Musings on 2019 Oscars nominations

Well it’s one of those mornings that cinephiles always wait for year after year… the morning Oscar nominations are announced. I for one don’t go out of my way to wake up early to see it live, but when I woke up, of course I immediately tried to see who’s shortlisted.

Right away I noticed that it’s perhaps the most diverse lineup of nominees… though it’s by no means perfect. The Academy’s more-inclusive picks would likely keep those #OscarsSoWhite hashtags at bay… at least for now.

So here are some obligatory random comments (good & bad) about 2019 nominations:

• Not a single female directors nominated?? 😦

The UN Women twitter pic above is downright disheartening, especially since I think there are a bunch of worthy films from female directors… Josie Rourke with Mary, Queen of Scots and Debra Granik with Leave No Trace, among others. While you’re at it, check out my interview with Debra on making the film.

Granik directing Thomasin McKenzie in LEAVE NO TRACE

Netflix is becoming even more of a force to be reckoned with… rivaling big studios in raking in nominees. It’s got 15 nominations thanks to Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA leading with 10 nods, including the coveted Best Picture. How awesome that first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio got a nod in Best Actress, she’s apparently a preschool teacher who didn’t know much about the film industry and barely spoke any English at the time. [Note to self: gotta watch ROMA this weekend!]

Speaking of a Foreign Language film that’s highly-personal to the filmmaker AND set in black & white, glad to see COLD WAR getting recognition with 3 Oscars, including Best Director for Paweł Pawlikowski.

I LOVE this sultry, intensely-passionate romance drama, which was inspired by the love story of Pawel’s own parents!

Whoa! Sixth nominations!! I thought her performance as Lynne Cheney in VICE (once again co-starring with Christian Bale) was terrific. Sadly I don’t think this is Amy Adams‘ year yet, I’m convinced Regina King will take home the statuette.

Happy to see documentary filmmaker Bing Liu getting an Oscar nom on his first film Minding The Gap, wow! I got to meet him last year when he received an award from MSPIFF, here he is with Minnesota’s own film legend Al Milgrom. I actually missed his film at the fest, that’s one I gotta watch real soon!

I know there’ll be all kinds of people hating on Black Panther getting a nomination. But you won’t be hearing it from me. I think it’s well-deserved… a masterful work by director Ryan Coogler that made it so much more than a superhero movie. I highly doubt it’ll actually win Best Picture though, but it’s already made history for being nominated. Oh and with seven nods, I have a feeling it’ll win a couple forBest Costume Design (Ruth E. Carter) and Best Production Design (Hannah Beachler). How awesome would it be if both black women win in those categories!!

It’s no surprise Bradley Cooper is an Academy’s favorite, but I thought he deserved a Best Director nod as much as his acting one. Can you believe it he’s been nominated for an Oscar four times?? Just like his former co-star Amy Adams though, I don’t think this is his year to win an acting Oscar.

Where’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? for Best Documentary??? The Mister Rogers biopic seems poised to be shortlisted… it certainly one of the most moving films I’ve seen all year! I’d say that’s one of the biggest snubs this year.

I know some people are outraged that If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man didn’t get more love. Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle were each other’s biggest rival two years ago with Moonlight & La La Land, and I heavily championed Moonlight to win. But this year, I wasn’t as in love with If Beale Street Could Talk though I find it far more moving and memorable than First Man. So no, no complaints from me that neither one of those movies get a nod.

Now I haven’t even seen You Were Never Really Here but based on what I read so far, sounds like Joaquin Phoenix AND writer/director Lynne Ramsay are both snubbed this year.

I have to catch up on three Best Picture nominees… BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Roma. Of the five I have seen, my least favorite is actually The Favourite [gasp!] Now, I didn’t hate the movie [please don’t resort to hyperbole like the rest on social media], I just don’t think it was as great as the critics made it to be and I actually find it irritating at times. My friend Cindy just did a post about it which highlights some of the things that bothered me. I do think all three actresses are terrific playing such hard-to-root-for characters. I’m especially thrilled to see Olivia Colman finally getting the recognition she deserved!

