Will’s Oscars round up

Story by Will Hanson, Assistant A&E Editor

The 91st Oscar Nominations came out Jan. 22 with many snubs and surprises. The best picture nominees included “Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born and Vice”.

Four of the eight nominated films have sparked my interest. Two of them are surrounded by controversy and the other two I found interesting. Among those four movies were people that I believed were snubbed of a nomination.

The Oscar nominations this year include genres that haven’t seen nominations in the past. “Black Panther” received a revolutionary seven nominations.  “A Star is Born” is the fourth remake of a film and was nominated for best picture. The emotional Netflix drama “Roma” and Fox’s dark comedy “The Favourite” also tied with 10 nominations each, including best picture.

“Roma,” a Netflix original film is written, directed, produced and edited by Alfonso Cuarón of “Gravity” fame. I cannot attest to the quality of what is considered by many to be the front-runner for the best picture win as I have not seen the film. Netflix’s inclusion in the nominations has solidified the fear that large movie studios are beginning to feel. The streaming service is demonstrating that buying an expensive movie ticket is not necessary to receive a proper film experience.

Netflix isn’t the only one who should be celebrating a groundbreaking nomination as the phrase “Wakanda forever” will remain a piece of cinema history. Disney and Marvel’s “Black Panther” locking in seven nominations including best picture. While it lacks in acting and directing nominations, it is still the first superhero movie to be nominated for best picture.

The inclusion of “Black Panther” in the best picture category has brought comment and controversy from fans and critics alike. Critics claim that “Black Panther’s” inclusion was due to its cultural significance and inclusiveness over the actual quality of the film. Fans are arguing that “Avengers: Infinity War” deserved the nomination when it came quality.

I do understand the backlash brought upon “Black Panther,” but I do believe that it deserves the nomination for best picture. A movie’s cultural significance should be considered when distinguishing a good film from a great film. No movie as culturally significant should be overlooked by the academy. If any superhero film of the last decade was going to get a best picture nomination, “Black Panther” deserves it more than “Avengers: Infinity War” due to it being an overall stronger film with a better message.

With the “Black Panther” nominations the #oscarssowhite era seems to have ended. With people of color being included in many of the biggest categories. No women were included in the best director category which seems to be popular for voters of the academy. In 91 years only 5 women have been nominated for Best Director. Kathryn Bigelow is currently the only woman to win the Oscar for her directing on “The Hurt Locker.”

Women excluded from the category this year included Karyn Kusama for “Destroyer,” and Marielle Heller for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?.” Heller being excluded is a major disappointment as her film was nominated for its two lead performances and adapted screenplay.

Female directors weren’t the only ones left out as many expected nominees were snubbed of a nomination. Bradley Cooper, Emily Blunt and Toni Collette lead my list of those who I believed were snubbed by the Academy.

The first of those performances was Emily Blunt’s silent and an emotional supporting role as Evelyn Abbott in “A Quiet Place.” The second, Toni Collette’s terrifying and raw leading performance as grieving mother Annie in Ari Aster’s “Hereditary.” Both actresses were on my nomination wish list. With “A Quiet Place” receiving a nomination for Achievement in Sound Editing “Hereditary” was left out altogether despite being one of the best-reviewed films of the year.

Bradley Cooper’s omission from the Best Director category is what I consider to be the biggest snub of all the nominations. “A Star is Born” would not have been remotely the same film if Cooper had not taken the directing reigns. Cooper not being included created a large conversation with stars and viewers alike express their disappointment. With Rob Lowe going as far as to tweet “Bradley Cooper was robbed for Best Director. Clearly.” This could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Cooper and Lady Gaga as Ben Affleck’s “Argo” won Best Picture in 2013. Despite Affleck being left out of the Best Director race. “A Star is Born” is currently my favorite film of the past year and I would love to see it win big.

Controversy has also been directed at the five nominations for Bryan Singer’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The film managed to win big at the Golden Globes and snag a best picture nomination at the Academy Awards. This decision has been generally not been well-received by the public. Many, including myself, felt “icky” because of the Academy’s extreme inclusion of a film directed by an accused sexual predator. Singer was fired from the project before completion and has been absent from all award talk this season to avoid tarnishing the film even more. Almost every involved in the production of the film has avoided mentioning Singer’s name during press or award ceremonies to avoid any other connection to him.

According to USA Today, the film was disqualified from competing at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards. “In light of the latest allegations against director Bryan Singer, GLAAD has made the difficult decision to remove ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ from contention for a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Film – Wide Release category this year”.

This will also be the first time the Oscars have been without a host since 1989. The 91st Academy Awards aired on ABC on February 24 at 7:00 p.m.