Random Thoughts: The 2019 Oscars

random

I’m pretty sure I said the same thing last year – I do love Oscar season. But my excitement for this year’s big Hollywood bash was as low as it has been for years. Last year it was due to the absolute predictability of every major category. The lack of suspense proved to be a killer.

This year’s s actually offered up some genuine intrigue. The problem I had was with the Academy’s glaring snubs and ludicrous omissions. And the batch of Best Picture nominations were far from great (only one of the films made my top 20). Still, I’m a sucker for the show and I went in with my fingers crossed. Could Oscar overcome the series of goof-ups leading up to this year’s broadcast? To be honest, it wasn’t terrible. Here are a few random thoughts.

  • Turns out the ‘No Host’ approach wasn’t too bad. In fact, I would MUCH rather jam out to Queen and Adam Lambert than sit through another aggressively mediocre stand-up routine.
  • Actually I think the Academy showed you could do a show without a host. And it definitely seemed to make it go by quicker.
  • I’m still trying to figure out how “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” didn’t even get a documentary nomination! I guess cramming Fred Rogers into that opening montage was supposed to suffice?
  • “Green Book” took home Best Picture setting many on social media ablaze. Personally I’m fine with it winning especially considering the so-so batch of movies the Academy nominated this year (with the exception of “Roma”).
  • Speaking of “Roma”, I think it is by far the best film of the eight Best Picture nominees. But I put this out several times leading up to the show – would “Roma” winning Best Foreign Language Film cut into its votes for Best Picture? It’s seems a possibility.
  • Or are Academy voters simply not ready to give a Netflix movie its biggest prize? 🤔
  • “Green Book” is the first film since “Argo” to win Best Picture while not being nominated for Best Director. It’s only the fifth time it has happened in the Academy’s 90-year history.

OSCARSCuaron

  • Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”) won well deserved Oscars for Best Director and Best Cinematography. The Academy definitely got these categories right (sorry Spike).
  • I know some people don’t care for the In Memoriam segments but I do. This year’s featured some toughies – Reynolds, Finney, Marshall, Lee, etc.
  • Jason Momoa and Helen Mirren presenting together. Simply epic!
  • I loved Regina King’s win for Supporting Actress and her acceptance speech was amazing. You have to love pure, genuine, heartfelt emotion.
  • “Vice” wins for Best Makeup, the one and only category that it remotely deserved to be nominated for.
  • By the way, someone may want to check. The makeup winners may still be trying to read that piece of paper they had.
  • “Black Panther” gets big wins in Costume Design and Production Design. No arguments here.
  • Mahershala Ali is now a two-time Oscar winner. I’m okay with him winning for Supporting Actor, but I still see him as a co-lead in “Green Book”.
  • “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” wins Best Animated Feature. It’s a good movie but hardly a great one. I would have went with “Isle of Dogs”.
  • “First Man” won for Special Effects. It deserved so much more but I guess we’ll take what we can get. Not sure why the film didn’t resonate with the Academy. I adore it.
  • Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga absolutely crushed it with “Shallow”. It was utterly heart-melting and one of the best Oscar night performances I’ve seen.
  • How many times did ABC go to commercial breaks saying “And coming up Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing Shallow live”? Can’t really blame them. If you’re starved for viewers you want to hold your mainstream attraction as long as you can. Still, its obviousness was pretty funny.
  • And of course “Shallow” won for Best Original Song. I mean who in their right mind would have voted against it?

OscarCooperGaga

  • I do love that When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings was nominated. I don’t like country music but that song was such a perfect fit for that “Buster Scruggs” scene. I’m not sure if the live performance translated that well though.
  • I don’t even remember the score from “Black Panther” yet it wins for Best Original Score. I’m still chapped that “First Man” wasn’t even nominated despite some big (and deserved) wins leading up.
  • It seems Spike Lee wasn’t much into humility or sportsmanship. It started in a pre-show interview where he went on about how he should have already won an Oscar. And apparently he threw a little fit in the theater when his film lost Best Picture to “Green Book”.
  • Ever the complainer, Lee continued in the Oscar press room by saying “Every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose,” and “I thought I was court-side at the Garden and the ref made a bad call.” 🙄 Give it a rest Spike.
  • Olivia Colman gets the surprise Best Actress win for “The Favourite”. It’s a nice performance but nothing that especially stands out. Her acceptance speech though – funny, sweet, and full of surprise and joy.
  • Speaking of “The Favourite”, it went in as one of the most nominated films but left with the one lone statue. I’m okay with that. Not a big fan.
  • I thought Glenn Close had Best Actress in the bag. But to be honest, I felt what Lady Gaga did in “A Star is Born” was more impressive than either Close or Colman.
  • Willem Dafoe was so much fun to listen to in the pre-shows. We all knew he wouldn’t win but I’m so glad he was there. Genuine appreciation and enthusiasm.
  • How could you not laugh at Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry. Definitely the right choices for presenting Costume Design. Those bunnies….

