91st Academy Awards Recap
This is the most relaxed moment of the year for me. This is the day your thesis is turned in and all the work is done. At this point, Oscar season isn’t particularly stressful for me, but it’s a culmination of two-plus months of thinking about this stuff. And it’s been something going up every single day since December. Now, it’s all over, and the books are closed.
I wish I could say I’m remotely shocked by anything that happened. But no. This all went about how I expected it to. A couple of minor surprises here and there, but nothing that far from the realm of expectation. At one point throughout the night I remember remarking to a friend, “Bohemian Rhapsody has won every award it was nominated for. It has four awards and Black Panther has three. Which is the most Academy thing ever. ‘Look at us, we’re inclusive! (But also we’re still us.)” Honestly, how could anyone be surprised at the way things turned out? I mean, I never am because I’m so deep into this shit I’ve figured out every possible permutation for how things could have gone. So to me, this is all, “Yup, yup, yup, oh that won there, which means this will win here and it won’t win there.” I was calling out three categories ahead when they announced a new one. That’s where I’m at. I’m almost incapable of being surprised by all this. That’s why I do the Scorecard ballot thing now.
Anyway, let’s recap what happened and close the book on 2018.
A couple of minor notes about the show in general before we get into categories:
- So we started the show with Queen performing “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” Not the best space for music, at least the way the show was set up tonight. So it didn’t sound great. Also, Adam Lambert doesn’t sound great. And he dressed like The Riddler, so there’s that. I did like that random cut of him in the audience later in the show with his boy toy. That was a nice coda to the whole thing. I also like how, during the Queen performance, they cut to all the black people in the audience who were all like, “What is this shit?” I know. I saw you all.
- Tomorrow there will be obligatory, “Let Tina and Amy host next year! They were great!” No thanks. Let’s just keep things as they were this year. It’s funny how you can see exactly what all the people are gonna say as they jump aboard the “clickbait narrative” train and ready their slideshows for the morning.
- The no host thing worked out just fine. Who missed a host? That’s the problem with the show, it got stale. They just went through all the motions. The host doesn’t need to come out and do a 15 minute stand up set. Come out, say a few words and then move along. They basically did that with Tina, Amy and Maya. Five minutes and move on. Notice how the show moved? I was counting. They did 8 awards every hour, and by the time they got to Best Actor I was like, “Oh shit, we did 20 awards already?” You didn’t feel it. It just moved.
- Anne Hathaway coming in with the fire.
- Not a show thing, but Olivia Colman went to Disneyland yesterday.
- Mamoa and Mirren should be a buddy comedy or a sex farce. Or both.
- That Google commercial with the movie clips is great. And it was a running thing, too. Big fan of whoever thought of that.
- That Doris Day remix in that commercial was DOPE.
- Dana Carvey’s looking a bit like Paul McCartney now.
- What’s with that creepy ass Lion King shit. I wish I could photoshop better, because I’d have made that clip from “This Is America” and had Donald Glover shoot Simba in the head.
I’m sure there were more things I noticed, but I’m not digging through texts with people to remember. The show moved, it didn’t feel boring, and the worst part about it were the speeches. Why is it that no one was prepared to give a speech? Why were you all reading from papers and your phones? Which, it should be outlawed to bring a phone up to accept an award. Reading is bad enough. You know what makes these shows work? When people speak from the heart? You know what the two best speeches of the night were? The ones where the person stood up there in all their surprise and elation and just spoke.
So yeah, that’ll be the note I leave you on as we get into the results.
Best Picture: Green Book
The director of Movie 43 now has two Oscars.
Are you surprised? Because I’m not surprised. The PGA stats held up again, but we do now have the, I believe, sixth film ever to win Best Picture without being nominated for Best Director. The minute it won Screenplay you saw it was in play. Just like last year when Get Out won Screenplay over Three Billboards, you knew Shape of Water was winning Picture. This one, as soon as Screenplay came in, you saw that path opening up.
