2019 Academy Awards nominations: Some disappointments and some pleasant surprises

The 2019 Academy Award nominations were announced today! I’ll write a longer post with my own personal picks and snubs as we get closer to the date of the ceremony, but for now, a few initial “yays and nays”:

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Yalitza Aparicio in Roma

YAY! The noted presence of non-US films in categories other than “Best Foreign Film” was a nice surprise. Critical darling Roma (Mexico) was of course at the top of the pack snagging a whopping 10 nominations. People figured it might be up for Best Picture and Best Director, but Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira also managed to snag well-deserved nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Elsewhere, Zimna wojna (“Cold War”) (Poland) got a nod for Best Director and Best Cinematography, while Werk ohne Autor (“Never Look Away”) (Germany) was also nominated in the latter category and Gräns (“Border”) (Sweden) got a nomination for Makeup & Hairstyling. Mirai no Mirai (Japan) also got a nomination for Best Animated Feature after getting a Golden Globe nomination in the same category.

NAY! Nothing for Eighth Grade? It’s tied for my highest rated movie of the year with an amazing 9/10 but didn’t even manage to grab a nomination for best original screenplay, which seemed to be its only hope going in. Young Elsie Fisher really did deserve a best actress nod too for her amazing work.

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Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried in First Reformed

YAY! Eighth Grade’s slot for best original screenplay seemed to have gone to a different smaller release from the year- First Reformed. A well-deserved nomination for a heart-wrenching meditation on hopelessness and hypocrisy. Still, would’ve liked to see both of these smaller releases on the list instead of, say, Green Book, a pretty conventional if heartwarming film that came nowhere near the aching authenticity of the other two in its script.

NAY! Annihilation was one of the first films of 2018 that I was really excited about.

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The “Shimmer” in Annihilation

I had a few troubles with its script and considering its weirdness, smaller scale, and early release, I figured it wouldn’t be in too much Oscar talk come awards season. I had held out hope for a visual effects nod though thanks to its incredible, beautiful, and terrifying images throughout, but alas, it was not to be.

YAY! Did not expect The Ballad of Buster Scruggs to get so many nominations after its mixed reception upon its release to Netflix. I found it good, not great as well, but its nomination for Best Original Song (“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”) I’m quite happy to get on board with. It was a hilarious, dark, and oddly touching musical number that wrapped up chapter 1 of the Coen brothers’ anthology film beautifully.

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Jonah Hill in Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

NAY! None of the awards-predicting posts I’ve read in the blogosphere so far have even come close to mentioning Gus Van Sant’s quietly-released Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, but I just have to say one final time that if I had my way, Jonah Hill would’ve been nominated for Best Supporting Actor. His turn was a thing of beauty, tragic and mysterious. And while I’m at it, how about giving Jaoquin Phoenix some love too? He could’ve been nominated for either Don’t Worry… or Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. And speaking of (I’m almost done complaining), a directing nod for Ramsay also would’ve been well-deserved.

That’s all for now! I want to hear from you- what were some of your initial reactions to today’s Oscar nominations? Surprised? Disappointed? Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “2019 Academy Awards nominations: Some disappointments and some pleasant surprises

  1. The Best Animated Feature category should be rechristened “Best Children’s Animated Feature”, since from its conception it has been won only by G-rated movies specifically geared towards children. Even nominations are overwhelmingly for conventional kids’ flicks. Once in a blue moon a movie like “Anomalisa” will get a nod, but certainly nothing even remotely adult-ish has ever won. I read an article with statements from Academy members regarding their votes in this category and many of them just vote for whatever their child enjoyed, or what they have *heard* that a child might enjoy the most. People erroneously think all animated films are for children, and the Academy is definitely a factor in this widespread misconception. Consequently, though, dozens of phenomenal, groundbreaking, beautiful, and staggeringly animated films are left completely out of award conversations. Boss Baby had a better chance to win an Academy Award than Loving Vincent, because what child would prefer an oil-painted slow-burner of a film? One nomination for an actually, objectively well done animated feature per year (at best) is not nearly enough to legitimize this category. If an animated film would be laughed off a Best Picture list, I don’t think it belongs on the Best Animated Feature list, and *winners* of this category in the past would never make it within miles of the idea of introduction onto a Best Picture list. It’s a ridiculous category, and one I will not take seriously until its nominations can be taken seriously. Even “Into the Spider-Verse”, which I immensely enjoyed, was uniquely animated, and I wager will win this category, doesn’t deserve its place here. “Isle of Dogs” was an incredible feat of animation and an excellent film, and if its predecessor has anything to say, “Mirai” also possesses qualities that earn it a place, but surrounded by what they are and coming after the winners they are, they are more happy accidents of accuracy for the category than intelligent selections that might legitimize it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was a good rant. I hear you, brother! It doesn’t make any sense to have something be nominated for Best Animated Film (or in a similar vein, Best Foreign Film) but then never get any consideration for any of the other categories that measure a film’s worth. So that’s why it was refreshing to see so many foreign films get nods in other categories. Like, if Roma is such a good movie (which it is), then it should probabably get consideration for a bunch of other categories (which it did, thankfully). Cuz it’s not like foreign films are in general of lesser quality than American films (probably of more quality I bet). And in the same way, it’s not like animated films as a whole are of a lesser quality than other films, so they really should be considered for other categories too (the ones that are applicable, of course.) At least Isle of Dogs got a nod for best score. I think it deserved a Best Picture period nod too though.

      Liked by 1 person

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