Oscars 2019

My favorite time of year movie-wise again. Actually, that’s debatable because I do love summer blockbuster season as well. But it’s time to obsess over meaningless awards that somehow mean everything. Part of me felt like skipping this post because the uncertainty in some categories has me feeling like I don’t even wanna try. That’s how I am when it comes to competition (even if it’s competition with myself). If I think I can win, I am highly competitive. If I don’t think I can, then I don’t really care at all. Still, there’s no way I really could let myself drop the ball on this one, so here we go, looking at the nominees in each category. You may find me slightly more non-committal than usual this year.

Best Picture:
I usually rank these in my order of preference, but what’s weird is that my favorites aren’t necessarily the ones I think should win. And the race is so unpredictable this year, I honestly have no idea how it’s gonna fall. I’m just gonna leave them here in alpha order.


Black Panther – I love that this got a nomination. The common criticism I’m hearing is that it isn’t even the best superhero movie of the year and that it’s formulaic, but I am behind it getting this spot. I find that while these films do follow a formula, it’s about how you dress them up. And dressing it up with some beautiful culture and layered subtext makes it stand out.


BlacKkKlansman – If I had a vote, I’m pretty sure this is where I’d put it. Well, it’d be a cointoss between this and another we’ll get to. Every element of this is perfection: acting, screenplay, directing, etc. Plus it’s an important film with a timely and urgent message. It’s the total package.

Bohemian Rhapsody – This is the film I’m most conflicted about being here. It’s my favorite on the list, the one I enjoyed most. But I don’t feel it’s Best Picture worthy. Best Actor on the other hand…

The Favourite – There’s one every year. The film that I just didn’t care for. I can get behind it. It’s technically well done and it’s unique, I just got bored halfway thru. It is the one I’m most looking forward to rewatching at the Oscar marathon because I would like to give it a second chance.

Green Book – 20 years ago, this would have been the easy winner. Even today, it’s a potential frontrunner. It’s feelgood and checks off all the boxes. I just don’t think it has as much bite as some of its competition.

Roma – The artsy film snob choice. A foreign film has never won, plus a lot of people are against the Netflix distribution. Still, it’s the most artistically beautiful option, I just think it’s gonna take enough hardware home elsewhere.

A Star is Born – This is the other flip of the coin where my theoretical vote would go. It’s also perfection on all points, and it’s one of the most emotional films on here with a strong and relate-able message. It’s also the most approachable film, and has mass appeal. I feel it’s the people’s choice. Time was when it was the front runner, but it’s lost momentum over time.

Vice – I think this pales in the shadow of The Big Short. The buzz is completely mixed for it. While I liked it, I frankly don’t think it’s as strong as most of the rest of the list.

Lead Actor:
My bday is the day after the Oscars, and the one present I want is for Rami Malek to win this race. I’ve been a huge fan of his for a while, but watching this film, he truly became Freddie Mercury. I was blown away each time I saw it. With each precursor award he picks up, he’s increasing his chances. His biggest competition is Christian Bale. Vice got more nominations but both films aren’t universally loved. The Academy may feel bad about snubbing Bradley Cooper for director and reward him here for his best ever performance. But I think the tie breaker between Bale and Malek is going to come down to the fact that Rami has been so graciously accepting awards and putting the spotlight back on Freddie Mercury. I think people would be quicker to indirectly honor him than Dick Cheney. At least, that’s what I hope.

Lead Actress:
I enjoyed McCarthy’s performance most because she made such an unlikeable character sympathetic. Colman had the most technically difficult with such a dense and specific screenplay. Gaga impressed me most by creating this incredibly strong and emotional performance for her debut. Close had the most masterful performance that defined the film. Aparicio’s nomination is her victory. I mostly lean towards Close but would be happy with Gaga or a McCarthy upset.

Supporting Actor:
I’m torn between recognizing the long illustrious career of Sam Elliott or the scene stealing, film defining role of Richard E Grant. But Mahersala Ali’s got the momentum. I’d be more in favor if he hadn’t just won two years ago. And I adore Adam Driver, but he’ll get it one day.

Supporting Actress:
I really want Amy Adams to win. She’s been nominated so many times and always gone home empty handed, that I hoped the next time she got on the list, she’d finally take it. But it’s looking like Regina King is the favorite, which is fair. She does give a powerhouse performance. I’m also bummed that Emily Blunt didn’t make the cut, yet again. Some day, Em, some day.

Director:
I would absolutely love for Spike Lee to win this one. Not just because BlacKkKlansman is my favorite on this list, but because he is a legend and deserves to have won. It’s a travesty that his first nod took him so long. This will likely go to Roma, which I’m okay with on the merits of the film, but generally speaking, I prefer to spread out the awards love over repeat winners. I do also love that Yorgos is nominated for The Favourite. Even if it’s not my favorite of his films, I’m happy he’s gotten the honor.

