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Peter T Chattaway

Oscars 2019 - nominations!

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And the feature-length nominated films are (with the ones I've seen in bold)...

10 nominations

  • Roma -- Picture, director (Alfonso Cuaron), actress (Yalitza Aparicio), supporting actress (Marina De Tavira), original screenplay, cinematography, production design, sound editing, sound mixing, foreign language film

10 nominations in 9 categories

  • The Favourite -- Picture, director (Yorgos Lanthimos), actress (Olivia Colman), supporting actress (Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz), original screenplay, cinematography, production design, costume design, film editing

8 nominations

  • A Star Is Born -- Picture, actor (Bradley Cooper), actress (Lady Gaga), supporting actor (Sam Elliott), adapted screenplay, cinematography, original song, sound mixing
  • Vice -- Picture, director (Adam McKay), actor (Christian Bale), supporting actor (Sam Rockwell), supporting actress (Amy Adams), original screenplay, makeup and hairstyling, film editing

7 nominations

  • Black Panther -- Picture, production design, costume design, original score, original song, sound editing, sound mixing

6 nominations

  • BlacKkKlansman -- Picture, director (Spike Lee), supporting actor (Adam Driver), adapted screenplay, film editing, original score

5 nominations

  • Bohemian Rhapsody -- Picture, actor (Rami Malek), film editing, sound editing, sound mixing
  • Green Book -- Picture, actor (Viggo Mortensen), supporting actor (Mahershala Ali), original screenplay, film editing

4 nominations

  • First Man -- Production design, visual effects, sound editing, sound mixing
  • Mary Poppins Returns -- Production design, costume design, original score, original song

3 nominations

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs -- Adapted screenplay, costume design, original song
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? -- Actress (Melissa McCarthy), supporting actor (Richard E. Grant), adapted screenplay
  • Cold War -- Director (Pawel Pawlikowski), cinematography, foreign language film
  • If Beale Street Could Talk -- Supporting actress (Regina King), adapted screenplay, original score

2 nominations

  • Isle of Dogs -- Original score, animated feature
  • Mary Queen of Scots -- Costume design, makeup and hairstyling
  • Never Look Away -- Cinematography, foreign language film
  • RBG -- Original song, documentary feature

1 nomination

  • At Eternity's Gate -- Actor (Willem Dafoe)
  • Avengers: Infinity War -- Visual effects
  • Border -- Makeup and hairstyling
  • Capernaum -- Foreign language film
  • Christopher Robin -- Visual effects
  • First Reformed -- Original screenplay
  • Free Solo -- Documentary feature
  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening -- Documentary feature
  • Incredibles 2 -- Animated feature
  • Minding the Gap -- Documentary feature
  • Mirai -- Animated feature
  • Of Fathers and Sons -- Documentary feature
  • A Quiet Place -- Sound editing
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet -- Animated feature
  • Ready Player One -- Visual effects
  • Shoplifters -- Foreign language film
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story -- Visual effects
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse -- Animated feature
  • The Wife -- Actress (Glenn Close)

I'm happy to say that there are only three films on this list that I haven't seen. The Wife is due out on video next week, I believe, and Never Look Away will supposedly come to Vancouver on February 22, two days before the Oscar ceremony (though the distributor of that film has had a regrettable tendency to see their films get bumped repeatedly). That just leaves the documentary Of Fathers and Sons, a film that I have heard absolutely *nothing* about -- the only mention of it in my e-mail archives is a news alert from Deadline Hollywood as part of their awards-season coverage.

Anyway. What patterns can we discern here? A few quick thoughts before I have to step out:

If Best Picture generally goes to the film that gets nominated for Director, Screenplay and Film Editing, then the front-runners this year are The Favourite, Vice and BlacKkKlansman

Traditionally, when a film is nominated for Best Picture *and* Best Foreign Language Film, it wins the latter category (think of Life Is Beautiful or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Roma has the most nominations overall -- which would ordinarily make it a front-runner -- but without a Film Editing nomination, it may be destined to settle for the Foreign Language Film award like those other films.

A Star Is Born was once considered *the* front-runner for Best Picture by some people, but it failed to get nominations in Directing *and* Film Editing, so.

No less than *three* of this year's Foreign Language Film nominees are also nominated for Cinematography, and two are nominated for Director.

Isle of Dogs and RBG also broke out of the animated and documentary ghettoes, respectively, with nominations for their music.

I have to step out now, but may have more thoughts later.

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32 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Of Fathers and Sons, a film that I have heard absolutely *nothing* about

OFCS critics received a screener link from Kino Lorber, which I will now make sure to watch. But the film wasn't on my radar at all until now. Same with Never Look Away.

