2019 Oscar Nominations

2019 Oscar Nominations

Despite all the brouhaha about Kevin Hart being invited to host, and then being uninvited to host, and then maybe being reconsidered for an invite, and so forth, there will in fact still be an Oscar Award show this year. The nominations were announced this morning. Does anyone still care at this point?

At the moment, it looks like the ceremony will have no host, just a series of presenters. Frankly, if that means fewer lame comedy skits and some remote possibility of the show ending on schedule rather than two hours over as it usually does, I’m all for it.

Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross announced the nominations this morning. Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite lead the nominations with ten each. This is a big coup for Netflix, which shoved Roma into a couple of theaters prior to its streaming premiere specifically to qualify for awards. The Favourite may pick up some technical awards in categories like Costume Design or Production Design, but is extremely unlikely to take the top prize.

Both Golden Globe winners, Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody, nabbed Best Picture nominations. Green Book seems like a strong contender to win. The film is safe, middlebrow Oscar fare with an inspirational story and a (at least superficially) socially conscious message. It’s the kind of thing Oscar voters traditionally eat up.

Despite its Golden Globe win, I’m surprised that Bohemian Rhapsody made it into the Best Picture circle, given its lukewarm critical reception and director Bryan Singer’s ostracization. Likewise, I’ve hardly seen anyone say anything nice about Adam McKay’s Vice, which somehow scored eight nominations including Best Picture.

After the Academy backed off its plans to create a “Best Popcorn Movie” prize specifically to reward Black Panther, that movie was gifted a token Best Picture nomination that it stands very little chance of winning (and, in my opinion, doesn’t deserve to).

First-time director Bradley Cooper was notably snubbed for a Best Director nomination, but don’t feel too bad for him; he got a nomination for Best Actor (his fourth acting nom) and shares the recognition for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. For a guy whose first notable job was playing third fiddle on Alias, he’s doing fine.

Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski made the Best Director cut for a movie (Cold War) that has very little mainstream recognition, but did claim the same prize at Cannes.

In typical Oscar fashion, the white supporting actor from BlacKkKlansman was nominated while the black lead was not.

Barry Jenkins’ critically-praised If Beale Street Could Talk collected three nominations, but only supporting actress Regina King cracked the Top 5 categories.

Also surprising, Ethan Hawke failed to land a Best Actor nomination for First Reformed. The movie’s only presence on the list is for Paul Schrader’s original screenplay.

As always, I am terrible at predicting Oscar winners, but I’ll throw out my initial, off-the-cuff with no time to think about them impressions anyway.

Best Picture

  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born
  • Vice

Josh’s Prediction: Green Book

Best Director

  • Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
  • Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
  • Adam McKay, Vice
  • Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War

Josh’s Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón

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

Josh’s Prediction: Rami Malek

Best Actress

  • Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
  • Glenn Close, The Wife
  • Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
  • Olivia Colman, The Favourite
  • Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Josh’s Prediction: Glenn Close

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

Josh’s Prediction: Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams, Vice
  • Marina de Tavira, Roma
  • Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Emma Stone, The Favourite
  • Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Josh’s Prediction: Rachel Weisz

Best Animated Feature

  • Incredibles 2
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mirai
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Josh’s Prediction: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Foreign-Language Film

  • Capernaum (Lebanon)
  • Cold War (Poland)
  • Never Look Away (Germany)
  • Roma (Mexico)
  • Shoplifters (Japan)

Josh’s Prediction: Roma

Best Original Screenplay

  • First Reformed
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • The Favourite
  • Vice

Josh’s Prediction: The Favourite

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • A Star Is Born

Josh’s Prediction: BlacKkKlansman

Best Visual Effects

  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Christopher Robin
  • First Man
  • Ready Player One
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

Josh’s Prediction: First Man

Best Cinematography

  • Cold War
  • The Favourite
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born

Josh’s Prediction: Roma

Best Original Score

  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mary Poppins Returns

Josh’s Prediction: If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Original Song

  • “All the Stars” from Black Panther
  • “I’ll Fight” from RGB
  • “Shallow” from A Star Is Born
  • “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns
  • “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Josh’s Prediction: “Shallow”

For the complete list of nominees, see the official Oscars web site. The ceremony will air February 24th on ABC.


