Skip to main content

If you honk, I’ll spew.

Oscar Winners 2019

Not having a host this year meant it was much more difficult to find a decent quote line. I considered using an excerpt from Regina King’s acceptance speech, but quoting it ironically probably wouldn’t travel. So Mike Myers gets it by default, since it sums up the ceremony quite nicely (he and Dana Carvey really should have resisted dredging up Wayne and Garth under any circumstances, though, since their schtick had dated badly approximately six months after the release of the first film).

It felt like I got a fair few right this year at first glance, but I ended up picking a resolutely average fifteen correctly, down one on last time and pretty much my range most years. I should have stuck to my instincts and gone for more for Bohemian Rhapsody (I initially had it down for editing and both sounds) and stuck with Free Solo over RBG, but otherwise I was pretty clueless about the ones I missed.

Unlike the very vocal naysayers, I consider Green Book’s victory very healthy; the Oscars may yet have some kind of staying power if they can still manage to whip up a semblance of a controversy, rather than settling into middling, consensus, anodyne results no one can really object to. Did the best picture win? No, but a truly worthy best picture contender wasn’t even nominated this year, so that isn’t very surprising.

Best Picture
Winner: Green Book (Jim Burke, Charles B Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga))
I guessed: Green Book

Immediately came the cries that this was as travesty as great – if not more so – than Crash winning in 2006. How could the Academy be so tone deaf as to reward a slick crowd pleaser (as Justin Chang’s LA Times article called it, amid eviscerating the decision)? It’s entirely feasible they did it just to piss off Spike Lee. And it worked!

Best Director
Winner: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
I guessed: Alfonso Cuarón

Yawn.

Best Actor
Winner: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
I guessed: Rami Malek 

All that schmoozing got Rami what he most wanted. And then he fell off the stage. He was under pressure, though.

Best Actress
Winner: Olivia Coleman (The Favourite)
I guessed: Glenn Close (The Wife)

Glenn goes home empty-handed and Olivia gets the Anthony Hopkins award for a lead performance barely in the movie itself. She made a big splash in it, though, and was humorously down-to-earth in accepting her statuette, so I guess that’s what counts.

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
I guessed: Mahershala Ali

A slightly boring choice, Ali sailing dangerously close to over-exposure in not that many roles really since Moonlight. I’d have paid good money to see Richard E Grant giving it a good gush.

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
I guessed: Regina King

A shoe-in, but then, so was Glenn. Regina had plenty of time to hone that nauseating acceptance speech, and it showed.

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Green Book (Nick Vellelonga, Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly)
I guessed: Green Book

Definitely the best of the nominations in this category, although one might argue it’s the screenplay itself, rather than the overall picture, that has caused all the ructions. Spike should have got out of his seat for this one, really.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: BlackKklansman (Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
I guessed: BlackKklansman

Spike gets his Oscar, and still he isn’t happy. Credit where it’s due, though; “…every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose” is a great quip. This one seemed fairly certain, so it’s a shame it isn’t a very good screenplay.

Best Animated Feature
Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)
I guessed: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Much deserved, and the second time a Marvel movie has won a Best Picture. Will the charm be with live action?

Best Cinematography
Winner: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
I guessed: Roma

Snooze.

Best Production Design
Winner: Hannah Beachler & Jay Hart (Black Panther)
I guessed: Black Panther

I suggested Panther would come away with (this) one, but it bagged a decisive three; imagine if not justmediocre (live-action) Marvel movies met with those kinds of rewards. Disney’s pulse would be racing.

Best Costume Design
Winner: Ruth E Carter (Black Panther)
I guessed: The Favourite

I’m not entirely convinced of the merit of this win, but neither am I of the regularly rewarded genius that purportedly goes with replicating period cossies year in year out. Did Sandy Powell cancel herself out?

Best Make Up and Hairstyling
Winner: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney (Vice)
I guessed: Vice

Fat bald Bale. You’d have thought he could manage that unassisted.

Best Film Editing
Winner: John Ottman (Bohemian Rhapsody)
I guessed: The Favourite

Ottmans’s editing made the back end of Rhapsody – and as a result the entire movie – work, so I think he deserved this. Not as flashy as several of the options, but that’s to its credit, not theirs.