McCarthy Tyree

  • I have to admit to being happy that “Vice” fell short on screenplay, editing, director, and Best Picture. How it was even nominated ahead of so many far more deserving films still blows my mind.
  • Who else loved Mike Myers and Dana Carvey introducing “Bohemian Rhapsody”? It was the “Wayne’s World” reunion I never thought I needed.
  • Rami Malek took home Best Actor, another win that sent social media in a tizzy. I actually didn’t mind Malek’s performance. But let’s be honest, he was the least deserving out of the nominees. I would pair him with Bale, but Dafoe, Mortensen, and Cooper were all considerably better.
  • I don’t claim to be a fashion aficionado, but some of the style from last night…nope.
  • It’s kinda funny watching so much outrage over who won and who lost. It’s not as if the Oscars have the best record when it comes to picking winners. The best thing to do is just enjoy the focus on movies, root when you have a favorite nominated, and don’t be surprised when another movie wins. Oscar night is a lot more fun that way.

So that does it for another Oscar ceremony and another awards season. So what did you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s do it again next year.

51 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: The 2019 Oscars

  1. Great post – enjoyed reading your take. I enjoyed the so-called “diversity” boost, you probably know what I mean, but apart from that I have no thoughts – I found the whole thing rather unexciting and feel underwhelmed.

    • It’s hard to know what to think it terms of their approach to diversity. They certainly made an effort to show it, but does it really change things? I still wasn’t blown away by many of their nominees and still don’t personally believe most of the best films of 2019 were represented. In my opinion the Oscars is just an Awards ceremony. Diversity begins deeper in the industry. Still, I tend to have fun with these shows and I actually enjoyed this one more than I expected to.

  2. Quick thoughts. Didn’t seem the strongest set of films this year. And in other years you can have There Will be Blood and No Country for Old Men. Ali winning Best Supporting Actor reminds me of Viola Davis in Fences. Odd wasn’t for the main award. I’ve only seen the trailer but it looks like a co- lead to me. I wasn’t a huge fan of Black KKKlansmann but Spike Lee has deserved more honours for sure. And I did think it was well edited. Though he’s far from the first Hollywood legend to wait so long. And some don’t even win. Poor Glenn Close too.

    • I was genuinely surprised that Close didn’t win. I felt everything was pointing in her direction. And you’re 100% right on the overall quality of the nominees. I do love Roma, but only like a few others. I did enjoy KKKlansman but it had its issues. Hardly a masterpiece worthy of Spike’s antics.

      • A lot of the time that happens, like with Leonardo di Caprio or Martin Scorcese. It would have been nice to see A Quiet Place get more love. I did like Roma too, but it wasn’t for the script. One of the most beautifully shot films I’ve ever seen.

      • Oh A Quiet Place. I do love that film. I would have loved to have seen Emily Blunt nominated. But like First Man it was all but forgotten.

      • That was an odd omission. But that’s what I want from Original Screenplay. A unique idea or one where the script is really powerful. There was no line of dialogue that really stood out to me in Roma. But I like to be positive and there were some wonderful stories relating to the winners.

      • Roma is an interesting case because it is more of an exploration of one young woman’s life as well as the setting in which she lives in. I was really immersed in that. Still, I don’t think I would have nominated it for screenplay myself.

      • That’s just it. I want more than interesting. For Original I want original, provocative, mind-blowing, clever, razor-sharp etc. I’m such a writer haha. The writing categories I’m always tough on.

  3. Huge surprise with Green Book. I liked it a lot but I wouldn’t have given it the coveted prize. I’m also a bit miffed that it was in some strong categories and, yet again, Viggo was ignored. He was the best thing about it.

