It’s time for Amanda to chat about the Oscar nominations. And once again, frankly, Amanda feels a mix of happiness, anger and confusion.
Let’s start with directing. When my daughter Emma informed me that Spike Lee’s nomination for BlacKkKLansman was his first ever nomination for Best Director, I was shocked. His first in more than 30 years, how could that be possible? But Emma is never wrong (seriously she’s never wrong.) BlacKkKlansman is a terrific film and I would kind of love to see him win, but he won’t (read on to learn who will win).
You know who else who won’t win Best Director, Bradley Cooper. The director/star/writer of A Star is Born has received almost universal praise for his directorial debut. His movie has been nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, but Cooper was snubbed for Best Director. Amanda may not have gone to movie school, but she knows that when a film gets nominated for a bunch of Academy Awards, the director just might have something to do with it.
Let’s flashback to 2013 when Argo received seven Oscar nominations, but none for director Ben Affleck, who also starred in the movie. It went on to win Best Picture and frankly, that made the Academy look kind of stupid. Amanda’s unsubstantiated belief is that the powers that be feel that rich, handsome, famous actors should stick to being rich, handsome, famous actors and not try to be rich, handsome, famous directors.
Cooper won’t win Best Actor either. I would love to see Rami Malek win for his spot-on portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s an outstanding performance in a mediocre movie, which thanks to Malek, got a Best Picture nod. Malek is in a tight race with Christian Bale who gained weight to play Dick Cheney in Vice. Also in the mix is the criminally underrated and difficult-to-spell Viggo Mortensen who also gained weight and played down his attractiveness in Green Book.
Mortensen’s co-star, the equally difficult-to-spell Mahershala Ali, is the favorite to win Best Supporting Actor. Ali, who won this award for Moonlight in 2017, deserves to repeat for his thoughtful and layered portrayal of pianist Don Shirley. However, one of my favorite performances of the year was Adam Driver in BlacKkKlansman. When he’s on screen, you don’t notice anyone else. It’s a star-making role.
Everyone is rooting for Glenn Close to win Best Actress for a movie that nobody saw called The Wife. It’s her seventh nomination and she’s never won. Meanwhile it’s the first nomination for her main competition, Lady Gaga for A Star is Born, which everyone saw. GaGa will win an Oscar for Best Song. But trust me, even GaGa doesn’t want to beat Close a seventh time.
If Amy Adams wins for playing Lynne Cheney in Vice, and my money says she will, it will be her first win in six nominations. Adams like Close, is good in everything, and the Academy voters seem to take her talent for granted. She has some serious competition in this category, but this might be her year.
Missed The Favourite and The Wife and want to catch one more Oscar-nominee before the awards on February 24? You can watch Roma, an absolute sure thing for Best Foreign Film and Best Director, anytime on Netflix, which produced the film. Roma is director/writer/cinematographer/editor Alfonso Cuarón’s gorgeous and riveting autobiographical film focused on the housekeeper who cared for him in Mexico in the 1970s. Cuarón already has a Best Director Oscar for Gravity (2013). Roma also scored a much deserved Best Actress nod for Yalitza Aparicio’s phenomenal debut, and a surprise nomination for the superb Marina De Tavira as Best Supporting Actress. My gut says it will be the first foreign language film to ever win Best Picture.
Finally, let’s talk about Best Documentary Feature. Hey there, wake up! I can’t even begin to comprehend how Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the extraordinary and financially successful documentary about Mr. Rogers, was snubbed by the Academy. This was one of my top five films of the year. Everyone I know who saw it, loved it. You will too. It’s available on Amazon Prime and for rent, and HBO just picked it up to begin airing next month.