The academy has been on its way to ABC since Tom Sherak expanded the category for best picture after the so-called “snub” of The Black Knight and created the Governors Awards after Jerry Lewis walked while receiving his honorary Oscar. So, under the chapter “Oscars So White”, the academy threw its members under the bus and has since added new people – many who have not really accomplished anything and in some cases do not even work in film. And now, because the Academy has an expensive museum to worry about, and because the entire organization has become so overcrowded and overpaid – there are literally more officers and security people for the Academy’s views than members – it’s afraid to stand up for itself. When ABC told the academy to take a lot of categories out of the live show “or something”, the academy bent over backwards and dispersed them. They should have told ABC that they should fuck themselves and have sold the show to someone else. It is an insult to the nominees of these categories that their prizes will be awarded while the red carpet is still going on and people are going in and out of the room. And for what? Want more time to show clips from superhero movies and hand out a Twitter award? On top of all this, members can not even go to the show anymore – they are not doing a lottery this year – and yet the Academy’s parking attendant gets a place every year. Many members are extremely dissatisfied and are investigating the possibility of a class action lawsuit. That’s not what we’ve signed up for.
On my nomination ballot, I put Tik, Tik… Bum! at No. 1 – very good who made up for it! I thought too The unforgivable was underrated – it’s the most powerful self-sacrifice film I’ve ever seen, with a fantastic performance by Sandra Bullock. As for the 10 that were nominated? Drive my car is not a bad movie, but it belongs in the international game category, not here, like Parasite did. Dune is worthy in many categories, but not this one. I was looking forward to the new West Side Story, but apart from its opening sequence, it is almost a carbon copy of the original; I know they stress that they are casting Latino and Latina actors this time, but the actress who plays Maria is named Rachel Zeglerso that I think is a bit exaggerated. Do not look up is a one-joke movie. King Richard is not bad, but it is not particularly good. Licorice pizza is masterful in some ways, but I do not know how much it really has to say. The other four – Belfast, CODA, Nightmare alley and The power of the dog – are all worthy. The power of the dog is beautifully played, photographed and in many ways directed, but it’s just too long, with some really boring moments. Belfast is moving, with great performance, and shows how the issues affected the average person that I had never seen before; I’m not sure why they called the child “Buddy” instead of “Kenneth,” but that’s another matter. Nightmare alley is far superior to Guillermo del Toro’s second film to win this award [The Shape of Water]; it is visually stunning and a study of greed that many people could benefit from seeing. But CODA shows a part of life that some people live, but most people are not exposed to, and it’s excellent in every way that a best picture should be – it has great storytelling, acting and instruction, and it also conveys an important message about society. It deserves to be recognized.
VOTE: (1) CODA(2) Nightmare alley(3) Belfast(4) The power of the dog(5) Licorice pizza(6) King Richard(7) Do not look up(8) West Side Story(9) Dune(10) Drive my car
I’m shocked [CODA’s] Sian Heder was not nominated in this category and that [Drive My Car’s Ryusuke] Hamaguchi var. [West Side Story’s] Steven Spielberg should not have been nominated – that film was primarily made by the art department and the choreography department. [Licorice Pizza’s] Paul Thomas Anderson’s writing is more impressive than his instruction. [Belfast’s] Kenneth Branagh and [Dog’s] Jane Campion are both very strong candidates; Kenneth just told his story in a more economical way.
VOTE: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
[Being the Ricardos’ Javier] Bardem did not do much for me; he does not look like anything Desi Arnaz and the film was not so good. I’ve never been a big fan of [King Richard’s] Will Smith. Denzel [Washington of The Tragedy of Macbeth] is always brilliant. [Dog’s Benedict] Cumberbatch delivers powerful, subtle performance. But my choice, far above all, is [Tick, Tick … Boom!’s] Andrew Garfield. You can see he put his heart and soul into that movie, and did things he had never done before, and with an American accent, I might add. I loved that movie.
VOTE: Andrew Garfield, Tik, Tik… Bum!
I have a feeling she’s probably going to win, but I did not like Olivia Colman’s interpretation of that character. [in The Lost Daughter] – she was just a bitter woman with one tone throughout, and I thought the actress who played the younger version of her character [Jessie Buckley] was much better. [Ricardos’] Nicole Kidman was nothing special except when she recreated scenes from I love Lucy. Both [The Eyes of Tammy Faye’s] Jessica Chastain and [Parallel Mothers’] Penélope Cruz er always well. But [Spencer’s] Kristen Stewart deserves this – if her interpretation of Diana were not perfect, the whole film would have sunk. Not only does she physically embody Diana, but she captures her entire essence. I have not liked many of her other films, but in this one her talent is undeniable.
