Random Thoughts – 2019 Oscar Nominations


And here we are again. Another year gone and another batch of fresh Oscar nominations to talk about, stew on, and grumble over. As is always the case the Academy gave us a handful of surprises, far more frustrations, and several choices that still boggle the mind. As I’m prone to do, here are a few random thoughts about this year’s head-scratching Academy Award nominations. 

  • Let me get this out of the way. “Vice”? Really? Eight nominations for Adam McKay’s messy, bloated, and utterly boring political manifesto disguised as a biopic? Is this a case of Hollywood voting politics over quality? It’s a legitimate question.
  • For some weird reason only eight movies make up the Best Picture field, and of those eight only one made my Top 20 (“Roma”). They really had to room for “First Man”or “If Beale Street Could Talk”? More on those later.
  • Thankfully the ludicrous Best Popular Film category was shelved but it looks like the Academy made up for it. “Black Panther”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and “A Star is Born” all get Best Picture nods.
  • In the category of Best Song you have the sure-fire winner “Shallow” from “A Star is Born”. But I screamed with joy when I heard “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”. Of course it won’t win, but it’s one of 2018’s best musical moments.
  • Sadly nothing for “Mission:Impossible – Fallout”. But who thought there would be?
  • For the rest of my days I’ll always think of one thing come Oscar nomination time – Dick Poop. What can I say? My wife tells me I’m easily amused. Not sure what I’m talking about? Go to YouTube and type ‘Dick Poop Academy’. now back to the nominees…
  • What to make of the messy Best Director lot? Bradley Cooper is being considered the biggest snub. Pawel Pawlikowski was the one no one saw coming. But its the crappy additions of McKay (“Vice”) and Lanthimos (“The Favourite”) who clog up the category.
  • Once again the Academy shows no love for female directors. Only five women have ever been nominated in the category. This year Debra Granik and Lynne Ramsay would have been great additions but when you cram in the likes of McKay…
  • And once again no room for Barry Jenkins (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) or Damien Chazelle (“First Man”) for Best Director? But when you cram in the likes of McKay…
  • Spike Lee’s nomination for “BlacKkKlansman” was actually his first EVER for directing.
  • The Academy fell hard for “The Favourite” handing it 10 nominations. I still don’t see the appeal. I found it to be shallow, humorless and pointlessly dark-hearted. But what do I know?
  • Sam Rockwell gets a Supporting Actor nomination for “Vice”? Look I love Rockwell, but he looked like he was doing a SNL skit. I might be onboard if the award was for Best Imitation. Bad choice Academy.
  • Marina de Tavira gets a Supporting Actress nod at the expense of a much more deserving Claire Foy (“First Man”). This glaring omission makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Speaking of “First Man”, it was all but forgotten by the Academy voters this year. What a shame. Nothing for Best Picture, nothing for Chazelle, nothing for Foy. It was even shut out of a category is was thought to have a chance to win – Best Score. But at least “Vice” got eight nominations.
  • Love the Adam Driver nomination for Supporting Actor. It wasn’t necessarily a surprise but as this year proves you never know.
  • I read where the Academy has a history of snubbing documentaries that actually do well at the box office. That was certainly the case for the fabulous “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”. Not even a nomination? Give me a break.
  • Oh, and nothing for “Three Identical Strangers”. Hmmm.
  • Best Actor…sigh. To be honest there are some really strong performances in this category. But in my lone personal opinion I see the category as incomplete without Ethan Hawke for “First Reformed”. It’s career best work and deserving of the statue, not just the nomination.
  • And speaking of Best Actor, wouldn’t it have been great to see John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“You Were Never Really There”) get some nomination love?
  • Again, the Academy couldn’t find room for “If Beale Street Could Talk” in the Best Picture field? In fact, they barely found room for it anywhere. Sad. It’s a better film than his Oscar-adorned “Moonlight”.
  • My Oscar enthusiasm dropped even more when Emily Blunt wasn’t nominated for either “A Quiet Place” or “Mary Poppins Returns”. Let us all join hands and shed a collective tear in unison.
  • No Timothee Chalamet for Supporting Actor? I’ll admit, I’m surprised. There’s a good chance the weird Rockwell nomination took his spot.
  • Oh, and no Michael B. Jordan for “Black Panther”. Wasn’t there a time when he was a lock? Maybe that February release removed Jordan from some voters’ memories. Again, a better choice than Rockwell.
  • Some are looking at “Crazy Rich Asians” as a big snub. While I like that film, it’s hardly Oscar-worthy stuff. Here we get a rare bit of reality from the Academy.
  • While both “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” received nominations (much to the chagrin of social media), does anyone else get the feeling that their run is pretty much done? Malek is a possible Best Actor contender, but otherwise you get the sense that both films may have run out of gas.
  • An actual year with no token Meryl Streep nomination? Woo Hoo!
  • We actually have some drama in a couple of categories. Best Actress could be the most interesting with Lady Gaga, Olivia Colman, and Glenn Close all in the running.
  • Has “Roma” positioned itself as the Best Picture front-runner? I would like to think so but don’t be so sure. It’s also in the Best Foreign Language category which could be problematic for its Best Picture chances. Being in both categories could easily split votes allowing another film to sneak in and take the biggest prize of the night.
  • Netflix has to be smiling. With a big showing for “Roma” and a couple of surprising (and welcomed) nominations for “Buster Scruggs”, the streaming giant has finally broken through. Should have happened with “Mudbound”.
  • The Best Original Screenplay group makes my head hurt. The writing is one of the worst things about “Vice”.  It’s far from a strength in “The Favourite”. “Green Book” was fine but Oscar-worthy? At least Paul Schrader made the cut.
  • Adapted Screenplay is far more interesting. “Beale Street”, “Buster Scruggs”, “BlacKkKlansman”, all worthy competitors.
  • “Never Look Away” gets a nomination for “Best Cinematography”. I’ve never seen it so I can’t speak to its credibility. But I don’t remember anyone having it among their predictions.
  • “Black Panther” ended up with seven nominations, something that was all but channeled back in February. It was destined for a Best Picture nomination and is the first Marvel movie to get one. But is it really one of the year’s best movies?
  • There were so many great performances from young actors and actresses but all were shunned by the Academy. Elsie Fisher had the best shot but both she and “Eighth Grade” ended up with zilch.
  • I haven’t seen “Burning” but had heard nothing but praise. Not seeing it’s name among the Best Foreign Language films was quite a surprise.

