Despite host controversy, 2019 Oscar nominations are released


Reina Makimura

The tension has been building in the weeks leading up to the 2019 Oscars, among controversy over the potential host and the now forgone “Most Popular” category. Despite these setbacks, on Jan. 22, 2019, the nominations were released. “The Favourite” and “Roma” were Academy favorites, picking up ten nominations each and there were also several historical firsts among the list.
“The Favourite,” an 18th century drama with a female-fronting cast, picked up nominations for Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role (Olivia Colman), Costume Design (Sandy Powell), Directing (Yorgos Lanthimos) and more. The other star of the nominations, “Roma,” was also nominated for Best Picture and Actress in a Leading Role (Yalitza Aparicio), in addition to Foreign Language Film (Mexico) and others.
Marvel Entertainment is also worth noting, picking up nominations for their popular superhero movies. “Black Panther” is the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture and would continue to make history if it won. Hannah Beachler, who worked on the film, is also the first African-American to be nominated for Best Production Design. “Black Panther” was nominated for six awards in total.
“Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” is another Marvel favorite. Co-director Peter Ramsey is the first African-American to be nominated for Best Animated Feature. “Avengers: Infinity War,” which racked up more than $600 million in the United States, was nominated for Best Visual Effects.
This year’s nominations similarly feature more popular movies, rather than the “artsy” movies that award season tends to favor. The popular horror film, “A Quiet Place,” was nominated for Best Sound Editing, while on the other end of the genre spectrum, the much anticipated “Incredibles 2” was nominated for Best Animated Feature.
Another fan favorite, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s remake, “A Star is Born,” was nominated eight times. Lady Gaga received her first Oscar acting nomination and a nomination for her song, “Shallow,” from “A Star is Born.”
The nominations for “A Star is Born” have been labelled well-deserved, though fans were disappointed that Cooper was not nominated for Best Director. The Washington Post expressed extreme disappointment and reported that “many praised his movie as being one of the finest directed concert films . . . of all time.”
Other disappointments included the Best Documentary (Feature) category, where some expected to see the feature on Fred Rogers, the famous Mister Rogers. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” did not receive any nominations.
“Crazy Rich Asians” was a summer favorite, earning actress Constance Wu a Golden Globe and was expected to be seen somewhere in the Oscars, but received no nominations.
Some were also frustrated by the lack of female representation, especially in the Best Director category. The Best Director nominations all went to men, for films including the aforementioned “Roma” and “The Favourite.”
Also nominated for Best Director was Spike Lee, for “BlacKkKlansman,” a gripping crime film based on true events. This is Spike Lee’s first nomination for Best Director and he received a second nomination for Best Picture. Many have called these nominations a long time coming after releases of several successful films.
“If there was any justice in the world, Spike Lee would already have won a Best Director Oscar at least once in his career,” Kayleigh Donaldson wrote in her 2019 Oscar winner predictions.  
This year, Lee’s movie was nominated for six Oscars total.
For those looking for a list of Oscar nominated movies to watch before the awards show, there are strong contenders in all categories. “Roma,” with its ten nominations, is probably a good movie to know about before the final show. Other strong competition includes the popular “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the Best Picture category, despite its controversial nomination, which some felt was undeserved. “Green Book” is also a notable nomination.  
Lesser known nominees to watch include “Bao” (Best Animated Short), Pixar’s emotional rollercoaster of a short film, which explores the relationship between a mother and her estranged son. Another unknown is “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” which received nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Melissa McCarthy) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Richard E. Grant).
Finally, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is nominated for three awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay. Critic Richard Roeper called it “a timeless romance, a family drama, a legal thriller and a poignant social commentary.”
Overall, the 2019 Oscars are filled with strong films in all categories, and it will be an exciting race to find out the winners. The show will begin on Feb. 24, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.