10 Oscar Injustices of 2018

If last year the Academy Awards ceremony surprised us all with an unbelievable envelopes’ swap, and hence, provided a lot of entertainment as a result, this year the Academy Awards had the distinction to be so predictable as to verge on absolute boredom. I am glad though that “The Shape of Water” won the Best Picture Award and that “Coco” was considered the Best Animation. However, the question still remains – what injustices the Academy committed this year? What great films and performances it unjustly ignored? The following films, scripts and performances were arguably so good that they should have been acknowledged.  

florida-project (1)1. “The Florida Project

First of all, the fact that “The Florida Project” was not among the Best Picture Oscar nominees is one of the greatest Academy Awards’ injustices. This movie was just one of a kind: emotional, inspiring, insightful. Sean Baker has done a tremendous job with a relatively small budget, and the acting was excellent, especially from little star Brooklynn Prince and from Bria Vinaite. The movie was not only well-made, it has a social importance, and, yet, the Academy only nominated Willem Dafoe in the category of the Best Supporting Actor. “The Florida Project” is such a great movie that the Academy should have nominated it not only in the category of the Best Picture, but Sean Baker should have also received his Best Director nomination.    

jWlXk4e2. “Blade Runner 2049”  

For all intents and purposes, “Blade Runner 2049” is the movie of great significance cinema-wise. It was ambitious enough to break from many previous cinema traditions and risked a more thought-provoking, nuanced and aesthetic look/approach. It is definitely the movie to show aliens out there what cinema is capable of here on Earth. It is true that the film’s length is worrying and its story is not that well thought-out, but there were certainly far worse Best Picture nominees in the past. All reason point to “Blade Runner 2049” being recognised in the category of Best Picture. “Get Out” was recognised in the Best Picture category as a mix of horror and social satire, so this science-fiction sequel should also had a chance to compete (on top of its Oscar tech nominations). 

3. Florence Pugh for “Lady Macbeth” Lady-Macbeth-NZ-poster_draft-webjpg

I know the talk about how competitive the Best Actress category was, but I still wanted to push the message that Florence Pugh was deserving of a nomination in the Best Actress category. Pugh was ravishing in “Lady Macbeth“, and it is largely thanks to her outstanding acting that this budget film has turned out so good. Pugh played a very complex character who first arouses our sympathy and then makes us question our perceptions and beliefs: the performance to be recognised and applauded, especially since Florence Pugh is a relative newcomer. What made her absence from the nomination list even more significant was that Daniel Kaluuya, also a relative newcomer, was nominated in the category of Best Actor for “Get Out“, and, arguably, Pugh’s turn as a young wife to an abusive middle-aged man was no less outstanding than that of Kaluuya’s (performance).  

DKolGinX0AAdH9A4. Robert Pattinson for “Good Time

This criminally underseen movie was just shoved aside and unfairly so. Robert Pattinson gives an electrifying performance in the movie as a street hustler “Connie” Nikas. A number of film circles rightly nominated Pattinson in the category of the Best Actor of the year, seeing that the actor’s performance definitely rang much truth and conviction. This is the kind of a strong performance we all have been waiting from Pattinson. The Academy did not apparently see anything special (and it is not their kind of a movie anyway), so the unfortunate consequence was that Pattinson’s performance was simply ignored.     

Mollys Game5. Jessica Chastain for “Molly’s Game” 

The movie may not have been up there with all the greats, but, arguably, it was so good because Chastain was there, demonstrating her phenomenal acting skills. It seemed that Chastain was born to play this role of a would-be-Olympian-turned-leader-of-a-large-shady-gambling-business. The actress is her best when she shows the intelligence, perception and drive to succeed – exactly what the role required. I still think it is due to the high competition in the Best Actress category this year that we did not see Chastain’s name among the nominees. A real pity.  

