With just over a month until the big night, the Academy today revealed who will be battling it out in tuxedos and gowns for their very own statuette this year.
As you’d expect from the most talked about night in the movie business, the competition is tough and there are plenty of snubs, controversies, and examples of long-deserved recognition getting tongues wagging.
A superhero movie is nominated for Best Picture for the first time
Despite running for 90 years, the Oscars have never recognised a superhero movie for Best Picture. There’s been an attitude towards films of that ilk that they’re somehow inferior to other, more artistically shot movies. Perhaps that’s changing now as Black Panther, one of Marvel’s best ever movies, is in the running for the big prize of the night. What’s more, even though it’s up against some stiff competition, it’s one of the front-runners to go home with the statuette come next month.
The Best Picture category actually includes popcorn films real people have seen
It’s not just superhero movies that have been looked down on by the Academy over the years. Popular blockbusters have often been overlooked in favour of independent cinema and, last year, a plan was floated to remedy that – or at least, that’s what the Academy hoped. Instead, the announcement of the Best Popular Film category was met with such backlash and criticisms of elitism and snobbery that it was quickly put on ice so they could “examine and seek more input.”
Looking at this year’s Best Picture nominees, it seems like the category would be pretty unnecessary. Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody represent blockbusters beloved by the general public and A Star Is Born has raked in enough cash at the box office it would put up a pretty good fight against those two if these things were decided on money only. Of course, the voters could still snub all three and opt to give the prize to something like Roma or Green Book, but maybe it’s progressing at least.
Green Book is controversy-proof, for some reason
In the age of cancel culture, it seemed unlikely a few weeks ago that Green Book would be one of the front-runners at this year’s Oscars. It’s attracted more than a couple of controversies, after all. Lead actor Viggo Mortensen used a racial slur during a Q&A promoting the movie. The family of Don Shirley, who the movie is about, have distanced themselves from it, calling it a “symphony of lies”. Since its Golden Globes win, director Peter Farrelly has apologised for exposing himself to colleagues in the past, while an old, anti-Muslim tweet from screenwriter Nick Vallelonga resurfaced. Even after all that, the film has received five nominations for this year’s Oscars, including for Best Picture. If it goes on to win, it will likely prompt much debate.
There are snubs for Bradley Cooper, Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carrell and horror movies in general
A Star Is Born might have been his first time behind the camera, but everyone thought Bradley Cooper was a shoo-in for Best Director. As it turns out, he wasn’t – his name was noticeably absent from the shortlist when the nominations were revealed this morning. He’s not the only one MIA either.
Last year’s awards darling Timothée Chalamet also seemed like a safe bet for his incredible performance as meth addicted teenager Nic Sheff in Beautiful Boy. Similarly, Steve Carrell was overlooked for playing Chalamet’s dad in that movie, despite giving one of the most sensitive and emotional performances of his career. If Beale Street Could Talk, the new film from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, was primed for many a nod but has to make do with only Best Supporting Actress (Regina King), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. There are no nods for the critically acclaimed A Quiet Place or Hereditary, continuing the Academy’s long-running tradition of snubbing horror movies. The cast of Black Panther and director Ryan Coogler have to make do with Best Picture, while Crazy Rich Asians got a grand total of zero nominations.
A Netflix movie is among those with heaps of noms
Netflix’s Roma and the Olivia Colman-starring The Favourite are the most nominated films at the Oscars this year with 10 nods apiece, so expect them to pick up at least a couple of trophies each. A Star Is Born follows with nine, and Vice, the Dick Cheney biopic featuring an unrecognisable Christian Bale, on eight. Given the awards response leading up to the Oscars, expect the latter to do incredibly well, both for its jaw-dropping transformations and its ability to manipulate your emotions to the very extreme.