2019 Oscar Nominations

Here we are once again with the 2019 Oscar nominations and while I attempt to limit any coverage of the awards season hoopla (simply because there are so many to cover and too little to care about) the Academy Awards are obviously the biggest show of the season and so it was with great anticipation I awaited this morning’s announcements. What has been great about this year's award season thus far is the seeming lack of any clear front-runner. There have been so many films vying for the attention of awards season audiences this season, including a few that hardly got noticed at all including First Reformed (how is Ethan Hawke not racking up on statues?) and First Man (available on home video platforms today!), and thus it has resulted in a field of nominees that, while more concentrated than I imagined, still leaves room for an open playing field come the night of the ceremony. Let's start with things I'm happy to see. Obviously, with A Star is Born being one of my favorite movies of 2018 I am thrilled to see writer/director/star Bradley Cooper and his film grab a Best Picture and Best Actor nomination, but the snub of no directing nod for Cooper is a big indicator of how the gold might actually pass this one up. Still, it's nice to see Lady Gaga get nominated in the Best Actress category here though her odds have winning have decreased significantly over the past month or two. A Star is Born felt like the heavy-hitter of this awards season going in, but hasn't done much outside a few wins for Gaga in acting and Original Song. While I'm still optimistic about the film's chances at taking home some major prizes there is definitely more of a risk of something like Green Book or-most likely-Roma taking some of the major categories. I wouldn't be surprised if there's another split among Director and Picture this year, but we'll get into the details of things in the following paragraphs to come. For now, hit the jump for a full list of nominees.

And so, as always it is easier to see more of the bad than the good, but we'll try to kick things off with a lot of the positives here. Both Roma and The Favourite lead the pack with a total of ten nominations a piece and it is very likely that Roma will be taking home Best Picture, Best Director, and potentially even Best Foreign Language Film, though I could see the aAcademy giving it one of the two Best Picture awards and allowing another film to take home the other-whether that be Shoplifters or Cold War in Foreign language or A Star is Born or Green Book in Best Picture is up in the air. Speaking of Cold War though, that Polish film was able to garner a total of three nominations including a Best Director nod for Pawel Pawlikowski in what is his first Academy Award nomination as a director though his 2013 film, Ida, did win him Best Foreign Language Film in 2015 as well as being nominated for Cinematography just as Cold War is has been this year. While Netflix is no doubt more than happy with the performance of Roma in the awards race thus far this season they are also now celebrating the fact their Coen Brothers produced The Ballad of Buster Scruggs received three nominations in Adapted Screenplay, Original Song, and Costume Design. While I rather enjoyed Buster Scruggs it simply hasn't has much momentum this awards season despite being from the Coen Brothers (and a Coen Brothers western at that!) as well as having been released on the streaming service in the thick of awards season, but while it will likely not end up taking home any awards for which it was nominated this is still a strong sign the tides are changing and the Academy is willing to look past the method in which the majority of viewers will see a film...it only took the Coens and Alfonso Cuaron to do it.

Okay, so there's some good stuff there and in all honesty, it's difficult to get too worked up over these things even if something you loved didn't get nominated as the Oscars have become less and less of a true reflection of the time and more such a mediary between the artistic side and the commercial side of filmmaking that no one really ends up being happy when something like Green Book or Bohemian Rhapsody become the movies that stand at the front of the line (both of which are fine enough films, but nowhere near the best of the year) rather than something more personal and as beautifully constructed as If Beale Street Could Talk or as bombastic and entertaining as Avengers: Infinity War-both of which I would argue were much bigger accomplishments in all regards than either of those middle of the road "based on true story" dramas. Still, the big headline this year will be that Black Panther is the first super hero movie that has ever been nominated in the Best Picture category and while that is certainly something, it can't help but feel like more of a charity nomination than a genuine one. Was Black Panther good? Sure, it was fine, but is it the first super hero movie deserving of a Best Picture nom? No, certainly not ever and not even this year as both Infinity War or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse were more deserving of said nomination than Black Panther. If the Academy truly believed Black Panther was worthy of this nomination it would have seen more high-profile nominations such as Michael B. Jordan in the Supporting Actor category or a nod for Ryan Coogler in Director, but instead the remainder of Black Panther's nominations were in technical categories like Costume, Score, Song, Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. 

