The Giant 2019 Oscar Nominations Column

Art by Travis Wilker

*takes a long drag of a cigarette*

Good god dammit, this is looking to be a supremely not-fun Oscars, perhaps the least fun of recent memory. I have a group chat with my buddies Huston and Alek that’s mostly about the Utah Jazz, but also about film of course. Alek messaged us “I just barely looked at the Oscar nominations and got a raging headache, not sure why. Probably unrelated.” I too still have a raging headache looking at these nominations. I don’t want to go full Stephen A. Smith here, but this is bad. This is very, very bad.

Alright, let’s get through this. The Oscars nominations are out, so it’s time for the Giant 2019 Oscar Nominations Column! Same format as last year, I’ll make some addendums to the Make The Oscars Fun Manifesto, we’ll award the “Really? This Film?” award to the film that garners a bunch of huge nominations despite being bad/mediocre and then we’ll get into the nominations where I decide who should win, who will win and any changes I would make to the categories.

THE MAKE THE OSCARS FUN MANIFESTO (2019 EDITION)

  • Please, please, please for the love of God get the runtime of the Oscars telecast down. There’s absolutely no reason why this shit should run longer than the average MLB game. My buddy Alek put it best that watching the Oscars is like watching Film fight a traffic ticket for 4 hours. It’s awful. It’s awful entertainment, it’s awful television. Please make this program shorter.
  • I don’t know how many times I have to say this, get rid of the short film categories. Nobody cares about them, nobody is betting money on those. These categories do nothing but take up meaningless time, and nobody should have to watch Kobe Bryant accept an Oscar, especially in the Me Too era.
  • This should be the last year that we include performances of the Best Original Song category. I mean you have the possibility of having Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga perform, which gives you two incredible live performers. Add onto that we could have Emily Blunt doing Mary Poppins and Tim Blake Nelson doing a cowboy song, it’s time to accept that this is the best this whole category is going to ever get. After this year, abolish the category. You’re not going to have as many great performances again, and you’d lop off a good 45 minutes of pointless time to bring the runtime down to something more manageable.
  • I’ve been asking for this for years, but we need a best stunts/choreography category. Give Tom Cruise his fucking oscar. It’s a great way to get “popular” films involved, while still allowing the academy to give nominations to all the musicals they love so much.
  • Once again, we missed out on nominating fun and weird films that would have livened up the show. No nominations for Hereditary?! Come on!!!! You could have had a “best screams of the year” montage that’s just Toni Collette in that film. You could have done some sort of King Paemon sketch. No nods for Paddington 2???? We deserve the fall of civilization. Any sketch involving Paddington would have been gold.
  • I am one of three people that genuinely are invested in the sound categories, but even I think they should be taken out of the ceremony and reverted to the technical oscars the day before that nobody cares about, because guess what? Nobody cares about the sound nominations except for me and the nominees! It would help lop off a good 10-15 minutes of useless airtime.
  • Please have the Queer Eye Fab Five present the Makeup and Costume awards.
  • I don’t know what else to say that I haven’t said before, let’s just get this year over with, give all the awards to Roma and pretend the rest of it didn’t happen.

Photo edit by Travis Wilker

THE “REALLY? THIS FILM?” AWARD

Every year there is at least one film that manages a bunch of big nominations despite not being good. You just look at the accolades and go “Really? This film?” There’s three of those shits this year! This is perhaps the most “Really? That Film?” filled Oscar nominations in a good while. You could almost have a separate awards show to determine who wins this year’s “Really? That Film?” award and it would be a tightly contested race. I just keep looking and am surprised every time how many big nominations Green Book, Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody got. I don’t want to sound like an old man yelling at clouds, but good god, this Oscars is gonna be rough to watch.

First off, Bohemian Rhapsody was directed by a guy who is an abuser/sexual assualter. The fact that Oscars are willing to show love to this film in the “Me Too” era shows you how much they really care, they only pretend to for good press and posture. It’s just appalling. And even on a filmmaking level, it’s clear from even just the trailer that this is exactly the type of film that Walk Hard was making fun of, meaning it’s just a cardboard cutout product of a musical biopic. It shouldn’t be here.

Green Book gives you the whole film in the trailer, for starters. You don’t even need to go see the thing. Then you add on that it postures itself as seeking empathy, when it’s clear that it’s only seeking permission for white people to feel okay about being racist. It’s less about racial empathy and more about a white guy discovering “Hey! They’re people too!” Get the fuck out of here with this shit.

I had the same issues with Vice that I had with Adam McKay’s last film The Big Short. He’s just too busy yelling at you to actually tell you what he wants to say, and in the process makes a film that thinks you are stupid without doing the due diligence of trying to then properly educate you. Yes, Dick Cheney is fucking evil, but this is still a lacking film. Films about important subjects don’t automatically become good art just for existing.

