Oscars fever is officially on
This year's Academy Awards ceremony is shaping up to be the most unpredictable everEuropost
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has grown its ranks considerably in recent years, and this season's collection of new members was the largest in AMPAS history. The result, revealed yesterday, was an unpredictable set of Oscar nominations, as foreign films, streaming movies and critically derided hits all scored big. The history-making lineup for the highest honours in the movie industry was also packed with people of colour and different nationalities, including nominees from Mexico, Greece, Egypt and Poland, as well as films featuring the stories of women and gay and black people.
Without much of a surprise, Roma, a Netflix film shot entirely in Spanish and an indigenous Mexican language, that looks back at director Alfonso Cuaron's youth in Mexico, and The Favourite, a period dramedy with an all-star cast, tied for most nominations with 10 nods each, including best picture and best director. Both movies also received nominations in the best actress category, for Yalitza Aparicio and Olivia Colman. Their success was followed by Lady Gaga's musical A Star is Born and the scathing political comedy Vice, with eight apiece. Meanwhile, Black Panther made history as the first superhero film to ever be nominated for best picture, securing six other nods. In the most important Oscars category, the five astonishing movies were joined by BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Green Book.
But while the nomination provided a lot of pleasant surprises, many shock snubs were also present.
Green Book, about the friendship that develops between a black pianist and his white driver in the 1960s, for example, won nods for stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, but not for director Peter Farrelly. The same happened to Warner Bros. A Star is Born, where leading actors Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper earned place in best actor and best actress category, but Cooper was snubbed in the director's race. In the movie industry this is considered a big deal since Best Director nomination is usually considered a prerequisite for a Best Picture win. Only two films in the modern era have ever won the ultimate prize without it, but on the bright side, each might be considered an antecedent for this year's pair: Driving Miss Daisy was a chauffeur-based story of interracial friendship in the civil-rights era, just like Green Book, while Argo saw an actor turned filmmaker direct himself in a well-regarded genre picture with Hollywood elements, just like A Star Is Born.
Meanwhile, in another shocking snub, actress Emily Blunt also missed out on Oscar nomination, scoring with neither Mary Poppins Returns nor A Quiet Place.
On the bright side, this year's crop of new Oscars voters included plenty of international talent. Something that can be interpreted as a crisis of the American film industry. Instead of Farrelly and Cooper, the Academy went with two European auteurs - The Favourite's Yorgos Lanthimos, and Cold War's Pawel Pawlikowski. Foreign films found similar success all over the ballot: Germany's Never Look Away was nominated in Cinematography alongside Roma and Cold War and the German-Syrian documentary Of Fathers and Sons made it in the year's biggest doc hits.