up for Hair and Makeup. Bohemian Rhapsody getting a nomination for Film Editing is amazing in light of the clip that’s doing the rounds on Twitter of some jaw droppingly terrible editing. Maybe it’s a nomination for stitching together a movie from what is, at best, maybe a third of the coverage you needed?

Hokay, those are my quick thoughts on the Oscars. See you during the awards ceremony.

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Being the adventures of an Alaska-born incurable narcissist with a love of film & too much free time. I write for @criticalwrit and I really like bears.