Fuck, okay, let’s dive in.

PICKS AND PREDICTIONS

Best Shorts

Nobody cares. Get rid of these. Moving on.

Makeup and Hair

Border

Mary Queen of Scots

Vice

Who Should Win: Border. I’ve only seen the trailer, but it’s clear from the footage in it that they are doing some great stuff with makeup.

Who Will Win: Vice. The voters have seen this film more than the others and will go for Christian Bale’s excessive transformation.

Changes I’d Make: Upgrade had some great makeup work, and Uncle Drew would have made this category a lot more fun.

Costume Design

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Mary Zophres

Black Panther, Ruth E. Carter

The Favourite, Sandy Powell

Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy Powell

Mary Queen of Scots, Alexandra Byrne

Who Should Win: Black Panther. Ruth E. Carter is a legend of the industry who did phenomenal work in this film to build a whole new world never seen before.

Who Will Win: The Favourite. Don’t get me wrong, there is wonderful clothing work in this film, but the Academy’s love for period pieces in the costume category will trump anything else, and The Favourite being a big contender will net this award.

Changes I’d Make: Paddington 2. Whoever did the pink prison outfits deserves an award, so I’d add that film. Suspiria really did a lot in the costume department, and I’d also give Mandy some love because every look in that film is iconic.

Sound Editing

Black Panther, Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker

Bohemian Rhapsody, John Warhurst

First Man, Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan

A Quiet Place, Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl

Roma, Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay

Who Should Win: Roma/First Man. I can’t decide which one I think did better, because both are just phenomenal sound works of sound.

Who Will Win: Roma. It’s Roma’s night, and the sound in this film is unbelievable.

Changes I’d Make: I thought I’d have to add in A Quiet Place, so I’m happy to see it already here. Get Bohemian Rhapsody out of here. I’d also add Mandy, Hereditary, If Beale Street Could Talk and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Sound Mixing

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

Roma

A Star Is Born

Who Should Win: Still torn between Roma and First Man. Can we have a tie?

Who Will Win: Roma. Same as the previous category.

Changes I’d Make: A Quiet Place, Mandy, Hereditary, If Beale Street Could Talk and Mission: Impossible – Fallout all deserve spots here.

Original Song

“All The Stars” from Black Panther by Kendrick Lamar, SZA

“I’ll Fight” from RBG by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

“Shallow” from A Star Is Born by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Who Should Win: “All the Stars” is the best song, and I would love to see Kendrick get his EGOT. The most fun pick would be “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” though.

Who Will Win: “Shallow” from A Star is Born. Lady Gaga is going to get that damn EGOT.

Changes I’d Make: Just get rid of the damn category. But also Paddington 2 didn’t get any love for Hugh Grant’s musical performance at the end? Fuck this shit.

Original Score

BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard

Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson

If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell

Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat

Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Who Should Win: Out of these, Britell should win. His score for If Beale Street Could Talk is otherworldly beautiful and is by far the best work listed in this category.

Who Will Win: Tough to say, but Nicholas Britell comes away with sadly the only award for If Beale Street Could Talk.

Changes I’d Make: Honestly, I’d only keep Britell and Ludwig Goransson. I love Terence Blanchard’s work on Spike Lee’s filmography, but there are better options this year. Desplat is mainly here because the Academy would just feel weird if they didn’t nominate him for something. I can’t recall a single lick of the Mary Poppins Returns score, so it’s gone too. In its place are a slew of fantastic other scores from this year. Jed Palmer for Upgrade, Colin Stetson for Hereditary, Daniel Pemberton for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Lorne Balfe for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Justin Hurwitz for First Man, Marco Beltrami for A Quiet Place, Jonny Greenwood for You Were Never Really Here, John Carpenter for Halloween and Johann Johannson (RIP) for Mandy are all far better scores than the a majority of the ones the Academy chose. Good lord this category was lousy this year. The Academy should be ashamed.

Visual Effects

Avengers: Infinity War

Christopher Robin

First Man

Ready Player One

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Who Should Win: First Man. The amount of stuff they did with practical and in-camera effects are just astounding and belong on a tier of their own.

Who Will Win: First Man! Sadly this will be the only award the film walks away with.

Changes I’d Make: I don’t know that Solo should be here. I can live with Infinity War being here. Ready Player One and Christopher Robin are two films I’m glad to see are here. I’d add Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Hereditary, Upgrade, Paddington 2 and Suspiria.

Production Design

Black Panther, Hannah Beachler

First Man, Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas

The Favourite, Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton

Mary Poppins Returns, John Myhre, Gordon Sim

Roma, Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

Who Should Win: Out of these, it should be Roma. It’s Roma’s night, it’s going to pick up nearly every award it’s nominated for.

