Oscar and Razzie Nominations — Snubs and Surprises

On the morning of Oscar nominations, I never wake up super early, even though I need to go on a few stations to talk about the picks. I happened to have a migraine, though, and woke up at 4 a.m. I just stayed up and watched as they rolled in, and listened to talking heads on TV that usually got stuff wrong — whether that’s mispronouncing names, or wondering why 10 movies didn’t get nominated for best picture. One reporter on CNN said she was happy Black Panther got nominated because, “It’s great to see animated movies get credit.”

Huh?

Anyway, the always funny Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross were playful with the announcements (leading many to speculate as to why they don’t just host the Oscars). A duo would be fun, although…James Franco and Anne Hathaway is still too fresh in our memories.

The nominations, and my editorializing on them:

 

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams, Vice. She was one of the only good things about this movie.
  • Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk. King was one of the only good things about this movie (okay, the cinematography and score was solid).
  • Marina de Tavira, Roma. I don’t even remember this role.
  • Emma Stone, The Favourite. Stone is great in everything she does, and she is here. I just wish the movie was better.
  • Rachel Weisz, The Favourite. Ah, so…she didn’t get nominated for spitting in Rachel McAdams mouth in Disobedience?

The only actress I like in this category is Regina King. Now, not a fan of Beale Street as a film, but she’s great in it. I think Thoroughbreds actresses (Anya Taylor-Joy or Olivia Cooke), or Amanda Seyfried in First Reformed, deserved it more than anyone else in this category.

 

Costume Design

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • Black Panther
  • The Favourite
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Mary Queen of Scots

Is there ever a movie where we don’t like their costumes? Heck, even the stuff they wore in Holmes & Watson was great.

 

Original Score

 

  • Black Panther
  • BlackkKlansman
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Isle of Dogs

 

  • Mary Poppins Returns

It’s a shame the brilliant work of Kris Bowers for Green Book couldn’t get a nomination (something about a lot of the score sounding too much like Dr. Shirley’s music). I liked the jazzy score of Beale Street (despite not liking the film), and liked the Black Panther score. My favorite of the bunch was what veteran Alexandre Desplat did for Isle of Dogs. Those drums gave it an interesting Japanese feel. Just brilliant work from him.

 

Original Song

  • “All the Stars” Black Panther
  • “I’ll Fight” RBG. Written by Diane Warren, who has done so many movie songs lately. She’s one of the best songwriters in the business.
  • 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.

I loved the songs in Scruggs (wait, this was Netflix, not a real movie; but whatever). But how can we not give this to “Shallow”? Clearly the best song of the bunch.

Some people online are saying the Dolly Parton song for Dumplin’ is a snub (co-written by the talented Linda Perry), but…wasn’t that a Netflix film?

 

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”. Give the Oscar to Ali. It just warms my heart that he won last year for Moonlight and could win again for this wonderful performance. Just watch the various range of emotions he has on display. He yells at Tony in the rain about not fitting in. He acts like a pompous jerk to Tony for the way he speaks or his critiques of food. He has to act scared, sad, a whole range of emotions. Not to mention the months and months he spent learning to tickle the ivories.
  • Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”. I love Driver, and liked him in this part. But…is this really worthy of a nomination?
  • Sam Elliott, “A Star is Born”. I’m so glad Elliott took this role. It’s a small role, and he’s often times not given a lot to do. Watch the scene of him backing up the truck after Bradley Cooper’s character tells him how much he looked up to him. Him not showing emotion, while we’re bawling our eyes out, is subtle, and exceptionally powerful.
  • Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”. I told Grant at the Critics’ Choice Awards that I was so mad when he messed things up in the movie because I didn’t want Melissa McCarthy to throw him out of her house and us not see him in the movie anymore. He threw his head back and laughed. His performance was probably tied for my favorite of the year with Ali. I’ll be rooting for Ali, but I’ll be just as happy if they give it to Grant.
  • Sam Rockwell, “Vice”. This might be the only time I’ll ever say this about Sam Rockwell, one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood — get him out of this category.