If we're going to talk about biggest snubs though, that would bring us to the Best Documentary Feature category where in which neither Won't You Be My Neighbor?, maybe the most talked about doc of the year, or Three Identical Strangers (one of the best films of the year. period.) were nominated. Other, much talked-about docs like Minding the Gap, RBG, and Free Solo all got in, but for one reason in another in a year where the Academy had considered adding a "Most Popular Film" category they decided to exclude what was, without a doubt, the most popular documentary of what was maybe the last five years. Ranking just behind these major documentary snubs is that of no nomination for Justin Hurwitz's First Man score. While the film itself was received well enough if not enthusiastically it didn't provide the box office the studio likely expected for the director of La La Land's follow-up to said film that again starred Ryan Gosling, but Hurwitz's score and Claire Foy's supporting performance had still received, at the very least, nominations in their respective categories if not a few wins here and there. Neither Hurwitz nor Foy were nominated this morning with First Man getting a total of only four nominations all of which were in technical categories for which it is likely to win in maybe one category. Other major snubs include the lack of Timothee Chalamet in the Supporting Actor category for Beautiful Boy (which I'm fine with as I thought both the movie and the performance were a little too pointedly Oscar bait), no Elmily Blunt in either Supporting Actress (A Quiet Place) or Best Actress (Mary Poppins Returns), no Beale Street in the Best Picture category, and no Ethan Hawke in Best Actor though I was happy to see First Reformed get a little recognition in the form of Paul Schrader's Original Screenplay nomination. I also would have personally liked to see Brian Tyree Henry get into the Supporting Actor race over the obligatory Rockwell nomination as the actor has had an incredible year appearing in Widows, If Beale Street Could Talk, and providing voice work in Into the Spider-Verse.   

Check out the full list of nominees below and catch the broadcast on Sunday, February 24 at 8pm ET on ABC.

Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards
Best Picture
“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
“Vice”
Best Director
Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)
Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”)
Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”)
Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)
Best Actor 
Christian Bale (“Vice”)
Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”
Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Willem Defoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”)
Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”)
Glenn Close (“The Wife”)
Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”)
Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)
Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Sam Elliott (“A Star Is Born”)
Sam Rockwell (“Vice”)
Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”)
Supporting Actress
Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Amy Adams (“Vice”)
Marina De Tavira (“Roma”)
Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite”)
Emma Stone (“The Favourite”)
Adapted Screenplay
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“A Star Is Born”
Best Original Screenplay
“The Favourite”
“First Reformed”
“Green Book”
“Roma”
“Vice”
Animated Feature
“Incredibles 2”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mirai”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
Foreign Language Film
“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)
Best Documentary
“Free Solo”
“Hale County This Morning This Evening”
“Minding the Gap”
“Of Fathers and Sons”
“RBG”
Best Cinematography 
“Cold War”
“The Favourite”
“Never Look Away”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
Best Costume Design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“Black Panther”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“The Favourite”
“Mary Queen of Scots”
Film Editing
“BlacKkklansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Vice”
Makeup and Hairstyling
“Border”
“Mary Queen of Scots”
“Vice”
Original Score
“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
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”
Production Design
“Black Panther”
“The Favourite”
“First Man”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Roma”
Sound Editing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Quiet Place”
“Roma”
Sound Mixing
“Black Panther”
“A Star Is Born”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“Roma”
“First Man”
Visual Effects
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”
Documentary (Short Subject)
“Black Sheep”
“End Game”
“Lifeboat”
“A Night at the Garden”
“Period. End of Sentence.”
Short Film (Animated)
“Animal Behavior”
“Bao”
“Late Afternoon”
“One Small Step”
“Weekends”
Short Film (Live Action)
“Detainment”
“Skin”
“Marguerite”
“Fauve”
“Mother”

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