The Oscar nominations for the 2019 Academy Awards were announced today. There were a few surprises and snubs, but overall most of the nominations went as expected. More posts will follow as I catch up on a few films, but here are my ten initial thoughts on the 2019 Oscars:
1 – The 2019 Oscar’s Biggest Snub
It is hard to say that any one performer was snubbed, but every year someone gets left out. Clint Eastwood should have been nominated for Best Lead Actor. Even at age 88, the actor was able to play a complex and captivating lead role that carried the otherwise underwhelming The Mule to relevancy.
2 – Mahershala Ali Is Not A “Supporting” Actor
I am not sure how the Academy determines the difference between “supporting” and “lead” actors. In the case of Green Book, I am surprised that Viggo Mortenson was determined to be the lead actor over Mahershala Ali. They are no less than co-leads. Mahershala Ali deserves the nomination as a lead actor. He was the cornerstone of every dramatic scene and had to play a far more complicated character.
3 – … but he might win anyways
Best Supporting Actor is a tough category. Mahershala Ali, Adam Driver, Sam Elliot, Sam Rockwell, and Richard E. Grant played vastly different characters. I have not watched Can You Ever Forgive Me? yet, but I bet Ali wins because his character most impacted his film due to frequent (and excellent) screen presence.
4 – Amy Adams Is On Track For An Oscar Record
Amy Adams received her sixth nomination for Vice. Given that she is only 44 and shows no signs of slowing down, Adams has a chance to become the only actor in their prime to receive ten nominations. Only Denzel Washington (eight), Jeff Bridges (seven), Kate Winslet (seven) and Cate Blanchett (seven) have a realistic shot to beat Adams to ten nominations. She would be the first actor to record all ten nominations in the 21st Century.
5 – They Shall Not Grow Old Was Deserving
I was disappointed that They Shall Not Grow Old was not amongst the nominees for Best Documentary. Directed by Peter Jackson, the documentary restored World War I-era video to create an immersive experience and bring the hell of trench warfare to life.
6 – “Shallow” Is The Biggest Lock
With all due respect to the other songs, the 2019 nominees for Best Original Song have no shot to trump “Shallow” from A Star Is Born. The Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper duet is the biggest slam-dunk in the category since “Let It Go” won in 2013. No major category is as much of a foregone conclusion.
7 – Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone May Cancel Each Other Out
I was thrilled that The Favourite was nominated for ten awards, but I am not sure that it has a chance to win any of its three acting awards. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz sharing nominations for Supporting Actress may unfortunately split voting. With competition from Lady Gaga and Glenn Close, Olivia Colman also has a tough road to win for Actress In A Leading Role.
8 – Best Director vs. Best Picture
I can never understand any real distinctions between Best Picture and Best Director. Most acting and technical awards are easy to discern, but directing and the finished film are the same thing. With that in mind, Bradley Cooper should have been nominated for A Star Is Born. While he had the added benefit of directing himself, he told a much more concise and emotional story than nominee Adam McKay did in Vice.
9 – Six stories in one film = Oscar
One non-acting category that I have a vested interest in is Adapted Screenplay. Even though The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was my favorite movie of 2018, I was not surprised that it was not nominated. I do hope that Joel and Ethan Cohen take home this prize for their brilliant implementation of six separate stories wrapped into one film.
10 – Bohemian Rhapsody and Bryan Singer… Do I really have to see this movie?
I spent a lot of time in the movie theater in 2018. Six of the films that I saw were nominated for Best Picture. Of the two that I missed out on, Roma was one that I had not carved out the time to see (but very much plan to).
The other was the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
I am stunned that Bohemian Rhapsody was nominated. Even in my recent re-watch of the trailer, I never thought that it looked like it would be a good movie (much less an Oscar-caliber film).
Not only was the production marred with years of difficulty, but the grotesque controversies surrounding director Bryan Singer made the film that less appealing. I will see it because I want to have watched every Best Picture Nominee for two years in a row, but I will hate supporting a film directed by Bryan Singer.