The Oscars are today! And while I haven’t yet seen Roma (A glaring omission, I know, but I am seeing it today in the theatre!), I’m ready for this. It has been a crazy ride to this point, what with all the back and forth on the Popular Film award, host, musical numbers, and which categories will be presented on air. These Oscars producers seemingly hate the Oscars, film in general, and even joy, and I’m starting to miss the good old-fashioned fun of announcing the wrong Best Picture winner and then giving the award to Moonlight instead! I feel like Spike Lee at the DGA roundtable:
All of this drama pales in comparison, however, to the disappointment I felt when the nominees were announced. After #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo and #TimesUp and #InclusionRider (and, you know, it being the 21st century), I would have hoped that Academy members would have woken up to the fact that there are films made by people other than white men.
This year felt like a step backward. Nominations went to gimmicky, mediocre films like Bohemian Rhapsody, while incredibly deserving films like If Beale Street Could Talk, Widows, Leave No Trace, and You Were Never Really Here— films made by women and people of color—got passed by. There’s also the controversy of Dr. Shirley’s family disagreeing with his portrayal in Green Book*, the Green Book writer's racist comments, and, frankly, the fact that Bryan Singer is continuing to make films at all despite being a sexual predator who fails to show up and do his job.
On one hand, there are films and filmmakers who have gone down in history and made enormous contributions to filmmaking without ever having received an Oscar. But on the other hand, the recognition and monetary effects of being an Oscar nominee or winner are significant, and for filmmakers from marginalized groups, that advantage becomes all the more important. And then there’s just the frustrating fact that breathtaking, innovative, phenomenal films are getting ignored.
But even though we can’t have nice things, we can sure imagine them. So, gentle reader, drift off with me as we imagine an Oscars hosted by John Mulaney and Natasha Lyonne, where everyone gets to finish their acceptance speech even if they’re not a celebrity, and Janelle Monae performs for no other reason than because she’s awesome.
Below I’ve listed what my ideal winners would be, though of course feel free to sub in your own for the purpose of this fantasy. I wish I could have fit in all of the films I loved this year— both Eighth Grade and Widows didn’t quite make it onto this list—and if I had my way, I would give out runner-up honors to both A Simple Favor (for the iconic costuming) and Brian Tyree Henry in If Beale Street Could Talk (for his crucial supporting performance).
And the awards go to…
Best Picture - If Beale Street Could Talk
Directing - Lynne Ramsey, You Were Never Really Here
Actor - Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Actress - Helena Howard, Madeline's Madeline
Supporting Actor - Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Supporting Actress - Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Cinematography - Cold War
Screenplay (Original) - Blindspotting
Screenplay (Adapted) - Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Song - “Shallow,” A Star is Born
Musical Score - If Beale Street Could Talk
Costume Design - Black Panther
Production Design - The Favourite
Editing - You Were Never Really Here
Animated Film - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Sound - First Man
Visual Effects - Annihilation
Stunts - Mission: Impossible - Fallout (there isn't an Oscar for this but there really should be!)
I’ll be back after the ceremony! Until then, catch me on Twitter.