Who Will Win: Roma. Duh.

Changes I’d Make: I’m not sure that Mary Poppins Returns deserves to be here. I like the other picks, so in the open slot I would slide in Upgrade, Suspiria, Hereditary or Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Film Editing

BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown

Bohemian Rhapsody, John Ottman

Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito

The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis

Vice, Hank Corwin

Who Should Win: In this underwhelming selection? The Favourite. The comedic pacing of Yorgos Lanthimos films are just top notch.

Who Will Win: The academy is going to do something dumb and give this shit to Vice, because it tricks them into thinking choppy and messy editing is edgy.

Changes I’d Make: Let’s get Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book and Vice right the fuck out of here. In those spots, I’d throw in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Roma, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Mandy, Searching and First Reformed.

Animated Feature

Incredibles 2, Brad Bird

Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson

Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda

Ralph Breaks the Internet, Rich Moore, Phil Johnston

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Who Should Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best animated film this decade at least. This should be a no-brainer.

Who Will Win: Incredibles 2 or Ralph Breaks the Internet because that’s all you fuckers care about. Pixar owns a monopoly on the animation oscars and I don’t see it stopping this year.

Changes I’d Make: Just put Spider-Man in all five slots.

Documentary Feature

Free Solo, Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

Hale County This Morning, This Evening, RaMell Ross

Minding the Gap, Bing Liu

Of Fathers and Sons, Talal Derki

RBG, Betsy West, Julie Cohen

Who Should Win: None of these films. Did nobody see Three Identical Strangers or Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Fuck this shit, this is a joke.

Who Will Win: I don’t care. RBG.

Changes I’d Make: Three Identical Strangers and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? have got to be in there.

Best Foreign Language Film

Capernaum (Lebanon)

Cold War (Poland)

Never Look Away (Germany)

Roma (Mexico)

Shoplifters (Japan)

Who Should Win: Roma. It’s Roma’s night, and it would be fascinating to see a film take both best foreign language film and best picture.

Who Will Win: Shoplifters. I think this is a category Roma loses because it’s going to win best picture and they don’t want to double it up.

Changes I’d Make: I’m not the biggest fan of Burning, but how the fuck is it not here? It also would have been cool to see more genre-leaning films like Border sneak in.

Cinematography

Cold War, Lukasz Zal

The Favourite, Robbie Ryan

Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel

Roma, Alfonso Cuarón

A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique

Who Should Win: Cuarón. Having a director win a cinematography award would be incredible, and his work is masterful behind the camera. But I also think it would be amazing if Robbie Ryan had an oscar.

Who Will Win: Cuarón. It’s Roma’s night.

Changes I’d Make: I can live with this group. But I also think James Laxton should be here for If Beale Street Could Talk, as well as Christopher Blauvelt for mid90s, Pawel Pogorzelski for Hereditary, Bruno Delbonnel for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joshua James Richards for The Rider and Rob Hardy for Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Adapted Screenplay

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen , Ethan Coen

BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins

A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Who Should Win: The Coen Brothers. Next.

Who Will Win: Tough to say, probably A Star is Born but Can You Ever Forgive Me? could be a surprise winner.

Changes I’d Make: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse should be here, as should First Man. Halloween would be a fun pick, so would The Old Man and the Gun. You Were Never Really Here also deserves a nod here.

Original Screenplay

The Favourite, Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

Roma, Alfonso Cuarón

Vice, Adam McKay

Who Should Win: It’s ridiculous that this is Paul Schrader’s first oscar nomination – I mean this guy wrote Taxi Driver, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters and Raging Bull. How did the academy whiff on him so many times? First Reformed should win this.

Who Will Win: Roma. It’s Roma’s night.

Changes I’d Make: Let’s just scooch Vice and Green Book right on out of here and replace them with any of the numerous better options like Hereditary, Mandy, Searching, Eighth Grade, A Quiet Place, Sorry to Bother You or Upgrade. We could just do so much better, people.

Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Sam Rockwell, Vice

Who Should Win: In an otherwise underwhelming category selection, Richard E. Grant should have an Oscar.

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali. This is the one nomination that Green Book has that I can live with, because he’s an incredible actor and I’d like to think that with this nod the academy recognizes him as an actor they should regularly nominate.

