erik lundegaard

Thursday January 24, 2019

2018 Oscar Noms: Is It '89 All Over Again?

Oh, right. The Oscars. Sorry. 

I actually watched the announcements being made at 5:30 AM Tuesday. I'm sick with a cold, and woke up early, so I watched. Reminded me of the days when I'd set the alarm and get in front of the TV and write down the nominees as they were being announced as fast as I could. Until I realized IMDb or Twitter or whomever could do it faster and easier; and before, as with Tuesday, I watched via livestream on YouTube.

But I felt shitty, went back to bed, got caught up in the Baseball Hall of Fame announcements, with favorite son Edgar Martinez finally getting in, and that was my focus. I was passionate on Edgar but lukewarm on the Oscars, so the post on Edgar went first. BTW: They should never do Oscar noms and Baseball Hall of Fame announcements on the same day. Spread it around, people. Save something for the other 364. 

I don't know if the passionless thing is just me, either. The Oscars this year feel like in 1989. No standouts, no cohesion. I think it's going to be a bit of a mess. Maybe it already is.

Here are the nominees. “Roma” and “The Favourite” garnered the most, 10 each, and they are the two best movies up for best pic, so it works. Second-most noms are “A Star is Born” (which I can see) and “Vice” (which I can‘t). Then ... “Black Panther” with seven? Including best picture? Yes. “BP” became the first superhero film so nominated. It’s not even my favorite superhero movie of 2018. But I know I'm in the minority here. Or maybe just more outspoken.

Spike Lee's “BlacKkKlansman” came next with six noms, including one for him as director. I should‘ve known this, but, yeah, he’s never been nominated director before. It's a good make-up call for passing him over for “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X,” but I'm not much of a fan of “Klansman,” either.

BTW: These were the first two films announced:

#OscarsSoWhite worked. 

Best picture winners are usually nominated in two other categories: directing and editing. The last time a movie won best pic w/o an editing nom was “Birdman” in 2014, and the last time without a directing nod was “Argo” in 2012. Before that, for directing, it was “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1989. It's a rarity.

Given that, which movie has the best shot? 

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

It looks like “Klansman,” “Favourite” or “Vice,” but who knows? As I said, I think it's going to be one of those smorgasbord years, like ‘89, where the Academy takes a little of this, a little of that, doesn’t fill up too much on one thing, and calls it a night.

I'm curious: Has a movie ever NOT been nominated for both edit or director and still won pic? 

Let's go the easy route. Since all this began in the late ‘20s, there have only been four movies that have won best pic without a director nom:

  • “Wings” (1929)
  • “Grand Hotel” (1932)
  • “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989)
  • “Argo” (2012)

Best Film Editing began in 1934, so you can discount the first two. “Daisy” was nominated for edit but lost to “Born on the Fourth of July”; “Argo” won edit. So no. No film has won best picture without at least a director or edit nom. “Panther” and “Star is Born” are out. 

The split I would like? Spike Lee for best director (the way Scorsese got it for “The Departed”: as a kind of thanks for the memories) and “Roma” for best pic (because it is). Edit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see go to “Vice.” Odd movies win that one: “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (the American one). Do they usually go to violent movies? Last year, it was “Dunkirk,” which played with chronology, which is why I think “Vice” might get it. I didn‘t like the way “Vice” played with chronology but everything else is just ... not much.

What would be fascinating? 1989 was the year the Academy didn’t nominate Spike Lee or “Do the Right Thing” and then unprecedentedly gave the Oscar to “Driving Miss Daisy” without a director nom. Can you imagine if something like that happened again? This year's “Driving” is “Green Book.” The racial positions are reversed but it‘s, you know, your grandpa’s feel-good race movie. It's set more than 50 years ago, and based on a true story, in which the big-hearted white guy overcomes racism and helps teach the black guy all about black culture in a supposedly awful but actually cleaned-up version of the American South. And guess what? It was written by the white guy's son!  

So can you imagine that winning best picture? Also without a director nom? And with Spike in the audience? 

My ideal is a make-up call for ‘89. But I could also see a re-do of ’89. 

Feb. 24.

Posted at 09:58 AM on Thursday January 24, 2019 in category Movies - The Oscars  
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