I can’t say I’m surprised. The “Netflix movies aren’t real movies” thing was a real sentiment around town. For sure there are people who deliberately voted Green Book #1 and Roma #5 or #6 just because they didn’t want Roma to win. And it’s not because they loved Green Book, it’s because they knew Green Book was the one that was most likely to beat it so they gave their vote to that and against Roma. It wasn’t a choice for Green Book so much as it was a vote against Roma. That’s where we are. Roma was the biggest “anti-vote” movie since Brokeback Mountain. This is the thing that made them collectively draw their lines in the sand.
Also, what have I been saying all season? What was the exact comp for Green Book? Driving Miss Daisy. Same. Exact. Path. I wanted to think that they wouldn’t be so reactionary and dragging their feet, but… they are who they are.
Gonna just throw this one out there too — you know all those people who said, “Black Panther should win Best Picture?” Well all the people who voted that way are the equivalent Jill Stein voters. Sure, you don’t like the other choices and you want real institutional change. But come on. Look at what the alternative we got was. And I like Green Book. Not so much as a winner but I enjoy the movie.
Honestly, though, I’m glad. Because now that it’s all over we can hear what Spike really thinks about the movie.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Oh, by the way, I typed up my reactions while watching, so the first little bits are things I thought while watching each category be presented.
Cuaron winning this — in one of the three biggest locks of the night — means that five of the past six Best Director awards went to him, Inarritu and Guillermo. Five Mexicans and then the man who saved jazz. Not a bad run.
Also, this is the first foreign language film ever to win Best Director. Which is pretty momentous and should be talked about more.
Best Actor: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Yeah, that was foregone too. The numbers, man. Numbers, like the ball, don’t lie.
I also like how all these movies keep calling their underwritten supporting women the “heart of the film.” Peter Farrelly called Linda Cardellini the “heart” of Green Book at like three different awards shows, and now Rami Malek said that to Lucy Boynton. Also, isn’t it funny that he immediately went and made a big show of kissing her the minute he win, just to almost be like, “No, I am not gay in real life”? Also, he’s sleeping with his costar and brought her to the Oscars to see him win. How baller a move is that?
Though, isn’t it weird that the clip they chose for him is the clip of him lip-syncing to Freddie Mercury. I wonder if that was someone knowing exactly what they were doing and making a statement for history about this as a winner and telling them exactly what they were really voting for.
Bohemian Rhapsody, when this award was handed out, was currently 4/4 on the night. And as it stands, it still wound up with the most Oscars on the night. Which, this is when I made that remark about Black Panther. Because that is the most Academy thing ever. “Oh look, three awards for Black Panther, look at us!” And then, 4 awards to Bohemian Rhapsody and 3 to Green Book.
I know it sounds like a wet blanket throughout the season, but it’s because I know these people. I know how things are gonna turn out in the end. The house always wins, guys. Me doing this every year is starting to build into George Carlin talking about voting. (Which, by the way, is some of the greatest three minutes of standup to have ever been performed.) This shit is ingrained in them. They’re not capable of sudden, radical change. They’ll make it seem like they’re all hip and cool, but they’ll immediately go back to their well. How early were all those Black Panther awards? They got you excited and then went right back to business as usual. This is who they are.
Oh, but yeah, Rami Malek won. Wonder how that’s gonna hold up over Bale. Let’s see.
Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
OH FUCK YEAH.
No one saw The Wife. That’s what that means. Glenn Close 0-7 now. That’s O’Toole territory. How long before they give her a Lifetime achievement award?
Great speech though by Colman. All around. “This is not gonna happen again.” That’s awesome. Her and Gaga gave the two best speeches of the night. This is exactly what you want to see out of a winner and it was impossible not to be happy for her.
But yeah, minor surprise, because Close won almost everything. But honestly… who actually saw that movie?
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
That suit, though.
There’s no surprise here. He won everything. This was one of the three most locked categories of the night. He’s now completed the Christoph Waltz but in one less year. So it’s now, Jason Robards back-to-back Supporting Actor Oscars, Mahershala Ali two out of three years, and Christoph Waltz two in four years.
