Pros and cons of the 91st Academy Awards

Nick Whitmire

The past year was a great year for film, and with great films come celebrations of those films through award shows. The biggest show of the bunch is the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars. After 91 years of Oscars there have been great highs and all-time lows and with this year nominees seem to be a mixture of both, particularly in the Best Picture category. The eight films that have been nominated are not bad, except for “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but the only ones that are truly worthy of the award are “Black Panther” and “Roma.” Both films are this year’s purest examples of great characters and stories.

“Blackkklansman” is another honorable mention for the Oscar and is a return to form for legendary director Spike Lee.

The rest of the nominees, however, just seem like the safe standard picks for the Academy.

The biggest travesty with this year’s nominees is “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This film is as safe as it comes. For those who know the story of Queen, particularly front man Freddie Mercury, it was incredibly disappointing to watch.

The legacy of Queen and Mercury is a complicated one with Mercury’s personal life mixed in with his stellar performances, and this legacy is completely glossed over in the film. The only thing that was truly Oscar worthy in “Bohemian Rhapsody” was Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury, as he becomes Freddie Mercury reincarnated. But unfortunately, it was not enough to save this safe and forgettable film that has no place as a nominee for Best Picture.

While other great films this year have been nominated for awards, the truly great films that have been nominated are not necessarily getting the awards that they deserve.

While “Black Panther” has a nomination for Best Picture and a lot of technical nominations, the things that truly made the film special such as its directing, acting and writing did not get recognized by the Academy. While the nominees for those awards are solid for the most part, the fact the “Black Panther” was not recognized is outrageous.

Other films that were either snubbed or were not properly recognized in these particular categories include “First Reformed,” “Hereditary,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Mandy,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “Eighth Grade,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “Mission Impossible: Fallout.”

In the directing category, there was no one more deserving of a nomination, let alone the award itself, than Ryan Coogler. The fact that his personal and intimate style of directing, along with “Black Panther” being his third masterpiece at thirty-two years old was not nominated is a mistake on the Academy’s part.

Alfonso Cuarón also brought a directing style to “Roma” that felt very personal, brought the audience into the world and is very deserving of the Oscar for Best Director. At the same time, there were a lot of impressive directorial debuts as well.

In the Screenplay category, “Black Panther” should have been nominated with its great use of complex themes and its character work for the Adapted Screenplay award. “Roma’s” Best Original Screenplay for Alfonso Cuarón was well deserved for making the audience feel like they knew the characters in the film.

But the most anger inducing, most disgraceful snub by the Academy was the snub of “Won’t You Be my Neighbor?” for Best Documentary Feature.

In these divisive times the fact that a documentary about one of the purest men on the planet who always lifted people’s spirits and always meant it when he said, “I love you just the way you are” not being nominated is just disgraceful. It is one of the worst decisions in the history of the Academy Awards.

Along with its nominees and snubs, the Oscars still has some technical stuff to work out. When it comes to its Best Picture nominees, the Academy needs to expand its numbers of nominees so that the best of all films can be included, instead of trying to come up with a Best Popular Film category that just looks down on certain films.

Or it can limit the number to five so that the absolute best films of the year get a spotlight and terrible stragglers like “Bohemian Rhapsody” do not get a nomination.

While it is important to nominate films that follow the rules, it is often good to break the rules as well. The fact that not all the categories will be presented at the show is very disappointing for people who love all aspects of film.

In addition, that there is no host for this year’s awards show is extremely bothersome. It has always been fun seeing the best of hosts such as the legendary Bob Hope and Billy Crystal bring their humor all while celebrating the best of film.

It has been a great year for film, and even when the Academy does not recognize all the best films, they will still be considered the best of the year and will be remembered for years to come.

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