How about a posthumous nomination for Anton Yelchin for Thoroughbreds? I would’ve also liked to have seen Joel Edgerton as the minister at a conversion therapy camp in Boy Erased. And speaking of ministers, Cedric the Entertainer, playing a serious role as a minister in First Reformed. While we’re at it, take Driver out and replace him with Steve Buscemi for Lean on Pete.

 

Foreign Language Film

  • Capernaum. This movie is awful and manipulative.
  • Cold War. This is good, but too long.
  • Never Look Away. This is an interesting film, but also too long. I know, I sound like a broken record saying that. But this is over 3 hours long, and it’s a story that could’ve been told in 2 hours.
  • Roma. So, at the Critics’ Choice Awards, this won for both “best picture” and “best foreign film.” I’m baffled with all the love this movie is getting.
  • Shoplifters. Solid choice.

I would’ve liked to have seen my favorite foreign language film nominated — In the Fade out of Germany. Diane Kruger getting revenge on the neo-Nazis that killed her husband and son. That movie, and The Guilty, are my two favorite foreign films of the year.

It also would’ve been nice to see Burning get a nomination. That was one that was predicted to be nominated (and President Obama picked it as one of his favorites of the year).

 

Documentary Feature

    • Free Solo. It’s between this and Minding the Gap to win the Oscar, but a liberal Academy might pick RBG. Especially after her recently breaking ribs and the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

 

  • Hale County This Morning This Evening
  • Minding The Gap
  • Of Fathers and Sons

 

  • RBG. This was okay, but it was basically hero worship.

The biggest snub is Won’t You Be My Neighbor? It was not only a great watch, it actually made money at the box office. That’s tough for documentaries. The best documentary of the year didn’t get nominated — Three Identical Strangers. I would’ve also liked Love, Gilda to get a nomination, as well as Hal or Filmworker, two documentaries about filmmakers that any movie buff should see.

 

Cinematography

 

  • Cold War
  • The Favourite
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma

 

  • A Star is Born.

All the choices in this category are solid. It must be a thrill for director Alfonso Cuaron to get this nod, since he was also the cinematographer.

 

Visual Effects

    • Avengers: Infinity War. So, why does this super-hero picture get nominated, but not Black Panther? Many are asking that same question with the movies reversed, regarding “best picture.”
    • Christopher Robin. Great visual effects, but such a bad movie.
    • First Man. Glad this is the only award this movie got. It was a big disappointment, so I’m happy Claire Foy or Ryan Gosling didn’t get nominations.
    • Ready Player One. Seeing this movie in 3D was thrilling.

 

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story. There have been so many Star Wars films lately, I barely remember this one.

 

 

Animated Feature Film

  • Incredibles 2. Okay, but not really worth the 14 year wait.
  • Isle of Dogs. Not only the best animated movie of the year, but this Wes Anderson picture was also one of the best movies of the year.
  • Mirai. Why can’t I even think of what this is? I should Google it, but hey…it’s a busy morning.
  • Ralph Breaks The Internet. The first half hour of this was dreadful, but luckily, it picked up.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

This is a solid list, and with all the love Spider-Man is getting, it may win. That’s a shame, because Isle of Dogs is not only my favorite animated movie this year, but it made my Top 10 of the year.

 

Makeup and Hairstyling

 

  • Border
  • Mary Queen of Scots

 

  • Vice.

You have to nominate Vice, for making Christian Bale look like Cheney, but where’s the love for Bohemian Rhapsody? It was like looking at a Queen concert in the ‘70s. And that meant more than just slapping a mustache and tight white tank top on Malek.