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Fucking yes, Regina King. Oh fuck yeah.
Also, Rachel Weisz dressed like if you let your six year old dress herself.
This one made a lot of sense. Who else was it gonna be? Though judging from the lack of nominations and wins, I wonder if anyone in the Academy actually saw If Beale Street Could Talk. Because it was missing like three other nominations and at least one or two wins.
But still, Regina King has an Oscar, and that’s awesome.
Also, two black acting winners in the same year. That’s something, I guess, for people who care about that. To me, two really good actors and performances won, but you know, if you wanna get political about the whole thing, there is that.
Best Original Screenplay: Green Book
It lost the WGA and The Favourite wasn’t even nominated and it won this. That’s because it won Picture. It doesn’t win Picture without winning this. Looking back on the night, this makes total sense. So what this tells me is, the writers rejected it but in an open vote, it still managed the votes.
That’s what made this year so interesting. The guilds had their biases against certain films, but it didn’t matter when the voting got broader.
Someone I heard in the past month suggested the notion of a weighted ballot, whereby people within each branch get their votes counting slightly more for their category. That is, for Cinematography, what the cinematographers vote for counts more than what someone in any other branch votes for. That’s not a bad idea, but I’m not sure you wanna get into all that stuff just now. You kinda have to fix some other things within the Academy before you get there.
Still, no real surprise that this won. It was this or The Favourite and they went for this. Is what it is.
Best Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
You knew Sam was gonna give it to Spike. Their choice of presenters often tells you where they think it’s going, and most of the times it’ll work out.
Hilarious they did after Green Book to make us forget that decision.
But yeah, that stat I quoted held up. Only three non-Best Picture nominees have won this category ever. And here we are, with it holding up yet again.
And again I say, did no one in the Academy see Beale Street? But I digress.
Awesome that Spike got his Oscar, and now they’ll all go back to ignoring him and hating him for being so outspoken.
Best Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Yeah, that makes sense.
Get new music, guys.
That last comment was because they had the solo from “Bohemian Rhapsody” play every time this won n award. And by the time it won this category, it was the third time we’d heard it in a very short time span. The first two being back to back for the Sound categories. And it’s like, “Can’t you at least be able to switch it up?” It’s QUEEN. They have other hits. Also, why are you not playing it with the orchestra that’s right there?
It was this vs. Vice all along, and while I talked myself into Vice I knew it was 50/50. Felt like it was gonna be this once you saw it on that roll of both Sound categories. But yeah, not a terrible choice, given the category. Coulda been Green Book.
Best Cinematography: Roma
I was hoping he’d say, “Coulda been yours, Chivo.” Not that Chivo needed it.
This was one of the probably ten biggest locks of the night. Who saw this going any other way? Cuaron won three awards tonight. This is what should have happened to Paul Thomas Anderson last year. But again I digress.
Not much to say here. I think the best choice won, and we all should have had it.
Best Original Score: Black Panther
Great pre-talk by Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson. I don’t know who decided to write it, but I was all for bringing Score back to how the ocean will kill you.
That was a foregone conclusion based on the other two wins.
Did no one see If Beale Street Could Talk? I feel like no one saw If Beale Street Could talk.
By the way, that one I wrote during the ceremony. Everything above this I wrote now, having forgotten that I wrote this one. Good to know that this isn’t a bit so much as it’s my actual thoughts on the matter.
But yeah, once it won Costumes and Production Design, you knew this one was in the bag. It was this or Beale Street and I held out hope that the actual best score would win, but no. Shit happens.
Best Original Song: “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born
Okay, so let me start by saying — whoever planned and executed everything about these song performances deserves a raise. These were the best staged Oscar song performances I may have ever seen them do.
Also, a lot of the next stuff was all as I wrote them up during the performances. So I’ll just batch quote it:
- Before “I’ll Fight” someone walked behind Emilia Clarke on stage and it was really obvious.
- What’s with that violin version of the song, too? BRING OUT BRIAN MAY. DO THAT SHIT FOR REAL.
