Oscars 2019: What Should Have Been Nominated?

What should have been nominated for the Oscars in 2019?

It’s a simple question but one that has apparently required a lot of effort to answer. In fact, I’ve spent the entire year collating highly detailed and, of course, meticulously organised notes on the matter, my thought being to dismiss the popular consensus offered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and come up with my own shortlist of “the very best” – I thought I’d look beyond the multi-million dollar Oscars Campaigns that have come to dictate the success of any given film in the eyes of Academy voters.

That’s why I’ve devised this mini-series of articles I’m titling “What Should Have Been Nominated”. In this series, I’ll offer my suggestions on what/who should have been nominated in each of the awards show’s most hotly debated categories, tackling two or three categories per day in the build-up to the ceremony on the 24th. The only rules are that the chosen films/artists have to be eligible for selection at the 2019 awards and that each category is allowed a maximum of 5 nominees (in keeping with the Oscars themselves) apart from Best Picture, which is allowed a maximum of 10.

To kick things off, I’ll be going over my choices for the Actress In A Supporting Role and Actor In A Supporting Role categories…

The full list of actual Oscar nominees.

Actress In A Supporting Role

Oscars 2019 Supporting Actress

1. Claire Foy (First Man)
Oscar Nomination? – No.

Claire Foy seemed like the crux of empathy in an otherwise distant and nuanced Damien Chazelle offering. Her performance was therefore key to any kind of investment and the range she showed in moving between massive vulnerability and unrivalled strength was something spectacular to behold. 2019 had an incredibly strong field to choose from in this category, but Foy would surely have been a front-runner to win this had First Man performed better at the box office and not been so divisive among top film critics.

2. Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Oscar Nomination? – Yes.

If Beale Street Could Talk is criminally under-represented at the 2019 Oscars, but even with flabbergasting dismissals in a number of major categories, Regina King has forced her way onto the ballot, proving the quality of her performance. The female actor was one of several names that could have earned acting nominations in this film in any other given year, but the way in which she seamlessly passed between understanding peace keeper and defensive mother made for some heart-tugging moments and there is one scene in particular where her performance is everything you need to know about the character and more – a true “give her an Oscar” scene. Hers isn’t the most time spent on screen of these nominees, but it is surely some of the very best acting per minute available this year.

3. Yordanos Shiferaw (Capernaum)
Oscar Nomination? – No.

Yordanos Shiferaw’s performance in Capernaum as an illegal immigrant young mother taking care of her child in houses made from scrap metal and old containers is utterly heart-wrenching but also filled with a gravitas and a sense of love that any mother surely holds towards their loved ones; her performance simply radiating through the screen to grab every last bit of emotion left from an already very emotionally challenging movie. Had she played her tragic and massively challenging role in an English Language nominated film, she would surely have been nominated.

4. Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Oscar Nomination? – Yes.

The Favourite is among the favourites [just about everyone has written that pun in at least one article, right?] for both major female acting awards at the Oscars, and Emma Stone is one of the reasons. Her performance is arguably the leading role, her journey being told from the first frame to the last, the tragedy of her “humble slave” to “humble slave” arc being utterly heartbreaking by the film’s conclusion and the performance grasping attention away from her hugely talented cohorts in both the comedic and dark/testing moments of the picture. She takes her place in this category for me simply because she does in the eyes of the Academy themselves, though I’m sure the debate will rage for quite a while over who truly is the central character in Lanthimos’ three-pronged masterpiece.

5. Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Oscar Nominaton? – Yes.

Joining her The Favourite co-star Emma Stone in the Actress In A Supporting Role category is Rachel Weisz, one of the very best actors of 2018 considering her performance here alongside her role in Disobedience. In The Favourite, Weisz is tougher, on the surface at least, than Stone’s character and thus plays a more empowered and domineering presence that brings its own qualities to the film. It was, quite honestly, impossible to nominate one of “the favourites” and not the other, their individual qualities each gifting the film as much as the other and ultimately leading it to being one of the very best of 2018.

