With Oscar balloting at an end, we’re continuing our second annual series of interviews with Academy voters from different branches for their candid thoughts on what got picked, overlooked, and overvalued this year.
I take the Oscars seriously as they are a primary marketing and informative tool for the movies. The show has to be re-examined and re-imagined. Too much to go into here. The changes proposed were never thought through properly. There should be an all-members meeting at least once a year lasting a day. This is a very creative membership. The Academy is too bureaucratic and self-absorbed.
20th Century Fox
Performance by an actor in a leading role
Christian Bale in “Vice”
Bradley Cooper in “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe in “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen in “Green Book”
Rami Malek was totally compelling. He transformed into Freddie Mercury, holding a mediocre movie together. Without that performance the film would never have become a success. No other actor had that responsibility of keeping their movie afloat– [others] had help from better scripts, direction and co-stars. Not being a Queen fan, he drew me into that world. Second choice was Viggo Mortensen who is hopefully an Oscar winner in the near future.
Photo by Mary Cybulski
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Mahershala Ali in “Green Book”
Adam Driver in “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott in “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell in “Vice”
I’m a traditionalist in wanting to spread the Oscars around. So much now depends on the strength of the campaign as well as the merit of the work that make the odds of receiving an Oscar more and more complicated. Mahershala Ali is a recent recipient for “Moonlight.” Moreover, he is in the wrong category. His is a starring role, not supporting. It is shameful that the campaign positioning of starring roles in the supporting category has become so rampant. Had the category been called Best Male Acting instead of Best Supporting Actor, I would have voted for him.
How can one place Sam Rockwell’s minimal role in “Vice” in the same league as Ali’s or the other actor misplaced in supporting, Timothée Chalamet? The substantive and accurate supporting role was Richard E. Grant’s and along with “Withnail and I,” a career high. He never falters in whatever film he appears and here, in the poorly titled “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” he is a comedic and dramatic force.
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Yalitza Aparicio in “Roma”
Glenn Close in “The Wife”
Olivia Colman in “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
My traditionalist leanings merge here for Glenn Close. With seven nominations and no wins, this may be her last chance at Oscar recognition. Though the film is not perfect, she never falters in conveying deep emotional conflicts through her acting, many times without words. She recently displayed that talent in her reactions to Stephen Colbert’s acting game. Here there is again a major contender in the wrong category, Olivia Colman. The three women in “The Favourite” should all have been in the supporting category. All are pretty equal in size, so said Ms. Colman in accepting her BAFTA…that the “leading” should be scratched out and all three names should appear on it.
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Amy Adams in “Vice”
Marina de Tavira in “Roma”
Regina King in “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone in “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz in “The Favourite”
After six nominations, I expect Amy Adams will finally be an Oscar-winner when she receives another Best Actress nomination, following the Glenn Close pattern this year and Julianne Moore previously. In the meantime, and just in case that doesn’t happen, I voted for her in this category for “Vice,” as she’s never less than exceptional, my favorites being “The Master” and “American Hustle.” She is also the actor most egregiously overlooked for a major nomination, for her leading performance in “Arrival,” a film with flaws that received eight nominations, in which she was flawless in a very difficult role, the glue that made the film work. Here, I eliminated Weisz and Stone as they have their Oscars. Both Regina King and Marina de Tavira shined.
Best animated feature film of the year
“Incredibles 2” Brad Bird, John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle
“Isle of Dogs” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
“Mirai” Mamoru Hosoda and Yuichiro Saito
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston and Clark Spencer
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Achievement in cinematography
“Cold War” Łukasz Żal
“The Favourite” Robbie Ryan
“Never Look Away” Caleb Deschanel
“Roma” Alfonso Cuarón
“A Star Is Born” Matthew Libatique
“Roma” is my favorite film of many years and a film for the ages. It is in a league above any other.
The cinematography transported you to another place, almost another dimension. You were in Mexico in the ’70s living with those people. However, as I voted for Alfonso Cuarón and “Roma” in all other categories aside from acting, I chose Caleb Deschanel for his superb work in “Never Look Away,” where he had to capture the flavor of several decades. Like Close and Adams,
he’s been multi-nominated and Oscar-less— this is his sixth nomination. That he’s nominated for a film not in his native language, German, makes his accomplishment even more deserving.
