91st Academy Award Nominations: ‘Roma’ And ‘The Favourite’ Lead The Pack

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve got ourselves an OSCAR RACE! That’s right, the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were announced this morning, and perhaps even more so than the last few years, this is a wide-open race, with every prediction feeling like a shot-in-the-dark.

Let’s start at the top, shall we? Unsurprisingly, The Favourite leads the pack with ten nominations, thanks to its period design, killer script, and terrific acting – not to mention the stunning nomination for Yorgos Lanthimos, who defied the odds to get a Directing nom. However, what is surprising is the fact that not only did Netflix’s Roma become the first streaming film to receive a Best Picture nomination, but it tied The Favourite for the most nominations. While Roma missed out on a key Editing nomination that would have made Alfonso Cuarón the most nominated man in Academy history, it did receive shocking nominations in Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and two acting nominations that were not expected – the highly coveted final slots in Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress went to Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, respectively. In a normal year, one of these films would be your frontrunner. However, this is not a normal year, as the PGA winner and DGA contender Green Book also had a tidy little day, although not as impressive as it would have liked. Green Book was nominated for five nominations, ranging from the expected, like Best Picture and Best Actor, to the mostly deserved, like Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, to the completely baffling – hi, Best Editing! Again, if this was a normal year, this film would instantly become your frontrunner. However, Peter Farrelly, the film’s director, missed out on the key Directing nomination that would have secured the film the win, thus leaving its fate also in limbo. And finally, there’s BlacKkKlansman, which broke all barriers by finally earning Spike Lee, the man behind Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, and 25th Hour, nominations for both Best Picture and Best Director (shockingly, his first time in both fields). The film missed out on earning a nomination for John David Washington, but it still performed beyond expectations, earning nominations for Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score (yay!), and Best Editing.

Along with Klansman and Roma, another barrier was shattered by Black Panther, which became the first superhero film ever to be nominated for Best Picture. Panther didn’t earn any above-the-line nominations outside of Picture (as I predicted), but it fared pretty well below the line, earning nominations for Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design (no Makeup or Visual Effects, though, which is surprising). And perhaps most surprising of all is the general love felt for Vice, which not only earned its expected nominations in Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Makeup, and Best Editing, but also somehow dragged Adam McKay into the fray for Best Director and Sam Rockwell in for Best Supporting Actor (considering his George W. Bush essentially amounts to a well-acted cameo, I’m a little disappointed to see this). Which leaves two nominees to talk about, and one of them was our perceived frontrunner, A Star Is Born. For most of the season, A Star Is Born was ahead of the crowd – the most nominations throughout most shows, a massive box office return, and nominations at every conceivable guild in town. And today, it managed to rake in eight nominations. Now, in any other circumstance, eight nominations would be a miracle. That’s a great number, and an indicator of widespread love. Unfortunately, when you break those eight down, you realize that those nominations are a death warrant. The two biggest awards indicators, Best Director and Best Editing, are conspicuously absent from A Star Is Born’s awards haul. That’s right: Bradley Cooper was not nominated for Best Director. This is a snub of Ben Affleck proportions (perhaps even bigger, because Cooper’s direction was much more influential to the final product than Affleck’s), and the worst part is without that Editing nomination, there is little to no chance that the film can capitalize on an Argo-esque snub narrative to win the day. Still, it is exciting to see Lady Gaga earn two nominations, Cooper get nominated in three categories, including Acting and Writing, and Sam Elliott finally earn his first nomination after almost forty years in the business. Meanwhile, our final nomination came for Bohemian Rhapsody, which earned a whopping five nominations, and while it is hard to argue with the four it got, that fifth one is the kicker. Rhapsody earned nominations for star Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, both Sound Editing (bad) and Sound Mixing (good), and Best Editing, which is surprising, but makes sense (it is pretty well cut together, I must admit), as well as a bafflingly bad Best Picture nomination. It lands as something of a dud on a pretty interesting Best Picture field.

