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And the Nominees Are: Analyzing the 91st Academy Award Nominations

The Oscar nominees were announced this morning. I posted the nominees, but without comment. Now’s the time when we actually see how it all went and what it all means.

What I say every year about this day is — there’s no more “what if” or “could be.” This is it. This is what we have. These are the Oscar nominees. All that is done. Now the reality is figuring out what’s gonna win.

But before that, let’s analyze it all. See what surprised, see what the totals are, and, selfishly, see how well I guessed all the nominees. Why else?

Here are your 91st Academy Award nominations:

Best Picture

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

Eight nominees. That sounds about right. The same eight we figured from all the other precursors. There were only eight consensus films throughout the process, so it stands to reason those are the eight nominees.

The one I thought they might put on that they left off? If Beale Street Could Talk. Which means they willingly nominated Black Panther over If Beale Street Could Talk. Of. Fucking. Course they did. That’s your Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

I went 7/8 here and it’s because I knowingly and willingly put Beale Street 8th, to make my point. Otherwise nothing fringe made it and it was the same set of films that were nominated all the way through.

PGA went 8/8, with Crazy Rich Asians and A Quiet Place being the obvious populist nominees that they have every year. No serious omissions anywhere to be found, outside of Beale Street, which is my own personal gripe. Otherwise this was the list we saw in every other precursor. So it’s hard to feel overly surprised about it.

Here’s how I see these 8 in order of being potential winners:

8. Black Panther
7. A Star Is Born
6. Vice
5. Bohemian Rhapsody
4. BlacKkKlansman
3. The Favourite
2. Green Book
1. Roma

That’s just an initial feeling. We haven’t gone through any of the other categories and all the other little intricacies I’m seeing along the way. But Roma has 10 nominations (despite an Editing nomination) and seems like your runaway favorite at the moment. We’ll see how that holds up. Green Book has the PGA win and a Globes win. 3, 4, 5 and 6 also got Editing nominations. Star Is Born, I think we’d say, underperformed, despite 8 nominations (missing two crucial ones, Editing and Director), and Black Panther definitely underperformed from my over-expectations, getting just 7 nominations and none in crucial categories. So yeah, that’s the rankings at the moment. Come Oscar night I think I might rank them slightly differently, but by then I’ll have the benefit of precursors and time to think. For now, hard to think anything other than Roma or Green Book are the two top choices.

Big takeaways: They are who we thought they were. And by that I mean, the nominees and the Academy. Black Panther over If Beale Street Could Talk? They took the shiny object over the one that’s gonna reflect better on them in 20 years. But good job guys. You are “woke.” Otherwise, this was a thin year, and it showed. The same eight choices that were everywhere else. After that, my only takeaways are really just questions about what’s gonna win. I don’t think anyone could be surprised at this list.

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite 

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Adam McKay, Vice

Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War

Yorgos gets on… and Bradley Cooper gets left off!

How you feeling right now, Bradley?

DGA goes 3/5, and yet… so do I, despite knowing they’re gonna leave someone off. I was right picking Yorgos to get on, but it turns out, that was in Bradley Cooper’s spot and not Adam McKay’s. And them Adam McKay gets on… and Peter Farrelly gets left off in favor of Pawel Pawlikowski. BAFTA goes 4/5 on Best Director, missing only Adam McKay.

What’s interesting about this situation is — either Roma wins Best Picture without Best Editing (Ordinary People, Birdman), or Green Book wins Best Picture without Best Director. You know what the comp is there? Driving Miss Daisy. How fucking perfect. You couldn’t write a better situation. (P.S. I know Argo is also a comp, but Argo, the non-Director nomination was a rallying point for that as Best Picture. I don’t think anyone’s gonna cry foul with Farrelly being left off.)

Also, this all but assures a Cuaron win here, barring some crazy thing happening at the DGA and/or BAFTA. Maybe this is BlacKkKlansman’s year and no one’s seeing it coming. Or The Favourite is poised to come out of nowhere and take it down. BAFTA will tell us if that’s a possibility. Otherwise, this is all just Roma and the blip is no Editing. Guess we’ll see. This one, at least, seems like an even bigger landslide in favor of Cuaron than it was before.

Rankings:

5. Pawlikowski
4. McKay
3. Lee
2. Lanthimos
1. Cuaron

Big takeaways: Bradley Cooper is off. Pawlikowski gets on. There’s that Directors branch pulling off that foreign nominee. And they put on Yorgos, which was semi to-be-expected. It’s interesting how the DGA has been skewing much more populist than BAFTA, and the BAFTA nominees are the ones that show you the stray nominees a lot of the time. I wonder how the DGA voted. If they didn’t vote Cooper because of that “first timer” thing or because they felt him being nominated in Picture, Actor and Screenplay was enough? (Guessing much more so the latter.) Also, like I said — that Driving Miss Daisy comparison is hard to miss. And the fact that Cuaron will win this in a giant landslide.

Best Actor

Christian Bale, Vice

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

4/5 for me. I did leave John David Washington on despite knowing they probably wouldn’t nominate him. Willem Dafoe was the only one here who made a lick of sense, and that’s where they went. No real surprise for me. This was the category that looked like the right category.

Rankings:

5. Dafoe
4. Cooper
3. Mortensen
2. Malek
1. Bale

Big takeaways: Bale should have this in the bag, unless Malek pulls off a win at SAG or BAFTA that no one’s expecting. Otherwise, this means people saw Eternity’s Gate but didn’t see fit to nominate it anywhere else. And, I guess… the acting branch still skews much less populist than SAG does, which I’ve been saying all along and no one seems to listen to me about. But I guess there are two specific situations that will prove that to you in a minute.

