Oscar Nominations Came Out Today And I Have Some Thoughts

I had no idea the noms were even being announced this AM. Not like I was gonna set my alarm for them. But I still shit my pants when I saw this hed...

10 nominations for MANK? There's nothing Hollywood likes doing more than sucking it's own dick. Apparently, a sizable segment of Academy voters couldn't resist the inside baseball catnip that is MANK, a (disputed) story about Hollywood's Golden Age, a drunk writer, and one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of filmmaking. 

I caught MANK when it dropped on Netflix and it was a decent enough watch to kill some time. I took it with a grain of salt and wasn't looking for historical accuracy (I really don't give a shit if you take Pauline Kael's 'side' or Peter Bogdanovich's 'side'). But I hadn't thought about it once since today. It came and went. Not once during its 2+ hour runtime did I feel like I was watching a Best Picture nominee. Or even a Golden Globe nominee. MANK was essentially a vanity project for a director with the clout to turn his late father's script into an actual movie. 

I'm a huge fan of David Fincher's overall body of work but this feels like an obligatory Meryl Streep/Frank J. Selke nomination. Gary Oldman has certainly done much heavier lifting than this in his career and he just won for that shitty Churchill movie. But the whole CITIZEN KANE/Old Hollywood/studio system/old-timey movie people proved too irresistable to voters. Amanda Seyfried's work as Marion Davies was the acting highlight of MANK and a worthy nomination in what was the weakest of the acting categories. Ironically, MANK was not nominated for writing.

Here's a few more buds for your Oscar bowl...

*Oldman's nomination should've gone to the fantastic Delroy Lindo for his searing performance in Spike Lee's DA 5 BLOODS. When you watched that movie, it felt you were watching an Oscar-level, best-of-career performance from a guy whose been around for decades. But I'm guessing the June release date didn't help. And the Academy obviously wasn't as enamored with Lee's genre-blending Black Vietnam Veteran epic as the critics were as its lone nom was for Best Score. 

*HILLBILLY ELEGY was a terrible movie but I can't say I'm surprised that the great Glenn Close snagged her eight acting nom because the performance was clearly shooting for it. If she finally wins one, it would suck if it was for this.

*We're still doing BORAT? I watched the sequel when it dropped and if I laughed more than once or twice, I can't remember what is was for. Maria Bakalova should be commended for her full gonzo performance but the movie just didn't pull off what the original did and I was suprised to see two noms. I think any number of movies deserved a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination before this one.


*JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is excellent and it deserves all the praise it gets. But apparently neither Lakeith Stanfield or Daniel Kaluuya was a lead as both were nominated for Best Supporting Actor. There's speculation that they were submitted in Best Supporting to increase their chances of a nomination due the stacked Best Actor category this year (and perhaps the perception that the late Chadwick Boseman will win posthumously for MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM). Regardless, Kaluuya's performance jumps off the screen and this won't be his last nom. Nor will it be for Lakeith Stanfield, whose tortured performance was less showy but no less worthy of a nom. Dominique Fishback was excellent as well and would have been a worthy choice for Best Supporting Actress.

*I was psyched to see Paul Raci get recognized for his work as the tough love-dispensing 'Joe' in SOUND OF METAL. Born to deaf parents, Raci's first language was American Sign Language and he has been grinding on stage and screen for decades. Given his competition, this may be a case of the nomination being the win. 

*I was bummed to see that DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD wasn't nominated for Best Documentary after making the shortlist. It was perhaps the most moving film of 2020 and, while it's ostensibly about dying, it was also the most life-affirming thing I've watched in recent memory. If you have older/ailing relatives and watch it, you will find yourself in various emotional states. Mostly bawling. 

*Eight films were nominated for Best Picture: THE FATHER, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, MANK, MINARI, NOMADLAND, PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, SOUND OF METAL, and THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. The only two I haven't seen are THE FATHER (not streaming yet) and THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (total lack of desire and Cohen's accent). Of the six I watched, JUDAS, SOUND, and PROMISING were the three best. I thought NOMADLAND was...good. But I honestly don't see what the fuss is all about. Buyoued by excellent performances, MINARI was a nice story about an immigrant family finding its place in a new home. It just didn't blow me away or make me think I was watching something truly special. If I was a betting man, I'd put a shitload on JUDAS for Best Pic. 


*Frances McDormand is always great and her getting a nom for NOMADLAND is no surprise whatsoever. And I've been a fan since BLOOD SIMPLE. But this role was right in her wheelhouse: a dour middle-aged woman looking like she's not having fun. Right after I finished PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, I declared Carey Mulligan the fave in this category and my mind hasn't changed. Her work was stunning and quite a switch from what we've been accustomed to from the English actress. 

*Aside for Oldman, Best Actor is stacked this year with Riz Ahmed, Boseman, Tony Hopkins, and Steven Yeun. Yes, Boseman is a sentimental favorite but he's also a worthy winner. The question is will Ahmed, Hopkins, or Yeun be able to overtake him. I'm putting my money on Ahmed. (Now watch, Oldman will win.)

*What, nothing for BACURAU?