So the Oscar Nominations are out and they are… well, pretty dull this year. We basically have the same 10 movies plastered over every category with little variation. While some of the movies are deserving delights (I’m thinking of my favorite, The Favorite), there are also more than a fair share of lackluster picks. There’s the barely competent and bland Bohemian Rhapsody. There’s the historically inaccurate white people pandering of Green Book. There’s also the great-for-a-Marvel movie (but that still doesn’t make it a great movie) Black Panther. And while it’s worth going into what’s nominated on a more granular level, I’ll save that for another time. Because 2018 was long as hell, much longer than you remember, and we should all look at some deserving films that were left out of the main categories, or even entirely.
Let’s start with the some nominees for “Biggest WTF”. If Beale Street Could Talk. Like, really? Yes, it has 3 nominations, but coming it deserves a hell of a lot more. And where’s literally anything for Eighth Grade? This had so much buzz when it came out for acting, for directing, for writing, and all of it was well deserved. But it quickly faded from memory and its lack of recognition here is a travesty.
Hell, forget the films that deserve something and think of some of the actors. In “Cruelest Overlooked Performance” we have Toni Collette, who killed it in Hereditary and people are shocked that Timothée Chalamet didn’t at least get a nod for Beautiful Boy, a performance that has been cleaning up elsewhere.
In the category of “Nothing? At All? Really?” we have Sorry to Bother You, and Blindspotting. Sorry to Bother You was off always a dark horse in this race. It’s off the walls bonkers and probably too much of a genre movie to break into any of the major categories, but not a single nomination? Lakeith Stanfield for best actor? Boots Riley for director of score? Hell, this should have been a shoe-in for production design!
And jumping over to Blindspotting, it feels like they could have at least acknowledged the film with a Best Actor for Daveed Diggs. But blanking it this way seems, well, really?
For some technical snubs I submit Annihilation and Colette. Annihilation has been completely ignored all awards season long, but for the Oscars it really did deserve something for best visual effects or design. This movie had great visuals, and the fact that so many of them represent abstract concepts, as well as uncanny creatures, really showed the film flex itself creatively. In an adaptation superior to the book, it’s a shame the movie didn’t get as much recognition as the novel that spawned it.
For an Oscar slate that has more queer representation than usual (some for better, some for worse), Colette feels like a gross oversight for production design and costume. Come one, I know we have the favorite, but can the Oscars ever truly have enough prestige period piece dramas on the board? Well, apparently they can.
I should point out that I also have two nominees for “Not-Snob Snubs”. These are movies that weren’t particularly great but have still been overlooked in appropriate categories. Well, category. Visual effects, again. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Let me get this out of the way: I have yet to finish Fantastic Beasts 2. I have, so far, fallen asleep to it no fewer than three times. I have read numerous think pieces on why the film is outright offensive, but haven’t managed to muster up an emotional reaction because it makes me sleepy as hell and I pass out before I’m able to form any sort of response to it. But the visuals and digital sets are worth of an Oscar nomination, though probably not win. I feel like people forget that the cities they show aren’t real (anymore), and the fact that their digital metropolises (metropolees?) aren’t in the forefront of people’s minds as much as the green screen bonanzas from Star Wars and Marvel are actually testaments to how much more integrated the effects in Grindlewald actually are.
As for Pacific Rim: Uprising, yes, it really did come out this year. That’s unbelievable, right? And yeah, Fantastic Beasts and Solo both had better effects than Pacific Rim 2 did. But you know what looked like crap? Ready Player One, and that’s nominated. So give these mechs a chance!
Let’s finish this out. for the last two picks we have two more Best Picture snubs, Won’t You Be My Neighbor for feature-length documentary, and Early Man for animated feature. Won’t You Be My Neighbor is kind of shocking. docs and shorts tend to be the categories that no one sees. Not that it would just be a favor to the category, but nominating a Mr. Rogers doc would do a great deal to make the category feel somewhat relevant and in touch with modern movie-goers. It would at least acknowledge that the category isn’t just “things you will feel guilty for not watching, but will never watch” but perhaps something that should be talked about in the same circles as best dramas of the year. The documentary category is always littered with films that seem important, but that doesn’t mean they have to be inaccessible.
Early Man feels like a slap in the face for Aaardman studios. If we’re being honest with ourselves, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a serviceable animated movie, but it’s clunky and drags on too long in the final act and really isn’t worth a spot on the Best Animated Feature list this year. Besides, Disney would still have their annual presence represented by The Incredibles 2.
So what do you think got snubbed? Do you think your favorites will win, or get swept by something else?