VOTE: Kristen Stewart, Spencer
Best Supporting Actor
I do not know how [Dog’s] Jesse Plemons or [Ricardos’] JK Simmons was nominated. I liked [Dog’s] Kodi Smit-McPhee, but I want to see a bigger work from him before we honor him with an Oscar. [Belfast’s] Ciaran Hinds is wonderful. But for me, that’s it [CODA’s] Troy Kotsur, all the way down – he was able to move a non-deaf audience to tears, he was so brilliant.
VOTE: Troy Kotsur, CODA
Best Supporting Actress
I’m not big King Richard fan [the film for which Aunjanue Ellis is nominated]. I did not think [Dog’s] Kirsten Dunst was so special. [The Lost Daughter’s] Jessie Buckley was really good.[Belfast’s] Judi Dench is always amazing. But I vote for Ariana DeBose, the best I know West Side Story.
VOTE: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Best Acustom Manuscript
I really did not like The prodigal daughter. I do not think Dune belongs here because it is not even a finished film [part two of the adaptation is still to come] – but in fairness it is already a far better interpretation of the book than the prior adaptation! Drive my car is interesting. For me, it’s really close in between The power of the dog and CODA. I just found CODA more powerful and it is not a small feat for a hearing person [Heder] to capture the nuances of what life is like for the deaf.
Best original manuscript
The worst person in the world is very interesting and I appreciated the humor and cynicism of Do not look up. But Belfast deserves this.
Best animated feature
Charm is charming, however Escape deserves recognition in this category, as much as any of the three it is nominated for because it uses animation in such a unique way to tell its story.
The rescue should have been nominated and won. Escape is gimmicky. Writing With Fire is powerful. But I was not blown away by any of these five.
Best international feature
[Austria’s Oscar entry] Great Freedom should have been nominated and I might even have voted for it if it had been. Of the five that were, I liked them all, but the best was clear [Italy’s] God’s handwhich is the closest to Fellini I’ve ever seen.
VOTE: God’s hand
Macbeth and Nightmare alley was beautifully photographed. But the grayness of the appearance of The power of the dog made you feel like you were right there at that time and place.
VOTE: The power of the dog
Best costume design
I do not think the costumes are in Dune was something unusual. Cruella ‘s was very Disney. Nightmare ‘Search West Side Story ‘s were certainly colorful. But Cyrano ‘s were the most creative.
Best movie editing
Editing in Tik, Tik… Bum! was just extraordinary. It played by the rhythm and energy of the character and his music, in the sense that it’s hectic and everywhere in a way that just worked.
VOTE: Tik, Tik… Bum!
Best makeup and hair styling
Coming 2 America was a terrible movie. Cruella are Disney – exaggerated characters. Dune was not very remarkable for his hair and makeup. It leaves Tammy Faye’s eyes and [House of] Gucci. I give it to Tammy Faye because they totally transformed Jessica; it’s the least I can do to acknowledge the suffering she must have gone through!
VOTE: Tammy Faye’s eyes
Best original score
I liked the result of Dunebut The power of the dog ‘s score fits the film to a T.
VOTE: The power of the dog
Best original song
I’m a little biased because Diane Warren [the 13-time nominee who is up this year for “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days] is a friend. I doubt she will go from there, but given that I was not particularly fond of the other nominees, I will give her a vote. “No time to die” [from No Time to Die] is not bad, but I think “Skyfall” [from Skyfall] was a much better song.
VOTE: “Somehow you do,” Four good days
Best production design
I liked the production design of West Side Storybut Nightmare ‘s advanced his story and greatly improved the experience.
VOTE: Nightmare alley
I’m looking for a sound design that is realistic and promotes the story. Dune, No time to die and West Side Story are large and noisy; Belfast and The power of the dog are subtle. I was impressed Belfast ‘s things in the streets and its use of music.
Best visual effects
Here we have all the popular movies and their effects is pretty good. Spider Man [No Way Home]’is was over the others’.
VOTE: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Best animated short film
Best short film
Best live-action card
A version of this story first appeared in the Hollywood Reporter magazine on March 23rd. Click here to subscribe.