- Jennifer Hudson can sing, though. When you hear she won an Oscar you think, “What? HOW??” And then you hear her sing and are like, “Oh, I get it.”
- That RBG projection on the background during the song was creepy as shit. That feels like what Marvel’s gonna do to Stan Lee from now on.
- Great production designs on these songs, though. Incredible background choices
- Also, fuck yeah, Bette Midler. We will never find a Better Midler.
- That production design, though. Buster Scruggs, holy shit. This is great
- That should have been Tim Blake Nelson, though.
- Amazing directing and choices on “Shallow.” Not having the introduction and just having the guitars start playing, because everyone knew what it was. And then choosing to shoot it entirely from behind, on the stage, and skipping all the production design and just focusing on the two of them, which is the point of the song. It was PERFECT.
- That just won them the Emmy for Best Variety Show or whatever the category is.
- And then of course it won.
- Academy Award winner Lady Gaga.
- Speech of the night (to that point).
This was one of the three biggest locks of the night. So no one should be surprised by how it turned out. She did give a really great speech, and it turned around the trend of absolutely terrible speeches on the night.
Best Production Design: Black Panther
Super ethnic choice on music for Jennifer Lopez when she came out to present.
Also, once it won Costumes you knew it would win here.
These speeches are awful.
Why re they not playing off the black people? Notice that? All the white people got played right the fuck off, but no black person got the music. Not once. At least be consistent, guys. The speeches sucked all around. Play these fuckers off, even if it means you might be seen as racist.
But yeah, this and The Favourite split all the Production Design awards, and really it came down to them deciding to give it technical awards to make it seem like they cared about it. I didn’t even think they’d extend themselves that far. But here we are. Black Panther has three Oscars, and still doesn’t really matter or change anything. Not totally sure I agree with this having won, but it did and no one should be particularly surprised by the whole thing.
Best Costume Design: Black Panther
They fit references to all five of the nominees in those costumes in the intro. Good for them. She had the Favourite dress with the rabbits, the Mary Queen of Scots collar and the cowboy hat and he was dressed like Mary Poppins and had the Wakanda face paint on. I don’t really care so much about the schtick. It was fine. But I liked that they fit all five into them.
This was Black Panther notching its first win.
Speech was nice, too. Mostly “this was a long time coming.”
But yeah, this split with The Favourite all the way through, so no real surprises there so much as the fact that they went away from the period frills. But this is obviously what I said up there. A show of inclusion so people wouldn’t give them shit. This is the subterfuge in the front while they, in the back, gave Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody seven awards.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Vice
They didn’t show the troll dick in the clips.
Congrats on Vice for winning for making Dick Cheney seem like he was played by Christian Bale.
That was the most awkward speech of the night. And the wide shot they cut to at the end is pure comedy.
Not much to say about this. One of the five most locked categories of the night, and would have been top three except for lack of space. We all knew what the score was in this one.
Best Visual Effects: First Man
I fucking told all of you.
This is my moment, now you all have to shut the fuck up and eat it.
What did I say? So many people kept telling me, “No, no, it’s gonna be Avengers. It’s gonna be Avengers.” Why? Because the visual effects guild said so? Fuck that. This is the Academy I know. I made my case yesterday in the big article. Go back and read it. Only three times since Star Wars did something win with just one nomination. And they have a history of going for the classy movie over the effects movies. Interstellar was just four years ago. It was the same situation. This also won Supporting Effects at the guild, and I said that’s all it needed. Why would they have voted for Avengers here? Seriously. This had four nominations and the rest of the category all had one each. This isn’t rocket science, guys.
I’m taking my victory lap here. This is the category I’m most proud of this year, because I fucking said it all along. I could not see any version of this where this wasn’t the most likely winner. The problem with all the people who told me about Avengers is that they were either thinking with their feelings or they were thinking purely on the numbers and not deep enough. I’m telling you. There’s a reason I don’t listen to the noise. I’ve done this too long. I know what they do here.