Animated Feature:
Pixar owns this category with originals, but sequels don’t fare as well. Isle of Dogs has some charm, but I truly hope and believe this will go to Spider-Man into the Spider-verse. The stunning animation is reason enough for it to win. It looks unlike anything we’ve seen in theaters before, and is the first comic book film that truly feels like a comic book. Then there’s the significance of a mixed raced minority superhero in the lead. Add in the hilarious screenplay to seal the deal.

Animated Short:
I’m pretty sure Bao is the only one of these that I’ve seen, but I do like it for a win. The cultural significance plus the emotional impact is a pretty winning combination. Even if one of my coworkers once described it as “A chubby guy eats a marshmallow and cries about it” Yes, I realize there are multiple errors in that statement.

Adapted Screenplay:
BlacKkKlansman was one of my favorite screenplays of the year, based on how it’s funny and dramatic and poignant and important all at once. It’d get my vote. Although I do remember predicting this nod for Can You Ever Forgive me right after I saw it. This could also go to Beale Street since it’s very tricky material to work with, and people may be bummed it didn’t get a Best Picture nod.

Original Screenplay:
This should be Blindspotting. No question that was my fave screenplay of the year, but since it wasn’t nominated, ugh I don’t know. None of these really scream out to me. The Favourite is unique, Green Book is a wonderful story, Vice is creative. I really dont know what to expect on this one.

Cinematography:
As beautiful as Roma and Cold War are, I like The Favourite for this, primarily because of the fisheye shots. Who does that? It adds to the quirkiness of the film, and reenforces the fly-on-the-wall-of-the-palace vibe of the film.

Best Documentary Feature:
I saw Won’t You Be My Neighbor and Three Identical Strangers midway thru 2018, and Free Solo soon before nominations were announced. I figured those three plus RBG and something else would be the nominees, and I was determined to make this the first year I saw this category. Then they were announced and it turns out that I’d have four to watch, so um nevermind that. I do think Free Solo is the likely winner (with Minding the Gap as a potential spoiler). It plays out like an action movie and the cinematography is gorgeous, plus it’s super inspiring. I think it transcends the genre in a way that few docs ever manage to do.

Best Documentary Short Subject:
I got nothing here.

Best Live Action Short Film:
I saw one! A friend who is very in the know with this category told me to watch Fauvre, which was beautifully shot and very intense.

Best Foreign Language Film:
This is one of the easiest to call. Roma. No question. I wish Cold War had come out in a different year because that one is equally deserving.

Film Editing:
I don’t know that one particularly sticks out to me here, but I saw Spike Lee on Jimmy Fallon praising his longtime collaborator Barry Alexander Brown. Lee credited Brown for finding that balance in tone between dramatic and comedic, which is probably what I love most about the film. I’m sold. I guess Vice is also pretty good in this category too, huh.

Sound Editing:
First Man is the type of film that does really well here, but I kinda like the idea of A Quiet Place since sound is such a cornerstone of the film.

Sound Mixing:
Music heavy films tend to do well here, so that’d be either Bohemian Rhapsody or A Star is Born. Then again, sciency things do well too, which would be First Man.

Production Design:
I’m gonna become a broken record by the time we’re doing with the more artistic technical categories, but Black Panther’s got the edge because it’s so unlike anything that’s been nominated before. The way they blend African culture into the superhero world and contemporary society is stunning. I also kinda like Roma here for nailing the 1970s Mexico.

Original Score:
My metric for score is, which one did I notice during the movie and think “oh that sounds good”. The week before nominations were announced I was watching BlacKkKlansman and had that thought. I do also like Blank Panther here for doing something different, but personal preference is Klansman.

Original Song:
Does anyone not expect this to go to the very deserving Shallow? Although Ashes from Deadpool 2 shoulda been nominated too.

Makeup and Hair:
I’d initially called this for Mary Queen of Scots because of the hair primarily. I was so impressed with it. But Vice really does make its cast look like their IRL counterparts. And I expect since Vice has some more weight behind it in terms of nominations, it should take it.“

Costume Design:
Time was when The Favourite would be duking it out with Mary Queen of Scots, since periods pieces tend to reign supreme, but I actually think it’ll go to Black Panther. It’s a good spot to reward the best picture nominee, and I think the blend of culture and fantasy elements make these outfits truly unique and memorable in the long run.

Visual Effects:
I really wanna say Ready Player One, since it was my fave movie of the year and The OASIS did look amazing. It’s got a pretty solid shot too, but I think that this might be the Academy’s chance to recognize Avengers Infinity War, not necessarily for the effects (although the snap effects did become instantly iconic) but more to recognize the magnitude of the film overall.

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