 

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. This was interesting, but…some of the stories worked, some didn’t. They also didn’t seem to tie together very well, but it probably deserved to be here.
  • BlacKkKlansman. The problem with this nomination is that Spike Lee made up so much fictional stuff that, 90% of the movie never happened (yet Green Book only had a small amount of fiction and people lost their minds). The movie’s never boring, and it’s an intriguing story.
  • Can you Ever Forgive Me? This movie originally had a different director and actress cast. It’s nice that somebody decided to take this low-key story and make a movie out of it.
  • If Beale Street Could Talk. It’s a James Baldwin book. It gets a nomination on that alone.
  • A Star Is Born. You have to give this script credit for making a story we all know, making it so fresh and…updated perfectly for the times.

 

Original Screenplay

Where the hell is The Rider, Thoroughbreds, Sorry to Bother You, Lean on Pete, or Blindspotting? Those are five original, interesting, funny, sad, and thought-provoking pieces of work. It’s a shame they didn’t make the cut. They made my “best of” list. The Academy’s list:

 

  • The Favourite
  • First Reformed. Great pick!

 

  • Green Book. I told Nick Vallelonga how much I loved his script at a party in L.A. And I’m glad the recent controversies didn’t keep people from nominating this, the best screenplay and movie of the year.
  • Roma. Screenplay? I think they just made this stuff up as they went.
  • Vice. My wife asked “Who is this movie even for?” It’s a question I’m still curious about.

 

Actor in a Leading Role

Michael Jordan is on the list of best basketball players of all time. Michael B. Jordan should not be on this list, of best actors in a leading role. Despite the fact that everyone is claiming he got snubbed for Black Panther. One snub that comes to mind is John C. Reily for playing Oliver Hardy in Stan & Ollie. It wasn’t just a fat suit he wore, but having that twinkle in his eye, and doing more than just a caricature. It blows Bale’s performance out of the water (despite the fact that Bale gained the weight, like he often does for roles). And, everyone is complaining that Crazy Rich Asians didn’t get a single nomination. I would’ve liked to see Asian actor John Cho snag one for playing a worried father in Searching.

  • Christian Bale, Vice. I think when Bale does a role, the Academy just has to nominate him, right? He was great as Dick Cheney, but the movie was a mess.
  • Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born. I liked Cooper in this part, although he should’ve had one or two more scenes where he wasn’t playing a drunk. I would’ve rather had seen him not nominated for this, and instead, for what he did as director for this picture (and I’m sure he’d agree with me on that). Take Cooper out in this category, and put in Lucas Hedges for Boy Erased; or from another Boy movie, Timothee Chalamet, who was so incredible in Beautiful Boy. It’s one of the only reasons that you can tolerate watching yet another drug addict film.
  • Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate. I love Dafoe. I had a great conversation with him at the Critics’ Choice Awards. I loved him in The Florida Project. This is his 4th time getting nominated, and he played Van Gogh well, but the movie sucked. I’d take Dafoe out here, and replace him with Ethan Hawke for First Reformed.
  • Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody. Malek was great in this role, and everyone’s in agreement on that. In my review I said the movie is worth watching for his performance alone, and…his acting and the songs were really the only thing good about this film.
  • Viggo Mortensen, Green Book. My choice for the Oscar. I sure hope anything he said, or any controversies with this movie, don’t hurt his chances of taking home the gold statue. His performance here is tremendous. There’s a scene where he gets mad at Shirley, and looks like he’s about to slap him, and ends up walking away without opening the door for him. There’s another scene where he has to tell someone in his family not to use a racial slur, and it’s so subtle, and we can see he’s changed as a person. There’s a scene when he’s leaving his wife for a few months to take the job, and he’s trying to act indifferent, but we can tell he’s trying to be a tough guy; but we also see in his face he’s going to miss his wife and kids. It’s bringing tears to my eyes just thinking about this movie again.

 

Actress in a Leading Role

The big snub here is Toni Collette in Hereditary. I wasn’t the biggest fan of that horror film, but she was outstanding in it. There’s a scene where she starts yelling at her son at the dinner table that gave me chills. Speaking of horror movies, many people are claiming Emily Blunt got snubbed, since she had two opportunities for nominations — The Quiet Place and Mary Poppins. She was good in both, but neither are Oscar-worthy (I said that in my best Elaine Benes voice).