    • Viggo was outstanding and more than deserving of Best Actor. I liked Green Book too and I have found many of the criticisms unfair. But you’re right, not really worthy of its coveted prize.

      I bet you were excited for Colman?

      • I was excited for Colman. I’m so happy to finally see this great actress get some recognition. And she was so humble about it too. That was the highlight of the night for me.

      • She was primarily a comedy actress in uk tv show called Peep Show. But You should check out Tyrannosaur from 2011. It’s hard hitting but absolutely brilliant and Colman is magnificent in it. One of the best female performances of recent times.

  4. I’m genuinely surprised that A Star Is Born didn’t win more awards. “Shallow” for Best Original Song was definitely the right decision. A Star Is Born is one of my favorite movies of 2018 and that particular I constantly have on repeat, because it’s that damn good. I never thought much about Lady Gaga when she first arrived on the scene, but I have to say: I underestimated that woman. She’s the real freakin’ deal in terms of talent. I’m certainly paying attention to her now. Bradley Cooper was also amazing. I didn’t watch the Oscars, because I tend to think that those shows are overly produced and rather pretentious at times. I just pay attention to the nominees and the winners. I’m rather surprised that a Marvel movie actually won some awards last night. While I think the best score category should have gone to someone else, there’s no denying the awards for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design. Those were well-deserved. If there was a movie that truly to be nominated at least, it should’ve been The Hate U Give, but not even a nomination for one of the best dramas of last year. To me, that’s a real shame. Usually I don’t pay attention to these award shows, because the decisions on what movies win aren’t good decisions. For the 2019 Oscar nominees and winners, I was pleasantly surprised.

    • A Star is Born was my wife’s favorite as well. I didn’t know what kind of night to expect for it. Best Song was a guarantee (as it should have been). And weren’t they amazing performing it?

      Love that you mentioned The Hate U Give. I reviewed this last year and was surprised how little people were talking about it. It got practically no buzz whatsoever.

      • On one hand, I can understand the trepidation when it comes to The Hate U Give. The subject matter is not easy to handle in any form, which makes the film a little hard to sit through at times, but it was so captivating and powerful, that it really deserved a mention at least. Amandla Stenberg deserved a major shout-out for her performance, and the same goes for Russell Hornsby.

      • Hornsby was on my Top 5 for Best Supporting Actor. He was so good. Stenberg was truly eye-opening. It just barely missed my Top 20, but I genuinely liked it and REALLY wanted more people to see it

  5. That shallow performance was pure MAGIC but if I were Cooper’s girlfriend I’d throw him out of the house, the sexual tension was insane! I loved Melissa and those bunnies, so funny!

  6. I didn’t miss the host. It’s been far too political jabbing and soapbox preaching, for me. So I was more than happy to rock out to Queen! You could tell from the expression on Cooper’s face “Oh, Crap. There’s no way we are gonna win!” Ha.
    I am glad about the outcomes from last night. I didn’t have a problem with anything. Green Book winning Best Film was my choice. Spike Lee got a statue. Everyone got something. the big slight was toward “Vice”. I didn’t see it. I do love Christian Bale, always have. I’m sure he gave a hell of a performance. BUT Malek deserved it.
    The styles for me were on the silly side. I kept telling my daughter J. Lopez looked like a disco ball, and she threw a couch pillow at me. 😉

    • The disdain for Green Book is a bit absurd. I’ve seen people saying it glosses over racism or attempts to “whitesplain” it. I disagree.

      I sound like a broken record, but I was happy Vice missed out. It has so many problems. Bale is quite good but not among my favorite 2018 performances.

      I love the disco ball take on J-Lo. There were several that threw me off. The guy who presented in a tux top and shorts. Oh and Rachel Weisz. I looked like the top part of her dress was made out of Fruit Roll-Ups!

  7. It was… meh…. I don’t blame Spike Lee for getting angry. To lose to a film as bland as potato salad. AW FUCK NO!!!! Jordan Peele wanted to get out as well ans the look in Samuel L. Jackson’s face when he opened the envelope for Best Original Screenplay says it all.

    Adam Lamebert fucking sucks. He can’t sing for shit. He wails like a bitch and just doesn’t have that air of gracefulness and confidence that Freddie Mercury had. I wish Queen would’ve stuck with Paul Rodgers.

