By Chris Manson
The Oscars air on ABC Sunday, Feb. 9, at 7 PM. I don’t see as many movies as I used to, but I did manage to catch three of the nine Best Picture nominees—Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.
They were all first rate, and thanks to Netflix for making those first two available to fit my preferred method of movie watching—15-minute increments, subtitles loaded. The latest Tarantino epic is up for grabs on DVD/Blu-ray/etc. and you’ll need to sock away a couple weeks to watch it.
Parasite and Joker have already landed on most of the home viewing platforms, and Ford v. Ferrari and Jojo Rabbit are scheduled for release this month. Little Women and 1917 are still in theaters.
I hope to catch up with all of them at some point, but let’s talk about a handful of glaring omissions among the 2019 nominees.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Happy that Elton John and Randy Newman made the cut, for Rocketman and Toy Story 4, respectively. But if ever a song was indelibly tied to its movie, it would be Sturgill Simpson’s theme from The Dead Don’t Die. Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy makes excellent use of the tune, notably during an argument between small town law enforcement officers Bill Murray and Adam Driver.
And I would argue that Mr. Driver’s performance in this movie is as good as—if not better than—his Best Actor-nominated turn in Marriage Story.
Speaking of which…
Either the Academy hates Adam Sandler or they didn’t bother to see Uncut Gems. Or they confused him with Adam Driver. But whether you like the movie or not—and, yes, it’s stressful as hell, could’ve used a Hollywood happy ending, etc. etc.—there is no denying that Mr. Sandler takes his craft to a whole ‘nother level here.
A good actor lives inside their character’s skin. A great actor makes the viewer live in that character’s skin. That’s what Mr. Sandler does in Uncut Gems, and by the time the lights came on, I was praying they had a working defibrillator in the theater lobby.
I haven’t seen all five Best Actor performances, but… Joker? A comic-book movie?! They might as well have given that kid from Shazam! a nomination as well.
Little Women is up for Best Picture, so shouldn’t director Greta Gerwig have gotten the Best Director slot that went to the guy that helmed…a comic book movie?!
OTHER OVERSIGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood should be up for Best Film Editing. That movie could have been much, much longer, you know.
Jordan Peele, who wrote and directed the Best Original Screenplay winning Get Out, made an even better movie in 2019—Us, which got zero nominations. Catch it on HBO, and good luck getting to sleep.
I will not be watching the awards ceremony, as I am still trying to find time to screen the 2018 winner for Best Picture, Green Book. It’s waiting patiently on my DVR, along with about two-dozen other not-so-fresh movies.