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  • Yalitza Aparicio, Roma. This is the worst nomination. Now, she’s fine in this role, but she’s playing a maid, and rarely shows any emotion. Obviously, she’s never acted before, but she spends most of the movie mopping up dog poo on a driveway or staring at people.
  • Glenn Close, The Wife. My favorite performance of the year, and I told her that at the Critics’ Choice Awards (where we named her the best actress). She’s never won an Oscar, despite multiple nominations, so this is probably a shoe-in. Sure, Lady Gaga could be an upset as she has a lot of buzz, but I doubt the Academy will award a pop star who is making her first foray into acting. Even Cher had to wait a film or two before her Oscar.
  • Olivia Colman, The Favourite. Colman is so great in this role, I just disliked the film. She did gain 40 pounds for this part, which is something you never hear actresses do. And we always praise the actors when they do this (I’m looking at you, Christian Bale).
  • Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born. Gaga really surprised me with how terrific she was in this. There’s a scene where she goes to visit her husband in rehab, and the subtle emotion she displays (while he breaks down crying) is just fantastic.
  • Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? I’m guessing this nomination was a surprise for her. She’s one of those that people wondered about for this performance. I said in my review, after seeing this at the San Diego International Film Festival, that she’d get an Oscar nomination for it. And it was well-deserved. It also probably takes the sting off the fact that she got TWO Razzie nominations the day before.

 

Best Director

Not nominating Bradley Cooper is damn near criminal after he made such a good movie out of this familiar story. I also think it’s a shame that Peter Farrelly didn’t get nominated. Perhaps the controversy surrounding the film hurt him. It had to, because…you don’t do a movie this perfect and not get a nod otherwise. This is a guy who directed raunchy comedies (Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin), and he branches out to do a film without his brother — and it’s a home run. Now, a lot of people are complaining that no female directors were nominated. I usually hate when people go down this path. It was ridiculous when there was an “Oscars so white” backlash, too. Nominations aren’t about being inclusive, and saying — did we nominate an African-American? What about an Asian? Did we get any Middle Eastern folks in this list? Okay, do we have any female directors we can nominate? BUT…and this is a big but (no Sir Mix-A-Lot ref. intended)…two women should have been nominated. Chloe Zhao, who directed one of the best movies of the year — The Rider — should be on here. What she did was poetry on screen. Watching it gives you the type of feeling you want to have every time you watch a film. Another writer/director, that’s female, should have been nominated. Elizabeth Chomko, for the powerful What They Had (Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster, Blythe Danner). It would’ve been nice if Boots Riley got a nomination for Sorry to Bother You. Oh, and please, stop with all the complaints about Barry Jenkins not getting a nomination. He got a lot of awards with Moonlight last year (which was good, not great), and Beale Street isn’t very good.

  • BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee. Lee actually did a horrible job with this. There’s a scene of a black power rally, where he showed faces of people in circles. It was the goofiest thing I’ve seen on screen all year. Also, to end the movie showing clips of Trump and the car driving into protestors…was totally ridiculous. To try and show that this story is still relevant today, felt so out of place to Ron Stallworth’s interesting story.
  • Cold War, Pawel Pawlikowski. Oh come on. This was good, but a bit long. And, you give it a nomination for foreign film, that should be enough.
  • The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos. This director…is so hard for me to figure out. He always has scenes that are brilliant, but the movies are always a big mess. If you watch Dogtooth, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster, and now this…you’ll shake your head.
  • Roma, Alfonso Cuaron. Oh, dear god. The love this movie is getting is just insane. Now, Cuaron did a brilliant opening shot, and he has a few terrific scenes in the movie. It’s a shame the film is so boring and minimal in what it presents.
  • Vice, Adam McKay. McKay, a former Saturday Night Live writer/director, deserved the nomination for The Big Short. This movie…felt like it was trying to do that same thing, and it’s really a mess.