Best 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?

This makes sense. Emily Blunt was just hanging on for dear life once she didn’t get nominated at BAFTA. When that fifth spot was open like that, I should have known they’d go foreign. That was me overlooking the obvious and thinking, “There’s no way they’d nominate Roma that much, would they?” Yes. Yes they would. In hindsight it’s so fucking obvious they’re going Aparicio here. This is the kind of thing I only notice once I’m able to step away from the whole thing. Especially because I’m Mr. “SAG and BAFTA ≠ nomination” every year. You’d think with just one, I’d have looked harder. But she was the alternate. I just wasn’t sure if they’d do it. That Netflix stigma was still a thing until 10 nominations. And it’ll still be a thing until it wins.

Otherwise the other four were so easy to guess. No one should have had less than 4/5 here, if not 5/5 if you saw past the precursors.

Rankings:

5. Aparicio
4. McCarthy
3. Gaga
2. Colman
1. Close

Big takeaways: When you can’t figure out where the fifth spot is going, and no one seems to have any kind of hold on it, look to the person who isn’t eligible at SAG. That’s the takeaway for me. Otherwise, the takeaway is that this category is still pretty wide open. Gaga has fallen behind but can get back in it with a SAG win (that BFCA tie helped). Though I’m expecting this to be Glenn Close vs. Olivia Colman, with SAG and BAFTA being the two that will tell the tale. It’ll be real interesting if they split those.

Best 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

Timothee Chalamet gets left off. Honestly, I’m pretty stoked about that. He’d been there the entire race and seemed like a given, but I was never that in love with the performance and no one seemed to care for the film. That said, we were trying to figure out what to do with Sam Elliott and Sam Rockwell, and here we are and both got on. Figures.

4/5 for me, with the castoff being someone I wasn’t expecting. That’s the Oscars for you. You struggle to figure out one vs. the other for the fifth spot and they give you both and someone you weren’t expecting gets left off.

Rankings:

5. Rockwell
4. Driver
3. Grant
2. Elliott
1. Ali

Big takeaways: This should be the easiest thing in the world for Mahershala to win. Maybe Elliott can make a case out of it if he wins SAG. But that’s all that’s left that he has chance to win. Mahershala should take one or both precursors remaining en route to a second win in three years. True Detective probably only helps him in that regard, the way it helped McConaughey that year. Otherwise, no real takeaways to be had from this. They really liked Vice? What else you got?

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Vice

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Marina de Tavira, Roma

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

4/5 for me, and I imagine, most people. They nominated Regina King like I was expecting. But again, when I couldn’t figure out where they were gonna go in that fifth spot, there was that foreign nominee again. I said all along that I refused to believe Margot Robbie was gonna get that fifth spot. I thought the only option was Claire Foy, because who else was there? Turns out, Marina de Tavira, that’s who. That doesn’t really change the composition of the category so much as it makes it a smoother ride.

Rankings:

5. de Tavira
4. Adams
3. Weisz
2. Stone
1. King

Big takeaways: Regina King should walk away with this category. Which is funny to me, since most people who saw the movie for the first time after the Golden Globes said to me the same thing I said when I saw the movie, “That’s the performance? That’s all there was?” And yeah, that’s all there was. But with a foreign nominee who won’t get votes, Amy Adams who once again came along with a film and has no shot at votes for and a vote split remaining, King’s the only choice here, unless they’re gonna pick between Stone or Weisz (how does one even begin to pick that without a precursor?). BAFTA should be interesting, since King isn’t there and might give us an example as to which of the two could win. If neither Weisz nor Stone win the BAFTA (and expect Weisz since they tend to go Brit over non-Brit), then Regina King will run away with the Oscar (SAG-dependent, as always). Outside of that, we should have a category on our hands.

Best Original Screenplay

The Favourite

First Reformed

Green Book

Roma

Vice

4/5. I thought they’d go A Quiet Place, and they went First Reformed. There’s that BFCA stat I found (which was wrong anyway, since Gone Girl is the one Screenplay winner at BFCA that wasn’t nominated at the Oscar, but that still looks like a huge snub). This felt like one where there were six choices, so it was an easy swap for one for the other. BFCA called their shot, and it paid off. No surprises here.

Rankings:

5. First Reformed
4. Vice
3. The Favourite
2. Roma
1. Green Book

Big takeaways: If it wins BFCA, it’s probably on Screenplay. That’s the takeaway. Outside of that, this should be an interesting category. It’s pretty wide open. I’m not totally sold that Green Book wins this just yet. Roma still has a chance and The Favourite has a chance. I wanna see how the dust settles at WGA and BAFTA before I make any proclamations. Green Book didn’t do as well as I’d hoped overall (which is really just one nomination), but that shouldn’t prevent it from winning here. Roma feels like a possibility if they like it as much as they seem to. And I guess The Favourite too. Though The Favourite needs BAFTA for me to even consider it. Which it should have in the bag. Without BAFTA, no chance. If they go Green Book or even Roma, then it’s a two-script race here.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

BlacKkKlansman

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

If Beale Street Could Talk

A Star Is Born

4/5. Black Panther gets left off. Thank fucking god someone had some sense. This was the one category (well, one of two) where they better have left it off. Sorry, Ryan Coogler. I know this was gonna be your consolation prize. I thought if they left Black Panther off they’d put First Man on. But no, the Coen brothers are always a threat. Good for them. No real feeling about that as a choice, but here they are. Think of this as a consolation for not being nominated for… I don’t know, Barton Fink or Raising Arizona. Let’s not pretend like we needed anything else in that spot. It’s a moderate surprise, but it doesn’t change a thing about the category.

