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Team Experience: Joyful News and the Best/Worst Oscar Branches

by Nathaniel R

Later today a special edition of the podcast as Murtada, Nathaniel and Nick discuss the Oscar nominations. But, for now, our final group survey on the nominations so we can then move on to the nitty gritty of each category as well as return to new and old movies,  Film Bitch Awards, regularly scheduled programming, and all of that good stuff. We asked the team two more questions about the nominations and they answered like so. Please let your own voice be heard in the comments.


JORGE MOLINA: I woke up my entire neighborhood when Marina de Tavira's name was called out. I was expecting a surprise Supporting Actress nomination, but not her. Marina's performance is such a striking and beautiful contrast to Yalitza Aparicio's (whose nomination was a lesser but equally great surprise), and one that reflects much deeper things about female and class relationships in the movie. It's not a big performance, but it's so nuanced and raw. I couldn't be happier she's getting the recognition, and that she's only the second supporting actress to be nominated for a foreign film ever! Viva Marina!

CHRIS FEIL: No single craftsperson deserves their nomination (or eventual win) more than costume designer Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther). I don't make the facts, I just relay them...

Hale County, This Morning, This EveningAMIR SOLTANI: I can't quite choose between Yorgos Lanthimos for best director (who, a few years ago, would have been the last director I would predict for such mainstream success and industry embrace) or Hale County This Morning, This Evening, which, although by no means my favourite film (or even doc) of the year, is such a singular, visionary film that I can't help but rejoice. Its nomination shows the adventurous, bold direction that the documentary branch could be moving in the future. 

SALIM GARAMI: The surprise appearances of Cold War in both Director and Cinematography slates warms my heart, which is probably necessary after the way the movie ended.

 MURTADA ELFADL: This was the year I fell in love with Rachel Weisz anew. It’s fantastic when an actor is rewarded for upping their game and getting their career up a rung. We are in the middle of a Weiszanance and most of us don’t even realize it.

 DANCIN' DAN: When Yorgos Lanthimos's name was read, it was all I could do to not burst into a solo version of Rachel Weisz and Joe Alwyn's court dance from The Favourite in celebration.

BEN MILLER: I was waiting for an inevitable shunning of Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but it picked up all the three big nominations it deserved.  Most of all, Nicole Holofcener got her FIRST Oscar nomination.  How is that possible?  This is the female equivalent of Paul Schrader getting his first.  She should have at least three by now.

MARK BRINKERHOFF: Mr. Mary Beth Hurt, Paul Schrader. Bar none. This man should have multiple *wins* already (Taxi DriverRaging Bull), so the fact that he now has his *first* ever Oscar nomination is gratifying/rectifying.  

ERIC BLUME: Seeing both Yorgos Lanthimos and Pawel Pawlikowski in the Best Director race is thrilling.  These are two of the most daring, exciting, and deeply interesting filmmakers working today, and they both delivered stunning films this year.

SEAN MCGOVERN: Richard E. Grant's supporting nomination for CYEFM? As I previously wrote in my FYC, this man has repeatedly been giving us joy time and again in every small and substantial role he's taken. I have no bones about straight actors being rewarded for playing gay if this is how good they can do it. That, and also I kind of always thought Richard E. Grant was gay, oops.

NATHANIEL R: I'm going to say Sam Elliott. When I first saw A Star is Born in September I assumed this enduring well liked character actor who has a half century of fine work behind him would become the lockiest of locks and a threat to win the gold. That definitely didn't pan out in the precursors so I felt not just joy but sweet relief when his name was called. Like the man himself said hearing the news "It's about fucking time."

SPENCER COILE: Minding the Gap is one of the most thoughtful, reflexive, and (somehow) life-affirming documentaries I’ve seen in recent years. I really hope this motivates people to watch it in flocks now! 




SEAN MCGOVERN: It sometimes feels hard to commend choices that seem obvious, so with that in mind I'll single out Director this year. I absolutely think Marielle Heller deserved to be there but that fact that it finally includes Spike Lee and European auteurs like Lanthimos and Pawlikowski makes it tolerable that Adam McKay is included.

MARK BRINKERHOFF: Cinematography did, by far, the best. Editing did, by far, the worst. May the cinematographers enjoy the gift of gorgeous black-and-white photography and fish-eye lenses. For the film editors, may they be visited by the ghost of Sally Menke, to teach them what good film editing is actually all about.

