I think this year’s Oscar nominations are a large disappointment. Larger than usual. As a somewhat seasoned film buff, I both love and hate awards season, it usually means there is a glut of decent movies being released at the cinema, there is always rampant discussion and it can be a good time to share your own favourite less seen movies of the year. At the same time there are always so many far more deserving films that basically don’t get a look in next to the glitz and the glamour. Last year, I was astounded that Shape of the Water won and was literally over the moon when Guillermo Del Toro got Best Director. So it can surprise you.
Based on the nominations this year though…
The thing to understand about awards season is that it isn’t so much a case of a panel of experts locking themselves within a room for 72 hours to decide the best films of the year through fair and true democractic process. It’s not Giant Bomb does GOTY. It’s more like a political race, run by marketing, PR and spin doctors utilising A LOT of money to generate award buzz, all of which will usually benefit the films being represented, especially those released in awards season. I’m not sure how people on here feel about Philip DeFranco, but he recently did a video on this very topic and it’s fairly accurate and may even change your thinking on the Oscars.
I guess the other thing to note is that the Oscars want to stay relevant and have representation for movies people have actually seen. Which I get. Everyone saw Black Panther.
As far as best picture goes, I think the only movies worth celebrating here are Roma and The Favourite. The fact that we have both Rachel Weiz and Emma Stone nominated for Best Supporting Actor is the best thing about this year’s Oscars and I hope they both get to ham it up for memeworthy content.
Black Panther: As much as Black Panther is generally one of the better Marvel movies. As much as it does for representation by depicting a largely black cast within an African setting within a movie of this scale. As much as I love Ryan Coogler as a director. As much as I liked Killmonger. As much as it did all this and still made as much money as an avengers movie. As far as best picture goes, I just don’t think it hangs. There are parts of that movie towards the end action sequence, that are derivative and formulaic in the way these movies often are. But heck yeah! War Rhinos!
Bohemian Rhapsody felt like the wiki-notes of the history of Queen, told by Queen, to enhance the brand of Queen. Who are still together by the way and are still as good as ever, despite losing one of the greatest frontmen who ever existed. I cannot fathom why anyone would rate this as worthy of Best Picture. Everything it tries to do, A Star Is Born does better. I think it shows that Queen just didn’t know Freddie Mercury. Like at all.
I saw Vice last week and enjoyed it as I was watching it, it’s entertaining, funny and Christian Bale does a great Dick Cheney. At the same time, it does carry that Wolf of Wall Street vibe in that this is a story about how a bad person did very bad things. I don’t think the film told us anything new about Dick Cheney as a character. He was quiet, ruthless and largely set the precedent of how the Republicans operated throughout the last thirty years. Or at least used to, now Trump is… yeah… Adam McKay’s last movie The Big Short did go some way to explain the recession to movie goers, Vice doesn’t tell us anything we already know. This will likely be the second year in a row in which a British born actor wins an Oscar whilst wearing a fatsuit. Take me back to the days when Leonardo DiCaprio got one by screaming a lot in the snow.
A part of me wants to see Spike Lee win best director even though Blackkklansman was fine. A part of me does want to see Black Panther win best picture, just because it would be mad if Marvel movie did actually win.
All of me wants to see Olivia Coleman win Best Actress. She’s a legend
But if you ask me, here are a couple of massive oversights in my unfiltered film buff sports rage.
You Were Never Really Here - Lynne Ramsay is a fantastic director and does so much with so little in this modern day version of Taxi Driver. She should be on the best director list. Similarly Joaquin Phoenix was mesmerizing and should be there on best actor.
American Animals - I thought this would at least get something for screenplay or editing, but no. This is a travesty.
Widows - Perhaps Steve McQueen already got his dues with 12 Years A Slave. But maaan… nothing for Widows? Are you serious? Viola Davis obviously does her thing in this movie, but Elizabeth Debicki at least deserves best supporting actress.
First Reformed - No Ethan Hawke for best actor? What planet is everyone living on?
First Man - How can Bohemian Rhapsody generally be viewed as a better biopic than First Man? Damian Chazelle will be back.
Stan & Ollie - I was really charmed by this movie. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are perfect as Laurel and Hardy. In many ways I thought this would walk into the Oscars but I guess not…
Hereditary - Nothing for Toni Collette? I mean? What is that?
Leave No Trace - Ben Foster is always good, but Thomasin McKenzie who played his daughter was amazing in this movie. Not a look in for best picture but by all means Bohemian Rhapsody…
Annihilation - I was more disappointed this didn’t get a cinematic release over here in the UK. I would have thought Alex Garland would get something for adapted screenplay. That was a hard book to adapt!
Also I hate that we’re still dividing subtitled films from best picture. Shoplifters and Cold War are better than most of the films in Best Picture. This applies to animated films too, Into the Spider Verse was better than Black Panther.
Eugh… But it’s just the Oscars right? Nobody cares…