Best Sound Editing
Winner: John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone (Bohemian Rhapsody)
I guessed: First Man

Sound editing in a musical biopic? Wouldn’t that be a medley?

Best Sound Mixing
Winner: Paul Massey Tim Cavagin and John Casali (Bohemian Rhapsody)
I guessed: Bohemian Rhapsody

It’s certainly got a lot of sound in it, that Bohemian Rhapsody, and some of it is certainly mixed (probably voters took notice of the publicity surrounding the blending of three voices for Freddie singing and took that as sufficient evidence of expertise).

Best Visual Effects
Winner: Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and JD Schwalm (First Man)
I guessed: Avengers: Infinity War

I was rooting for First Man, but didn’t think it had a chance. Nice to see a picture with – to an extent – old school effects get rewarded.

Best Original Score
Winner: Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther)
I guessed: Mary Poppins Returns

I can’t really sneeze at this; it’s one of the better Marvel scores (not a high bar, I know) and Göransson, imminently in great demand, will doubtless be glad not to have to add another Death Wish to his resumé.

Best Original Song
Winner: Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt for Shallow (A Star is Born)
I guessed: Shallow

It’s a good song, well sung. You can’t ask much better than that of a category often filled with barely adequate dross. That said, the win should be revoked for Gaga’s entirely phoney tearful acceptance speech.

Best Foreign Language Feature
Winner: Roma
I guessed: Roma

Probably the deadest cert of all the season’s dead certs. Some quality, unexpected ‘r’ rolling in announcing it wasn’t anticipated, however.

Best Documentary Feature
Winner: Free Solo (Elizabeth Chai Vaserhelyi, Jimy Chin, Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill)
I guessed: RBG

The popular pick got picked, the Academy opting to ease off on the politics, perversely, when it came to the generally more cerebral world of docs.

Best Animated Short
Winner: Bao (Domee Shi and Becky Neimann-Cobb)
I guessed: Bao

Pixar wins again. They do nothing but compete.

Best Documentary Short
Winner: Period. End of Sentence (Raya Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton)
I guessed: Black Sheep

The title’s clever, I’ll give it that.

Best Live Action Short
Winner: Skin (Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman)
I guessed: Marguerite

Next stop: the full-length feature version.

Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

She writes Twilight fan fiction.

Vampire Academy (2014)
My willingness to give writer Daniel Waters some slack on the grounds of early glories sometimes pays off (Sex and Death 101) and sometimes, as with this messy and indistinct Young Adult adaptation, it doesn’t. If Vampire Academy plods along as a less than innovative smart-mouthed Buffy rip-off that might be because, if you added vampires to Heathers, you would probably get something not so far from the world of Joss Whedon. Unfortunately inspiration is a low ebb throughout, not helped any by tepid direction from Daniel’s sometimes-reliable brother Mark and a couple of hopelessly plankish leads who do their best to dampen down any wit that occasionally attempts to surface.

I can only presume there’s a never-ending pile of Young Adult fiction poised for big screen failure, all of it comprising multi-novel storylines just begging for a moment in the Sun. Every time an adaptation crashes and burns (and the odds are that they will) another one rises, hydra-like, hoping…

Everyone wants a happy ending and everyone wants closure but that's not the way life works out.

It Chapter Two (2019)
(SPOILERS) An exercise in stultifying repetitiveness, It Chapter Two does its very best to undo all the goodwill engendered by the previous instalment. It may simply be that adopting a linear approach to the novel’s interweaving timelines has scuppered the sequel’s chances of doing anything the first film hasn’t. Oh, except getting rid of Pennywise for good, which you’d be hard-pressed to discern as substantially different to the CGI-infused confrontation in the first part, Native American ritual aside.

Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character.