  1. david

    I think Avengers infinity war is a far superior film then Black Panther, am I missing something, was it not eligible for best picture?

    • Josh Zyber

      It was eligible, but judged to not be as culturally significant.

      I finally caught up with Black Panther recently. Wasn’t terribly impressed with it as a piece of filmmaking.

      • dave

        My main gripe was the action wasn’t well filmed or memorable. I might have had higher than achievable expectations, coming off the directors other film creed. That film had amazing fight choreography, story and a better film overall than black panther. Also, hopefully Sam Eliot at least gets an Oscar finally. Still think he was the best part of Mel Gibson’s we were soldiers.

        • Josh Zyber

          The action was very poor and the visual effects were at times downright awful. I’d have been a lot more impressed with it visually if even one second of footage had actually been shot in Africa, instead of entirely in front of green-screens on a soundstage in Atlanta. The movie had a $200 million budget. They could have trekked out to a location or two!

          Michael B. Jordan was a good villain and the big story beats worked well enough, but the plot mechanics to get to them were dull and pedestrian.

          For me, although I can appreciate the cultural significance of it being the first big-budget superhero movie with a black director and mostly black cast, as an actual piece of filmmaking, it’s a lower-tier Marvel movie, hovering somewhere slightly below Doctor Strange or the first Thor.

          • dave

            Wow, had no idea they spent that much to make that movie! I agree with everything you said and I think it shouldn’t have been nominated for “best visual effects.” I think Overlord would of been a better choice if they wanted to add in another action film. That plane crash scene was legit and the most intense sound design I have ever experienced in a theater. The only caveat being, I saw it in a dolby atmos imax theater; Overlord was pretty much my favorite theater experience of 2018.

    • Timcharger

      And I think Spiderman Into the Spiderverse was a far superior superhero film to Infinity War and Black Panther…

      And prior to Black Panther, Into the Spiderverse would have been a huge cultural milestone. Arguably even more. Making Spiderman a mixed African/Puerto Rican American, that’s huge.

      • Al

        Into the Spider-Verse was easily the best comic book film of the year, and without a doubt, one of the 5-10 best films of the year. If the Academy really wanted to gift a best picture nomination to a “popcorn movie”, ITS-V was the one that should have received it!

        • Clark

          “Spider-Verse” was visually jarring, I got dizzy because of the focus and colors.
          The movie has a few good gags, but it is just a typical cartoon. Don’t know why people are fussing over it. But maybe it’s just the “internet people” that are fussing, because this is a “Spider-Man” movie that hasn’t even cracked $200 mil at the box office.
          Here in Brazil it played for only two weeks and is already leaving theaters. Most people I know didn’t care for it.

          • Al

            Well, it sounds like you already know that you’re part of the minority. I’m sorry you didn’t see what the rest of us did. I hate when I don’t find anything special about a film that is universally praised.

      • Dave

        I thought it was nominated, my bad, so that makes sense. My local Harkins has a theater with dolby atmos, an Imax style screen, they call it “Cine1.” Pretty much the same thing as Imax.

    • Timcharger

      Dammit! So the wall needs to encircle the whole country. Canada can pay for the northern wall. And we can make the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans pay for the coastal walls. Save director jobs for Americans. Make Best Director Great Again!

      Julian, as long as they are male foreign directors though. No women can be nominated ever.

  2. Timcharger

    Josh:. “First-time director Bradley Cooper was notably snubbed for a Best Director nomination, but don’t feel too bad for him.”

    When googling Bradley Cooper, his wife autofills the search. That will quickly dispel any sorry feelings.

    • Timcharger

      Correction. Irina is not wife, but baby-momma girlfriend. Either way, Best Actor nomination should be rescinded; his life is too good.

  3. cardpetree

    You think the Academy will remove Bohemian Rhapsody from consideration after the pedophilia allegations against Bryan Singer have come out? Or can they even do that?

    • Josh Zyber

      I don’t think they’ll rescind the nomination. Nor should they; the movie was made by a lot of people other than just Bryan Singer, and Singer didn’t even direct the whole thing. That said, I also don’t think it has any chance of winning.

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