Rankings:

5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
4. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
3. A Star Is Born
2. BlacKkKlansman
1. If Beale Street Could Talk

Big takeaways: The Academy had some sense and didn’t nominate a Marvel movie for Best Screenplay. And that Barry Jenkins, despite being utterly snubbed at the top, might pick up his second Oscar. Because only BlacKkKlansman seems to have a real shot at this, based on what I’m seeing. Oh, and I guess “you can have the best screenplay over two Best Picture nominees but still not be considered one of the Best Pictures of the year” is a takeaway, isn’t it?

Best Editing

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Vice

First Man gets left off Editing. But then, so does Roma. Where the fuck did that come from? And A Star Is Born got left off too. There’s always one big category that goes wonky. It was almost Best Director. This time, it’s Editing.

2/5 here. I got savaged here. The Favourite and Green Book are the only two. Bohemian Rhapsody gets on, Vice gets on (which was half-expected) and BlacKkKlansman gets on. The latter two made total sense. Bohemian Rhapsody is the only minor surprise, but that’s only because the other three got left off. If Roma gets on, I don’t question a thing and I go, “Wow, they put Bohemian Rhapsody. Okay.” They leave First Man off in favor of five Best Picture nominees… sure. That kind of year. I get it. And that was more about the sound design than anything. A Star Is Born gets left off, I go, “Guess it peaked too soon.” But the combination of all three, and then Bohemian Rhapsody… that’s the surprise. Couldn’t have seen that combination of things happening.

That all said, I’m very happy about the BlacKkKlansman support. That’s really nice to see. A Star Is Born being left off here presaged the Cooper miss in Director. That shows you it peaked too early. Which is hilarious, since it still has 8 nominations. And now Green Book is on Editing despite no Director nomination. And Roma has 10 nominations but no Editing. What a year.

Rankings:

5. Bohemian Rhapsody
4. BlacKkKlansman
3. The Favourite
2. Green Book
1. Vice

Big takeaways: Roma could win Best Picture without an Editing nomination. Also, A Star Is Born is all-but eliminated from a Best Picture win without Editing or Director. (Has anything in the modern era won without either? The answer is no. I just looked it up in between sentences. Ten movies won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Editing. 8 of the 10 won Best Director, and the other two were nominated for it.) This also keeps Green Book firmly in contention. With a PGA win, a Globes win, an NBR Best Film win and no Best Director nomination, this is literally the exact same path that Driving Miss Daisy took en route to Best Picture in 1989. It won WGA and it only won Best Actress at BAFTA (SAG and BFCA were not in existence yet). Listen to me when I say this, people. This CAN happen. And then, Bohemian Rhapsody getting on Editing makes me wonder if it could have gotten onto Director too if not for who its director is. And BlacKkKlansman is on Editing so it’s not the empty Best Picture nominee I was thinking it might be. And then there’s The Favourite, just humming along quietly, having every single little thing you’d want to see out of your Best Picture winner have, yet it’s totally under the radar. Oh, and yeah, here’s your takeaway — Editing is so often tied to Best Picture and the larger picture… but who wins the category? Something has to win it. Given how this category looks, it could be another Girl with the Dragon Tattoo type year. Which is why I’m thinking Vice might be the favorite, given how much editing there is in it. You also can’t rule out a Green Book winning, presaging a Best Picture win scenario. Or The Favourite. Otherwise, how do you guess this one?

Best Cinematography

Cold War

The Favourite

Never Look Away

Roma

A Star Is Born

Never Look Away? No one had that shit. I guess people listened to the title and then noticed the cinematography?

Everything else made total sense. There’s First Man being left off again, too. So it’s 4/5, but it feels almost worse than 4/5, doesn’t it? Because where the fuck did the second foreign nominee come from?

P.S. Good thing they announced Foreign Language Film before Cinematography, otherwise that would have really tipped their hat for another category we weren’t totally expecting.

Rankings:

5. Never Look Away
4. A Star Is Born
3. The Favourite
2. Cold War
1. Roma

Big takeaways: No one could have seen Never Look Away coming. Otherwise, this went as expected. First Man is off, but that was never something that was a lock. So yeah, we got a weird one on instead. That happens. Cuaron is still the favorite here. Pretty much back to business after the one minor bit of intrigue.

Best Original Score

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

If Beale Street Could Talk

Isle of Dogs

Mary Poppins Returns

First Man gets left off AGAIN. Wow. And that score is awesome, too. But also justice is served, and If Beale Street Could Talk gets the one nomination it ought to win. So that’s good. And then BlacKkKlansman gets on instead instead of First Man. Otherwise, the other four went as expected. Ho hum, ho hum.

Rankings:

5. BlacKkKlansman
4. Black Panther
3. Isle of Dogs
2. Mary Poppins Returns
1. If Beale Street Could Talk

Big takeaways: First Man really didn’t land the way it seemed like it would (I thought 7, it got 4), which did fit the trajectory of the season. Otherwise, If Beale Street Could Talk might be nominated for three awards and win three awards. But no Best Picture nomination. (Can you tell I have strong feelings about this one?)

Best Original Song

“All the Stars,” from Black Panther

“I’ll Fight,” from RBG

“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” from Mary Poppins Returns

“Shallow,” from A Star Is Born

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

4/5. Yup. That tracks. Mary Poppins only gets one of the two nominations, which seemed like it was gonna be the way that went. I couldn’t have told you which of the two it was gonna be, so I just had them both. And Buster Scruggs gets on, which is awesome. The other four besides Scruggs all made sense. So yeah, all good things and nothing remotely surprising here. The shortlist helped. I wasn’t just flailing in the wind. I wonder if I’d have had this otherwise. (We’ll never know.)

