Oscars snubs 2019: Paddington 2, Sorry to Bother You, Mandy and other films that should have been nominated
Every year the Oscar nominations generate three separate responses: disappointment, cynicism towards tone-deaf populism, and clear signs that the ceremony is becoming less and less exciting for today’s social media flavoured youth.
So naturally, the Academy’s Trump-like idea to fix the old problems of the show were to create new ones, by not having a host and nominating the least deserving movies for the highest cinematic honors. This, of course, gives us the ammunition to talk about the biggest Oscar snubs, so without further ado – here they are:
Look we get it, Black Panther became a wildly popular movie, even if it wasn't a masterpiece, because it scored brownie points for representation. Could the only reason for it being nominated for Best Picture be the hope that its giant fan base would tune in to the Oscars ceremony? That would have been fine had the balance been restored by nominating deserving films such as Paddington 2 – the most cheerful and hopeful film in years, a cinematic experiment so powerful that it manages to seep through the 800 layers of cynicism of today’s audiences.
In an ideal world Paddington 2 wins all 25 Academy awards, and if you haven’t seen it yet you really need to exit your cave right away.
The differentiating rules of Best Picture and Best Director are unclear. But if it were up to us, we’d nominate directors who made an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape. The first one that comes to mind is Ari Aster, who made Hereditary, a metaphorical horror with terrific craft and performances. There’s no way to look at Hereditary and not marvel at Aster’s flair for generating moments that you can’t look away from, but clearly horror cinema is not given the podium that it deserves. Bring back the days of Rosemary’s Baby, I say.
Another little snub in this category would be Cory Finley whose film Thoroughbreds is a pitch black comedy thriller with a murderous streak that breaks cinematic norms and ultimately leaves you salivating for its sheer audacity. If I were you I’d keep an eye out for both Aster and Finley.
Best Actor and Actress
Olivia Colman’s performance in The Favourite was so good that even the Academy didn’t dare snub her. There’s a 99 percent chance she’s going to win the award, and deservedly so. Toni Colette, however was robbed of a nomination for her performance in Hereditary. She played a clichéd horror character with so much energy and, dare I say, nuttiness, it becomes impossible not to shake your head in disbelief at Lady Gaga’s nomination over Colette’s.
I’d also like to draw your attention to this little film called Cam, which carries a tremendous performance from Madeline Brewer as a Cam-girl caught up in a terrifying web of internet fame. This is a character that has never been explored in cinema before and the amount of nuance depicted in her performance deserved a nomination, even if this is a micro budget movie streaming on Netflix.
Best Foreign Language Film
I admit I haven’t yet watched Lebanon’s entry Capernaum but given director Nadine Labaki’s work I trust it’s going to be good. I also trust the Academy fell into a food coma when they watched the Swedish film Border because it is, for many reasons, the film to win the award but wasn’t even nominated. Border is a sensitively directed marriage between arthouse and pulp, that somehow feels comforting and perplexing at the same time; but it's also many films in one, tackling three different genres with a socio-political undercurrent that is very relevant in today’s toxic political climate.
The Korean film Burning, which got everyone drooling at festivals is also curiously absent here. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film which looks like a sheep in the first viewing and suddenly turns into the wolf at the second one, and director Lee Chang Dong’s dreamlike, exuberantly captured tale of jealousy and serial killing deserved a spot on the podium.
The cornerstone of a good screenplay is its ability to surprise you, and unfortunately none of the nominations (the worst of which is A Star is Born) manage to do that. That honor goes to Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, with its cinematic spine of taking down neo-liberal technocratic capitalism, turning into one of the smartest films in years with completely wacky and unexpected stylistic choices and yet a coherent satirical bite. The good news is Riley will make more films in the future.
There are some real life stories in documentaries that are so improbable you tend to head back home and Google them to cross check. Three Identical Strangers is one of those films, about three men who bump into each other and discover they may have something in common. The revelations that the film lobs feel like grenades and the emotional beats sting, making you wonder what levels humanity could stoop to for a sake of a supposedly higher purpose. The only probable reason for this not being nominated feels like it could be related to what we learn in the third act of the film.
I don’t need to explain anything further than the word Mandy. Seriously, it looks nuts. You could simply play the film on mute and let its visuals become a swirling wallpaper in your room.
Updated Date: Jan 26, 2019 11:33:12 IST