Changes I’d Make: I’d only keep Richard E. Grant, Mahershala Ali if I have to. The rest I’d lose without missing a lick of sleep. I love Sam Rockwell, but his performance as George W. Bush in Vice, while fun, does not deserve to be here. I love Sam Elliot, but there are better choices. I love Adam Driver, but this is the role we’re nominating him for? He’s just done so much more in years past that this nod feels lacking. In their places, I’d slide in Brian Tyree Henry for If Beale Street Could Talk, he takes over the movie in an incredible way for 5 minutes. Daniel Kaluuya is great in Widows, and Hugh Grant is a blast in Paddington 2. And if The Favourite were to get another nomination, Nicholas Hoult is a delight in that film. But lastly, I’d nominate Nic fucking Cage for his voice performance as Spider-Man Noir in Into the Spider-Verse.

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Vice

Marina de Tavira, Roma

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Who Should Win: Marina de Tavira. She’s incredible in Roma.

Who Will Win: Regina King. And deservedly so, she’s one of the best at her craft. As much as I want Amy Adams to get an Oscar, I don’t want it for this role. It would feel almost insulting to finally give one to her for one of her least good roles. Besides, awards shows have been snubbing her since Talladega Nights so I don’t think we have anything to worry about.

Changes I’d Make: Are we sure Emma Stone is a supporting performance in The Favourite? I think it’s a lead performance. Andrea Riseborough deserves to be here for Mandy. We couldn’t find room for Tilda Swinton in her twenty roles for Suspiria? Isla Fisher had me dying with every line of hers in Tag, how about some love for her?

Lead Actor

Christian Bale, Vice

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Who Should Win: This is not a good category of selections from the oscars, but it’s stupid that Willem Dafoe doesn’t have an oscar. Let’s give it to him.

Who Will Win: Christian Bale. I have a lot of problems with Vice, but he is not one of them.

Changes I’d Make: I’m willing to live with Rami Malek here because he’s a really talented actor that could benefit from this exposure. Let’s get Viggo Mortensen out of here for his bad 90s Al Pacino impression. I can live with Bradley Cooper here, even though there are far better selections out there. I’m talking John Cho in Searching, I’m talking Ethan Hawke in First Reformed, I’m talking Joaquin Phoenix in You Were Never Really Here, I’m talking Ryan Gosling in First Man. But most of all, I’m talking Nic Cage in Mandy. The bathroom scene is the most intense, raw and emotional piece of acting that existed last year.

Lead Actress

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Glenn Close, The Wife

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Who Should Win: I want Olivia Colman and Yalitza Aparicio to both win.

Who Will Win: Olivia Colman, and about damn time.

Changes I’d Make: I actually mostly like these selections. I can lose Glenn Close though because are we sure anybody actually saw that movie? Are we sure it actually exists? Elsie Fisher for Eighth Grade would have been fun. Kiki Layne should be here for If Beale Street Could Talk. But it’s the genre performances that were actually the best this year. Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place, Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween were two of the best performances I saw this year. But good lord, you motherfuckers, you didn’t nominate Toni Collette for Hereditary. She had without a doubt the best performance of last year. I’m done. I’m just done. Let this planet die.

Director

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Adam McKay, Vice

Who Should Win: Cuarón. Duh.

Who Will Win: Cuarón. Duh.

Changes I’d Make: It’s absurd that this is the first time Spike Lee has a director nomination. He’s given a whole career of amazing works, so he stays here. I also think it’s amazing that the dude who made Dogtooth is now an oscar nominated director, go Yorgos Lanthimos! Pawel Pawlikowski is getting some much deserved love, I always like it when one of the foreign film directors sneaks in, and we have two this year! As much as I love saying “from the academy award nominated director of Anchorman 2 and Talladega Nights”, McKay has got to go. From there, you just have so many more deserving, interesting options. We got Chloé Zhao for The Rider, Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here, Ari Aster for Hereditary, Panos Cosmatos for Mandy, Boots Riley for Sorry to Bother You, Christopher McQuarrie for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the trio behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Damien Chazelle for First Man, Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk, Luca Guadagnino for Suspiria, Paul King for Paddington 2 and The Coen brothers for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. THERE’S JUST SO MANY BETTER CHOICES.

Best Picture

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

Who Should Win: Roma. Just give all the awards you can to Roma and let’s just pretend like the rest of the awards didn’t happen.

Who Will Win: Roma. The objectively best film I saw last year was between Roma, First Man, If Beale Street Could Talk, Hereditary and The Rider. Roma wins it, and deserves it.

Changes I’d Make: You already know. Vice, Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody are out of here. BlacKkKlansman stays for Spike Lee, and I can live with Black Panther getting a nod so it hopefully opens the doors for better comic book films to get nominations, plus Ryan Coogler should have had nominations long ago. I can live with A Star is Born. I’d put in First Man – we’re going to look back in 10 years and feel like absolute idiots for not praising this film at the time – Hereditary, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Rider, First Reformed or Mission: Impossible – Fallout. God, I can’t wait to get these awards over with.

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