I can’t recall a year where A) I cared less about the Oscars as a ceremony, B) I felt so unsure about their results, and C) I found so many of the nominees to be utterly unmoving. While a few of my very favorite films of the year scored big with nominations, most notably The Favourite with a tidy 10 noms, this year’s slate of Oscar films felt decidedly like a step backward. After the whole kerfuffle with instituting a new category that would award the Best Popular Film and then removing it, the Academy seemed to move forward with instead just nominating said “popular” films into their Best Picture category, with 2018’s domestic box office champion Black Panther scoring a Best Picture nomination in addition to a bevy of below-the-line nods as well, and critically-divisive Bohemian Rhapsody, which has been lambasted with claims of “Fake News” since its debut, collecting a heap of nominations to call its own.
Outside the Best Picture category, things weren’t that much more interesting. We had guys like Willem Dafoe nabbing a Best Actor nomination for the eternally boring At Eternity’s Gate in lieu of (much more deserving) performances like Daveed Diggs gave in Blindspotting or Ethan Hawke had to offer in First Reformed. Similarly, Toni Collette, Charlize Theron, and Maggie Gyllenhaal were all shut out of the Best Actress race, which at this point appears to be a shoe-in for Glenn Close for her admittedly strong work in The Wife, but her win there again feels like politics as usual.
Now the Oscars have rarely actually awarded “the best”, the whole dog and pony show being an exhausting marathon of politicking, FYC campaigns, and waiting in line for “your turn”, but I’m usually a little more jazzed about the potential nominees, with a few absolute favorites that I feel have a decent shot at snagging gold. That simply does not hold true this year.
Of the Best Picture nominees, the field is fairly wide open with Green Book looking to be the frontrunner, with Roma and Bohemian Rhapsody looking in. Although many predict Roma to take the big prize, I just don’t see it overcoming a mile-long checklist of outsider qualities: a black and white subtitled art film about quiet women released on Netflix of all places. Per just about every conversation I’ve had with “regular” people, few have declared much love for Cuaron’s latest offering, many saying they “didn’t get it” or calling it outright “boring.”
BlacKkKlansman, and Black Panther both could pull an upset in the Best Picture category while the likes of Vice, The Favourite, and A Star Is Born look to be out of the race entirely (despite the later being the early frontrunner.) The fact that If Beale Street Could Talk never entered the race is disheartening, to say the least.
Despite both receiving critical backlash of their own, Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody are the crowdpleasers of the bunch and one of the two look to be walking away with the night’s top award for it. Rami Malek is in a fairly unshakable position to sweep Best Actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury and while I enjoyed his performance, once again I think it’s an unremarkable outcome for a field that had a lot to offer that ultimately went unrecognized.
Add all this to the Kevin Hart hosting fiasco (which left the ceremony hostless for the first time in 30 years) and the public unpleasantness revolving around that; the backlash over relegating a handful of categories off-air where they would be presented during commercial break before CBS and the Academy ultimately turning tail after a wave of protests; and the aforementioned back-and-forth over stupid new categories like ‘Best Popular Film’; and the 2019 Oscar Ceremony is left looking like an utter mess before it’s even begun. The fact that a bunch of meh winners will probably walk away with the award only makes it that much more disheartening. So I’ve created both the dutiful breakdown of what will actually win, what should win, and an alternate universe pick where I call out something that wasn’t even nominated (and totally would have deserved a win.
Best Picture: ‘Green Book’ (Should Win: ‘The Favourite’ / Alternate Universe Winner: ‘Blindspotting’)
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron ‘Roma’ (Should Win: Yorgos Lanthimos ‘The Favourite’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Ari Aster ‘Hereditary’)
Best Actor: Rami Malek ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Should Win: Viggo Mortensen ‘Green Book’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Daveed Diggs ‘Blindspotting’)
Best Actress: Glenn Close ‘The Wife’ (Should Win: Olivia Colman ‘The Favourite’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Toni Collete ‘Hereditary’)
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali ‘Green Book’ (Should Win: Mahershala Ali ‘Green Book’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Russell Hornsby ‘The Hate U Give’)
Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz ‘The Favourite’ (Should Win: Rachel Weisz ‘The Favourite’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Mackenzie Davis ‘Tully’)
Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ (Should Win: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ / Alternate Universe Winner: ‘Tito and the Birds’)
Cinematography: Alfonso Cuaron ‘Roma’ (Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron ‘Roma’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Rob Hardy ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’)
Costume Design: Sandy Powell ‘The Favourite’ (Should Win: Sandy Powell ‘The Favourite’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Renee Ehrlich Kalfus ‘A Simple Favor’)
Documentary: ‘Free Solo’ (Should Win: ‘Free Solo’ / Alternate Universe Winner: ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’)
Film Editing: Hank Corwin ‘Vice’ (Should Win: Yorgos Mavropsaridis ‘The Favourite’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Eddie Hamilton ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’)
Foreign Language Film: ‘Roma’ (Should Win: ‘Cold War’ / Alternate Universe Winner: ‘Revenge’)
Makeup and Hairstyling: ‘Vice’ (Should Win: ‘Border’ / Alternate Universe Winner: ‘Destroyer’)
Best Original Score: Ludwig Göransson ‘Black Panther’ (Should Win: Alexandre Desplat ‘Isle of Dogs’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Anna Meredith ‘Eighth Grade’)
Best Original Song: “Shallow” Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper ‘A Star is Born’ (Should Win: “All the Stars” Kendrick Lamar ‘Black Panther’; / Alternate Universe Winner: “Easy Come, Easy Go” Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal ‘Blindspotting’)
Production Design: Fiona Crombie ‘The Favourite’ (Should Win: Fiona Crombie ‘The Favourite’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Grace Yun ‘Hereditary’)
Sound Editing: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Should Win: ‘A Quiet Place’ / Alternate Universe Winner: ‘Annihilation’)
Sound Mixing: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Should Win: ‘First Man’ / Alternate Universe Winner: ‘Bodied’)
Visual Effects: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (Should Win: ‘First Man’ / Alternate Universe Winner: ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’)
Adapted Screenplay: Spike Lee, Kevin Willmott ‘BlacKkKlansman’ (Should Win: Joel and Ethan Coen ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Audrey Wells ‘The Hate U Give’)
Original Screenplay: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara ‘The Favourite’ (Should Win: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara ‘The Favourite’ / Alternate Universe Winner: Bo Burnham ‘Eighth Grade’)
[Doc Short: Black Sheep]
[Animated Short: Bao]
[Live Action Short: Skin]
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