Honourable Mentions: Elizabeth Debicki (Widows), Marina De Tavira (Roma), Rachel McAdams (Disobedience), Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots), Maura Tierney (Beautiful Boy).

Missing Out: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina De Tavira (Roma).

Actor In A Supporting Role

Oscars 2019 Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Oscars Nomination? – Yes.

Mahershala Ali is the current favourite to pick up the award for Actor In A Supporting Role at the Oscars and having seen Green Book it’s easy to see why. The seasoned actor, whose Oscar-winning performance in Moonlight shot him into the forefront of voter’s minds, seemed to unpick himself and then put himself back together again piece by piece to embody his character in this film; his cadence changing as much as his physicality, the genuine all-consuming sadness he portrayed being nothing short of spectacular. As problematic as Green Book has proven to be, Ali’s performance has never been in question, the actor simply transcending the film he was in. He was simply undeniable in this category.

2. Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Oscars Nomination? – No.

How Timothee Chalamet isn’t nominated for Beautiful Boy at the 2019 Oscars is astounding. The young actor, nominated for his role in Call Me By Your Name last year, viciously moved between child-like innocence and the portrayal of a destructive, dominating and horrific personality throughout this movie, driving home the desperation and utter tragedy that can ensue in the midst of drug addiction. Beautiful Boy is truly an actor’s film, Chalamet and lead actor Steve Carell carrying the film from scene to scene and the movie living and dying by the quality they put to screen. Chalamet was simply phenomenal, elevating the already testing material and rightfully earning recognition at almost every awards show apart from the Oscars. He should have been nominated, plain and simple.

3. Ben Foster (Leave No Trace)
Oscars Nomination? – No.

Much less talked about than Timothee Chalamet this year is Ben Foster, whose performance in Leave No Trace was some of the very best work he’s put to screen in the entirety of his hugely respected career thus far. Playing the grief-riddled father of a teenage girl he’s bringing up “off grid”, Foster made his character truly identifiable and thus helped to assert the film’s very premise of challenging its audience to question everything about what we have normalised as being a part of our everyday lives. He begins the journey as the loving father figure in the most typical sense – strong, knowledgeable, a gifted guide for both travelling and life lessons – and ends the film an almost tragic figure, his troubles becoming weaknesses and the character ultimately unravelling before us, Foster anchoring that every step of the way in some of the most phenomenally acted scenes all year.

4. Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Oscars Nomination? – Yes.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? has been fairly well acknowledged by the Academy in 2019, but seems to have been tagged as a sort of “writters’ film from New York” rather than the truly moving, fantastically acted and terrifically directed piece that it is. At the very top of this movie’s rather noteworthy mountain of qualities is Richard E. Grant, whose performance as lead Melissa McCarthy’s troubled but loyal and life affirming best friend, is nothing short of spectacular. The endearing, often funny and at some points incredibly tragic character is played with pinpoint precision by an actor who has long gone underappreciated for his talents, the work in this film being his undeniable crowning achievement thus far. He’s simply too bloody lovely to deny here; a deserving nominee.

5. Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience)
Oscars Nomination? – No.

It seems odd that Disobedience was so widely snubbed at the Oscars this year given the movie’s tackling of big real-life issues, the quality of its script and ultimately the brilliance of its performances, but here we are with no nominations for it in any category. If there was to be just one certified nominee from the film, it would be Alessandro Nivola for his role of best friend and husband turned loyally religious Rabbi who fights between his love/loyalty for his most beloved and the word of God. His performance is simply phenomenal, his struggle with grief on both ends ultimately overcome by his religiously inherited abilities to love everyone despite their differences, and to ultimately forgive anyone for taking what may traditionally be seen as the wrong path. The reserved nature of the character boils over at several points, Nivola taking us on the ride of his emotional destruction, his choices big and small lending the character a uniqueness not so clearly on offer in any of the other nominees.

Honourable Mentions: Adam Driver (BlackKklansman), Colin Farrell (Widows), Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Jonathan Pryce (The Wife).

Missing Out: Adam Driver (BlackKklansman), Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born), Sam Rockwell (Vice).


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