- Olivia Colman! Her performance in The Favourite was one of the year’s best, and I couldn’t be happier about her getting best lead actress. Also, that acceptance speech was so wholesome and entertaining that I wouldn’t have minded if it went on for another hour.
- …no host, no problem? In addition to all the other drama about this year’s Oscars, I thought the absence of a host would be a surefire disaster. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The show had a quick pace to it, and the presenters for each award were funnier than the forced skits that most hosts do. I’m not suggesting that the Oscars go hostless every year (we still need The Rock to host), but if The Academy can’t get the right person to lead its night, why bother?
- First Man for Best Visual Effects. This movie has been robbed the whole awards season, and although it should be nominated for far more than just technical categories, I’m happy to see it leave the night with at least one statuette.
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse for Best Animated Feature. I don’t want to give The Academy credit for a win that should have been painfully obvious, but after they didn’t nominate The LEGO Movie in 2015, I’ve learned to take nothing for granted in this category. Regardless, this movie absolutely owns. (It also is better than every best picture nominee, but I digress.)
- That performance of Shallow…I’m no massive fan of A Star Is Born, but this stole the night. From the way Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga arose from their seats to the way that the camera floated around stage, everything about it felt cinematic and intimate. This raises the bar for what can be done on live award shows. (Also, the fact that Cooper directed the performance is such a flex on The Academy, and I love it.)
- Roma for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Cinematography. I would have fallen over in shock if any of these didn’t happen, and rightfully so. This is an exquisitely made movie, and based on the way that his career is going, I’m sure this won’t be the last time Alfonso adds Oscars to his collection.
The Ugly (because when The Academy messes up, they go all out)
- Bohemian Rhapsody for Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. What an absolute joke. This is royally embarrassing for The Academy, and I struggle to see how we could view these categories with legitimacy going forward. Editing is supposed to be invisible while watching a movie, yet I came out of Bohemian Rhapsody with a headache due to its obsessive need to cut every five seconds. As for the sound awards? I’m no expert, but it felt like the extent of this movie’s sound was just dragging and dropping audio files of Queen music into random scenes (how this got sound editing over A Quiet Place is truly a mystery we may never be able to solve.) Make no mistake: this is the worst part of the night.
- Rami Malek for Best Lead Actor. A quality performance, but did people see Christian Bale in Vice? C’mon, guys.
- Green Book for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. Oh, boy. It happened. It actually happened. I had a bad feeling going into the night, but lo’ and behold, Green Book is our best screenplay winner. To think that we went from Get Out to this…wait, Green Book won best picture too? (I’m still trying to convince myself this actually happened.) I don’t think Green Book is an awful movie, but it’s beyond me how it could be in any conversation as one of the year’s best movies. It’s a loosely accurate, sporadically funny feel-good movie that is uninspired, generic, and meaningless within any serious conversation about race in the 60’s. In a year of so many great films, it pains me that this is “the best movie of the year.”
Award shows don’t matter. Year after year, The Academy awards average biopics or movies that fit the narrative for award season, and we quickly forget about most of these movies within the span of a week. As such, many have labeled 2018 as a bad year for movies, and looking at the list of best picture nominees I can see why; this year’s nominees make for truly one of the most bizarre, random mixes of mediocrities that The Academy has ever assembled. However, 2018 featured many outstanding movies that weren’t heavily featured in awards conversations, and I encourage you to seek them out if possible. At the end of the day, whether a movie stands the test of time has nothing to do with how many Oscars it wins.
In case anybody is curious, here is a list of my favorite movies of the year:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Three Identical Strangers