One of Black Panther's many expressive sets

 CHRIS FEIL: Best: The Production Design branch came up with an enviably wide range of genres, eras, and creative points of view. Quite difficult to argue taking any of these away for what would have been likely replacements. Worst: Perhaps it's just the convergence of the three demons of this Oscar lineup, but guys what the hell is going on in the Best Editing category? With much respect to BlacKkKlansman's spryness and The Favourite's arresting dissolves, this is the weakest Editing lineup in ages, with those three other nominees awarded for what is one of all of their worst compositional qualities.

AMIR SOLTANI: That Best Actress category is quite something, but applauding the acting branch would require me to embrace the other three acting categories as well. So instead, I'll tip my hat to the production designers, who managed to select an eclectic, varied and generally excellent crop of nominees. I would also like to hurl eggs and rotten tomatoes in the direction of Editors whose selections betrays an incredible amount of laziness in reverting to the best picture frontrunners without regard for the art of editing at all. 

DANCIN' DAN: What films did the Editing branch watch this year? That lineup is 40% great, 20% fine, and 40% WTF. But ya know what? I'm feeling generous: They all get a trip to space camp so they can sit in the corner stall of the bathroom after a turn in the gyroscope and think about what they did to First Man's virtuosic, you-are-there feat of editing.

SPENCER COILE: For their Black Panther inclusion and their Sandy Powell double-nom, the Costuming branch (particularly the nominees) should get a photo on that jet-ski Mark Bridges won last year for Phantom Thread. This is more for me than for them, but I’d like a one page essay from each member of the Editing branch about what good editing is to them. Because I’ve been staring at the list of nominees for about 10 minutes and I still don’t quite understand what it all means. 

JORGE MOLINA: As always, actresses do it better, but we all knew that. The directing category could have gone very, very wrong with the contenders that were in the mix, but the Yorgos inclusion and surprise Pawel nomination in lieu of someone like Peter Farrelly was a great relief. And I'm very glad the writers finally recognized people like Nicole Holofcener and Paul Schrader, even if they overlooked people like Bo Burnham -- there goes my hopes of seeing him in a tuxedo.

EUROCHEESE: At first I thought the de Tavira nod or Lanthimos landing in Director made me happiest, but after further reflection, Spike Lee's nomination rights a wrong that has been sitting with the Academy for decades. The Academy likes to *eventually* get things right and finally giving the most prominent African-American auteur his due is truly a wonderful thing. They may be late to the party, but I'm glad they showed up.

SALIM GARAMI:  In a surprise turn, Best Director slate is revealed to only have four nominees and ends up being the best constructed for this ceremony with two foreign-language filmmakers in Cuaron and Pawlikowski, the comeback Spike Lee has been needing for years, and the weird Lanthimos finally breaking through and recognized for his idiosyncracies. I will show the Academy my appreciation by disregarding that glitch during announcements where Adam McKay showed up somehow before reverting to this slate's perfect state.

MURTADA ELFADL: There is always one pesky nomination in almost every category that just stings. Having said that I’ll raise a hat to the directors branch! Adam McKay aside, they gave us a good list and renewed hope by snubbing Green Book and complicating its march to a possible best pic win. By passing on Bradley Cooper they give fire to his best actor campaign. Now he can concentrate his efforts and save that category. Everyone who wants to console Cooper for missing the directing nomination can do that by voting him for best actor.





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Related Articles: 
• 12 things we learned from the noms
• Adams vs Weisz, Round Two
Best Picture Silliness
Best Directors - How'd They Get Nominated?
Deep Cut Oscar Trivia
Mourning the Snubs
How to Stage the Original Song Performances
• Nomination Index (individual charts still being updated)

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Reader Comments (34)

Weird (in more ways than one) but Border's Make Up and Hair nomination. And Pawel Pawlikowski in as Best Director

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

I too was really, really happy that McCarthy, Grant, and Holofcener all got richly deserved nominations for Can You Ever Forgive Me? The movie itself should have been a BP nom over the dopey Bohemian Rhapsody or the over-calculated, over-cooked Vice.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

And YES YES to Spike Lee and Blackkklansman!

Spike should already have an Oscar or two for his 1989 masterpiece, Do The Right Thing.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

The Adapted Screenplay category not having The Death of Stalin, Leave No Trace, Burning and/or First Man really bummed me out

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Dare I think BlacKkKlansman has a chance to win Best Picture? If the Academy decides that while they were willing to NOMINATE Netflix films this year, they're not quite willing to give one TWO top awards (Picture, Foreign Language Film) what is best posed to actually take Best Picture. Maybe GREEN ROOM, shudder, but maybe, by the time the voting is done, some of the criticisms of the film will have sunk in. They'll see A STAR IS BORN as too commercial, a remake, etc. THE FAVOURITE as too odd and Spike's film takes it. Am I being too optimistic?