Also, Black Panther gets another nomination. So Academy Award nominee Kendrick Lamar. Diane Warren gets on. No surprise there. And the Buster Scruggs song that we all wanted to see get on got on.

Rankings:

5. “All the Stars”
4. “I’ll Fight”
3. “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”
2. “The Place Where the Lost Things Go”
1. “Shallow”

Big takeaways: None except, the Poppins songs weren’t as strong as the originals, and it showed in them only getting one nomination. Otherwise we’re back to where we were before this: here are four songs that are still gonna lose to “Shallow.”

Best Production Design

Black Panther

The Favourite

First Man

Mary Poppins Returns

Roma 

5/5 here. So that means no surprises. When Fantastic Beasts was my #6, I had a pretty good sense of this being a category that was gonna go as expected. First Man manages to stay on here despite missing in three big categories above (and I guess Picture and Supporting Actress, which were pretty big long shots anyway). Otherwise, nothing of note here.

Rankings:

5. Black Panther
4. First Man
3. Mary Poppins Returns
2. The Favourite
1. Roma

Big takeaways: None, really. This went as expected. Mostly it’s a fairly open category presently. Roma or The Favourite should be the one who takes it down, but I couldn’t say that for 100% certain. Seems pretty likely though. You know a category went as expected where the biggest thing you can do to talk about it is start thinking about who’s gonna win.

Best Costume Design

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Black Panther

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Mary, Queen of Scots

Buster Scruggs is the only remote surprise. Otherwise we went 4/5 here. Black Panther stays on and Bohemian Rhapsody is off. Which makes a shit ton of sense because I didn’t necessarily see why they’d nominate it except the fact that it’s a weak year. And it proves they do like westerns in Costume Design. Otherwise, who didn’t expect the other four?

Rankings:

5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
4. Black Panther
3. Mary Poppins Returns
2. Mary, Queen of Scots
1. The Favourite

Big takeaways: Buster Scruggs has three overall nominations? Otherwise, nothing of note here. The frills will probably win, as per usual.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Border

Mary Queen of Scots

Vice

2/3, which was expected. Maybe not this specific scenario, but 2/3 is the norm for guessing this category. Black Panther misses, which I’m happy about (though this is one where it was fully deserving, were they to go there). And the foreign nominee gets on. Which seems to be a given now, when you see one on this category. Or maybe it was just about the makeup job. Guess I’m gonna have to try to see that one before the ceremony. Maybe I was just hindered by the fact that I hadn’t seen it. I had Mary Queen of Scots, though, so that makes me happy.

Rankings:

3. Border
2. Mary, Queen of Scots
1. Vice

Big takeaways: Foreign Makeup nominees always seem to get on. And Vice already has this in the bag.

Best Visual Effects

Avengers: Infinity War

Christopher Robin

First Man

Ready Player One

Solo: A Star Wars Story

4/5. I fucking knew they were gonna nominate Christopher Robin. That shit completely crystalized in my head yesterday morning, and yet, wouldn’t have had it, because I wasn’t gonna get caught without Black Panther on my list. I said all along that I was gonna have it on regardless even though I didn’t think it should get on and that it weirdly didn’t have the proper precursor credentials to get on (VES didn’t even nominate it). But I had to put it because it looked like they would sweep vote it. And you know what? The fucking alternate got on. This might be the happiest result of the entire day for me. I had this shit cold. AND Black Panther didn’t get on for completely subpar effects in what is otherwise a very solid category. No Mary Poppins sucks, but it looked like an eventuality based on those precursors. I think the category is quite good as it is.

Rankings:

5. Solo: A Star Wars Story
4. Christopher Robin
3. Avengers: Infinity War
2. Ready Player One
1. First Man

Big takeaways: No Black Panther (which to me is a positive sign). Even if you are the trendy film of the year, people are still gonna nominate you in categories where it makes sense. And I can take a little bit of comfort in that. But also, yeah, VES had all five of these in their top two categories, so they once again prove themselves to be a very good measuring stick for nominations. (And I think BAFTA is the one that’s helpful for wins, if I remember correctly.) Oh, and this category is pretty wide open, isn’t it? Ready Player One, First Man, even Avengers. Shit Christopher Robin could win for all we know. First Man might win on that Interstellar thing of being the “classiest” film in the category. But also, I’m not sure. We’ll see what they do and how the precursors go. Still, nothing of note except a sigh of relief that at least one major guild ignored the “trend” vote.

Best Sound Editing

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

A Quiet Place

Roma

4/5. I was right in saying A Star Is Born got left off Editing for favor of Roma. Did not expect Bohemian Rhapsody to also get Editing and Mixing, though. Granted, my Ready Player One guess was bound to be wrong. But I still wouldn’t have had Bohemian Rhapsody here. The thinking was right, the guess was just misplaces. I’ll take it.

Otherwise, Roma I figured because any Best Picture contender is gonna get Sound nominations. And here Roma is, now having managed both. Certainly tells you where their heads are at, doesn’t it? A Quiet Place and First Man hit all the guilds, so those make total sense. And Black Panther, of course. So no overt surprises here other than Bohemian Rhapsody getting both Sound nominations.

Rankings:

5. Bohemian Rhapsody
4. Roma
3. Black Panther
2. A Quiet Place
1. First Man

Big takeaways: They really like Roma (Editing aside). Otherwise, no surprises in this one, and I expect First Man to win both Sound awards pretty easily.

