Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Best: Oscar Nominations 2019

So the nominees were announced this past week for the 91st  Academy Awards.

These awards remain the most prestigious in film.  And while many of you, dear readers, are of the opinion that all awards shows are terrible and should simply be shunned, it is my perpetual hope that Hollywood will reform itself and once again nominate movies that matter.

For example, here are the top 10 grossing films of the year:

Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War
Incredibles 2
Jurassic Word: Fallen Kingdom
Deadpool 2
The Grinch:
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Keep in mind that I have always maintained that box office alone is not a statement about a film's quality.  My own top ten of the year include:

1. Avengers: Infinity War
2. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
3. A Quiet Place
4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
5. Incredibles 2
6. Game Night
7. Aquaman
8. Creed II
9. Bohemian Rhapsody
10. Ready Player One

Only four of the top ten films belong to the highest grossers.   However I will say that each of these movies has made at least $100 million dollars domestic, except for Game Night.  This bolsters my thesis that, for the most part, audiences will respond to quality films.  

This year's Oscars for Best Picture?  Where do they rank?

1. “Black Panther” - $700 million
58. “BlacKkKlansman” - $49 million
13. “Bohemian Rhapsody” - $200 million
96. “The Favourite” - $25 million
63. “Green Book” - $45 million 
“Roma” - N/A
12. “A Star Is Born” - $205 million
74. “Vice” - $40 million

Two years ago, not  a single one is from the top ten of the year and none of the nominees have made over $100 million by the time they were nominated.

Last year was an improvement.  We had two genuine hits: Dunkirk and Get Out.  This year we have the highest grosser of the year, Black Panther, has a nomination for Best Picture.  This has not happened since 2010 with Toy Story 3.  The last time the highest grosser won Best Picture was in 2003 with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

This year you have three massive hits with Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, and A Star is Born.  But you have a movie with a lot of buzz like Roma that has such a small box office that I cannot find how much it made (the movie produced by Netflix and was not intended for a wide box office).

This tells me 2 things:

1.  The ratings for the Oscars may be slightly higher because there are some movies that people can root for.

2.  If a little scene film like Roma or The Favorite wins, then there will be a backlash against next year's Oscars.  I know people who stopped watching after Shakespeare in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan back in 1998.  This was widely recognized as a mistake since people still revere the Steven Spielberg war epic and no one talks about the actual winner.  

In fact, name 7 of the last 14 Best Picture winners off the top of your head.  Go!

Okay, if you couldn't do that, name the last 4.

Maybe I am being unfair, but does anyone even remember The Shape of Water, Moonlight, Spotlight, Birdman, and 12 Years a Slave.  That isn't to say these aren't good movies, but are they the ones you remember as the BEST from the last 5 years?

So below are my thoughts on some (not all) of this year's nominees.  

And next week, I will open it up if you would like to participate in this year's Oscar Game!

Performance by an actor in a leading role
    Christian Bale, “Vice”
    Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
    Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
    Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
    Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

    -These are some good nominees, but I think this is Malek's year to win.  Mortensen I think will eventually win a Best Supporting Actor award and Cooper will be nominated for Best Actor again in the future.

    Performance by an actor in a supporting role
    Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
    Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
    Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
    Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
    Sam Rockwell, “Vice”
    -I'm really excited that the witch hunter from Warlock (1989) has an Oscar nomination.  Ali and Elliot were also excellent in their roles.
    Performance by an actress in a leading role
    Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
    Glenn Close, “The Wife”
    Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
    Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
    Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

    -I only saw Gaga's performance, but I didn't think it was anything special.  I think this one is wide open.

    Performance by an actress in a supporting role
    Amy Adams, “Vice”
    Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
    Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
    Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
    Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

    -Again, didn't see any of these.  

    Best animated feature film of the year
    “Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
    “Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
    “Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
    “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

    -I was incredibly sceptical about Into the Spider-Verse, but I am now a true believer.  It is one of the most original and entertaining films of the year.

    Achievement in directing
    Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
    Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
    Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
    Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
    Adam McKay, “Vice”

    Bradley Cooper and Peter Farrelley should have been nominated, but were not.  I haven't seen any of the movies on this list.

    Achievement in film editing
    “BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
    “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman
    “Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito
    “The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
    “Vice,” Hank Corwin

    -Bohemian Rhapsody is the best one of these nominees.  But some of the best editing this year can be found in action movies, which rarely get nominations.

    Best motion picture of the year
    “Black Panther”
    “Bohemian Rhapsody”
    “The Favourite”
    “Green Book”
    “A Star Is Born”

    -Of the nominees, Bohemian Rhapsody is clearly the best.  It was a well done movie, great acting, fantastic music, and it makes you feel deeply without feeling depressed when you leave the theater.  This was a real crowd-pleaser and artistic achievement.  


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