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDan H.

When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings got the biggest woo out of me when the announcements were announced. So it gave me the most joy.

I think the directors, cinematographers and music branch are the most discerning and had the best nominees even though there were a couple shocking omissions.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Most Joy: Lanthimos in Best Director without question. Swerved and nearly hit a guardrail when Tracee Ellis Ross' beautiful voice announced his name through my Kia bluetooth (not really but I did squeal).

Best Job: Production Design. I like the nominations in Cinematography and Score more, but PD had the potential to REALLY screw up and they didn't. Prize: a nice vacation in Wakanda. Well done by alleviating our worst fears (cough*GrindelwaldRhapsody*cough). Worst Job: Editing. Everything has been said that needs to be said. Just the worst. Prize: A fried chicken and burgers meal with fat Viggo and Bale.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I remember watching VICE and thinking to myself, the performances are pretty good but My God, the EDITING IS HORRIBLE.

Can we please teach them that "Most Cuts" does not equal "Best Editing" !!!

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

I hope any residual ASIB love goes to Bradley, who deserves to win for his performance. And only to Bradley.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I'd like to give a shout-out to the Visual Effects branch for not rubber-stamping a Best Picture candidate when the effects weren't its greatest asset (Black Panther, which I think is terrific, but the CGI was not the best). It also feels like the best opportunity to make First Man an Oscar-winning film (seeing how they snubbed it hard in most categories).

My disappointment over Ethan Hawke not making it for First Reformed was tampered by the inclusion of Yorgos Lanthimos' inclusion in Best Director (and the fact that The Favourite tied with Roma for most nominations, those are two of my favorite (oh man, we're going to fall into so many puns this Oscar season, aren't we?) films of 2018). Paul Schrader's nominations also made me very happy.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Following on from my previous post the other day, the short film Detainment is the no. 1 news item in the UK today. The case is very famous over here and the mother of the victim has made calls for the Oscars and the filmmaker to withdraw his nomination. There are also 100,000+ and increasing signatures on petitions for this to happen.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

is McKay's nomination really that egregious? I liked Vice and thought it was well directed and lets face it the directors branch love his style and he'll likely be nominated again and again.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRami

Most joy is Yorgos Lanthimos breaking through. He's so consistent and has such a distinct voice as a director. I think back to seeing Dogtooth in theaters and thinking he'd never have that level of success again. I'm so glad I was wrong.

Best job is Production Design. That is a beautiful crop of nominees. I'd still like to have seen Hereditary pop up here, but I won't hold that against them if I'm not holding the lacking of acting nominations (I said what I said: Colette and Wolff both should be nominated) against the acting branch.

Worst job is Editing. This isn't even a "most editing" kind of problem slate that usually happens. This is a "why do you think that's good?" kind of problem. I'm cool with The Favourite and BlacKkKlansman and that's it.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

evangelina -- can you point me to what you think is a good overview of this situation -- i will link up

January 24, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm Pawel Pawlikowski's bitch. Also very happy for Marina de Tavira although she bumped out my favourite Claire Foy.

Film editing sucks. The music branch is half dead.

Well done Cinematographers.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Nathaniel: the BBC has it as a main news item:

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

The editing nominations were so dumb they actually made me laugh out loud.

But I, too, was overjoyed for all three nominations for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, especially the nomination for Melissa McCarthy. I've been with her all season (I know, I know, I've posted about it enough) so it was exciting to see it realized. And the writers' branch is always my favorite, so it was nice to see them nominate Paul Schrader for First Reformed.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I only care about Glenn Close and her eventual win.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDoodie

I watched Bohemian Rhapsody on Tuesday and was surprised by the editing. I won't hold it against people working, given everything that happened with the production, but while it's occasionally very strong in the performance scenes, the truth is that the movie makes no sense, and some of the more obvious editing is very poorly done (cutting between onstage and off). And at first the lip-syncing is exceptional, and then the movie goes out of its way to show you he's clearly lip-syncing, and playing pre-recorded vocals while Mercury is just playing alone at the piano is ridiculous.

Green Book is a well-editing film. Moves along well, is sharp and subtle. It's not a top 5 choice or anything but I'm curious as to how it's bad (unless you're just agreeing with the first point). But it's good work and the requisite matching up with a BP nominee.

