Superheroes, Supervillains and Superstars: The 2019 Oscar Nominations

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The awards season is in full swing and the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards have been announced. There aren’t too many surprises, but the lists are full of firsts. The Favourite and Roma lead the way with a total of 10 nominations each across all categories, Vice and A Star is Born come in with 8 apiece, then Black Panther with 7.

In total, 8 films are in contention of claiming the Academy’s top prize of Best Picture: Black Panther, Blackkklansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born and Vice. Significantly, Marvel’s Black Panther is the first ever superhero film to be up for Best Picture and Roma is the first Netflix film to be too. The Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book claimed awards at the Golden Globes giving them a good shot while Black Panther won at the SAGs more recently. The SAGs are normally a very good forecast for the Oscars but this year the SAGs completely snubbed both The Favourite and Roma, meaning it’s still anyone’s guess as to which of the nominees will be crowned best picture. While The Favourite was initially considered the front runner, the SAG win for Black Panther and the Golden Globe successes of Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book means they might have the edge. If Beale Street Could Talk misses out completely.

The main surprises come in the Best Director category which saw Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Damien Chazelle (First Man) and Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk) all miss out. Those who are up for the award are Spike Lee (Blackkklansman), who has finally been nominated for the first time, Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Adam McKay (Vice) and Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War). After picking up the Best Director award at the Golden Globes, Alfonso Cuaron looks like the leading candidate.

In terms of the Leading Actor, it is becoming increasing likely that first-time nominee Rami Malek will pick up the award for his portrayal of music icon Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody after winning at both the Golden Globes and at the SAGs. The film battled against the mixed critical reviews at initial release but has had great success at the recent awards season, putting Malek slightly ahead. But this is a very strong and experienced category with Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Christian Bale (Vice), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) and Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), all of whom have received acting nominations several times before but only Bale has ever one.

Glen Close (The Wife) is the favourite to win the Oscar for Leading Actress after also winning the corresponding awards at both the Golden Globes and SAGs. But differently to Malek, this is her 7th nomination by the Academy, but up to now she hasn’t won. However, once again this category isn’t straight forward, with Lady Gaga (A Star is Born) and Olivia Colman (The Favourite) having a good chance of claiming the Oscar too. Colman’s portrayal of Queen Anne won her a Golden Globe at the ceremony at the start of January, and has now earned her a first Oscar nomination. It is also the first nominations for Lady Gaga and Yalitza Aparicio (Roma). Melissa McCarthy is the final nominee for her role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and it would be entirely possible for her to win too.

In the Supporting Actor Category, Mahershala Ali (Green Book) and Sam Rockwell (Vice) are each looking to make it two wins from two nominations. Ali won at the Golden Globes and SAGs placing him as the front runner. There are two incredibly overdue nominatons for Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Sam Elliott (A Star is Born) who are 61 and 74 respectively. Adam Driver (Blackkklansman) is also nominated for the first time. Timothee Chalamet misses out.

In the Supporting Actress Category, Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place) who won at the SAGs, isn’t nominated, so this year’s Golden Globe winner Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) might be the leading the race. Amy Adams (Vice) could win her first Oscar after 5 previous nominations. Whilst Roma’s Marina de Tavira has her first nomination, the rest of the category is taken up with Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone both from The Favourite, who both have Leading Actress Oscars under their belt.

Elsewhere Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse and Incredibles 2 lead the nominations for best animated feature, Green Book and Blackkklansman lead the way for best original and best adapted screenplay respectively and Roma is the favourite for Best Foreign-Language Film.

The 2019 Academy Awards will take place on the 24th February, in Los Angeles.

Matthew Moorey

Image Courtesy of Marvel Studios