Call me By your name poster6. Michael Stuhlbarg for “Call Me By Your Name” 

Michael Stuhlbarg (“Blue Jasmine” (2013), “The Shape of Water“) had an incredible year and appeared in three pictures that were up for the Best Picture Award: “The Shape of Water“, “Call Me By Your Name” and “The Post“. However, it is probably his turn as Professor Perlman in “Call Me By Your Name” which is his most distinguished and memorable of the three. In the movie, he delivers one of the most memorable monologues, and, even though much praise is also to be given to the script/original material, Stuhlbarg still contributes much to making the scene both heart-breaking and uplifting at the same time. Thus, his omission from the Best Supporting Actor nomination list was also perplexing. 

Three Billboards Poster7. Martin McDonagh for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a great cinematic feat with the stellar performance from Frances McDormand; it had won over critics and audiences alike, gripping awards at numerous festivals. Hence, it is even more surprising to discover that the lead behind the film – Martin McDonagh – was not nominated for the Best Director Award, an omission which is hard to understand. Incidentally, neither Steven Spielberg for “The Post” nor Luca Guadagnino for “Call Me By Your Name” were to be seen in the Best Director nomination list. This points to the idea that the Academy decided to favour young or up-and-coming talent over heavyweights. Thus, we saw in the nomination list both Jordan Peele for “Get Out” and Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird“.   

8. Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for The Killing of a Sacred Deerthe-killing-of-a-sacred-deer_poster (1)

Much like “The Lobster” (2015), a film which was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar Award the year before, Yorgos Lanthimos wrote an epic, thought-provoking screenplay for “The Killing of a Sacred Deer“. The film raises numerous questions and grips the viewer from the very beginning with its fascinatingly jaw-dropping disturbance and constant intrigue. It is unthinkable how the Academy could have ignored a script of that quality in their category. The inspiration for the story was a Greek myth, but the script just shouts originality, which could not really be said for some films that were nominated (and won!) in this category this year, such as “The Shape of Water” (for the plagiarism accusations read this news) and “Get Out” (for the plagiarism allegations read my review).  

First They Killed My Father9.  “First They Killed My Father” (foreign-language film)

Angelina Jolie’s movie is an unflinching, moving portrayal of a story which is of great importance in the world history – the Cambodian genocide. This submission from Cambodia deserved its place among foreign-language films nominees for various reasons, not least because it is such a powerful rendition of a war story told through the eyes of a child, which still remains both sensitive and convincing. Other films such as Austria’s “Happy End” and France’s “120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)” were also left out, showing just how competitive this category had been this year. Apparently, the Academy received a record number of submissions with 92 different countries participating.  

10. “Jane” (documentary)  Jane_(2017_film)

Brett Morgen’s documentary on Jane Goodall, who was a pioneering primatologist, was surprisingly left out of the Oscar race. This was a very unfair decision since the documentary is excellent no matter how you look at it, and was once considered a front-runner for the competition. Some sources suggest that the reason the documentary did not compete was that it was too good, and if it were allowed to compete – it would have won. This outcome is something which should not have been allowed because other “politically important” documentaries, such as “Icarus“, – which can reflect the Academy’s politics (political statements) better – should win or be front-runners. 

Other injustices include the omissions of “Wonder Woman” from the Best Picture race, Tom Hanks from the Best Actor race, and the fact that we did not see any Japanese animations (such as “In This Corner of the World” and “Mary and The Witch’s Flower“) being nominated in the Best Animation category. Surely, both of the mentioned Japanese animations were better than Tom McGrath’s “The Boss Baby” (which, astonishingly, was nominated!)  

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17 thoughts on “10 Oscar Injustices of 2018

    1. Blade Runner 2049’s visual awards were predictable enough, but I just thought that since the film was so ambitious, distinct and significant in its presentation, I thought it should have been nominated for Best Picture just to recognise these achievements. Well, there were less worthy of a nomination films in the past, like Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close that got its nomination in 2012.