Best Sound Mixing

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

Roma

A Star Is Born

4/5 again. Roma gets on and A Quiet Place is off. No shock that A Quiet Place only managed one Sound nomination, and Editing was the place for it. Had to take it in both because of the precursors, but only one category made sense for it. Roma is the only minor surprise here, but as a Best Picture contender, makes total sense in the abstract. Otherwise they matched. You expected Star Is Born, First Man and Bohemian Rhapsody here. And Black Panther, were you not putting it on both categories? Most people should have had 4/5 here.

So yeah, Sound categories match 4/5 and Star Is Born gets the one Sound nomination we figured it would.

Rankings:

5. Roma
4. Black Panther
3. Bohemian Rhapsody
2. A Star Is Born
1. First Man

Big takeaways: First Man should win this. If not, Star Is Born does. But probably First Man. Otherwise, this cements that Roma is your Best Picture favorite. But also, two Sound nominations and no Editing? What a year.

Best Animated Feature

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

No shit. 5/5.

I expected the top three. Ralph Breaks the Internet also made sense given the current state of the category. But Mirai… I mean, sure, in the end, it was the only one that made sense. But I wasn’t entirely sure if they’d do it. Good for them. This is 4/5 the best version of this category we could have gotten, if not the best when you factor into what actually was a possibility for being nominated. So good on them. Though I guess this doesn’t solve the question of how the new voting system changed things. I guess that’s a next year question now.

Rankings:

5. Mirai
4. Ralph Breaks the Internet
3. Isle of Dogs
2. Incredibles 2
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Big takeaways: The Grinch wasn’t nominated. Sigh of relief. And Mirai was, marking the first non-Ghibli anime to be nominated in this category. Otherwise, Spider-Verse is the overwhelming favorite. Because Disney/Pixar made two boring efforts this year. Also, not a big takeaway, but once again, Wes Anderson is an afterthought in this category despite probably having made the best animated movie of the year.

Best Foreign Language Film

Capernaum (Lebanon)

Cold War (Poland)

Roma (Mexico)

Never Look Away (Germany)

Shoplifters (Japan)

No shit, I went 4/5. Nice.

Never Look Away is the only surprise. Or, I should say, the one surprise is that Birds of Passage or Akya didn’t make it on in that spot. Because I always expect one of the ones that hasn’t  come out/is under the radar to make it on. But Never Look Away got Cinematography, so clearly they liked it. Otherwise, the other four seemed like the obvious four. So no real overt shocks here.

I am curious to see what wins now, with Roma such a huge Picture contender and Cold War also having gotten on Director.

Rankings:

5. Capernaum
4. Shoplifters
3. Never Look Away
2. Cold War
1. Roma

Big takeaways: Uhh, that the foreign movies with nominations in other categories are gonna get on here? (Nothing we could have necessarily knew in the case of Never Look Away, but it’s a takeaway nevertheless.) Otherwise, nothing, really. Mostly that Roma should win this easily. But we are pretty much hamstrung by the fact that we have to assume it will and constantly wonder if Cold War wins instead. They backed us into a corner on this one and we won’t know what the reality is until they announce a winner.

Best Documentary Feature

Free Solo

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Minding the Gap

Of Fathers and Sons

RBG

I fucking knew they were gonna leave Mr. Rogers off. I just fucking knew it. I’ve been through this too many goddamn times. I told you they were gonna fuck this up. The list was too tidy. Goddamn this branch. I hate them so much. If ever you needed a clearer example of which branch is the single most broken and in need of overhaul in the entire Academy.

In the end, RBG gets on (and wins, most likely), Free Solo gets on, and then the three I kind of knew about but never really paid much attention to also get nominated. Still, what the fuck, guys?

2/5 for me. And fuck the Documentary branch, by the way.

Rankings:

5. Minding the Gap
4. Hale Count This Morning, This Evening
3. Of Fathers and Sons
2. Free Solo
1. RBG

Big takeaways: Once again, the best documentary of the year is not nominated at the Oscars because of the self-important assholes in this deeply broken branch. And that RBG is gonna win this and get a standing ovation, which, while it doesn’t excuse the Mr. Rogers omission, is pretty cool and very worthy nevertheless.

Best Documentary Short

Black Sheep

End Game

Lifeboat

A Night at the Garden

Period. End of Sentence.

3/5 for me. Can’t believe they nominated A Night at the Garden. I liked it, but it’s just a weird choice when it barely feels like a documentary. Otherwise, Lifeboat makes sense for them even though I refused to have it on my list. Period. End of Sentence. should win this so easily.

Rankings:

5. A Night at the Garden
4. Black Sheep
3. Lifeboat
2. End Game
1. Period. End of Sentence.

Big takeaways: Is it possible to have any major takeaways in the Documentary Short nominations?

Best Live-Action Short

Detainment

Fauve

Marguerite

Mother

Skin

2/5. That’s pretty normal for them.

Skin is being turned into a feature and they nominated it. No comic shorts at all. Detainment and Fauve are children-centric and they like that. Mother seems solid, and I still don’t know what Marguerite is. So yeah. No fucking clue what wins at all. This is the usual place to be for this category.

Rankings:

5. Skin
4. Detainment
3. Mother
2. Marguerite
1. Fauve

Big takeaways: None, really. No comic short is interesting. But otherwise, who the hell knows what kind of voting goes on in this branch. It’s harder to guess from a shortlist when you can only watch like a quarter of the shortlist. I did better in Animated Short this year because I could watch them all ahead of time. What’s so special about these that you won’t put them online. It’s not like people are paying to see these in a theater. Build excitement for your category. Put these things out. Then people have a rooting interest. You know, for when you announce THE FUCKING CATEGORIES DURING THE COMMERCIAL BREAKS.