 

Best Picture

This is the category where people most like to talk about snubs. So, a few things. First, If Beale Street Could Talk wasn’t that good. It was beautifully shot, and Regina King is solid, but it’s a mess. Crazy Rich Asians was fun, and it’s a date movie both parties can enjoy, but it’s hardly “best picture” material. If the Academy nominated wacky comedies, Game Night would’ve been on this list (the funniest movie of the year). In my opinion, the biggest snubs are The Rider — which is such a beautiful film. Sorry to Bother You, which is a thousand times better than BlacKkKlansman. I have First Reformed and The Wife on my Top 10 of the year, but I don’t have a problem with them not being on the list. I would’ve liked to see Thoroughbreds on here, though. Now, I just saw someone on CNN complain that the Oscars are allowed to have up to 10 nominations, so they felt they should’ve picked another two. I’ve explained this before, but nobody knows the rule, so I’ll explain it again. How the Oscar nominations work is…for a movie to be on the “best picture” list, of the thousands of Academy members, a certain number have to list that movie as their favorite of the year. So, for example, if every person that’s a voting member put Crazy Rich Asians as their second favorite movie of the year, it doesn’t go on the list. It needs a certain number that pick it as the best. It’s a weird way to do it, but that’s how they roll.

  • Black Panther. I have no problem with this being on the list, but really…isn’t this just a super-hero movie? It’s better than Avengers: Infinity Wars (some on the internet are saying that was a snub), but last year Spider-man: Homecoming was great, and nobody was clamoring for that to get a nomination. So, do we nominate movies now based on the race of the cast? And if so, maybe Crazy Rich Asians should’ve gotten a nod.
  • BlacKkKlansman. A good movie, that was poorly directed.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen was my favorite band in the ‘70s, and even I was lukewarm on this movie. It got mixed reviews from the critics, despite fans loving it. It’s not a great film, folks. It’s a great lead performance with great songs.
  • The Favourite. My wife and I might be the only people that disliked this movie. Great costumes, great performances, but garbage.
  • Green Book. The best movie of the year. So far ahead of the pack that it’s not even close.
  • Roma. This is easily, the most overrated movie ever made.
  • A Star Is Born. I liked it, but didn’t love it. It certainly deserves to be on this list, though.
  • Vice. This movie, like Bohemian Rhapsody, got mixed reviews. It’s weird that two movies with mixed reviews got nominations. They will go down as two of the worst reviewed films to get nominations.

 

Now, onto the Razzies.

 

The 39th annual Razzie Awards have been announced, for what voting members claim are the worst of the worst in film. And just as I have problems with Oscar nominations each year, I also have a problem with what is labelled the worst. I have no problem with them putting GOTTI, ROBIN HOOD, WINCHESTER, or HOLMES & WATSON on the list, but I do have a problem with THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS. Now, this wasn’t some great comedy, but I think most people will laugh enough that it doesn’t warrant inclusion on the list. There’s a scene involving Maya Rudolph and a banana (not in the way you think), that I think is one of the funniest things in a comedy all year. And the private eye puppet had enough good lines that it was mostly entertaining. But really, the most egregious omission was not having A WRINKLE IN TIME. It might not just be the worst movie of the year, but of the decade. What about Clint Eastwood’s disaster 15:17 TO PARIS? Or the Halle Berry movie KINGS?

Despite laughing in The Happytime Murders, I have no problem with Melissa McCarthy being on the list for worst actress. It’s interesting that she also got the nomination for her role in LIFE OF THE PARTY, in which she was so annoying, I said in my initial review “I can see why her husband left her in the beginning of the movie.” I’m sure the sting of two Razzie nominations, dissipated after the Oscar nod she got.

Not sure why Helen Mirren would be on the list for WINCHESTER. Sure, it wasn’t her finest performance, and in a horror movie that was a mess, but surely there were worst actresses this year. I was glad to see Jennifer Garner got in for PEPPERMINT. A horrible, horrible movie. Amber Heard (London Fields) and Amanda Seyfried (The Clapper) complete the list. Not sure how they left off Halle Berry (who has made the list before), with her horrible film KINGS. It’s a shame that the Razzie’s are afraid of Oprah Winfrey, because how they left her off for the horrible A WRINKLE IN TIME, is beyond me.

