By John H. Foote
In a historical move, Netflix was welcomed to the Oscar race for the first time, and a super hero film is among the nominees for Best Picture for the first time.
The announcement of the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were not without surprises, snubs and outright shocks.
There are 10 nominations each for The Favourite and Roma, something of a surprise considering most pundits were expecting A Star is Born to dominate. However. in a perfect world First Man would be there with 11.
Here are the major categories, broken down one by one.
BLACK PANTHER — BLACKkKLANSMAN — BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY — THE FAVOURITE — GREEN BOOK — ROMA — A STAR IS BORN — VICE
Just eight nominees, meaning they could not find room for Can You Ever Forgive Me? or my choice as the years Best Picture, First Man. I thought Mary Poppins Returns might squeeze in, but the jaw dropper is that A Quiet Place was ignored. I struggle with Bohemian Rhapsody as a Best Picture nominee, it was only average with a superb performance at its core. How does it get in over A Quiet Place? And where is Cold War?
SPIKE LEE FOR BLACKKkKLANSMAN — ALFONSA CUARON FOR ROMA — ADAM MCKAY FOR VICE — PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI FOR COLD WAR — YORGOS LANTHIMOS FOR THE FAVOURITE
NO BRADLEY COOPER??!! That is a huge snub for the man who gave us A Star is Born, he was a lock until this morning! Though he received three nominations for the film, including Best Actor, it was believed he was in here for sure. There was such support for Black Panther it seemed as though Ryan Coogler might slip in, and certainly Peter Farrelly deserved to be here for Green Book. Great to see Spike Lee finally get a nomination for Best Director after being ignored so many years for so many great films. Finally I had really hoped John Krasinski might get in for his fine, taut direction of A Quiet Place.
CHRISTIAN BALE IN VICE — BRADLEY COOPER IN A STAR IS BORN — WILLEM DAFOE IN AT ETERNITY’S GATE — RAMI MALEK IN BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY — VIGGO MORTENSEN IN GREEN BOOK
The biggest surprise here is the inclusion of Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate, a near silent film about the tortured artist. Dafoe is brilliant, no question but was he stronger than Ethan Hawke in First Reformed who swept the critics awards? Hawke should be here. Here is hoping they go with Viggo. And I weep for Ryan Gosling in First Man.
YALITZA APARICIO IN ROMA — LADY GAGA IN A STAR IS BORN — GLENN CLOSE IN THE WIFE — OLIVIA COLMAN IN THE FAVOURITE — MELISSA MCCARTHY IN CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Aparicio was in discussions for a nod, so it is not really a shock, but it is. I had hoped Emly Blunt might get in for Mary Poppins Returns, but no such luck.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
MAHERSHALA ALI IN GREEN BOOK — ADAM DRIVER IN BLACKkKLANSMAN — SAM ELLIOTT IN A STAR IS BORN — RICHARD E. GRANT IN CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? — SAM ROCKWELL IN VICE
Last years winner, Sam Rockwell, is back again for his performance as George W. Bush in Vice. No other real surprises here.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
AMY ADAMS IN VICE — MARINA DE TAVIRA IN ROMA — REGINA KING IN IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK — EMMA STONE IN THE FAVOURITE — RACHEL WEISZ IN THE FAVOURITE
De Tavira is right out of left field, no one saw that coming. Very surprised they left Claire Foy off the list in First Man.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
THE FAVOURITE — FIRST REFORMED — GREEN BOOK — ROMA — VICE
Paul Schrader one of the greatest screen writers in the history of the cinema finally got his first nomination. The writer of Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980), snubbed for both, is at last an Oscar nominee.
BEST SCREENPLAY ADAPTATION
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS — BLACKkKLANSMAN — CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? — IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK — A STAR IS BORN
I had hoped First Man might be here. Again, it certainly should. I am a little shocked at the love for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, another Netflix film.
BEST MUSICAL SCORE
BLACK PANTHER — BLACKkKLANSMAN — IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK — ISLE OF DOGS — MARY POPPINS RETURNS
No First Man? This was the single award it seemed headed for. Happy Isle of Dogs is there, a very original score and film.
COLD WAR — THE FAVOURITE – NEVER LOOK AWAY — ROMA — A STAR IS BORN
Again no First Man? Thrilled to see two black and white films in this category, but a little disappointed Rachel Morrison is not back for Black Panther after becoming the first woman cinematographer nominated last year for Mudbound (2017). She surpassed that work with the super hero blockbuster. I thought Ready Player One was deserving too.
BEST SOUND MIXING
BLACK PANTHER — BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY — FIRST MAN — ROMA — A STAR IS BORN
Roma? Really? Over Ready Player One, A Quiet Place or Isle of Dogs?
BEST SOUND EDITING
BLACK PANTHER — BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY — FIRST MAN — A QUIET PLACE — ROMA
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS — BLACK PANTHER — THE FAVOURITE — MARY POPPINS RETURNS — MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
BEST FILM EDITING
BLACKKkKLANSMAN — GREEN BOOK — BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY — THE FAVOURITE — VICE
Kind of think A Star is Born should be here, beautifully cut film. Bohemian Rhapsody again? Really? First Man should be in this category too.
BLACK PANTHER — THE FAVOURITE — FIRST MAN — MARY POPPINS RETURNS — ROMA
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WARS — CHRISTOPHER ROBIN — FIRST MAN — READY PLAYER ONE — SOLO
Kind of makes me ill that Solo is an Oscar nominee but so be it.
Other huge surprises, the Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? was snubbed after being expected to win the category. As it stands the RBG doc will take it.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.