Update: Of Fathers and Sons is currently streaming via Kanopy, although this news doesn't help folks without a US library card.

Another observation: someone on Twitter (I can't remember who) mentioned that there is a very real possibility that Green Book wins Best Picture and Spike Lee wins Best Director, which would be...interesting.

Edited by Joel Mayward

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A few quick thoughts:

I saw Of Fathers and Sons at the Full Frame Documentary Film Fest, and it's an incredible example of daring filmcraft.  It made my best of the year list.

As I semi-ranted in my latest review, I think Glenn Close is undeserving of her Oscar nod.

I still need to see Capernaum, Border, and Never Look Away - the premises for each sound quite interesting.

 

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Extra thought:

Is Black Panther the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture? Depends on whether or not you count 2014's Birdman, which was about an actor who *played* a superhero (and starred an actor who really *had* played a superhero). I'm tempted to say that it's the first *comic book* movie to be nominated for Best Picture, but I wouldn't be surprised if some serious drama turned out to have been based on a graphic novel or something.

Superheroes are also big this year inasmuch as Animated Feature seems to be a showdown between Incredibles 2 (which has the box-office success and Disney-Pixar brand working in its favour) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which has all the critical love).

(Note: the only sequels that have won Animated Feature to date are Toy Story 3, which was a long-delayed follow-up to two films that came out before the Animated Feature category even *existed*, and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which was the first feature-length film featuring the title characters, who had previously starred in three animated *short* films, two of which won Oscars in that category. The original Incredibles won Animated Feature in 2004... but there is a precedent for a Marvel-based film winning Animated Feature too, inasmuch as Big Hero 6 won the award in 2014... Of course, Big Hero 6 was a Disney release, like the Incredibles movies, whereas Spider-Man is not...)

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Re: Never Look Away, it was vaguely on my radar because it was on the Oscar shortlist, and also because it was directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (who previously won an Oscar for 2006's The Lives of Others). But it hasn't played in Vancouver at all, to my knowledge, not even at the festivals. Here's hoping it sticks to its February 22 release date (or, at least, that it has a press screening in advance of that date, even if the date itself gets bumped).

Joel Mayward wrote:
: Another observation: someone on Twitter (I can't remember who) mentioned that there is a very real possibility that Green Book wins Best Picture and Spike Lee wins Best Director, which would be...interesting.

It would be!

Andrew wrote:
: I still need to see Capernaum, Border, and Never Look Away - the premises for each sound quite interesting.

I saw Border quite spur-of-the-moment just nine days ago -- I was literally out for a walk here in Surrey when I checked the local movie listings on my phone, saw that Border was playing at a specialty theatre in Vancouver a couple hours later, and then decided to walk to the SkyTrain and make my way to the theatre, where I arrived only a few minutes before the movie started. The film was on my radar because it had made the makeup & hairstyling shortlist, and that branch of the Academy has shown an interest in Swedish films these last few years (other recent nominees include 2016's A Man Called Ove and 2015's The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared), so it seemed like there was a good possibility it would make the final list of nominees.

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2 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

Update: Of Fathers and Sons is currently streaming via Kanopy, although this news doesn't help folks without a US library card.

Joel, I was going to DM you but figured others might be interested in the answer to this question: Doesn't your local library system have to provide access to Kanopy? I know New York City offers it - that was widely reported last year or the year before - but I thought that was only for people with NYC library cards. I've asked my local library - the one with the nicely curated DVD collection - if it offers Kanopy, and it doesn't. So I figured I was out of luck. Are you saying I could stream Kanopy via the New York library system, or directly via Kanopy, as long as I have a valid library card as part of any U.S. library system? If so, that's (great) news to me.

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41 minutes ago, Christian said:

Are you saying I could stream Kanopy via the New York library system, or directly via Kanopy, as long as I have a valid library card as part of any U.S. library system?

I'm not sure of the ins and outs of Kanopy, but I do know that I can still stream films in the UK via my Fort Vancouver Regional Library District account we set up for my kids while living in Vancouver, WA. You do have to set up a library account with a library that's partnered with Kanopy, and FVRL is one of those partners.

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4 minutes ago, Joel Mayward said:

I'm not sure of the ins and outs of Kanopy, but I do know that I can still stream films in the UK via my Fort Vancouver Regional Library District account we set up for my kids while living in Vancouver, WA. You do have to set up a library account with a library that's partnered with Kanopy, and FVRL is one of those partners.

Thanks, Joel. 