And Vice...not fair to kill the editing there. As someone who isn't choosing it, I think that the mess that is the screenplay has given people license to rip on every aspect of the movie. If the editing wasn't any good, the movie would be impossible to sit thru.

Dap to Nathaniel for choosing Cold War in his personal nominees. The cinematography love easily outshines people's attention to the editing in the film, but for a film that has so little dialogue and is at time appears to be just a director and his storyboards, the editing is pretty perfect and magnifies how astonishing a visual process the film is.

And that cinematography is the best I've seen in years. Roma is going to completely steal the award from Cold War. Absolutely shambolic for any other film to win.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I've got a feeling Roma will not win Cinematography now that Cold War is nominated. I think the two will cancel each other out, and I'm now predicting Robbie Ryan for the win.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I share Jorge's enthusiasm for the recognition accorded to Marina de Tavira, but the claim that she is only the second supporting actress to be nominated for a foreign film raises an interesting question. What makes a film "foreign?"

I'm assuming that the "other" supporting actress Jorge is referring to is the great Valentina Cortese, nominated for Truffaut's DAY FOR NIGHT.

But what about Adriana Barraza and RInko Kikuchi in BABEL? That film was written and directed by Mexicans, co-produced by a Mexican company, and the two foreign actresses were nominated for supporting' performances in a foreign language (admittedly, Barraza's was bilingual but the impact of the performance can't be divorced from the foreign language component).

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterdavide


Thank you for reminding us how amazing those 2 ladies in BABEL are in that film! It deserves a revisit after all this time. I remember being blown away by those performances.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

The Oscars are about politics no PFEIFFER again Iā€™m really happy for Glenn Close šŸ˜

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Does no nod in Directod bode better for Cooper,it's going to win song but could loose that and Cooper would be a way to crown the whole project please please not Bale or Viggo.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Best: Production Design and Costume Design. Beautiful. And good to see Mary Zophres recognized more after being overlooked for so much brilliant work with the Coens.

Worst: Cinematography and Editing. Mostly because "First Man" deserved to WIN both and is somehow missing? EXPLANATION DEMANDED.

Also I'd rank McKay over Lee and Lanthimos. The "Vice" vitriol is so pathetic.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Best: director BUT I haven't seen Vice yet

Worst: Editing for sure

Best surprises in acting: the women from Roma and Willem Dafoe

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrown Cow Stunning

Most joy: Paul Schrader, finally nominated after over forty years of writing and directing.

Best branch picks: The directors, who, as so often, sprung a nice Oscar trivia surprise on nomination morning. This year, it was only our second lone director nominee since the Best Picture expansion (though he doesn't seem like as much of a lone director nominee given that his film is up for Best Foreign Language Film as well).

Worst branch picks: Not sure - don't want to be negative. But I wished the actors had nominated Ethan Hawke. But Dafoe was a nice surprise too...

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Rami - I agree. I think too many of the writers here (all of who I love and respect their writing, thanks all) are confusing "favourite movie" and "best director". I think McKay's directing is on the same level as all the others, in a different type of movie (less auteur). I seem to be leaning towards ranking it #1 in my preferences for this category, just because it is getting so much splashback.

If Farrelly has been nominated for his pedestrian directing, absolutely I would have been in the chorus of disapproval. But heck, I think McKay's nomination is even more deserving than Bradley Cooper, which means I am content the "snub".

(PS for clarification, ROMA and BLACKKKLANSMAN are my #1 and #2 movies of 2018 respectively, and VICE didn't feature in my top 35, so this doesn't reflect personal movie preferences.)

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Bravo for Murtada!!!

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commentershtajner

In retrospect, it's apparent to see how Dafoe stole Hawke's thunder a bit. He has biopic fuel and the louder overdue storyline, especially after likely finishing 2nd for The Florida Project recently. And I think First Reformed was a film that probably wasn't liked very much but they decided to throw their lone bone to Schrader, who was also overdue. Too bad, Hawke deserved a nom.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I am of the opinion that Vice is overloaded with gimmicks, sliced and diced to a pulpy mess, and ultimately an exhausting and intellectually-empty film - therefore I believe anyone associated with it (except perhaps Makeup/HS) should not be singled out for awards consideration. If that's vitriol or splashback, so be it.

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I really don't feel passionate about any of the major nominees except for Glen Close

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Even if I hate Roma the only good thing about that awful sorry excuse for a movie was Marina De Tavira so I was happy she got nominated

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Jaragon- Marry me!

January 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

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