Last year was a time of tremendous changes in Hollywood, that sparked global socio-economic reforms. Following the phenomenal support for the Time’s Up movement last year, the Academy definitely has had a lot of pressure, to wisely choose its nominees. This year, the best picture nominations in particular have also made several other breakthroughs in The Academy’s history.
According to CNN, Spike Lee, the Director of “BlackKklansman,” a movie that definitely received the Oscar buzz soon after its release, is the sixth black filmmaker to be nominated for best director in 90 years. Many Lee enthusiasts call this his “Leonardo Dicaprio” moment, since this is his first ever Oscar nomination after having made over 20 films, including acclaimed movies like “Malcolm X” and “The 25 Hour.” So far no black filmmaker has ever won this category.
It’s impossible to talk about breaking nomination barriers without addressing the panther in the room. “Black Panther” scored seven nominations and made history as the first superhero movie to ever be nominated for best picture. Despite the movie’s cinematic brilliance and a strong embedded message, many critics believe that the Academy nominated the movie to include more diversity and representation for namesake.
On the contrary, many appreciate that the Oscars are looking out of their “indie-glass” and also recognize movies that were intended to be commercial blockbusters. “It’s nice that good movies are also being recognized whether they make a lot of money or not,” Alia Alsanea, University of Rhode Island sophomore said.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is another film that bagged five Oscar nominations along with several controversies. Though the movie was an invigorating biopic revolving around the rebel of the band “Queen, and did it’s best to keep the story as accurate as possible, many people thought that Freddie Mercury’s sexuality was portrayed to be biased and botched.
While on the topic of history being made into films, “Roma” made history as the first ever Netflix movie to be nominated for an Oscar for best picture. With a total of 10 nominations, this heartwarming film brings out the riveting nature of Cleo, a Mexican housemaid, whose character was inspired by director Alfonso Cuaron’s real life nanny. Intentionally or not, “Roma” did a brilliant and elegant job of shedding light on the current political state of the country.
Fourth time’s the charm for debut director Bradley Cooper “A Star is Born” earned eight oscar nominations. The fourth remake of “A Star is Born,” directed, produced, starred and written screenplay by Bradley cooper, was a musical success, starring a version of Lady Gaga that the audience has never seen before. Despite sweeping various nominations in Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards, this musical movie only won best original song from the former version. There’s still no way of accurately foreshadowing its Oscar fate.
However, one film that seems to be consistently applauded for its artistic performance, across all film awarding platforms, is “The Favorite.” What is better than Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in a movie, is the three of them playing powerful royals and aristocrats.
Despite the evidences of inspiration from “The Crown,” “The Favorite,” in its own way, successfully and subtly portrays female power amongst male domination in the early 1700s, following the real life story of Queen Anne of Great Britain. The film is up for 10 Oscar nominations including best actress. Colman’s scintillating performance got everyone placing their bets on her win.
Despite “Vice” being the box office’s least favorite movie, it still received eight nominations. According to popular opinion among students on the URI’s campus, the movie did not do well to live up to its expectations. Though Christian Bale and Amy Adams did a great job portraying the bureaucratic life former U.S Vice president Dick Cheney and his wife, Adam McKay’s direction was overall negatively acclaimed.
Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen phenomenally illustrate the dynamics of an unlikely friendship that is formed beyond racial differences in “The Green Book.” Set in the early 1960s, it is based on the real life story of Don Shirley, the black pianist and Tony Vallelonga, an Italian-American chauffeur from the Bronx, whom he hired to protect on a concert tour. The film earned five nominations including best actor and best supporting actor.
From movies about Britain’s underrated loyalty to a superhero in a bulletproof suit, choosing the winners is definitely going to be a challenge for the Academy and a nail-biter for the audience. The 91st Academy awards will air live at 5 p.m., on Feb. 24, on ABC.