Olivia Colman in The Favourite

My last comment is on a highly controversial movie Green Bookwell, I’m glad it got nominated! I’ve mentioned it on my Top 10 list post that I see this movie as a beautiful story of friendship set during the dark times in American South ripe with racial discrimination. I’m also thrilled to see Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali each get an acting nod! I’ll be torn between Viggo and Christian Bale in the Best Actor race… my gut says this will be Bale’s year to get another Oscar.

Well, there are more that could be said about this year’s nominees but if I continue, I’ll never post this thing.

The 91st Annual Academy Awards will air on Feb. 24 on ABC.

Well, everyone’s got an opinion. What are your thoughts on the Oscars nominations?

16 thoughts on “Musings on 2019 Oscars nominations

  1. You make some valid points overall Ruth. Regarding female filmmakers it’s a shame about the director category, and on a side note I was hoping Sandi Tan ‘s Shirkers would be nominated in feature documentary. On the bright side, Nadine Labaki is the first ever Lebanese director nominated for an oscar in the foreign film category. And in Best Short Film (Animated) category the majority of films are directed by women 🙂 I like personal films and Cold War sounds good (playing at my local arthouse cinema at the moment so I’ll try and get to it)

    1. Hey Chris! Thanks for pointing out about Nadine Labaki, that is super cool! Nice to hear that many in the Short Films category are directed by women.

      COLD WAR is astounding, definitely worth a watch if you like art house cinema. It’s also a very personal film for the filmmaker.

  2. Thanks for the shout out, Ruth. No love for Keira this year. I thought ‘Colette’ was better than The Favourite. I, too, ranked highly The Greenbook’ The best bit about the film is Olivia Colman’s performance. She was the only actor keeping me interested.
    No one mentioned the performance by Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde. A fabulous job!

    1. Oh man, I actually haven’t seen Colette yet! I really should check that out now that it’s rent-able. Glad you like The Green Book as well, seems like we’re in line with many of the movies, esp. The Favourite.

      Haven’t seen Everett’s Oscar Wilde movie, it doesn’t seem to be getting much attention for some reason. Btw you should really see COLD WAR, I have a feeling you’d like that one.

  3. I’ve only seen two films that were nominated for best picture, Roma and Black Panther, so I don’t think I can give my thoughts on which actors or films were robbed of a nomination or who deserved it. As I mentioned before, Roma was a well made film but personally I don’t think it’s anything special. To be honest, I really have no desire to see any of the other films that were nominated for best picture except The Favorite. I only want to see that one because of its director.

    1. I really need to see ROMA soon! You’ve seen LEAVE NO TRACE right Ted? That one should’ve been nominated. The Favourite is worth renting for sure, but I actually like The Lobster more from that director.

      1. No, I haven’t seen Leave No Trace yet, still waiting for it to hit either Netflix or Amazon Prime. This year feels kind of weird to me when it comes to these prestigious films. Film like WIDOWS somehow totally was ignored by all these Oscar voters and I thought it would be raking up nominations comes Oscar time.

    1. I’m still astonished that Bohemian Rhapsody and Rami Malek have gotten so far this award season. Haven’t seen the movie yet but wow, didn’t expect it’s THAT good.

  4. I don’t think Mary, Queen of Scots is good enough to earn a best picture or director nomination, but the omission of Leave No Trace, and its Debra Granik is shocking.

    You have to see You Were Never Really Here, BlacKkKlansman, and Roma, they are all sensational. Bohemian Rhapsody is flawed but fun.

    1. Yeah perhaps The Favourite is regarded as a more ‘accomplished’ film but I certainly enjoyed Mary, Queen of Scots a lot more. But yeah it’s a travesty that LEAVE NO TRACE was snubbed!!

      I actually tried to watch ROMA but decided to watch something else more um, cheerful. I’ll revisit it at some point. BlacKkKlansman is one I can’t wait to check out!

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