Best Animated Short

Animal Behaviour

Bao

Late Afternoon

One Small Step

Weekends

3/5. But they nominated One Small Step. YEAH, boy. And of course they nominated Animal Behaviour. The minute I didn’t like it, that was an inevitability. They also left Bilby off, but I wanted to see that happen. But also no Age of Sail. Still, I’m fine with this category since four of them are very, very good. I’d have preferred Lost & Found, which was absolutely stunning, but hey, you can’t get everything you want. I’m happy the other four I wanted made it on. It’s a bad omission, but the good outweighs the bad here.

Rankings:

5. Weekends
4. Animal Behaviour
3. Late Afternoon
2. One Small Step
1. Bao

Big takeaways: I’m legitimately more excited for Animated Short than I am for a lot of other categories. Otherwise, Bao should win easily because it’s Pixar (and admittedly amazing), but go One Small Step!

– – – – – – – – – –

And to break all that down into numbers —

Nominations tally:

  • The Favourite — 10 nominations (Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress (x2), Original Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design)
  • Roma — 10 nominations (Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Foreign Language Film)
  • A Star Is Born — 8 nominations (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Song, Sound Mixing)
  • Vice — 8 nominations (Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Editing, Makeup & Hairstyling)
  • Black Panther — 7 nominations (Picture, Original Score, Original Song, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
  • BlacKkKlansman — 6 nominations (Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Editing)
  • Bohemian Rhapsody — 5 nominations (Picture, Actor, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
  • Green Book — 5 nominations (Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Editing)
  • First Man — 4 nominations (Production Design, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
  • Mary Poppins Returns — 4 nominations (Original Score, Original Song, Production Design, Costume Design)
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs — 3 nominations (Original Screenplay, Original Song, Costume Design)
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? — 3 nominations (Actress, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay)
  • Cold War — 3 nominations (Director, Cinematography, Foreign Language Film)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk — 3 nominations (Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score)
  • Isle of Dogs — 2 nominations (Original Score, Animated Feature)
  • Mary, Queen of Scots — 2 nominations (Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling
  • Never Look Away — 2 nominations (Cinematography, Foreign Language Film)
  • RBG –2 nominations (Original Song, Documentary Feature)
  • Avengers: Infinity War — 1 nomination (Visual Effects)
  • Border — 1 nomination (Makeup & Hairstyling
  • Christopher Robin — 1 nomination (Visual Effects)
  • Ready Player One — 1 nomination (Visual Effects)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story — 1 nomination (Visual Effects)
  • At Eternity’s Gate — 1 nomination (Actor)
  • First Reformed — 1 nomination (Original Screenplay)
  • The Wife — 1 nomination (Actress)
  • A Quiet Place — 1 nomination (Sound Editing)

– – – – – – – – – –

Tally by number of nominations:

10 nominations — The Favourite, Roma

8 nominations — A Star Is Born, Vice

7 nominations — Black Panther

6 nominations — BlacKkKlansman

5 nominations — Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book

4 nominations — First Man, Mary Poppins Returns

3 nominations — The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Cold War, If Beale Street Could Talk

2 nominations — Isle of Dogs, Mary Queen of Scots, Never Look Away, RBG

– – – – – – – – – –

Biggest surprises, or things worth talking about (in no particular order):