So those are a few random thoughts (perhaps better worded as ‘random gripes’). What did you think of this morning’s announcements?

66 thoughts on “Random Thoughts – 2019 Oscar Nominations

      • I know man. It has me really curious. Why would this performance be pushed aside. Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but does Hawke’s performance not fit the mold they’re going for this year?

  1. As you insinuated, I think the interesting category to watch this year is Best Actress. I really could see Close winning. I’m rooting overall for The Greenbook.
    Great wrap up, Keith.

    • Close, Gaga, and Colman…that could be really fun. And while “Roma” has the appearance of a frontrunner, I don’t really think the Best Picture has a clear favorite. I dunno. It’s such a weird group of nominees throughout.

  2. Some of the worst fields I have seen in my admittedly short time following the run-up to the Oscars. I think this year proves it empirically that I need not bother really caring about the show at all. The Blunt and Collette snubs are really infuriating.

    • I think you’re right. Generally speaking this year’s batch of nominees doesn’t excite me at all. I still find myself intrigued for a couple of reasons, but it’s hard to muster genuine excitement.

      • Yeah, truth be told it’s never the Academy that can make us think or feel. Its up to us, what speaks to us on a personal level. Which is why it doesn’t make much sense for me to get so frustrated with what “they” decide. I guess the thing is the Oscars are so public and have notoriety it is annoying to see these large groups come to certain decisions that we don’t agree with. I find more and more distance forming between myself and those decision makers.

      • All true statements. I find myself drawn more to the conversations they provoke more so than the actual awards. I still have a soft spot for them mainly due to the long history. But slowly I’m growing more and more annoyed by them. That’s a shame.

      • And still these nights are good for at least one or two moments of genuine humility. I remember Matthew McConaughey’s and Jared Leto’s speeches well when they won for Dallas Buyers Club. Those were some pretty powerfully motivating speeches. Idk. I probably will tune in, but won’t post anything about it. That said, still gotta put together my own version of Best of the Year, and everyone better agree with me on my choices. Or else. 😉 😀

  3. Kinda reeling at how First Man was virtually shut out. At least Beale Street got Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress. I would’ve pegged Justin Hurwitz as a frontrunner for Best Score. Vice is definitely gonna be the talk of the week, much to its dismay. Acting noms aren’t a surprise (I mean sure Sam Rockwell’s okay as Bush, but isn’t it nice to see the guy?) but Best Picture? Best Director? All deference to McKay, that’s a fill-in slot if I’ve ever seen one.

