As most of you probably know by now, Oscar nominations came out this morning. And, I have some thoughts.
The obvious nomination that I want to talk about first is Black Panther for Best Picture. By all means, I do believe that it deserves to be nominated for Best Picture. However, after all the push back from the Academy in the first place, this feels more like a way to appease the masses and be as relevant as possible. After all, the Oscars viewing numbers have dropped more and more each year, and they blame my generation for it. So, nominating Black Panther seems more like a “There. Happy? Please watch our broadcast”. The decline in viewership couldn’t possibly be because the Academy constantly ignores good films just because they appeal to a wider audience. The decline in viewership couldn’t possibly be because, in order to be nominated, one must campaign first and suck up to the Academy as much as possible, and my generation sees that as a load of crap. No. Those couldn’t possibly be some of the reasons. It’s just much easier to blame others for your problems.
Eighth Grade got absolutely no love, and that is tragic. Eighth Grade was one of the best films of last year. It was one of the best coming of age films I have ever seen. The acting was effortless. I can kind of understand not nominating Elsie Fisher. The Academy seems to be more reluctant to nominate actors on their first big performance. Hell, just look at Bria Vinaite and Brooklynn Prince from The Florida Project. Both of those performances deserved recognition, but neither really received it. But, Eighth Grades script, I feel, deserves recognition through the Academy. I mean, the Academy isn’t the “end all be all” by any means, but still.
Speaking of performances, comedic performances need more recognition when it comes to awards. Rachel McAdams performance in Game Night was tremendous. She was never over the top. Her performance was understated and she was still hilarious. Comedies, in general, need to be noticed more. The script for Blockers dealt with some very sensitive issues in fantastic ways.
One of my favorite films from this past year is Hereditary and that film not receiving a single nomination for anything is a crime. If not nominated for the script, then Toni Collette should have been nominated for Best Actress. It was, by far, one of her best performances as an actor. It tore me to shreds.
Another film that was overlooked and was one of my favorites from 2018 is Bad Times at the El Royale. That film was fun from beginning to end. How was it not nominated for set design? The details on that set were crazy, really placing the audience right in the end of the 1960s.
Now, as much as I love Disney and their films, I am hoping that either Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse or Isle of Dogs takes home the Oscar this year. I don’t doubt that that will happen, but I do have one worry. Wreck-It Ralph should have won the award over Brave in 2013, period. Hopefully, one of those “retro-awards” doesn’t happen (i.e. Jennifer Lawrence winning for Silver Linings Playbook when she didn’t win for Winter’s Bone two years prior). Wreck-It Ralph absolutely deserved an award. Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet absolutely does not deserve an award. I saw the film and it was just okay. It paled in comparison to the originality of the first one.
Lastly, I wanted to mention two films that I have not yet seen, but just have a sinking suspicion that they should have been nominated. The first is First Reformed. Although the film has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay, I honestly thought I would see it in more categories. The other one that I was surprised to not find anywhere on the list of nominees was Sorry to Bother You. Again, I have yet to see this film (although it is on my list), but it just seemed like one that should have gained more steam during awards season.
I’m not saying that the ones that have been nominated should not have been. That’s not my place to make that judgment as I have not seen a lot of the films nominated this year. What I am saying is that it feels like the Academy of Motion Pictures is pandering to the masses in a way it that is insulting, that comedic performances need to be considered more often as Oscar-worthy, and Eighth Grade has been completely robbed.