  1. They didn’t nominate If Beale Street Could Talk and nominated Black Panther. I will continue saying that for the next month, so get used to it. There’s room for both, sure, but how does this look? You took a Marvel movie over the one that will probably hold up over time as a masterpiece.
  2. Bradley Cooper doesn’t get nominated for Best Director. I know all the articles looking for clicks will make that the top of their headlines, but honestly it’s just par for the course for the Oscars. It’s not overly shocking. Honestly the lack of a Peter Farrelly nomination struck me as a bigger deal. Because his movie has a legitimate chance at winning Best Picture. Which…
  3. Peter Farrelly wasn’t nominated for Best Director. As I said above, Green Book, a movie about a white dude driving a black man in the south, has currently the same exact precursors that Driving Miss Daisy had in 1989, which won Best Picture without a Best Director nomination.
  4. The man who directed Dogtooth and The Lobster is nominated for Best Director. Let’s let that sink in amidst all this chaos.
  5. Spike Lee finally gets a Best Director nomination, 29 years after Do the Right Thing. I’m very happy for him.
  6. The Academy really likes this Adam McKay style he’s got going on. 8 overall nominations for Vice with at the very least two wins coming. I wonder if the politically charged climate had anything to do with it. Or maybe not. Since I loved the movie as it was (despite its flaws).
  7. Roma gets 10 overall nominations, managing both Sound categories as well as Actress and Supporting Actress. And somehow still got left off Editing. And we might as well make this a two-fer — only ten movies ever won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Editing, only one since 1980, Birdman, whose conceit is that it was made up of long takes and was meant to look like it wasn’t edited. So in all likelihood, unless The Favourite or BlacKkKlansman (or, god help the internet, Bohemian Rhapsody) is gonna mount a serious play, your Best Picture winner will either: 1) not have been nominated in Editing, 2) not have been nominated for Director or 3) not have been nominated for Editing or Director.
  8. Three of the acting categories seem totally locked, with Best Actress one of the more interesting races I’ve seen in a few years. I guess Supporting Actress has a chance to open up a little, but the Actor categories are pretty much set at this point. It could get boring, but for now, at least we have one fun acting race to potentially look forward to.
  9. Sam Rockwell or Sam Elliott? Don’t worry guys, they gave us both. Means Timothee Chalamet is off, but let’s not pretend that was a huge snub. He’s 23, he’ll get over it. Plus let’s not pretend that half the people who wanted to see him nominated even saw his movie.
  10. Only one time ever has BFCA given out a Screenplay award to a movie that did not go on to be nominated at the Oscars. That remains Gone Girl, since First Reformed managed that fifth Screenplay spot over A Quiet Place or Eighth Grade. Many people will have something to say about the latter, but I thought they might have went with the former. Makes more sense to go with Schrader in hindsight, who has never managed a previous nomination despite having written Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.
  11. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs — 3 nominations. The Adapted Screenplay one seems like the biggest surprise, but honestly, it’s the Coen brothers. It’s like when they nominated Woody Allen all those years. I get it. This makes up for one of the incredible scripts they weren’t nominated for. Who the hell needed to see Black Panther there? And then Costumes it was nominated for, which makes sense, since they love a good western. And also Song, which is cool, since “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” is a hilarious song that perfectly fits into what is probably the most enjoyable segment in that movie. Now I hope they bring in Tim Blake Nelson to do that live at the ceremony.
  12. Black Panther “underperforms.” To me, 7 nominations for a Marvel movie including Best Picture seems like a huge overperformance, but based on the insane fervor people had for it, I straight up expected it to get 10 nominations. But in the end, it misses Adapted Screenplay, Visual Effects and Makeup & Hairstyling. People had it even as outside shots at Director (never gonna happen, especially with a branch that chose Pawel Pawlikowski and Yorgos Lanthimos over Bradley Cooper and Peter Farrelly), Cinematography and Editing. Basically, they had it possibly getting nominated in pretty much every category it could have been nominated in, save acting (and even then they held out hope for Michael B. Jordan, a performance I still don’t think is all that good). So in the end, they leave it off Makeup, which is fine, and then Visual Effects and Screenplay. Those two I’m actually quite happy about, because it shows me that those two branches didn’t just fall in to the trap of blindly nominating it. I thought the effects of that movie were subpar by Marvel standards (which are generally not amazing to begin with), and it’s a fucking Marvel movie. What kind of screenplay did you really think it had? So, in the end, 7 nominations, which is still insane. But at this point, as long as it ends up not winning Best Picture and ends up with two wins or less (it quite possibly might end up with zero), I’m fine with it.
  13. Best Editing is a bloodbath. No Roma. No Star Is Born. No First Man. The space movie. They love space movies! But instead, they go five Best Picture nominees. So you can’t really knock the First Man omission, if it’s all Best Picture nominees. But also… they put on Bohemian Rhapsody. And no Roma. Interesting choices, to say the least. Certainly makes for a very interesting race on paper.
  14. Never Look Away and Cold War manage Foreign Language Film and Cinematography nominations. We expected the latter, but the former came out of nowhere. We didn’t even know if it was gonna be on the Foreign Language list. That one’s more the surprise more than anything.
  15. First Man underperforms. I thought that was gonna be all tech awards. In the end, four measly nominations, missing Editing, Cinematography and Score. The Score one sounds like the most egregious to me, honestly.
  16. If Beale Street Could Talk is nominated for three awards and might end up winning all three of them. Did I mention they didn’t nominate it for Best Picture?
  17. Oh yeah, THEY DIDN’T NOMINATE MR. ROGERS. In perhaps the most anti-American act I have seen since… the last time I checked in with whatever was going on at the White House, the Academy snubbed Mr. Rogers. Won’t You Be My Neighbor is left off the Documentary list in favor of a foreign nominee and two documentaries nobody will remember in three years. Great job, guys. Way to have us give a shit about your bullshit category. The silver lining to this is that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s documentary will almost certainly win now and be a nice moment for us all, since she is an American hero.
  18. Academy Award nominee (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Kendrick Lamar.
  19. Diane Warren is nominated for her tenth Oscar. She’s yet to win, and still won’t now, because “Shallow” already has that category won. (But hey, remember when Diane Warren wrote that song with Lady Gaga and they had Gaga give one of the most powerful live performances you’ve ever seen at the Oscars and then immediately gave the award to that Bond song no one can sing the hook to, not three years later?)
  20. Apparently every time a foreign film gets shortlisted on Makeup & Hairstyling it gets nominated. That’s the norm now, I guess.
  21. Christopher Robin is nominated for Best Visual Effects. No real feeling one way or the other on that, it just was.
  22. Roma managed two Sound nominations. I know I mentioned it already up there, but it bears repeating. That’s support, when a movie like that manages two Sound nominations.
  23. Bohemian Rhapsody also manages two Sound nominations. Honestly if it managed just one or two more key nominations I’d have said it could have made a play for Best Picture. Still, impressive for a movie with the history it has (from development to shooting to everyone’s reactions to it upon release). The Globes win would have been impressive in itself. But they’re still going.
  24. Mirai is nominated for Best Animated Feature. That’s kind of a big footnote, historically. That opens the door to so much other stuff of this sort getting in, should this category get its shit together and iron out the kinks they needlessly introduced with this new voting system.
  25. I guess the final note is — there’s a really good crop of animated shorts this year, three of which (probably the best three) are available to watch online right now.

– – – – – – – – – –

And now for the moment only I’ve been waiting for… how did I do with my guesses.

  • 7/8 on Best Picture
  • 2/3 on Makeup & Hairstyling
  • Two 5/5s this year. They were Production Design and Animated Feature.
  • Fourteen 4/5s this year, which for sure saved my ass. They were Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score, Original Song, Costume Design, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Foreign Language Film.
  • Three 3/5s this year. They were Director, Documentary Short and Animated Short.
  • Three 2/5s this year, which might be my worst ever (but I’d rather not know if that’s true or not). They were Editing, Documentary Feature and Live-Action Short.

