The Academy Awards - Oscars

Once again it is time to celebrate a year of film watching. My last post shared a listing of films I enjoyed in 2018. Below are the choices for the following awards along with my thoughts about the selections and non-selections the Academy made. 

  • Actor in a Leading Role – The nominees are: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), and Viggo Mortensen ("Green Book). Who else could be on this list? Ethan Hawke (First Reformed), Ryan Gosling (First Man), and Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased) all did a fantastic job in their roles. From the Academy’s list: For me, the best actor is, Viggo Mortensen, and Christian Bale will probably win.

  • Actress in a Leading Role – The nominees are: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), and Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?). Who else could be on this list? Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Carey Mulligan (Wildlife), Rosamund Pike (A Private War), Jodie Foster (Hotel Artemis), and Rachel Weisz (Disobedience) were strong performances. From the Academy’s list: For me, best actress is, Olivia Colman and Glenn Close will probably win.

  • Supporting Actress – The nominees are: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina de Tavira (Roma), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), and Rachel Weisz (The Favourite). Who else could be on this list? I liked Julia Roberts (Ben is Back) and Claire Foy (First Man). From the Academy’s list: For me, the best-supporting-actress is, Emma Stone or Regina King, but Marina de Tavira will probably win.

  • Supporting Actor – The nominees are: Mahershala Ali, (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me), and Sam Rockwell (Vice). Who else could be on this list? Jack Black (Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot). From the Academy’s list: For me, the best-supporting-actor is Richard E. Grant or Mahershala Ali, and Mahershala Ali will probably win.

  • Best Cinematography – The nominees are: Robbie Ryan (The Favorite), Caleb Deschanel (Never Look Away), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Matty Libatique (A Star Is Born), and Lukasz Zal (Cold War). Great list of people creating and delivering great pictures. I thought “Roma” was enchantingly shot and it will probably win.

  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – The nominees are: Eric Roth, Will Fetters, and Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), Charles Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk), and Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?). My vote would go to “BlacKkKlansman,” and it may win.

  • Writing (Original Screenplay) – The nominees are: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite), Paul Schrader (First Reformed), Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), and Adam McKay (Vice). I loved the writing in all these. “Blindspotting” would have been in this category and for me would have won. This category is probably the tightest category to be contested and my hope is for “The Favourite.”

  • Film Editing – The nominees are: Barry Alexander Brown (BlacKkKlansman), John Ottman (Bohemian Rhapsody), Yorgos Mavropsaridis (The Favourite), Patrick J. Don Vito (Green Book), and Hank Corwin (Vice). All very good, and I think Bohemian Rhapsody.

  • Best Foreign Language Film: “Capernaum” (Lebanon), “Cold War” (Poland), “Never Look Away” (Germany), “Roma” (Mexico), and “Shoplifters” (Japan). I was blown away by “Shoplifters.” It was a wonderful story. But they may give this to “Roma” thereby allowing a different film to win Best Picture.

  • Directing – The nominees are: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice) and Paweł Pawlikowski (Cold War). What is missing is Carlos Lopez Estrada for “Blindspotting.” I think Cuaron and Lanthimos are the top contenders although I think Lee has a real shot.

  • Picture – The nominees are: “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite,” “Green Book,” “Roma,” “A Star Is Born,” and “Vice.” Although a varied and eclectic listing, for me it leaves out the best picture of the year, “Blindspotting.” It also leaves out “Disobedience” and “The Hate U Give” to name two other strong films. I’m sad that “Blindspotting” wasn’t promoted in such a way that it was considered. Given the nominees, I think it comes down to “The Favourite,” “Green Book,” and “BlacKkKlansman” although “Roma” might be in this group if it doesn’t win Foreign Language film. I liked all the choices and prefer “The Favorite” and “Green Book” over the others.

Reviewing the choices brings me to comment on this process: Year after year films rise into the Oscar lists because they promoted by the studios that financed the movies. For instance, this year’s version of “A Star Is Born,” for me, isn’t an Oscar contender. It was entertaining, and Lady Gaga was very good in this, her first, major motion picture role. She’s popular as is her co-star and director Bradley Cooper. But that’s not enough and the story, although well told, is nothing new (there are two previous versions of this film). However, it appears that Oscar choices are about promotional money, what’s popular, and in the film business, who likes whom.

“Blindspotting” has a great unique film story to tell, they tell it very well, and it reflects some of the difficulties of today’s society.