The nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were announced this morning and, as Julia Roberts’s character in Notting Hill says, “there are things to say.”
WHAT I’M HAPPY ABOUT:
Regina King—Best Supporting Actress nominee for If Beale Street Could Talk:
As one of my favorite actors, Regina King deserves every award on the planet, so I was thrilled to see her earn a much-deserved nomination for her delicate and passionate performance in If Beale Street Could Talk. This journeywoman has been in the business and delivering great performances for so long, it’s about time she gets the attention she so richly deserves.
Melissa McCarthy—Best Actress nominee for Can You Ever Forgive Me?:
People might forget that she was nominated before, for her supporting performance in Bridesmaids, which put her on the map. But, in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Melissa McCarthy shows us all a different side and, much like what Robin Williams did in The World According to Garp, this brilliant comic performer showed that she has many talents, including dramatic acting. This was one of my favorite performances of the year.
Yalitza Aparicio—Best Actress nominee for Roma:
Only the fourth Latina to ever garner a Best Actress nomination, Aparicio, a newcomer to acting, is nominated for her first film role ever.
Spike Lee—Best Director nominee for BlacKkKlansman:
Thirty years after his seminal and groundbreaking film Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee finally gets his first Oscar nomination for Best Director. In fact, the fact that Lee, one of the most influential directors of all time, had never been recognized prompted the Academy to give him an honorary Oscar in 2015 because they were afraid he’d never get a competitive one and they knew what an embarrassment that would be—for the Academy. This nomination is long overdue and well deserved.
Roma and The Favourite—Best Picture nominees:
With 10 nominations each, two of my top three favorite movies of the year got the most nominations, which thrills me to no end. Sometimes, the Academy gets it right.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse—Best Animated Feature nominee:
This is the best animated film I’ve ever seen and if it doesn’t win, I’m going to break something.
Seven nominations, including one for Best Picture, for a superhero movie is astounding. What’s even more astounding is the fact that the Academy didn’t blow it. And special applause to Hannah Beachler, who is the first black nominee ever in the category of Best Production Design.
This director of Green Book was snubbed in the Best Director category, which gives me SLIM hope that Green Book may not win Best Picture.
A wide open race:
No single category has a lock this year, although Best Actress and Best Song come the closest. As for the rest, including Best Picture, it’s a wide open race and all the pundits will have a month to spin their wheels trying to figure it all out. Isn’t it fun!!
WHAT I’M NOT HAPPY ABOUT:
Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody:
I didn’t like either of these movies and not only am I appalled that they each garnered a Best Picture nomination, but they both are strong contenders to win, which just proves that there is still a portion of the Academy that bows to the old-fashioned and the moneymakers. Look, I enjoyed the music and the lead performance in Bohemian Rhapsody as much as anyone, but Best Picture? You’ve got to be kidding me. And, as for Green Book, the movie is as paint-by-numbers and old-fashioned as they come (in style AND substance). But it’s the only movie of all the nominees that appeals to the classic “steak-eater” Academy member: old, male, straight and white. The Academy is getting more diverse, but, for now, we have to put up with movies like Green Book. Ugh. Don’t be surprised if it wins.
No women directors:
For yet another year, women directors were shut out from the Best Director category. In 91 years, only 5 women have ever been nominated for Best Director (and only one has ever won). It’s disgusting that women continue to be shut out, even though there were several excellent contenders this year, including Debra Granik for Leave no Trace, Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here and Marielle Heller for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Again, hopefully eventual Academy diversity will be able to change this in the future, but, for now, all we can do is continue to point it out and encourage more opportunities for women to direct. With more opportunity will come more recognition. We can hope.
Where’s Paddington 2:
It was bad enough that Paddington didn’t get any Oscar love in 2014. Now, the sequel, which is actually BETTER (100% on Rotten Tomatoes!), gets left out as well? These films don’t fit into any easy category, but they are two of the most charming, beautiful and well-made films of their respective years and the fact that the Academy can’t find a way to honor them is crazy.
The Oscars will be announced on Sunday, February 24. For some great coverage and a full listing of all the nominees, visit www.indiewire.com