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'Roma' And 'The Favourite' Score Big But Oscar Still Mostly White, Male

Alfonso Cuarón directs actress Yalitza Aparicio on the set of "Roma."
Alfonso Cuarón directs actress Yalitza Aparicio on the set of "Roma."

'Black Panther' is first superhero movie to get a best picture nod

'Roma' And 'The Favourite' Lead Oscar Nominations
GUESTS: Beth Accomando, film critic, KPBS News Yazdi Pithavala, film reviewer, Moviewallas Subscribe to the Midday Edition podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.

Cinema Junkie Reacts To Oscar Nominations

UPDATE: 12 p.m., Feb. 21, 2019


The 91st Academy Awards are this Sunday, Feb. 24, at 5:00 pm. Here is a downloadable ballot so that you can keep tabs on the winners. To prep for the awards, listen to Moviewallas' Yazdi Pithavala and I discuss the nominations. I will have a story on Monday with a reaction to the awards show as well as the winners and losers.

Original story

Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross announced the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards early Tuesday morning with a few happy surprises and a few major snubs.

Perhaps the Academy knew that its nominations might stir new cries of #Oscarsowhite over its mostly white best lead acting nominations and decided to offset the oversight with two actors of color reading the nominations.

In a year where there were not only multiple award-worthy films about African American characters but also box office hits, it seems an egregious oversight to have not nominated a single black actor or actress for lead acting awards. Not even Denzel’s son, John David Washington, could get the Academy’s attention for his work in “BlacKKKlansman.” Also overlooked were Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther” and Stephen James in “If Beale Street Could Talk.”


Plus, you have to question the decision by Universal Pictures to submit Mahershala Ali’s work in “Green Book” for best supporting actor when he was just as prominent in the film as Viggo Mortensen. Granted, studios often make the decision to do things like this in the hopes of nabbing nominations in two categories without having their actors compete against each other (see Al Pacino being put into the supporting category while bigger star Marlon Brando got place in the lead category for "The Godfather").

Stephan James and KiKi Layne star in Barry Jenkins' adaptation of James Baldwin's "If Beale Street Could Talk."
Annapurna Pictures
Stephan James and KiKi Layne star in Barry Jenkins' adaptation of James Baldwin's "If Beale Street Could Talk."

In the best actress category both Viola Davis for “Widows” and KiKi Layne for “If Beale Street Could Talk” were black actresses worthy of nominations. But perhaps the most criminal oversight in the acting categories was the snub of Michael B. Jordan for his vivid work in “Black Panther.”

Other snubs of note in the acting categories were Toni Collette for “Hereditary,” Nicole Kidman for “Destroyer,” and Ethan Hawke for “First Reformed.”

The Academy did recognize “Black Panther” for best picture making it the first superhero film to get such a nomination, and the fact that it was a black superhero made that feel extra good. Also deserving of best picture attention were BlacKKKlansman,” “The Favourite,” “Roma” and “Vice.” “Roma” is the only film this year to be nominated for best picture and best foreign film, and that may hurt its chances of winning in either.

In a year where many women wrote and/or directed films, few were to be found nominated in any of the craft categories. Women were represented in some of the foreign, animated and documentary categories, and Nicolo Holofcener got a best adapted screenplay nod along with Jeff Whitty for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

But no love to be found anywhere for Sally Potter (“The Party”), Chloe Zhao (“The Rider”), Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), Josie Rourke (“Mary Queen of Scots”), Karyn Kusama (“Destroyer”), Tamara Jenkins (“Private Life”), Mimi Leder (“On the Basis of Sex”) and Lynne Ramsey (“You Were Never Really Here”). What was impressive this year is the number of women making films and the diversity of the films they made.

The documentary category ignored the warm and fuzzy goodness of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” as well as the thrilling storytelling of “Three Identical Strangers,” but embraced the conventional filmmaking of “RGB” and “Free Solo.”

Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and her servant Abigail (Emma Stone) jockey for power in Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Favourite."
Fox Searchlight
Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and her servant Abigail (Emma Stone) jockey for power in Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Favourite."

But there were some pleasant surprises. Three of the best director nominees were foreign filmmakers (Alfonso Cuarón, Yorgos Lanthimos, Pawel Pawlikowski) and Spike Lee finally got his first best directing nomination after decades of stunning work.

I'm thrilled to see “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” get a best animated film nomination, but it should have gotten a best adapted screenplay nod. It was far more deserving in that category than “A Star is Born” or “The Legend of Buster Scruggs.”

I was sad to see that so many first-time directors and their stellar work were completely ignored by the Academy. In the past screenplay nominations were often the consolation prize to smaller films that won critical acclaim but no attention was given to Boots Riley's audacious debut "Sorry to Bother You," Ari Aster's darkly disturbing "Hereditary," or Carlos Lopez Estrada's "Blindspotting."

And although I was not a fan of the rom-com "Crazy Rich Asians" it was a huge box office hit and there were plenty of Asian actresses worthy of Oscar's attention from Michelle Yeoh's imposing matriarch to Awkwafina's goofy best friend. Asians found some love in the foreign language category for Japan's Shoplifters" but South Korea's "Burning" (with a strong performance by "The Walking Dead's" Steven Yeun) was passed over.

The things to remember about the Oscars is that they are industry awards given by Hollywood to itself so there is always bias — be it for West Coast films over East Coast, studio over indie or just for people that are well-liked or easy to work with. Remember that Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock are among the many directors to not take home a best director Oscar and “Ordinary People” beat “Raging Bull” for best film, but who still talks about that Robert Redford melodrama? But I bet almost anyone can quote something from “Raging Bull” or at least know what it was about.