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On 1/22/2019 at 8:08 AM, Peter T Chattaway said:

Traditionally, when a film is nominated for Best Picture *and* Best Foreign Language Film, it wins the latter category (think of Life Is Beautiful or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Roma has the most nominations overall -- which would ordinarily make it a front-runner -- but without a Film Editing nomination, it may be destined to settle for the Foreign Language Film award like those other films.

Just a quick note to say that I watched Roma again yesterday, and I now wonder if the lack of a Film Editing nomination is quite the hurdle here that it would normally be. The film has a *lot* of fairly long takes, in which the camera pans or looks around a room or an open field (instead of cutting between different angles within a room, etc.), and I can see how the Academy's Film Editing branch might have felt that there simply wasn't very much editing in the film to begin with. It's obviously not as extreme a case as when Birdman used visual effects to make it look like the entire film was done in one continuous shot, but *that* film won Best Picture without a Film Editing nomination, so, hmmm.

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53 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Just a quick note to say that I watched Roma again yesterday, and I now wonder if the lack of a Film Editing nomination is quite the hurdle here that it would normally be. The film has a *lot* of fairly long takes, in which the camera pans or looks around a room or an open field (instead of cutting between different angles within a room, etc.), and I can see how the Academy's Film Editing branch might have felt that there simply wasn't very much editing in the film to begin with. It's obviously not as extreme a case as when Birdman used visual effects to make it look like the entire film was done in one continuous shot, but *that* film won Best Picture without a Film Editing nomination, so, hmmm.

I think you're probably right. And I don't think the lack of an SAG ensemble nomination is a huge hurdle either, because it's a foreign film, so it probably didn't receive as much consideration earlier in awards season before Netflix started campaigning for it, and The Shape of Water won best picture last year without an SAG ensemble.

Of course, if Cuaron doesn't win the DGA this weekend, that would be a huge hurdle for it to overcome, but short of an upset for the DGA, it seems likely to assume Cuaron will get that and the Oscar for best director, and best director and picture don't split that often, so maybe Roma is currently the front-runner.

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Evan C wrote:
: I think you're probably right. And I don't think the lack of an SAG ensemble nomination is a huge hurdle either, because it's a foreign film, so it probably didn't receive as much consideration earlier in awards season before Netflix started campaigning for it, and The Shape of Water won best picture last year without an SAG ensemble.

And, coincidentally or not, both Birdman and The Shape of Water were directed by Cuaron's fellow "Amigos", so perhaps the Academy likes to flout precedent for Mexican filmmakers...? (Just kidding. Maybe.)

: Of course, if Cuaron doesn't win the DGA this weekend, that would be a huge hurdle for it to overcome, but short of an upset for the DGA, it seems likely to assume Cuaron will get that and the Oscar for best director, and best director and picture don't split that often, so maybe Roma is currently the front-runner.

And if *that* is the case, one wonders what will happen in the Best Foreign Language Film category. (Will Academy voters give the prize to some *other* film on the assumption that Roma is going to win Best Picture and they want to share the wealth? Could Roma somehow be the Best overall Picture of the year and *not* the Best within the Foreign Language *subset* of Films?)

Would Roma be the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture?

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BTW, speaking of actors and Oscar nominations for Latin Americans, etc., etc., I heard someone call the Oscar nominations for Roma's actresses a "surprise" the other day, and I found myself thinking about the Brazilian actress who was nominated for Central Station 20 years ago and about Demian Bichir, the Mexican-American actor who was nominated for A Better Life several years ago (though Bichir at least did have a SAG nomination as well). Are there other examples, I wonder, of Latin American actors getting "surprise" nominations? It does seem that there is at least a precedent of sorts here. (Interestingly, despite the fact that Hispanics make up something like 17% of the American population, the only Hispanic actor who has actually *won* an Oscar in the last 20 years is Benicio Del Toro, for Traffic -- which came out 18 years ago. Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz have also won Oscars in that time, but they are Spanish, i.e. European, actors, and in Cruz's case at least she was playing a Spanish character. Still, even if you include them, 3 out of 80 acting awards is less than 4%.)

Oh, and before someone mentions her: yes, Adriana Barraza was nominated for an Oscar for Babel, but she was nominated for a SAG award too, and the film for which she was nominated was a front-runner for the Best Picture prize, so... I don't think she was a "surprise" in the way that some of the other actors mentioned here might have been. (Yes, Roma was always a front-runner for Best Picture too, but its actresses were not nominated for SAG awards, so I think that's why some regarded *their* Oscar nominations as a "surprise"... Okay, I'm over-thinking this now, aren't I.)

