Oscar Nominations 2019: Roma and The Favourite Lead, Black Panther Makes History

Posted on January 22, 2019 at 11:46 am

Copyright 2018 Disney
Where is Mr. Rogers? The documentary considered the Oscar front-runner is not even nominated for the 2019 awards. I was sorry not to see Michael B. Jordan nominated for Best Supporting Actor (“Black Panther”), though I am confident there will be an Oscar in his future, and I am glad to see the film make history as the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture. I would like to have seen Timothée Chalamet nominated for “Beautiful Boy,” but like Jordan, he will have many other opportunities. Ryan Gosling should have been nominated for “First Man,” and its score deserved a nomination as well. And my favorite film of the year “If Beale Street Could Talk,” should have been nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.

It was good to see some lower-profile documentaries get recognition from the Academy. “Minding the Gap” chronicles the lives of the filmmaker’s friends from a small town outside Chicago. Director Bing Liu follows the group from their early teens up to the present day, grappling with what it means to be men in present-day America. Skateboarding is a central thread throughout the film. Accompanying the group on extensive high-speed rides, we begin to see how skateboarding is not just something to do, but a shared activity that is deeply meditative and therapeutic for each of them. Trying new tricks, encouraging each other and spending time together, they form a bond much stronger than the mere term “friend” indicates. Skateboarding is their connection and their escape. It premieres on PBS February 19, 2019.

“Hale County This Morning, This Evening” will also premiere on PBS in February. My friend Odie Henderson wrote a beautiful review of the film on rogerebert.com.

The film has an unusual, time-jumping cadence that’s punctuated by strange sounds, odd music and beautiful, superimposed visions of sky and earth. There are unexpected camera angles and long moments that at first seem monotonous but pay big dividends. Ross weaves all these elements together in such a way that you eventually realize the film is teaching you how to watch it, subtly coaxing you onto its wavelength. Suddenly, you feel like an honorary citizen of the titular place, someone temporarily woven into its fabric…”Hale County This Morning, This Evening” is all about how perception changes depending on whose gaze is being reflected and how informed the owner of that gaze is. Events happen in this non-fiction film that, in a fictionalized film, are often depicted in scenes heightened by melodrama and stereotype. Ross’ intimate knowledge of the location and of his subjects, Daniel and Quincy, strips away the usual artifice and baggage, presenting these events as matter-of-factly as life itself. It’s an uncorrupted viewpoint, though Ross is on occasion quick to remind you of prior cinematic and societal reflections of Southern Blacks.

It will premiere on the Independent Lens series February 11, 2019.

Copyright 2018 Focus Features
Other omissions: Ryan Coogler as director of “Black Panther and the overlooking of every single female director in a year when there were more female-directed films in top-ten lists than ever, including Debra Granik (“Leave no Trace”), Elizabeth Chomko (“What They Had”), Lynne Ramsay (“You Were Never Really Here”), Chloé Zhao (“The Rider”), Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), Josie Rourke (“Mary Queen of Scots”), Josephine Decker (“Madeline’s Madeline”), and Desiree Akhavan (“The Miseducation of Cameron Post”). I expect to see at least some of them in the Spirit Award nominations for independent films along with some of my other 2018 favorites like “Blindspotting,” “Support the Girls,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “Eighth Grade,” and “The Hate U Give.”

Perhaps the most significant development is about Netflix, which got its first Best Picture nomination with Roma and fourteen other nominations as well. This is a stunning achievement for an organization that has only been producing original content for a few years. It is great to see vital, creative new producers doing so well.

Here are this year’s Oscar nominees:

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
A Star Is Born

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War

Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

The Favourite
First Reformed
Green Book

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born

Black Panther
If Beale Street Could Talk
Isle of Dogs
Mary Poppins Returns

“All the Stars,” Black Panther
“I’ll Fight,” RBG
“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns
“Shallow,” A Star Is Born
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book

Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Free Solo
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons

Cold War
The Favourite
Never Look Away
A Star Is Born

Black Panther
The Favourite
First Man
Mary Poppins Returns


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Oscar Nomination Roundtable: Movie Addict Headquarters

Posted on January 25, 2017 at 2:47 pm

It was a pleasure to join my friends Betty Jo Tucker and Mack Bates, along with Geoff Roberts on Betty Jo’s podcast Movie Addict Headquarters to talk about this year’s Oscar nominations — who was left out, who should win, and what we loved most about the films we saw last year.

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