For WORST ACTOR, how do they leave out Ewan McGregor for CHRISTOPHER ROBIN? And, how does the Razzie’s leave out the opportunity to knock it, for being bad and for coming a year after another Christopher Robin movie? Not sure why they’d nominate Johnny Depp for SHERLOCK GNOMES, when he merely did the voiceover. And Will Ferrell’s “acting” wasn’t the problem with HOLMES & WATSON, it was the script. But guilt by association, I suppose. Now, I didn’t think John Travolta was that bad in GOTTI, it was just a weak movie. And call me crazy, but Bruce Willis in DEATH WISH…that was my guilty pleasure. The worst nomination on the list is Donald Trump (as himself) for a couple of documentaries. Come on guys. Keep politics out of it. I mean, I’m guessing they never put Al Gore in for AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, despite Gore looking so stiff on screen, and having an inconvenient 35 inaccuracies/lies.

The WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR also had someone that just did a voiceover — Ludacris for SHOW DOGS. Again, that’s not fair. Joel McHale got in for THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS, which reminds me of what my complaint is each year about the Razzie list. They sometimes pick all the people from a certain movie. That’s a lot less interesting than if they picked someone from a decent movie, that was just awful in it.  Same with John C. Reilly as Watson. The rest of the list includes Jamie Foxx (Robin Hood) and Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom).

For SUPPORTING ACTRESSES they had Kelly Preston for GOTTI. She was fine in the movie, despite how bad it was. I never saw SLENDER MAN, so I can’t comment on Jaz Sinclair. I just want to know if she lost the kind of weight Christian Bale lost for The Machinist.  And again with the politics, they nominated Kellyanne Conway (as herself) for FAHRENHEIT 11/9 and Melania Trump (as herself). If you’re going to do politics, heck…Steve Carell for VICE. He looked nothing like Donald Rumsfeld, and it wasn’t that great a performance. Oh wait. It’s a bunch of liberals making this list, so they don’t do that. Got it. Anyway, I love that they put Marcia Gay Harden from FIFTY SHADES FREED, but it made me wonder why she was the only one from that movie that got the nod.

The BEST COMBO/DUO category is a fun one. It’s always funny when there are interesting categories like that (MTV Movie Awards has a “best kiss” category).

Yet this time, the Razzies totally blow it. They list Johnny Depp & His Fast-Fading Film Career. Come on, guys. I’m all for funny comments and kicking people while they’re down, but…aren’t there enough real duos to choose from? Instead, they also list Donald J. Trump & His Self Perpetuating Pettiness. Guys, seriously, how is this even a movie related thing? And by adding it, aren’t the Razzies the ones falling under the “self perpetuating pettiness”? They did have a few duos that do fit the bill: Will Ferrell/John C. Reilly and John Travolta/Kelly Preston. And how did they not decide to add a “Best Trio” and give it to the three actresses in A Wrinkle in Time? And not to just sound like I’m picking on the women, certainly the trio of men from MAMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN all deserved to be on here. But if they want to stick to duos, well…they could go Andy Garcia and Cher for the horrible “Fernando” segment.

Another fun category is WORST REMAKE, RIP-OFF or SEQUEL. For that they have Death of a Nation (remake of Hillary’s America), Death Wish, Holmes & Watson, The Meg (rip-off of Jaws), and Robin Hood. Now, this might be the Razzie’s most solid category.

The last few categories got redundant, as it was all the previously listed movies. This year, the Razzies deserve a Razzie, for doing such a lame list, with such limited films. In a year where there are at least 100 horrible films, it’s bizarre that they merely picked the handful they did to attack.

Now in the past, some stars have shown up to pick up their award. With Melissa McCarthy being an Oscar nominee, she should show up. With an x-rated muppet on her arm.

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