    Also, I’ll be pouring pepto bismol whiskeys all day for my fallen homie Ethan Hawke.

    • Great points. The more I think about the “First Man” snub the more it ticks me off. And how does Hurwitz not even get a nomination? And Foy? I’m about to start rambling again.

      As for “Vice”, think of all the great movies and performances that were left out in order to applaud McKay and his…movie. Ugh….

  4. First I’ll post what I wrote when I saw the announcement, and then I’ll reply to your points.

    “There are disapointments, some surprising and some not.

    No Timothée Chalamet. No WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? No BURNING. THE DEATH OF STALIN, EIGHTH GRADE and SORRY TO BOTHER YOU aren’t up for the screenplay categories. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE PART 6 isn’t up for any technical categories. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY and VICE over IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK for Best Picture. VICE over A STAR IS BORN for Best Directing and Best Editing. MARY POPPINS RETURNS over ANNIHILATION, FIRST MAN and A QUIET PLACE for Best Score. CHRISTOPHER ROBIN over ANT-MAN & THE WASP for Best Visual Effects. MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS over BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY for Best Makeup/Hairstyling.

    That being said… 2 foreign films up for Best Directing and 3 up for Best Cinematography. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS getting nominated in any category is already a surprise, but Best Adapted Screenplay was a shock. Willem Dafoe, Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Paul Schrader and WHEN A COWBOY TRADES HIS SPURS FOR WINGS weren’t left behind. And BLACK PANTHER isn’t up for Best Visual Effects (said to be one of its least good aspects).”

    1) I also didn’t like VICE that much, but I doubt politics had to do with its nomination, especially since it’s been nominated by all kinds of organizations.
    2) WHEN A COWBOY TRADES HIS SPURS FOR WINGS was one of my favorite songs last year (of any genre), so I had the same reaction. Well, I also react that way when a movie/person thought to have small chances of getting nominated makes the cut.
    3) GREEN BOOK won the PGA Award, so I think it has a lot of chances of winning.
    4) But MUDBOUND *was* nominated.

    • GREAT points with your surprises and snubs. I wish I felt the same way about the “Vice” voting. I certainly can’t say with any real certainty, but it seems like the Academy fell even deeper in love with it than the other awards. You could be right about “Green Book”. It just seems like it has been losing steam. The PGA is usually a pretty reliable indicator though. You are correct about “Mudbound” being nominated but it was never considered as having an actual chance at winning. I should have been clearer.

  5. While I am happy that BlackKklansman, Roma, and Black Panther got some deserving nominations. The fact that Ethan Hawke got snubbed as well as some of the “safe” choices for Best Picture nominees have been selected does piss me off. I’m not sure if I’ll watch the Oscars this year for some reason. Plus for the love of those with decent taste in music, please, please, please, please, please do not give Diane Warren an Oscar. She is a horrible songwriter with some of the worst lyrics ever written. I hate that bitch. Give it to Lady Gaga.

    • I think Gaga has that one in the bag. Then again who knows with this wacky year. I love hearing from others who also think the Hawke snub is pathetic. What is it about that film that has pushed voters away?

  6. Enjoyed reading your thoughts. It is indeed a pity about female directors this year and I, too, do not understand the fuss about Vice. Ethan Hawke should have definitely been nominated for “First Reformed”, and wasn’t in July we were all shouting in the wordpress community about the possible nomination of Toni Collette for “Hereditary”? Where is that now?

    I have reviewed “Burning” and was far from impressed – very far, actually. It was a stylish movie, but I had such big issues with it. I guess when you read the story the film is based on you can sense the atmosphere of tension and uncertainty because the reader gets in the mind of the narrator or character, but nothing like that transpired into the film. There was zero mystery there for me, simply none, and what’s worse I thought it was all rather pointless. Looks like the Academy agrees with me 🙂 (though it did make a shortlist).

  7. I’m not sure I was expecting it, but I was more hoping that Emily Blundt would get a nod for Mary Poppins Returns. Especially considering the shoes she had to fill, I thought she did an amazing job with the role. I really enjoyed that movie very much. I was also surprised to not see more First Man nods, and no Best Picture nod for Beale Street. But the biggest shock of all, as you pointed out, is no Meryl Streep nomination for a change!!!

    • Ha Ha! What will the Academy do without Meryl? And I’m 100% with you on Blunt. Just an incredible actress. She had two tremendous performances this year.