Honestly, nothing pleased me more than seeing this come in. Shame it didn’t win the Sound categories, but this result, to me, was better than anything else on the night. The only thing that could have maybe topped it was Beale Street coming in for Score.
Best Sound Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Would have been quite the irony if A Quiet Place won for Sound.
So they have no idea what these categories are. Because no sound editing was really required in this movie. Get Queen songs, put Queen songs in the movie. The end.
So yeah, it won editing, but you knew it was the favorite because it won like all the precursors. I put First Man on my ballot just because I like to try weird shit to see if it’ll come in. This was the obvious choice. And this is why you don’t split the Sound categories. Now you’re 2/2 here.
Best Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Two in a row.
They didn’t even get new play-up music? What the hell, guys?
These guys knew how to get in and get out. That’s a speech.
This was one of the most confident categories of the night. Not exactly a lock so much as “I felt good about this coming in.”
Most people should have went 2/2 on the Sound categories, unless you played my hunch which I said was very unlikely given how everything else went.
Best Animated Feature: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Pharrell with the shorts and socks.
This was one of the bigger locks of the night. It’s because this overcame the Pixar hold on the category. It was acknowledged as the best of the year and the word of mouth got those fringe people who have no idea to vote for it because they knew everyone else thought it was great. And now Pixar has lost for like, what, the sixth time ever or something? Sony gets their first win, and then I’m sure we go right back to the norm next year. Nice to have the interlude though, right guys?
Best Foreign Language Film: Roma
How many times has Javier Bardem introduced this category? They just cycle through the three big foreign/Spanish actors and make them come out and do this category. “You’re foreign, you don’t speak English, come announce the foreign category.”
This was one of the biggest locks of the night. Maybe not top three, but top five. You knew it was gonna win. And clearly when they all voted for Green Book, this was the consolation prize. Cuaron’s third win, with Director and Cinematography. Technically he doesn’t win for this, but come on. You know what it is.
Best Documentary Feature: Free Solo
Are they gonna let him climb up to the stage?
Yes, they are.
Actual text exchange from my friend and I (I’m the second one):
- “They should give Alex a statue.”
- “Why? He’s got that super healthy relationship instead.”
Also, Jimmy had the best relationship moment of the night. When Elizabeth took up all the time and they got played off, you could see before they went to commercial as they walked off, her being like, “I’m so sorry, I took up all the time.” And he was like, “Don’t worry about it. This was your moment.” That’s how you get sex in the bathroom of the Oscar party later in the night.
Anyway, all the momentum moved to this once Won’t You Be My Neighbor? got left off. You thought it would be RBG, but this started winning every guild. And I don’t know, like ten days ago I was convinced this was gonna win. Me like four years ago would have stuck to my initial guns and went down with the ship. Now, I was like, “Oh shit no, just take this as the obvious winner and I’ll put RBG on my ballot just in case, even though it means nothing.” So yeah. Glad I could help you all out on this one.
Best Documentary Short: Period. End of Sentence.
Yeah, told you.
Menstrual Equality is the name of my band, by the way.
Netflix’s publicist produced this and this is exactly the kind of shit they go for in this category. If you did not have this on your ballot, you are an idiot.
Best Live Action Short: Skin
I knew to put it third, and as such, I came out okay!
Hard to be upset when they’re so fucking happy to have won this.
But yeah, this was the one where I was like, “I didn’t like it, and I’m not sure it could win, but I don’t wanna rank it low just because I didn’t like it. They just turned it into a feature, and I’m gonna feel like shit when this is my fourth choice and it wins.” So I put it third, and as such, I only got a 3 on my Scorecard, which… for Live Action Short… I’m fucking thrilled. I will take it.
This category absolutely sucked, by the way. The single worst Live Action Short category I’ve seen in years, and the single worst Oscar category I’ve seen in years. Granted, this is the category that matters like, least. Or maybe second least, to the one before it. But still, awful year for this one.
Best Animated Short: Bao
Weird how obvious this was, considering Pixar like, never wins this.
One Small Step was still better.
Great speeches, though.