Other things to note:

  • Best Picture, I had Beale Street #8 over Vice (which was my #9) to make a statement. Otherwise, I knew which way those top eight were going.
  • Best Director, I missed one and my Dark Horse made it on.
  • Best Actor, my First Alternate made it on.
  • Best Actress, my First Alternate made it on.
  • Best Supporting Actor, my First Alternate made it on.
  • Best Supporting Actress, I missed.
  • Best Original Screenplay, my First Alternate made it on.
  • Best Adapted Screenplay, I missed.
  • Best Editing, my First Alternate and Dark Horse made it on, the first “Surprise” nominee made it. I knew what the contenders were, they shuffle just went against me.
  • Best Cinematography, I missed. And everyone missed.
  • Best Original Score, I missed.
  • Best Original Song, my Dark Horse made it on.
  • Best Costume Design, I missed.
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling, I missed.
  • Best Visual Effects, my First Alternate made it on.
  • Best Sound Editing, I missed. (But also, I did have Roma on, which I do think gives me something to hang my ha on.)
  • Best Sound Mixing, my Dark Horse made it on.
  • Best Foreign Language Film, I missed.
  • Best Documentary Feature, a Dark Horse made it on, and the rest was just their usual bullshit.
  • Best Documentary Short, my Dark Horse made it on, and I missed one.
  • Best Live-Action Short, my First Alternate and Dark Horse made it on, and I missed one.
  • Best Animated Short, my Dark Horse made it on and I missed one.

So that’s 8 First Alternates, 8 Dark Horses, and 15 misses. So I’m above .500 there.

Of the misses:

  • Director, Supporting Actress and Adapted Screenplay I straight up missed. Not even close.
  • Editing, the one “miss” was one I had as my first “surprise” nominee. It was the eighth choice and I did have it right there. So that one wasn’t so bad. I can live with that.
  • Cinematography I missed, and I know NO ONE had that right. So that’s a wash for me. Nothing I could have done about that one.
  • Original Score, I missed. Didn’t see that happening.
  • Costume Design, I missed. But it was my first “surprise” contender. I saw a possibility, just weren’t sure they’d go there.
  • Makeup & Hairstyling, I missed. Wouldn’t have known to vote for it without having seen it. There are only 7 choices. A miss is a miss no matter how close you are. You’re always close.
  • Sound Editing, I’m calling that a half-win because of the Roma pull. Bohemian was my first “surprise” contender, so I was half-right there too. I’m fine with this.
  • Foreign Language, just missed. Only nine chances, so I was always gonna be semi-close. But it’s a miss. Only missing one is the victory there.
  • Documentary, I went mainstream and they went opposite. Figured they would. Had no other way of guessing, really. The two that were nominated were my top two surprises, so I did figure them to be contenders. That’s the most solace I can take in that. And, in this category, that’s a lot.
  • Documentary Short, missed the one just because I didn’t think they’d go there. The other, simple miss. Those usually happen here.
  • Live-Action Short, I did poorly and usually do poorly. It’s when I do well that it’s something to note.
  • Animated Short, I’m happy the category was so good, otherwise the one they put on I wasn’t expecting was the one I liked the least. Of course it was.

Okay, so the total… Out of a total of 121 nominees, I guessed… 90. Shit, I’ll take that every day of the week.

90/121, that’s 74.4%, which is pretty much exactly what I did last year with one more nominee. So yeah, I’m back around that 75% mark, which is all I can really ask for.

Previous years:

  • 2017: 74.5% (91/122)
  • 2016: 77% (94/122)
  • 2015: 78.5% (95/121)
  • 2014: 71.9% (87/121)
  • 2013: 76% (92/121)
  • 2012: 71% (87/122)
  • 2011: 68% (81/119)

– – – – – – – – – –

So those are your Oscar nominees.

Also, friendly reminder that my giant Oscar Trivia article exists, and I will be updating that later today with all the new added nominations info we have.

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4 responses

  1. Ah, your bias shows…Black Panther most likely got the best picture nod for the wrong reasons, but it certainly does deserve the award for best costume and is a strong contender for production design. Comic book movie or not, where it shines, it shines.

    Same for into the Spiderverse. It isn’t just comic book fans which are all over the movie, it is above all animation buffs. There is a REASON this movie got a lot of love at the Annies while Isles of Dogs didn’t. And that is not because any animation fan ever said “I am sure that the Sony movie will impress me this year”.

    January 23, 2019 at 3:00 am

    • I side with B+ in that Spider-Verse, while well-animated, won’t be as highly lauded in a few years. I myself have major issues with its script. Such lofty regard for it irritates me when the same release year gave us Isle of Dogs and The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl.

      January 23, 2019 at 2:42 pm

      • Isle of Dogs is highly problematic. There is a lot questionable about the movie. But this aside, since there is only one price for animation, you need to take everything in account, including the animation itself. Sony has already patented the style they used and I will tell you that in a few years, it will be lauded as the movie which finally broke through the CGI Formular which has bored the eyes of animation fans for years. We need more experimentation in this area, and Into the Spider-Verse has managed to push into new ground. It will hopefully lead to more creativity and more playing around – and not just for one or two scenes, like Moana and Inside Out did.

        Animation is not just about the narrative, it is also an art-form. The way Into the Spiderverse is playing with different styles makes it stand out. I haven’t seen something as interesting since Paperman.

        January 24, 2019 at 4:12 am

  2. I really wanted to see your reaction to ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ being snubbed; it’s the worst shock to me personally!

    January 23, 2019 at 6:39 am

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