The rest of the nominees provided a wide variety of snubs and surprises. The craziest categories are, by far, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. Cinematography managed to maintain most of its expected nominees, thanks to The Favourite, Roma, and A Star Is Born. However, instead of the predicted nominees like If Beale Street Could Talk or First Man (more on that in a minute), we got Cold War (which I predicted) and Never Look Away (which I did not). Between Roma, Cold War, and Never Look Away, that marks three foreign language films competing for Best Cinematography – a first for the Academy, unless you count The Passion of the Christ. Meanwhile, Best Editing is even weirder. Frankly, the only real “lock” here that showed up was Vice; while I predicted BlacKkKlansman, it was seen as something more of an outlier coming in. Still, it’s not as weird as the nominations for The Favourite (a good pick), Bohemian Rhapsody (an understandable pick) and Green Book (hahahahah what are we doing here fellas). This means Roma and A Star Is Born, two films that were desperately in need of the nom, and deserving of the nom, didn’t make it in. What a weird ass year. As for the snubs, the acting categories gave us two big surprises in the lack of Emily Blunt for Mary Poppins Returns or Timothée Chalamet for Beautiful Boy. While I understand about Chalamet (even though people mostly liked his performance, the film is pretty bad), Blunt was seen as something of a near-lock, and her snub here seems like further evidence that it will take Blunt a long time to finally earn her overdue nomination. Also snubbed was Won’t You Be My Neighbor in Best Documentary, left out in favor of a series of indie docs and RBG (a film that is 2/3 of an excellent documentary and then a shoddy third act to wrap it all up). This is a stunning blow to one of the highest-grossing documentaries of all time, and an egg on the Documentary branch of the Academy’s face (which, at this point, is mostly egg). And finally, the Academy has made it abundantly clear that they just did not like First Man, presumably because they have no taste. While it did get nominations in Production Design, Visual Effects, and both Sound categories, it was left out of the three categories that it wasn’t just expecting a nomination for, but expected to win: Film Editing, Cinematography, and above all else, Best Score. They didn’t nominate the greatest score of the year! Honestly, f*ck you, Academy (jk I love you please don’t leave me).

In terms of the surprises, there are many, ranging from the exciting to the infuriating. The biggest shock of the day is that Pawel Pawlikowski has earned a nomination for Best Director for his work on Cold War, thanks to a whisper campaign around town and a last second push. He becomes the second director in the modern era to earn a Best Director nomination without a Best Picture nomination. Also shocking is the fact that Paul Schrader has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay for First Reformed – not because he isn’t deserving, but because this is the first nomination for the man behind Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ, Raging Bull, and Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters. Ethan and Joel Coen’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has outperformed expectations with three nominations, for Best Costume Design, Best Original Song, and surprisingly, Best Adapted Screenplay (everyone assumed it was original, and would compete there). I’m excited to report that Christopher Robin has earned a surprise (and deserving!) nomination for Best Visual Effects, due to the gorgeous, realistic texture of the teddy bear’s fur. And finally, I am disappointed to report that the fifth nomination for Best Actor went to Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate. Not because I don’t like Dafoe – he’s one of my favorite actors. It’s just that At Eternity’s Gate is one of the most infuriating, offensive, dull, and awful films I’ve seen in a long time, and he does not deserve this nomination over Ethan Hawke, John David Washington, or even Joaquin Phoenix.

So those are our Oscar nominees. As you can see, I went 88/121 in my predictions, thanks to a continuing combination of 5/5 and 2/5. I honestly don’t know where we go from here, although I will have some predictions up for you all in the coming weeks. And I’m excited to note that I only have Buster Scruggs, Foreign Language Films, and the Documentaries to see in order to catch up! The Oscars ceremony will be held on February 24th, and it will have no host. I will see you all then.

Best Picture

  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born
  • Vice

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale – Vice
  • Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
  • Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate
  • Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Viggo Mortensen – Green Book

Best Actress

  • Yalitza Aparicio – Roma
  • Glenn Close – The Wife
  • Olivia Colman – The Favourite
  • Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born
  • Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor

  • Mahershala Ali – Green Book
  • Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman
  • Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born
  • Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Sam Rockwell – Vice

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams – Vice
  • Marina De Tavira – Roma
  • Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Emma Stone – The Favourite
  • Rachel Weisz – The Favourite

Best Director

  • Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
  • Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite
  • Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
  • Adam McKay – Vice
  • Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Favourite
  • First Reformed
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • Vice

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • A Star Is Born

Best Animated Feature

  • Incredibles 2
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mirai
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Capernaum
  • Cold War
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma
  • Shoplifters

Best Documentary Feature

  • Free Solo
  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening
  • Minding the Gap
  • Of Fathers and Sons
  • RBG

Best Documentary Short

  • Black Sheep
  • End Game
  • Lifeboat
  • A Night at the Garden
  • End of Sentence

Best Live Action Short

  • Detainment
  • Fauve
  • Marguerite
  • Mother
  • Skin

Best Animated Short

  • Animal Behavior
  • Bao
  • Late Afternoon
  • One Small Step
  • Weekends

Best Original Score

  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mary Poppins Returns

Best Original Song

  • “All The Stars” – Black Panther
  • “I’ll Fight” – RBG
  • “The Place Where Lost Things Go” – Mary Poppins Returns
  • “Shallow” – A Star Is Born
  • “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Best Sound Editing

  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • First Man
  • A Quiet Place
  • Roma

Best Sound Mixing

  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • First Man
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born

Best Production Design

  • Black Panther
  • The Favourite
  • First Man
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Roma

Best Cinematography

  • Cold War
  • The Favourite
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born

Best Costume Design

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • Black Panther
  • The Favourite
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Mary Queen of Scots

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Border
  • Mary Queen of Scots
  • Vice

Best Film Editing

  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Green Book
  • Vice

Best Visual Effects

  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Christopher Robin
  • First Man
  • Ready Player One
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

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