Achievement in costume design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” Mary Zophres
“Black Panther” Ruth Carter
“The Favourite” Sandy Powell
“Mary Poppins Returns” Sandy Powell
“Mary Queen of Scots” Alexandra Byrne
All the “Black Panther” costumes were exotic, yet pragmatic and believable for the world they were in.
Achievement in directing
“BlacKkKlansman” Spike Lee
“Cold War” Paweł Pawlikowski
“The Favourite” Yorgos Lanthimos
“Roma” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice” Adam McKay
Alfonso Cuarón, for a true work of art that elevates the medium.
Best documentary feature
“Free Solo” Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening” RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim
“Minding the Gap” Bing Liu and Diane Quon
“Of Fathers and Sons” Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme and Tobias N. Siebert
“RBG” Betsy West and Julie Cohen
“Free Solo” — frightening, gripping, heart-stopping — relentless, understandable determination with a complicated personal relationship. I was touched many emotional points plus the incredible shooting.
Best documentary short subject
“Black Sheep” Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn
“End Game” Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat” Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser
“A Night at The Garden” Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.” Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton
“A Night at the Garden”: Its brevity made it more powerful.
Achievement in film editing
“BlacKkKlansman” Barry Alexander Brown
“Bohemian Rhapsody” John Ottman
“The Favourite” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
“Green Book” Patrick J. Don Vito
“Vice” Hank Corwin
“Vice,” as various threads had to be juggled. Both “Green Book” and “BlacKkKlansman” flowed as seamless entertainments with serious themes.
Best foreign language film of the year
“Cold War” Poland
“Never Look Away” Germany
“Roma”: Nothing else comes close. The rest are all admirable and should be seen by as wide an audience as possible…but “Roma” soars.
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
“Border” Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer
“Mary Queen of Scots” Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks
“Vice” Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney
“Vice”: Christian Bale became Cheney but was always recognizable.
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“Black Panther” Ludwig Goransson
“BlacKkKlansman” Terence Blanchard
“If Beale Street Could Talk” Nicholas Britell
“Isle of Dogs” Alexandre Desplat
“Mary Poppins Returns” Marc Shaiman
Terence Blanchard’s score for “BlacKkKlansman” was inventive and unobtrusive.
Courtesy of Netflix
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“All The Stars” from “Black Panther”
Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick LamarDuckworth and Anthony Tiffith; Lyric by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
“I’ll Fight” from “RBG”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns”
Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born”
Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”: Witty and melodic. The satiric opening song provided a startling counterpoint to the surprisingly tragic stories that followed.
Best motion picture of the year
“Black Panther” Kevin Feige, Producer
“BlacKkKlansman” Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee, Producers
“Bohemian Rhapsody” Graham King, Producer
“The Favourite” Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos, Producers
“Green Book” Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, Producers
“Roma” Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón, Producers
“A Star Is Born” Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers
“Vice” Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers
“Roma,” “Roma,” “Roma” — EXHILARATING!
Achievement in production design
“Black Panther” Production Design: Hannah Beachler; Set Decoration: Jay Hart
“The Favourite” Production Design: Fiona Crombie; Set Decoration: Alice Felton
“First Man” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas
“Mary Poppins Returns” Production Design: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
“Roma” Production Design: Eugenio Caballero; Set Decoration: Bárbara Enríquez
‘Roma” put you there without realizing it was all created.
Achievement in sound editing
“Black Panther” Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker
“Bohemian Rhapsody” John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone
“First Man” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“A Quiet Place” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
“Roma” Sergio Díaz and Skip Lievsay
“Roma”: The use of Dolby Atmos creatively enveloped like nothing else.
Achievement in sound mixing
“Black Panther” Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin
“Bohemian Rhapsody” Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali
“First Man” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis
“Roma” Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio García
“A Star Is Born” Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow
“Roma,” same as previous.
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“BlacKkKlansman” Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
“If Beale Street Could Talk” Written for the screen by Barry Jenkins
“A Star Is Born” Screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”: A wild real life story made totally believable with humor and drama.
“The Favourite” Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
“First Reformed” Written by Paul Schrader
“Green Book” Written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
“Roma” Written by Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice” Written by Adam McKay
“Roma” had a screenplay so tactile it never felt written.