Nate and Alex’s Oscar Nominations Reactions

Nate:

I’m going to preface these reactions by saying that in recent years the Oscars have gone from my favorite film awards show to one of my least favorite (it’s only marginally better than the Golden Globes at this point). I find myself increasingly more interested in the nominees for the Critics Choice Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards, all of which I think have a better read on the pulse of quality and originality in the industry. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is usually one of the last awards groups to embrace change and recognize exciting new talent. Today’s nominations prove overall that it’s still a very exclusive and out of touch club. A few new names were welcomed in and a couple long absent names have returned, but for the most part the academy stuck with the status quo at the expense of recognizing some of the freshest works of 2019. They also made clear, again, that they have little regard for anyone who works behind the scenes that isn’t a man.

Alex:

 After Oscars So White, the academy started talking a big game about diversity. Don’t get me wrong, it has improved. However, these nominations are nowhere near as diverse as they should be. In 2019, we had great performances for actors such as Lupita Nyong’o, Awkwafina, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Sterling K. Brown, Zhao Shuzen, Song Kang-ho, Michael B. Jordan, Eddie Murphy, and Wesley Snipes to name just a few. We also got to experience films crafted by minds such as Lulu Wang, Alma Har’el, Melina Matsoukas, Olivia Wilde and Marielle Heller, just to name a few. My point here is that the Academy had the opportunity to have a diverse set of nominees. They deliberately chose not to.

What We’re Happy About:

Nate:

It’s about time they recognize that Tom Hanks is still alive and doing great work. Nearly two decades after his last nomination, for Cast Away, Hanks was recognized this morning for his amazing performance in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Bong Joon-ho and his superb Parasite received lots of love and Cynthia Errivo was welcomed to the club with a nomination for lead actress for Harriet. I was also glad to see Ford v Ferrari included among the Best Picture nominees, though I believe it has the fewest nominations overall for a Best Picture nominee since Selma in 2014. Finally, of course I was happy to see Eton John and Bernie Taupin nominated in the Best Song category for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman. I loved seeing Rian Johnson nominated for Original Screenplay for Knives Out as well.

Alex: 

I love the amount of attention Parasite is getting. As far as the acting categories go, I am also happy to see Tom Hanks finally get a nomination after so long. I was also very happy that American Factory was nominated for documentary feature, mostly because I’m glad to live in the same world as Academy Award nominees Barack and Michelle Obama (well, their production company at least). I was also very pleased to see Ad Astra get some recognition.

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Ad Astra received a nomination for Best Sound Mixing.

Biggest Surprises:

Nate:

Kathy Bates’ inclusion in the Supporting Actress category was unexpected, though it’s likely the only reason she didn’t receive a SAG nomination was because she accidentally submitted her work in the lead category. At any rate, Bates’ nomination probably came at the expense of Jennifer Lopez. I don’t want to root against either actress, but omitting Lopez this year was a bad choice. Frozen II was left out of the Best Animated Feature category and Parasite got that Production Design nomination that many hoped it would get but thought was unlikely to happen.

Alex:

Overall, I was most surprised by how much the Academy enjoyed Jojo Rabbit. I was not expecting that to get as many nominations as it did. I was also surprised by Kathy Bates nomination for Supporting Actress. In general, the lack of diversity in this category is a crime against humanity. I was also genuinely surprised and perplexed by the nomination of 1917 for Original Screenplay. There was nothing wrong with the screenplay, but it was not what made that film what it was. And I think the biggest worst surprise was a nomination for Todd Phillips in the directing category.

Nate: 

Todd Phillips just doesn’t belong in that category. I will stand by that statement.

Worst Snubs:

Nate:

That Costume Design category is just…wow. No Rocketman or Dolemite Is My Name. How? Rocketman, after seeming like a strong contender for nominations in sound mixing/editing, costume and lead actor, was left with only the aforementioned Best Song nomination. Not only did the academy fail to recognize any female directors, they also seemed to go out of their way to avoid nominating many of their films for anything. Little Women got some love, but completely ignored were Hustlers, Honey Boy and The Farewell.

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The Oscars ignored The Farewell.

Alex:

There were so many that I don’t even know where to start. I agree that the Costume Design category was a mess. I don’t understand how they ignored Julian Day and Ruth E. Carter’s work. I was also surprised to see Uncut Gems going completely unrecognized. I assumed Adam Sandler would at least get a nomination or the Safdie brothers for directing. I think for me the most disappointing thing though is the fact that the directing category is all white men…again. That’s not to say that their work wasn’t good. However, I think it is about time we start recognizing diverse perspectives in film.

Nate:

I say this year after year, the directing category needs to be expanded to 10. That doesn’t negate that this year, in my view, either Marielle Heller or Lulu Wang or Olivia Wilde (or, radical idea, all of them) should have been included among the top 5 directors. But all of the other above the line categories get 10 nominees (acting, producing, writing), so directing should too. That doesn’t guarantee that the directors branch will stop being sexist, but it would make it pretty difficult for anyone to argue that there just wasn’t room for women. it’s a BS argument even now, but with 10 directing slots, the directors branch would be forced to recognize films directed by people other than their favorite dudes.

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