"Black Panther" succeeds in part because T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) faces off against the complex villain Kilmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
"Black Panther" succeeds in part because T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) faces off against the complex villain Kilmonger (Michael B. Jordan).

For comparison, here are the Cinema Junkie Awards.

The Oscars will be broadcast at 5 p.m., Feb. 24 (Pacific Time) on ABC.

Here is a complete list of nominees announced Tuesday morning. (And here are Oscar nominated films that are streaming.)

Best motion picture of the year

“Black Panther” Kevin Feige, Producer

“BlacKkKlansman” Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee, Producers

“Bohemian Rhapsody” Graham King, Producer

“The Favourite” Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos, Producers

“Green Book” Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, Producers

“Roma” Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón, Producers

“A Star Is Born” Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers

“Vice” Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Christian Bale in “Vice”

Bradley Cooper in “A Star Is Born”

Willem Dafoe in “At Eternity's Gate”

Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Viggo Mortensen in “Green Book”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Mahershala Ali in “Green Book”

Adam Driver in “BlacKkKlansman”

Sam Elliott in “A Star Is Born”

Richard E. Grant in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Sam Rockwell in “Vice”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Yalitza Aparicio in “Roma”

Glenn Close in “The Wife”

Olivia Colman in “The Favourite”

Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born”

Melissa McCarthy in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams in “Vice”

Marina de Tavira in “Roma”

Regina King in “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Emma Stone in “The Favourite”

Rachel Weisz in “The Favourite”

Best animated feature film of the year

“Incredibles 2” Brad Bird, John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle

“Isle of Dogs” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson

“Mirai” Mamoru Hosoda and Yuichiro Saito

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston and Clark Spencer

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Achievement in cinematography

“Cold War” Łukasz Żal

“The Favourite” Robbie Ryan

“Never Look Away” Caleb Deschanel

“Roma” Alfonso Cuarón

“A Star Is Born” Matthew Libatique

Achievement in costume design

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” Mary Zophres

“Black Panther” Ruth Carter

“The Favourite” Sandy Powell

“Mary Poppins Returns” Sandy Powell

“Mary Queen of Scots” Alexandra Byrne

Achievement in directing

“BlacKkKlansman” Spike Lee

“Cold War” Paweł Pawlikowski

“The Favourite” Yorgos Lanthimos

“Roma” Alfonso Cuarón

“Vice” Adam McKay

Best documentary feature

“Free Solo” Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill

“Hale County This Morning, This Evening” RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim

“Minding the Gap” Bing Liu and Diane Quon

“Of Fathers and Sons” Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme and Tobias N. Siebert

“RBG” Betsy West and Julie Cohen

Best documentary short subject

“Black Sheep” Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn

“End Game” Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

“Lifeboat” Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser

“A Night at The Garden” Marshall Curry

“Period. End of Sentence.” Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton

Achievement in film editing

“BlacKkKlansman” Barry Alexander Brown

“Bohemian Rhapsody” John Ottman

“The Favourite” Yorgos Mavropsaridis

“Green Book” Patrick J. Don Vito

“Vice” Hank Corwin

Best foreign language film of the year

“Capernaum” Lebanon

“Cold War” Poland

“Never Look Away” Germany

“Roma” Mexico

“Shoplifters” Japan

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

“Border” Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer

“Mary Queen of Scots” Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks

“Vice” Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Black Panther” Ludwig Goransson

“BlacKkKlansman” Terence Blanchard

“If Beale Street Could Talk” Nicholas Britell

“Isle of Dogs” Alexandre Desplat

“Mary Poppins Returns” Marc Shaiman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“All The Stars” from “Black Panther”

Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith; Lyric by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe

“I'll Fight” from “RBG”

Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns”

Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born”

Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Achievement in production design

“Black Panther” Production Design: Hannah Beachler; Set Decoration: Jay Hart

“The Favourite” Production Design: Fiona Crombie; Set Decoration: Alice Felton

“First Man” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

“Mary Poppins Returns” Production Design: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim

“Roma” Production Design: Eugenio Caballero; Set Decoration: Bárbara Enríquez

Best animated short film

“Animal Behaviour” Alison Snowden and David Fine

“Bao” Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb

“Late Afternoon” Louise Bagnall and Nuria González Blanco

“One Small Step” Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas

“Weekends” Trevor Jimenez

Best live action short film

“Detainment” Vincent Lambe and Darren Mahon

“Fauve” Jeremy Comte and Maria Gracia Turgeon

“Marguerite” Marianne Farley and Marie-Hélène Panisset

“Mother” Rodrigo Sorogoyen and María del Puy Alvarado

“Skin” Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman

Achievement in sound editing

“Black Panther” Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker

“Bohemian Rhapsody” John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone

“First Man” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan

“A Quiet Place” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl

“Roma” Sergio Díaz and Skip Lievsay

Achievement in sound mixing

“Black Panther” Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin

“Bohemian Rhapsody” Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali

“First Man” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis

“Roma” Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio García

“A Star Is Born” Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow

Achievement in visual effects

“Avengers: Infinity War” Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick

“Christopher Robin” Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould

“First Man” Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm

“Ready Player One” Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy

Adapted screenplay

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

“BlacKkKlansman” Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

“If Beale Street Could Talk” Written for the screen by Barry Jenkins

“A Star Is Born” Screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters

Original screenplay

“The Favourite” Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

“First Reformed” Written by Paul Schrader

“Green Book” Written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

“Roma” Written by Alfonso Cuarón

“Vice” Written by Adam McKay