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The Oscar Nominations are officially in and what more can be said other than… that’s it?
Whenever awards season starts each year, it’s always fun to see which big movies are repeated. Sometimes it feels as though committees forget that other movies exist outside of a small handful.
That’s not to say that I don’t agree with the nominations this year, just that I find them for the most part so unbearably predictable and incredibly bland. The only Academy Award category I was completely pleasantly surprised by was Best Animated Feature which for once actually featured some really great movies. I’ll definitely be rooting for Klaus, or I Lost My Body for the win. It was really refreshing to see hand-drawn animation again, not to slight the impeccable contribution by Laika for their stop-motion The Missing Link, and both movies really delivered heart and a rare kind of brilliance in their storytelling. Three out of five nominations coming from traditional animation and standalone stories from non-domination companies has to be acknowledged as a highlight.
Best Director is another category that exists. That’s all. Out of the movies featured, the only ones where I really felt as though the directors were trying to convey something fresh and important in their choices were Sam Mendes with 1917 and Bong Joon Ho with Parasite. 1917 was a movie that I was surprised to see such great reviews of it prior to its release as I was worried that it was just another war movie in a long list of same-y stories and yet I found myself caught between being so tense and crying the whole time, which was undeniably down to some incredible directing choices from Mendes. And Parasite is a rare film where words can’t quite describe the level of genius that went into it, a film where every choice was smart, and felt important. Hopefully, it’s a film that will finally make people get over subtitles and broaden their horizons to incredible foreign-language cinema, to reference Bong Joon Ho’s great Golden Globes Speech.
Other than that, the lack of diversity is more than apparent. The lack of nominations for women directors when there are movies like Lulu Wang’s The Farewell and Greta Gerwig’s iteration of Little Women feels as though movies Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood got the nomination just because, hey! look! another Tarantino film! But that’s just my opinion.
Best Actor and Actress are really diverse this year. Good job, Academy.
Best Actress, apart from Cynthia Erivo’s well-deserved nomination for her poignant and strong portrayal of Harriet Tubman, feels kind of like it’s already happened and we’re stuck in a Groundhog Day-style Award season. Saoirse Ronan as Jo was as spirited as we have come to expect from the talented actor. And even though Scarlet Johannsson seems to be in every film that has ever existed her performance alongside the wonderful Adam Driver in Marriage Story is undeniably her best yet.
And while I’ll silently beg that Adam Driver (heart eyes) wins Best Actor for the best acting I have ever seen in Marriage Story, Joaquin’s win fits the trajectory set in motion since the start of the season. It is, critics of the movie as a whole aside, deserved for his interesting and sensitive iteration of the Joker.