Oscar Season Rant

It’s that time of year. There’s a thing that I get caught up in annually and it’s the Academy Awards, waiting along the timeline to see shortlists and official nomination announcements. I get pissed, I laugh, I roll my eyes at some of the ridiculous things that happen each time, but by the end of the evening I’ve gone through the emotional wringer.

This year, though, I’m rattlin’ shields. This was a year where we had incredible performances, scripts, and films go ignored. I got some shit to say so fasten your seatbelts, kiddies, and let’s talk about these nominations. I’m sure it will be a calm and relaxed discussion that will enrage no one, anywhere. I’m only talkin’ the big 4 today; just Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress, but I think these are important (I’ll rant Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay tomorrow).

Best Picture

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

Sweet merciful hell, this is a weird year for it. I see this as a 50/50, with half the pictures truly deserving to be there and the other half really giving me the heebie jeebies. With Vice only being interesting for Bale’s physical transformation (seriously….dude…you’re gonna kill yourself) and Bohemian Rhapsody mainly revolving around Rami Malek, this is just a strange year. Green Book is drawing a heavy amount of not only controversy for its inaccuracies, but buzz as a front-runner.

But I want to talk about Black Panther. Cards on the table, it wasn’t even the best Marvel movie to come out this year. The cultural relevance it’s had in opening up superhero film for non-white characters has been astounding and it’s visual imagery is nothing short of astounding. There’s a “but,” though, and I have to acknowledge it. The film is on-par with the first Iron Man, and follows roughly the same story beats. It’s a visually stunning film and contains a performance from Michael B. Jordon that is to die for, but outside of those things its most important attribute is the cultural move forward that it made. It has to be asked – did it deserve the nom more than Avengers: Infinity War? It’s a sticky question, one that is fraught with conversational pitfalls. I’m overjoyed to see a superhero film be acknowledge like this, even knowing it has almost no chance of taking home the gold, but I’m torn on whether or not cultural relevance makes for a BP nom. How many winners of that award have been given because of cultural impact? It’s a small number, and I’m not sure how I feel about this whole situation.

Best Director

  • Spike Lee
  • Pawel Pawlikowski
  • Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Alfonso Cuarón
  • Adam McKay

I’m in a weird place with this list as well. I can see 4 names that definitely belong on this list and one that could have multiple others shuffled into the slot that Adam McKay is occupying. Shit, there’s Luca Guadagnino for Suspiria, or Ari Aster for Hereditary. I know the Academy hates genre pictures, eschewing sci-fi and horror and fantasy like they’re a bit of bad beef, but in a year when we have finally begun nominating superhero pictures it’s time to start allowing in some of these phenomenal films and directors. I found things to like in McKay’s direction, but a nom seems a bit far and realizing that it is simply to ignore some of these of these other talents is a gut-punch. Bo Burnham and Bradley Cooper, first time directors, could both have easily been given this slot and deservedly so.

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Willem Dafoe
  • Rami Malek
  • Viggo Mortensen

This is one of few categories this year that I would have a hard time arguing with. While I’m not overly fond of the films that each of these performers is in, I acknowledge that each of them that I’ve seen is phenomenal (sorry Willem Dafoe, I didn’t have access to your film). Bale is going to die with the way he keeps on wrecking his body for roles, and Bradley Cooper has destroyed his voice for his role as Jack Maine in A Star is Born. DiCaprio set a precedence with his win for The Revenant, walking away nearly dead to win his statue, and other performances are following suit. With that win we set a dangerous standard – suffer for your art. There’s acting, and there’s living in it. I’ve seen amazing actors do both and it’s hard to say what works because it’s different for everyone, but what is the line?

Best Actress

  • Yalitza Aparicio
  • Glenn Close
  • Olivia Coleman
  • Lady Gaga
  • Melissa McCarthy

This is a list right here. Out of everything, this is the one of the only categories that is perfect in every way. I was expecting to see Emily Blunt for Mary Poppins Returns, things like that. Instead we’ve been given a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful performances in what are all wonderful films. I couldn’t be more excited for this one (yes, I know Gaga won’t win but I’m overjoyed she was nominated). Also yes, I’m as frustrated as anyone else that Toni Collette wasn’t nominated, but given the list of nominations I can’t really complain too terribly much.

That’s my nominations rant! What about you? Anything you’re weirded out by or pissed off by? Anything you’re ecstatic about? Any else pissed that Thom Yorke was snubbed for his Suspiria score?

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