Pulp Fiction (1994)
(SPOILERS) From a UK perspective, Pulp Fiction’s success seemed like a fait accompli; Reservoir Dogs had gone beyond the mere cult item it was Stateside and impacted mainstream culture itself (hard to believe now that it was once banned on home video); it was a case of Tarantino filling a gap in the market no one knew was there until he drew attention to it (and which quickly became over-saturated with pale imitators subsequently). Where his debut was a grower, Pulp Fiction hit the ground running, an instant critical and commercial success (it won the Palme d’Or four months before its release), only made cooler by being robbed of the Best Picture Oscar by Forrest Gump. And unlike some famously-cited should-have-beens, Tarantino’s masterpiece really did deserve it.

That woman, deserves her revenge and… we deserve to die. But then again, so does she.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2  (2004)
(SPOILERS) I’m not sure I can really conclude whether one Kill Bill is better than the other, since I’m essentially with Quentin in his assertion that they’re one film, just cut into two for the purposes of a selling point. I do think Kill Bill: Vol. 2 has the movie’s one actually interesting character, though, and I’m not talking David Carradine’s title role.

Do you read Sutter Cane?

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
(SPOILERS) The concluding chapter of John Carpenter’s unofficial Apocalypse Trilogy (preceded by The Thing and Prince of Darkness) is also, sadly, his last great movie. Indeed, it stands apart in the qualitative wilderness that beset him during the ‘90s (not for want of output). Michael De Luca’s screenplay had been doing the rounds since the ‘80s, even turned down by Carpenter at one point, and it proves ideal fodder for the director, bringing out the best in him. Even cinematographer Gary K Kibbe seems inspired enough to rise to the occasion. It could do without the chugging rawk soundtrack, perhaps, but then, that was increasingly where Carpenter’s interests resided (as opposed to making decent movies).

Check it out. I wonder if BJ brought the Bear with him.

Death Proof (2007)
(SPOILERS) In a way, I’m slightly surprised Tarantino didn’t take the opportunity to disown Death Proof, to claim that, as part of Grindhouse, it was no more one of his ten-official-films-and-out than his Four Rooms segment. But that would be to spurn the exploitation genre affectation that has informed everything he’s put his name to since Kill Bill, to a greater or less extent, and also require him to admit that he was wrong, and you won’t find him doing that for anything bar My Best Friend’s Birthday.

I don’t think you will see President Pierce again.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
(SPOILERS) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and other tall tales of the American frontier is the title of "the book" from which the Coen brothers' latest derives, and so announces itself as fiction up front as heavily as Fargo purported to be based on a true story. In the world of the portmanteau western – has there even been one before? – theme and content aren't really all that distinct from the more familiar horror collection, and as such, these six tales rely on sudden twists or reveals, most of them revolving around death. And inevitably with the anthology, some tall tales are stronger than other tall tales, the former dutifully taking up the slack.

He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
(1982)
(SPOILERS) I don’t love Star Trek, but I do love Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That probably isn’t just me, but a common refrain of many a non-devotee of the series. Although, it used to apply to The Voyage Home (the funny one, with the whales, the Star Trek even the target audience for Three Men and a Baby could enjoy). Unfortunately, its high regard has also become the desperate, self-destructive, song-and-verse, be-all-and-end-all of the overlords of the franchise itself, in whichever iteration, it seems. This is understandable to an extent, as Khan is that rare movie sequel made to transcendent effect on almost every level, and one that stands the test of time every bit as well (better, even) as when it was first unveiled.

When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I’ll be waiting.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
(SPOILERS) It sometimes seems as if Quentin Tarantino – in terms of his actual movies, rather than nearly getting Uma killed in an auto stunt – is the last bastion of can-do-no-wrong on the Internet. Or at very least has the preponderance of its vocal weight behind him. Back when his first two movies proper were coming out, so before online was really a thing, I’d likely have agreed, but by about the time the Kill Bills arrived, I’d have admitted I was having serious pause about him being all he was cracked up to be. Because the Kill Bills aren’t very good, and they’ve rather characterised his hermetically sealed wallowing in obscure media trash and genre cul-de-sacs approach to his art ever since. Sometimes to entertaining effect, sometimes less so, but always ever more entrenching his furrow; as Neil Norman note in his Evening Standard review, “Tarantino has attempted (and largely succeeded) in making a movie whose only reality is that of celluloid”. Extend t…