My Thoughts on the Oscar Nominations

The Motion Picture Academy announced the Oscar nominations Tuesday morning. I’m not making any guesses, but here are my thoughts:

Best Picture

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.

Best Director

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.

Best Cinematography

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.

5 thoughts on “My Thoughts on the Oscar Nominations

  1. It was a great year with not only the titles mentioned above, but Eighth Grade, Support the Girls, Beautiful Boy, Sorry to Bother You, etc. That said, I agree, Roma towered over them all.

  2. I just don’t understand the critical enthusiasm for Black Panther. I saw it, and thought it was pretty good for what it was- another loud, pointlessly action packed, mildly entertaining (as long as you didn’t expect too much depth). Marvel Universe summer movie, only this time nearly all the actors were black, instead of white. Laudable, certainly, but “best” of anything? Hardly. As I said, I just don’t get it.

    1. Well, the Academy likes nothing more than to honor films that show the importance of Hollywood, which BP certainly does. It also wants to be increasingly relevant to the young. Maybe most importantly, except for its first year and Sunrise, Art hasn’t been its single criteria. Utility has always been a factor and Black Panther overflows with it. I can’t begin to guess the importance of representation here, but it does seem connected to relevancy, and that understandibly seems essential to many viewers and reviewers. I do know 28 years ago I harshly judged Thelma & Louise (Best Screenplay winner… Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actress [twice] nominees) solely on artist merit, and the older I get the more strange that seems when occasionally hearing female friends of an age proudly reference it. For the record, looking at the Best Picture nominees that year, I don’t think Prince of Tides, Bugsy, or even the winner, Silence of the Lambs, is more relevant to a section of the public.

      1. Point taken, Lincoln. I guess “Best Picture” can mean a lot of things, including “Picture That Best Makes Us Look Good”. Certainly seems more about politics than art, but artists and whores (and politicians) have always had a lot in common.

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