The Motion Picture Academy announced the Oscar nominations Tuesday morning. I’m not making any guesses, but here are my thoughts:
Roma is unquestionably the best film I saw that opened in 2018, but I doubt it will win. Alfonso Cuarón’s look back at his childhood home is only the 10th foreign-language film to get nominated for Best Picture, and none of the other nine won. I hope this year will change that pattern. But I also loved BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, and A Star is Born. I liked Green Book and The Favourite, but nowhere near as much as the others. I have yet to see Bohemian Rhapsody or Vice, so I have no opinion on them.
Whether or not Roma wins Best Picture, Alfonso Cuaron should get his second Best Director Oscar for it (the first was for Gravity). But there’s a good chance that Spike Lee will get the nod for BlacKkKlansman, since he’s made so many great films and was never honored for them.
The various acting awards
Yalitza Aparicio and Lady Gaga, both new to the screen, gave Oscar-worthy performances that deserve to win Best Actress. I have no real opinion for Best Actor this year; there are some good performances but no one stood up against the others. I’d love to see Sam Elliott win Best Supporting Actor just because he’s Sam Elliot.
The two screenplay awards
I’m appalled that Paul Schrader’s First Reformed only received one nomination: Original Screenplay. For that reason alone, I want it to win. For Best Adapted Screenplay, I’d have a tough time choosing between A Star is Born and BlacKkKlansman.
I saw all the nominees in this category, including Never Look Away, which won’t open in Bay Areas until February. Curiously, three of the five are foreign, and two are in black and white. I’m rooting again for Roma, shot by the director himself, Alfonso Cuaron.
Best Documentary Feature
I saw a lot of documentaries last year, yet only two of them were nominated: RBG and Free Solo. I’d be happy with either of them. But I would take the not-nominated Three Identical Strangers over either of them.
Best Foreign-Language Film
What if Roma wins this category and Best Picture? That should be interesting. I’ve seen all five nominees for this award, and here’s how I place them from best to worst: Roma, Capernaum, Cold War, Shoplifters, and Never Look Away.