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It occurs to me that one stat we haven't mentioned yet is that Roma ties the record set by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the most nominations for a non-English-language movie. The nominations they have in common:

  • Best Foreign Language Film (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won this one)
  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won this one)
  • Best Art Direction / Production Design (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won this one)

The nomination they sort-of have in common:

  • Best Screenplay (Crouching Tiger's was Adapted, Roma's is Original)

The nominations Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon had that Roma doesn't:

  • Best Original Song
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Original Score (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won this one)

The nominations Roma has that Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon didn't:

  • Best Actress
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing

Between the music and the film editing and the costume design, I'd say Crouching Tiger had the slightly better set of nominations overall, although Roma did get two acting nods whereas the other film got none.

As you can see, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won four awards in the end, which tied the record set by Fanny and Alexander for the most Oscars that went to a foreign language movie. Will Roma beat that...? or at least match that...?

Incidentally, of the six awards that Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon *didn't* win, three went to Traffic (Director, Screenplay, Film Editing), two went to Gladiator (Picture, Costume Design) and one went to Wonder Boys (Original Song).

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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The ceremony was a few days ago now, but, just for the record:

4 awards:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody -- actor (Rami Malek), film editing, sound editing, sound mixing

3 awards:

  • Green Book -- best picture, supporting actor (Mahershala Ali), original screenplay
  • Roma -- director (Alfonso Cuaron), cinematography, foreign language film
  • Black Panther -- production design,  costume design, original score

1 award:

  • Bao -- animated short
  • BlacKkKlansman -- adapted screenplay
  • The Favourite -- actress (Olivia Colman)
  • First Man -- visual effects
  • Free Solo -- documentary feature
  • If Beale Street Could Talk -- supporting actress (Regina King)
  • Period. End of Sentence. -- documentary short
  • Skin -- live-action short
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse -- animated feature
  • A Star Is Born -- original song
  • Vice -- makeup & hairstyling

A few notes:

Every Best Picture nominee got at least *one* award this year.

Three of the acting awards went to actors who played LGBT characters.

Two of the acting awards went to African-American actors while a third went to an American actor whose parents moved to America from Egypt, which is also in Africa.

Mexicans have now won *five* of the last six directing awards, though this is the first time one of them has won for telling a Mexican story. (Curiously, one of the people presenting the Roma clip said it was a story about "immigrants", even though Roma is a Mexican film about Mexicans in Mexico -- indeed, the primary figure in the film is an *indigenous* Mexican.) Cuaron is, in fact, the first person to win best director for a non-English-language movie. (Twenty-two directors have been nominated for twenty-eight non-English films since 1961, but Cuaron is the first to actually win.)

Alfonso Cuaron joins Ang Lee on the short list of directors who have won Oscars for directing *twice* but have not seen any of their films win best picture. Of the four films in question, three lost to movies about American racism (Cuaron's Gravity and Roma lost to 12 Years a Slave and Green Book, respectively, while Lee's Brokeback Mountain lost to Crash), while Lee's Life of Pi lost to Argo. (Other directors who won best director twice for films that didn't win best picture include Frank Borzage (1927/28's 7th Heaven lost best picture to Wings and 1931/32's Bad Girl lost best picture to Grand Hotel) and George Stevens (1951's A Place in the Sun lost best picture to An American in Paris and 1956's Giant lost best picture to Around the World in 80 Days). John Ford won best director four times between 1935 and 1952, but only the third of those films -- 1941's How Green Was My Valley -- won best picture (1935's The Informer lost to Mutiny on the Bounty, 1940's The Grapes of Wrath lost to Rebecca, and 1952's The Quiet Man lost to The Greatest Show on Earth).)

Cuaron won three Oscars in a single night. How often has a single person won three Oscars in a single night? Ever?

The 2018 version of A Song Is Born and its leading lady won an Oscar for best original song, just like the 1976 version and its leading lady did. (The 1954 version was also nominated for best original song but lost to the title song from Three Coins in the Fountain.) The 1937 version won an Oscar for its screenplay, so the 1954 version is the only one that never won an Oscar of its own.

It was a good night for Mahershala Ali, who not only won his second Oscar in three years, but also saw two of his films win top prizes: Green Book got best picture while Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse got best animated feature.

Black Panther is the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to win any Oscars, and it won three of them. It is not, however, the first film based on a Marvel comic to win; a quick glance at the IMDb indicates that Spider-Man 2 won an Oscar for its visual effects. I haven't checked the other non-MCU franchises yet. And of course Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse *also* won an Oscar this year. (The DC Extended Universe got an Oscar for Suicide Squad a couple years ago, and non-DCEU movies like 1989's Batman and 2008's The Dark Knight have won them too; 1978's Superman also got a "special achievement award" for visual effects at a time when the Academy had not yet created a competitive visual-effects category.)

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