    I’m happy for Roma, Black Panther, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Spike, Regina King, and Olivia Colman. I just became indifferent towards the whole thing as I only watched some of it including Lady Gaga (who my mom loves) as I liked her performance.

    • I don’t know. I thought Spike acted like a child. But then again I don’t think BlackKklansman is a masterpiece. I actually like it a little better than Green Book, but I don’t think Lee made something especially brilliant. But that stop him from whining before, during, and after the show. I want to yell “Grow up Spike!”

      I’m no Lambert fan either but I thought he did fine. But I wasn’t expecting Queen. For me the band died with Mercury. I just saw that as a tribute.

  8. I’m in agreement with a lot of your thoughts 🙂 I was expecting it to be a bit of a mess with no host, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was also a little surprised by some of the awards, especially Glenn Close, I thought that was a lock. However, I did very much enjoy the Favorite and Coleman’s performance, so I wouldn’t say I was too upset (only mad because my husband and I keep score over who guesses the most awards, and Coleman was the point that gave him the victory over me so boooo). And I must say I loved Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody, I was glad to see him win, although I somehow missed him falling off the stage!

  9. If the best movie isn’t going to win the Oscar, then I’d prefer if a bad movie wins it. No, really. At least then the anger would be a little more justified. I’m not saying we can’t disagree with the Academy’s choices but, when that happens, people tend to focus on the winner’s flaws in order to explain why it doesn’t deserve to win to the point where they ignore the strengths. They talk about it like it was a bad movie. It happened with SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, CRASH, THE ARTIST, etc… Now it’s happening with GREEN BOOK. However, when all it’s said and done, they’re good movies. Not flawless, but good. GREEN BOOK in particular did some things to transcend the sub-genre’s tropes, but most people don’t seem to notice it, based on comments I’ve read, especially those that compare it to other movies about racism (not just the ones that were nominated). What a shame.

    I always appreciate when the Academy does things to acknowledge great movies that weren’t nominated. It’s a way to shut up those that say “My favorite movie was snubbed, so the voters probably didn’t see it.” This time, the ceremony opened with a montage of most 2018 movies. There were presenters who starred in critically aclaimed movies that won awards from other organizations. Even BIRD BOX (a popular movie that wasn’t even close to being among the best) got a shout out! They also did that thing where a scene from an old movie is shown right before the actors in it appear on stage (as a reunion) but, for the 1st time ever(?), it wasn’t an Oscar nominated/winning movie, but rather a cult classic.

    The ceremony’s pacing didn’t suffer due to the lack of a host, but so many winners clearly didn’t rehearse their speeches. Because of this, the ceremony ended up being as long as usual. The jokes and bits ranged from funny (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph; Brian Tyree Henry and Melissa McCarthy) to eye-rolling (Emilia Clarke; Danai Gurira and James McAvoy). I was intending to propose Barbra Streisand and Spike Lee as hosts for next year, until I read that he complained about losing Best Picture… even though he won Best Adapted Screenplay. What kind of attitude is that?

    The worst thing an award show can be is predictable and boring, so decisions like the ones for the performance of SHALLOW were creative. From the way it was filmed to Bradley and Gaga going up to the stage without anyone introducing them, feeling almost like a surprise. I didn’t like WHEN A COWBOY TRADES HIS SPURS FOR WINGS, though. Unlike the movie version, the rhythm was slower and there was no harmonica. David Rawlings and Gillian Welch may have better singing voices than Tim Blake Nelson, but they didn’t put the same emotion into the song that only an actor can do.

    “Or are Academy voters simply not ready to give a Netflix movie its biggest prize?”
    If they had a bias against that, I think ROMA would’ve lost in every category. Hell, it probably wouldn’t have been nominated.

    “Rami Malek took home Best Actor, another win that sent social media in a tizzy. I actually didn’t mind Malek’s performance. But let’s be honest, he was the least deserving out of the nominees. I would pair him with Bale, but Dafoe, Mortensen, and Cooper were all considerably better.”
    This is the only category where it was hard for me to choose a favorite. That being said, they blew it by showing a clip from the movie where he’s singing. While it wasn’t completely lipsynching (his voiced was mixed with the real Freddie’s and another singer), it wasn’t the best way to showcase why he deserves the nomination (the whole point behind showing these clips before announcing the winner).

