Oscar Nominations 2019 Analysis: Snubs, Surprises & the unstoppable Roma train

Oscar nominations have been announced at long last by the comical, sleep-starved duo of Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross, and this year, snubs and surprises abound, with several in the major categories, which I will discuss. I will run through how my predictions, as you’ll find in earlier posts on this blog, fared, and what the Academy’s choice of nominees spells for the films in contention going forward.

Quick legend:




aaand choices that synced remain in black.

Best Picture

  1. Roma
  2. A Star is Born
  3. Green Book
  4. BlackKklansman
  5. Black Panther
  6. Bohemian Rhapsody
  7. The Favourite
  8. Vice

Somewhat pleased at the 8/8, though none of these nominations are really surprises at all. If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man likely just missed, which may mean a more difficult time ahead for presumed but shaky frontrunner Regina King in the Supporting Actress category, who was (thankfully) nominated for her role in the former.

Best Director

  1. Alfonse Cuaron, Roma
  2. Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born (!!!!) / Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
  3. Adam McKay, Vice
  4. Spike Lee, BlackKklansman
  5. Peter Farrelly, Green Book / Cold War, Pawel Pawlikowski

Oscars rarely match 5/5 with DGA, and many were anticipating a possible Farrelly snub for Green Book given the controversy that has weighed down on the director (and the film as a whole), but the real shocker here is Bradley Cooper’s omission. I presumed him a lock, and even a potential winner given how strong consensus seemed to be surrounding his nomination, especially towards the start of the season. I think this bodes ill for both of these films in the Best Picture category, making way for Roma to now emerge the definite frontrunner. There COULD be an Argo situation a la Ben Affleck‘s snub in directing and Argo‘s subsequent win, but ASIB has not dominated the season as well as many had anticipated, and I think this snub is probably its biggest blow yet to its Best Picture chances, now dwindling.

Best Actor

  1. Christian Bale, Vice
  2. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
  3. Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
  4. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
  5. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed / Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Willem Dafoe was seen as almost a frontrunner early on in the year, then kind of fell off after he missed most of the precursors. He was more or less considered an outside chance come nomination morning, with Hawke and John David Washington in BlackKklansman seemingly duking it out for the last spot.

Best Actress

  1. Glenn Close, The Wife
  2. Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
  3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite
  4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

This one I’m actually quite pleased with myself for calling. Yalitza Aparicio‘s surprise inclusion for Roma, despite a lack of precursor nominations, only spells further strength for Roma in Best Picture, as many have pointed out that it would be unprecedented for a film to win Best Picture without an acting nomination. Now, with two surprise acting nominations that Roma has likely roped in with sheer support for the film as a whole, Roma looks to have cemented its frontrunner status. Aparicio’s nomination meant most notably snubs for Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns / A Quiet Place, Viola Davis in Widows and Toni Collette in Hereditary, who were the presumed contenders for the fifth slot.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book
  2. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  3. Adam Driver, BlackKklansman
  4. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy / Sam Rockwell, Vice
  5. Sam Elliott, A Star is Born

My earlier instincts were correct! As I mentioned in my prediction post, I considered the possibility of a Timothee Chalamet snub a la Daniel Bruhl for Rush, but decided against it given his popularity. Guess I should have considered that Sam Rockwell, who I had as a toss-up with Sam Elliott, is also extremely popular with the Academy. Rockwell and Elliott’s inclusion meant a snub for Chalamet in an otherwise uneventful category.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Regina Hall, If Beale Street Could Talk
  2. Amy Adams, Vice
  3. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
  4. Emma Stone, The Favourite
  5. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots / Marina de Tavira, Roma (!!)

Regina Hall’s nomination calls for a sigh of relief, and Marina de Tavira‘s nomination calls for a yelp of joy, if you are a Roma fan. She was considered an extreme outside possibility given her complete lack of precursor nominations, and supplants Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots, Claire Foy in First Man and Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place, the three presumed fifth place duellers.

While I’ll have to slowly parse through the other categories, including the critical screenplay and editing categories, I think the analysis here is somewhat clear cut: Roma flies through the roof in pretty much every way, BlackKklansman seems now the closest competitor for the top prize with key inclusions received, while ASIB and Green Book falter with their Directing snubs.

It appears that the baton holder for popular films, Black Panther has now a further quashed chance of a surprise win many were backing. With no nominations in Directing or Acting (though inclusion would have been a surprise to begin with), I suppose the nomination itself is the win. A Marvel superhero film, nominated for Best Picture! That IS a vocal statement of progression alright, from the body that awarded the anti-superhero-films Birdman Best Picture just a few years back. I’m sure it’ll be all over the news soon.

One question that’s hit me is: can The Favourite now win? It’s been sort of neither here nor there but it’s performed well here on nominations morning. Time will tell. Updated predictions on the sidebar soon.


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