  8. One thing I did like that came out of left field was the inclusion of Paweł Pawlikowski for Best Director. Cold War’s not a perfect film, but the direction is solid, and given that a majority of Oscar viewers likely haven’t heard or know much about Pawlikowski makes the nomination more exciting.

    Still, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a performance as good as Ethan Hawke’s in First Reformed this past year, or a movie as ornate as Beale Street.

    • I thought the Pawlikowski nomination was intriguing. I’m really interested in that movie. Unfortunately it never opened anywhere near me which is really frustrating.

      The Hawke omission and the “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” snub are glaring. They make it really hard for me to take those categories seriously.

  9. When you look across the BP category, it’s amazing to see the acknowledgement of difference: three films about race (Black Panther maybe less so, but there you have it), 1 genuine period film (because the Academy loves history), a couple of musicals, a political drama and a foreign film. It’s a legit four-quadrant selection, what’s not be happy about? Okay, sure, they’re not all equally great films (i’m stil to see green Book, Vice and the Favourite) but the representation here is excellent, IMO. Happy Cooper and Gaga got acting noms, and I’m more than pleased (as you are) about “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings”, and I’m ecstatic about Sam Elliot’s nod for supporting actor, he damn near made me cry in that part.

    • I would answer that difference is indeed nice. But is it now about difference over quality? I really do hope that isn’t the Academy’s approach to BP or any category. Suddenly it’s no longer about the ‘the best’ movies.

  10. I must have overlooked something about Ethan Hawkes performance in First Reformed. I didn’t think his acting was convincing in doing all the things at the ending. hes an alcoholic yes, but also a good person. he isnt like a Travis Bickle who is a bit off from the start. maybe it was also the screenplay. the ending just didn’t achieve the power it was going for. it seems to be one of those that’s better thought about then watched. just my opinion. but I did like the first half very much.

  11. I must have overlooked something about Ethan Hawkes performance in First Reformed. I didn’t think his acting was convincing in doing all the things at the ending. hes an alcoholic yes, but also an educated good person. he isnt like a Travis Bickle who is a bit off from the start. maybe it was also the screenplay. the ending just didn’t achieve the power it was going for i thought. it seems to be one of those that’s better thought about then watched. just my opinion. but I did like the first half very much.

    • I have heard from a couple of people who didn’t quite go for Hawke’s performance. Obviously I thought it was amazing. I felt he conveyed a deep loneliness as well as a real crisis of faith. It’s a painful role that offers no real promising outcome. I also really liked that it was unlike anything Hawke had done before.

      • i thought he played some of the aspects well, like the loneliness. But am guessing the crisis part must be challenging for any actor. I still like watching Ethan Hawke’s movies and some of his performances. Have you seen Predestination?

      • Actually I haven’t seen Predestination. I’ve heard interesting takes on it. Oh, and if you are looking for good Hawke performances, check out Maudie. So good.

      • i think Predestination is one of the most boundary-pushing films I have seen, for what that’s worth. it might be too ridiculous for some. but a must see, i think. and yes I have seen Maudie. completely agree. probably Hawkes best performance.

  12. There are days when I agree with you and then there are days like today when I DOUBLE agree with you. Yes to just about everything expressed here. I’m not overly excited about any of the noms this year, but I am interested in seeing how Best
    Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Director turn out.

    Also, I had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN about the “popular” category the Academy had previously touted. What happened with that? I guess the uproar reached their ears. If Crazy Rich Asians ever had a shot at taking Oscar home it was likely in that category. Although I’m unsure how it would’ve fared against the likes of Black Panther and A Star is Born (which would almost certainly have been contenders). I’m disappointed that there wasn’t more room for Beale Street…but I guess “that’s what happens when you cram in the likes of McKay”… LOL

    • Was I little over-the-top with my “Vice” frustrations! I tried to be. LOL.

      The Best Popular Movie category was indeed shelved after the backlash and it being labeled the Black Panther category. I think that whole idea blew up in their face.

  13. Most certainly a kind of perplexing year for Oscar noms. With you on Vice, I enjoy more of that movie than you but 8 noms is pushing it, 4 I could get down with.

    Wish more overall love was given to Hereditary, Searching, Mid90s, The Old Man and the Gun (great direction, score, and lead actor), First Reformed, and Sorry to Bother You (it’s a bizarre screenplay but Best Original Screenplay was something I think it would have been qualified and worthy of).

  14. Pingback: About Me… Blogs I Follow (Jan 2019) – Love Popcorn

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