• Nicholas Cordonnier

#OscarsSoWrong: The Biggest Snubs of the 2019 Oscar Nominees

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

The Academy Awards have been a sinking ship for quite some time now. With viewership declining year after year and Hollywood finally being held responsible for the toxic ideologies that still remain prevalent, the question is begging to be asked: why should we care about the Oscars?

However, being the cinephile I am, I can’t help but remain invested in the Oscars. While I recognize the flaws the Academy still has (see the accompanying info-graphic for more information), I can’t help myself but get excited when my favorite movies win and utterly disappointed when they lose. Which brings me to the topic of today’s post: the biggest snubs of the 2019 Oscar Nominees.

Widows (dir. Steve McQueen)

While I didn’t even come close to seeing every movie this year (my 30 theatrical viewings pales in comparison to last year’s 70), there were a handful that really stayed with me after leaving the theater. Widows (2018) was one of them. While not as polished as his earlier works, which include 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Hunger (2008), director Steve McQueen crafts a thrilling and exciting narrative following three widows as they set out to carry out their late husbands’ heist plans. McQueen truly shows his talent as a director here, pulling out stellar performances from Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, and Daniel Kaluuya. The film received no nominees at the 91st Academy Awards, but warranted at least a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination.

Eighth Grade (dir. Bo Burnham)

Eighth Grade(2018) was the surprise hit of the summer. Receiving almost universal praise, stand-up comedian turned director Bo Burnham showed his absolute directorial mastery in this ode to childhood, innocence, and the pain associated with growing up. Fifteen-year old Elsie Fisher gives a breathtakingly honest performance as the film’s lead, an insecure eighth grader attempting to traverse her transition into high school. Burnham and Fisher manage to capture the essence of childhood so purely in this picture, thanks in part to Burnham’s fantastic script. Once again, the film received no love from the Academy, but was more than worthy of Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay nominations.

First Reformed (dir. Paul Schrader)

I don’t mean to over-exaggerate when I say that First Reformed (2018) was my favorite movie of the year. From the film’s opening scene, I was absolutely captivated by Ethan Hawke’s breathtaking performance, Paul Schrader’s stellar script, and the brilliant, albeit reserved direction. First Reformed follows Reverend Ernst Toller (played by Hawke) as his declining mental and physical health manifests themselves in a series of self-destructive tendencies.

The film’s narrative is almost hypnotic, slowly pulling you into the mindset of Reverend Toller as he descends into madness. Paul Schrader, who got his Hollywood start writing classic films such as Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980), is finally getting the critical praise he deserves, having received his first Oscar nomination for this film’s script. I implore you, if you watch one film I’ve mentioned on this list, watch this one. It deserves not only the Best Original Screenplay it was nominated for, but Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Picture.

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