But yeah, this was foregone. Pixar was so winning this all the way.
But I’ll put both of them here for you guys to decide. They’re both amazing and both worth seeing:
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So yeah, those are all your winners.
Here’s a breakdown of awards:
Bohemian Rhapsody — 4 Oscars (Actor, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
Black Panther — 3 Oscars (Score, Production Design, Costume Design)
Green Book — 3 Oscars (Picture, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay)
Roma — 3 Oscars (Director, Cinematography, Foreign Language Film)
BlacKkKlansman — 1 Oscar (Adapted Screenplay)
The Favourite — 1 Oscar (Actress)
First Man — 1 Oscar (Visual Effects)
If Beale Street Could Talk — 1 Oscar (Supporting Actress)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — 1 Oscar (Animated Feature)
A Star Is Born — 1 Oscar (Song)
Vice — 1 Oscar (Makeup & Hairstyling)
Other winners: Free Solo, Period. End of Sentence., Skin, Bao
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Here’s how I did on my predictions:
On my personal ballot, which I do just to fuck around and don’t take seriously, I got 13/24 right. The big differences were me taking Beale Street in Screenplay, First Man in Sound Editing and RBG in Documentary. Nothing I picked up by picking different, just detracting.
On the ballot I told you to take, which is really the one we look at, I got right: Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Song, Makeup & Hairstyling, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Animated Feature, Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Animated Short
I got wrong: Picture, Actress, Original Screenplay, Editing, Score, Production Design, Costume Design, Live Action Short
That’s 16/24. Average for most people, subpar to me. I made two distinct decisions. One was to go for Roma on Picture, which meant no Green Book there or in Screenplay. Had I thought they’d go for Green Book I’d have had it in both. So that’s 2. The other was assuming Black Panther won nothing. That was a big much, but I did acknowledge it was right there in all its categories. Score was the one I should have had in hindsight, and I woke up this morning like, “I should switch that on the second ballot and leave Beale Street on mine.” But honestly I didn’t care enough to go back and change it because it doesn’t matter. In the end I really only care about the Scorecard now. It’s up to you guys to fill out your ballots, and based on what I gave you, you all should have been smart enough to realize Black Panther was getting something. Actress was a miss that happens, Live Action Short is assumed I’m gonna get it wrong, and Editing… sure. 50/50 went the other way. I don’t feel bad about any of those. Score maybe I should have had, but everything else is just a miss based on the decisions I made. They happen.
Now, for the part I really care about. The Scorecard ballot. Here’s how I did:
- Best Picture: +2
- Best Director: +1
- Best Actor: +1
- Best Actress: +2
- Best Supporting Actor: +1
- Best Supporting Actress: +1
- Best Original Screenplay: +2
- Best Adapted Screenplay: +1
- Best Editing: +2
- Best Cinematography: +1
- Best Original Score: +2
- Best Orignal Song: +1
- Best Production Design: +2
- Best Costume Design: +2
- Best Makeup & Hairstyling: +1
- Best Visual Effects: +1
- Best Sound Editing: +1
- Best Sound Mixing: +1
- Best Animated Feature: +1
- Best Foreign Language Film: +1
- Best Documentary Feature: +1
- Best Documentary Short: +1
- Best Live-Action Short: +3
- Best Animated Short: +1
Only one +3. That’s dope. And it’s the hardest category. Lotta +2s though, but those are fine.
I ended up +9, 33. That’s respectable. 7-10 is the good range I wanna be in most years. So I will take that and feel no shame in any of this.
Mostly I’m just happy that this crappy ass year is over and I get to turn over a new leaf to 2019. Maybe we’ll get something really special this year. I’m excited to now turn around and get into all the stuff I’ve been letting sit here while I went deep on all this Oscars stuff. I’ve got almost 20 movies just sitting here, waiting for me. So I’m gonna go take a few weeks off and go do that.
Oh, also, before I go, my giant Oscar trivia article is now updated as well. So be sure to check that out for all the updated stats and things based on last night.
Okay then. That’ll conclude our 2018.
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