    • Such great comments. And you didn’t even rub in your great Colman prediction. 😁

      Fine comments about Green Book. It really is a shame. The negativity towards that film (in large part) doesn’t feel justified to me. It’s far from being a ‘bad’ movie.

      I’m definitely with you on the pacing. I zipped along. And you are so right, some didn’t rehearse. As for Spike, I thought he acted like a child – a sore loser. As you asked, what kind of attitude is that?

      You may be right about Roma. Maybe they wouldn’t have nominated it. But it’s hard to say because some movies push themselves and almost have to be recognized.

      • Spike Lee’s behavior during the Oscars is one of the reasons why I don’t watch any of his movies. I can’t stand his ego and bad sportsmanship. He won an Oscar for something, couldn’t he have just “thank you,” and been on his way? No…had to have something to say. He better enjoy that Oscar, because it might be the only one he will ever get.

  10. Always a blast reading your thoughts afterwards mate. I agree with only a few of your ideas, however. I was angry FOR Spike Lee, I thought BK was a far better film than the utterly okay Green Book, but I thought both The Favourite and Star is Born to be overall better films generally out of the 8. Roma… always gonna win for Foreign Language, but I do agree it was never a chance for the Best Picture.

    Re: the lack of host. I do agree the show seemed to run a lot faster than normal, with less *obvious* padding, even though it clocked in just shy of 3.5 hours, it FELT quicker. Happy to go with no host against next year, see what happens.

    • Thanks man! I wasn’t really angry for Spike because I felt Roma was considerably better than Klansman. In other words, Spike winning would still mean an inferior film won IMO. But then his childish antics made me kinda happy something else won. Then again, none of this is particularly surprising. As I mentioned, this batch of nominees wasn’t that impressive to me (outside of Roma). Some good movies, only one great one. So I wasn’t surprised a film like Green Book won, a movie I like but certainly don’t adore.

      And I’m with you. I could handle going no host again next year. 👍

    • LOL! My Twitter feed was ablaze. I liked Green Book too. Some of the criticisms blow my mind. It’s amazing how different I see this film that others seem to.

  11. great post as always Keith,

    always enjoy reading jr thouight.

    I’m also a big fan of the Oscar show even if the choices (both nominees and winners) have been diluted too much over the past few years.

    (whatever happened to EPIC movies winning big????)

    I’m not a big fan of Roma, so I was happy it got BFLF and BC but also happy it came up short on BP, but all 8 films are just ok (if that)

    I wonder if Roma lost votes due to Netflix or that it wasn’t an English language film

  12. I laughed OUT LOUD at the make up people might still be giving their speech. One of the smallest, yet funniest moments from the show LOL Loved the no-hosts approach. Maybe they’ll take a cue for next year 🙂

    • I kinda felt for the makeup folks. I couldn’t tell if they were nervous or simple couldn’t read what they had written. LOL!

      I too like the no-host format. I think I could handle a host but just use them for a brief opening and to introduce presenters. None of the in-between silliness.

  13. Regarding Spike Lee, its always bugged me when people think they should have won something. You don’t have the perspective on your own work to say whether or not you should have won. It’s ok to want to win, but not ok to say you should have won.

    I was a big “First Man” fan, but given that it didn’t seem to catch on the way I thought it would, I’m happy “Green Book” won. The criticism of it seems a little absurd to me, and to display a certain amount of snobbery. I thought it was quite clear showing the attitudes in the south even among so called more enlightened people – You can entertain us, but don’t think you are welcome here in our society as an equal – Not sure what else people wanted to see, maybe a race riot….

    • Right. And I completely disagree with one particular criticism I’ve heard – that this movie says everything is solved by the end of the movie. That’s nowhere close to how I saw it. There was no indication the country (particularly the South) had changed, the Green Book was still going to be used, etc. It seems to me that simply because Green Book isn’t as blaring in its indictments as Klansman that it is somehow sugar-coating (or “white-washing”) the racism of the time. I just don’t get it. As someone who likes both films, I think there is plenty of room for both points of view.

      BTW, I 100% agree on First Man!

  14. The person who created Melissa McCarthy’s bunny costume deserves a special award 🙂
    Gaga and Cooper singing Shallow live was a highlight for sure. Those two could become the next Leo and Kate! (if they aren’t already)

Leave a Reply to Andrea Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s