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  1. I’m with you on Sacred Deer, Pattison, Stuhlbarg, Pugh, Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite. I was a fan of the visuals of BR2049 but I wouldn’t go so far and nom it for Picture. For me (it’s always subjective) I Tonya is the one that missed Best Picture.

    Other snubs: Andy Serkis’ work on War of Planet of the Apes (and the whole Apes trilogy) was remarkable, sadly not recognized besides VFX. I hope he gets a special motion capture performance oscar in the future. I haven’t seen Jane yet but isn’t it shown on National Geographic soon? Another excellent documentary that missed a nom is Spielberg directed by Susan Lacy(my favorite doc of 2017). Also, the unknown Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread was deserving of a nom as she held her own with Daniel Day-Lewis. The list of snubs goes on and on 🙂

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    1. Glad you agree with me on some of them, and surely there are other snubs as well – I just made a list of those that I particularly considered significant. It is interesting that you mention Vicky Krieps. That was indeed an embarrassing omission, but then again it is easy to get ignored/overshadowed when you star opposite Day-Lewis.

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    1. I really believe there is more to come from Pattinson and from Pugh as well. Hopefully, their work will be recognised in future.
      I am now looking over Pattinson’s filmography and Claire Denis’s High Life (2018) caught my attention. But then both Pattinson and Stewart seem to like to star in very cerebral indie films that are unlikely to be favoured by the Academy.

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  2. I couldn’t agree more on The Florida Project and Blade Runner snubs. They were my top two films of the year and far batter than any of the nominees.

    Bria Vinaite was a huge omission this year. She gave the best female performance all year, hands down. Absolutely magnificent.

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  3. I’m with you with the Best Animated Film category. I do think it’s subjective a lot of the time, sure there’s a few things universally praised that got overlooked but in most cases out of the nominees there’s only a few I could categorically say don’t deserve to be there. I might have my personal preferences but…I’m yet to see The Florida Project but when I do I think I will be sad it did not receive more nominations.

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    1. Yeah, if the Academy now nominates the likes of The Boss Baby in that category, I don’t know if there are any limits to subjectivity any more. Isn’t this also a year where they changed the rules whereby anyone in the Academy could vote in that category and not just animation experts? They surely showed what they were capable of with their Boss Baby nomination. There seemed no competition this year in that category – I am sure Loving Vincent and the Breadwinner were in reality too underseen to win, and other entries just paved the way for Coco to win.

      I hope you will love The Florida Project. It takes some time in the beginning “to get into it all”, but I was surprised how emotionally involved I became with all the characters there.

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      1. Yes the change was made in the hope that such nominations would not occur. The nominations were too inside the Hollywood animation circle and they wanted to expand it but unfortunately we got more of the same. Shame really but Love Vincent is a good sign.

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  4. There is always an obvious pattern with the films Oscars go for, and ones they ignore. I really enjoyed Molly’s Game but films like that never get acting nods. Look at Nightcralwer and Jake Gylenhaal not getting nominated. And of course, I hope Florence gets the OFFICIAL recognition this time next year.

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    1. You are sadly right. And, Florence’s recognition? For? Outlaw King? Fighting with my Family? I am glad that so many paths are open to her after Lady Macbeth. I am really having an eye on Park Chan-wook’s The Little Drummer Girl. A series yes, but with Shannon and Skarsgård attached, it can prove to be something special.

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  5. I love it when everyone gets all bent over what ‘should’ have been according to each and everyone. – it is what it is..I’ve had years I didn’t like one film – and years where I’ve liked them all. Unless you’re an Oscar voter – it’s pointless. I am a Indie Spirit Awards voter and I rarely get what I want even there. hahahahha

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    1. I know how you feel. Since the Oscars proclaim themselves to be like the only film awards mattering in the world, it is still nice to see one movie or performance that you like among the nominees. I am just glad that the Oscars started to reflect the Independent Spirit Awards’s nominations more, and that’s enough for me right now.

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