2019 Oscar Previews: Part 1

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There’s always a lot of talk leading up to the big day about who will win what awards. We try to make our predictions based on trends from the past, but we can’t help to be swayed by our own personal opinions. Some movies truly strike a chord with us, while others aren’t interesting at all. Furthermore, Oscar films are usually heavy in the drama department and therefore they aren’t always the easiest or most entertaining movies to watch.

That’s why we’re here. Here is your guide to the nominees of this year’s Academy Awards. We’ve compiled the following brief summaries, interesting facts, and critical reviews for all these films and people. The goal is to give you a solid background even if you haven’t been able to catch up with this year’s nominees. So read on, and then start planning your Oscar-related drinking game. 


 BEST PICTURE NOMINEES


Black Panther

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Directed By: Ryan Coogler

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyongo, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira

Story: After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

Biggest Awards Wins So Far:

SAG Awards – Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

SAG Awards – Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

AFI Awards – Movie of the Year

Critics Choice Awards – Best Production Design

Critics Choice Awards – Best Costume Design

Critics Choice Awards – Best Visual Effects

Other Oscar Nominations:

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Best Achievement in Production Design

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

What Our Critic Said: (read our review here)

“Black Panther may not be the first Black superhero we’ve had in the cinema, but it is easily one of best to date.”

Overall Critic Consensus:

Metacritic: 88/100

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

IMDB:7.4/10

Cinelinx: 5.0/5.0

Interesting Fact: The fighting in the film is based on African martial arts and traditional methods of armed combat.


BlacKkKlansman

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Directed By: Spike Lee

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace

Story: It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.

Biggest Awards So Far:

AFI – Movie of the Year

Other Oscar Nominations:

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Achievement in Film Editing

What Our Critic Said: (read our review here)

“Although the movie deals with racism in the country, Spike Lee still manages to inject quite a bit humor into the film.”

Overall Critic Consensus:

Metacritic: 83/100

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

IMDB: 7.5/10

Cinelinx: 4.8/5.0

Interesting Fact: Director Spike Lee and his writers moved the story back seven years from when it actually took place in 1979 to 1972. This allowed the film to reference both the then trendy blaxploitation movies and the re-election campaign, supposedly supported by the Klan, of President Nixon.


Bohemian Rhapsody

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Directed By: Bryan Singer

Starring: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen

Story:  The film traces the meteoric rise of the band Queen through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn lead singer Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music.

Biggest Awards So Far:

Golden Globes – Best Motion Picture, Drama

Golden Globes – Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

SAG Awards – Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Other Oscar Nominations:

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Best Achievement in Film Editing

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

What The Critics Said:

“…winds up being giddily entertaining, first as an exercise in so-bad-it’s-funny kitsch, ultimately as something far more meaningful and thrilling.

– Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Overall Critic Consensus:

Metacritic: 49

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%

IMDB: 8.2/10

Interesting Fact: Canadian singer Marc Martel lends his voice to the biopic as Freddie. They use a mix of his voice and Freddie’s together, on top of Rami Malek’s. In an interview, Malek said his singing was seamlessly mixed with both Freddie’s and Martel’s.


The Favourite

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Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Emma Stone, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult

Story: In the early 18th century, England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne, and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead, while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots.

Biggest Awards So Far:

Golden Globes – Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

AFI – Movie of the Year

Critics Choice Awards – Best Supporting Actress

Critics Choice Awards – Best Acting Ensemble

Other Oscar Nominations:

Best Original Screenplay

Best Achievement in Production Design

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (x2)

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Best Achievement in Film Editing

What Our Critic Said: (read our review here)

“A ruthless spectacle orchestrated to high proficiency. It is cruel and soothing, equal parts pleasure and pain. In every sense of the word, The Favorite is a devilish good time.”  

Overall Critic Consensus:

Metacritic: 90%

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

IMDB: 7.9/10

Cinelinx: 4.8/5.0

Interesting Fact: Most of the costumes and wigs were made from scratch. The budget was very tight, so renting them was not feasible. The early 18th century is rarely depicted on film, so few costume houses had much appropriate stock available. Clothes and wigs were custom built, then deconstructed and re-used in other scenes.


Green Book

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Directed By: Peter Farrelly

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini

Story: Dr Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist, who is about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.

Biggest Awards So Far:

Golden Globes – Best Screenplay, Motion Picture

Golden Globes – Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Golden Globes – Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

SAG Awards – Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

AFI – Movie of the Year

Critics Choice Awards – Best Supporting Actor

Other Oscar Nominations:

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Original Screenplay

Best Achievement in Film Editing

What The Critics Said:

“Mortensen and Ali both give fabulous performances in this feel-good road-trip drama that’s part buddy comedy, part history lesson, and part social commentary on friendship and race.”

– Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media

Overall Critic Consensus:

Metacritic: 70%

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

IMDB: 8.3/10

Interesting Fact: The film is dedicated to “Larry the Crow,” a bird that hung around the shooting location. Viggo Mortensen cared for the animal after it was hit by a car.


Roma

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Directed By:  Alfonso Cuarón

Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira

Story: A story that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.

Biggest Awards So Far:

Golden Globes – Best Director, Motion Picture

Golden Globes – Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language

Critics Choice Awards – Best Director

Critics Choice Awards – Best Picture

Critics Choice Awards – Best Foreign Language Film

Critics Choice Awards – Best Cinematography

Venice Film Festival – Best Film

Other Oscar Nominations:

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Best Original Screenplay

Best Achievement in Production Design

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

What The Critics Said:

“Cuarón has done more than break through walls of language, culture and class to craft the best movie of the year.”

– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Overall Critic Consensus:

Metacritic: 96%

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

IMDB: 8.0/10

Interesting Fact: Alfonso Cuarón was the only person on set to know the entire script and the direction of the film. Each day, before filming, the director would hand the lines to his cast, attempting to elicit real emotion and shock from his actors. Each actor would also receive contradictory directions and explanations, which meant that there was chaos on set every day.


A Star Is Born

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Directed By: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott

Story: Seasoned musician Jackson Maine discovers — and falls in love with — struggling artist Ally. She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer until Jackson coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jackson fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

Biggest Awards So Far:

Golden Globes – Best Original Song

AFI – Movie of the Year

Critics Choice Awards – Best Actress

Critics Choice Awards – Best Song

Other Oscar Nominations:

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Achievement in Cinematography

What Our Critic Said: (read our review here)

“Between Bradley Cooper’s direction, the powerful performances, and songs that stay with you emotionally, there’s a lot to love about the new A Star Is Born.”

Overall Critic Consensus:

Metacritic: 88/100

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

IMDB: 7.9/10

Cinelinx: 4.0/5.0

Interesting Fact: Some of the scenes were filmed at the Coachella Festival in 2017, where Lady Gaga was the first female headliner in ten years. Festival-goers paid ten dollars to see the scenes being filmed, although recording devices were locked away to prevent any footage being leaked.


Vice

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Directed By: Adam McKay

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell

Story: Governor George W Bush of Texas picks Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton Co, to be his Republican running mate in the 2000 presidential election. No stranger to politics, Cheney’s impressive résumé includes stints as White House chief of staff, House Minority Whip and defence secretary. When Bush wins by a narrow margin, Cheney begins to use his newfound power to help reshape the country and the world.

Biggest Awards So Far:

Golden Globes – Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Critics Choice Awards – Best Actor

Critics Choice Awards – Best Actor in a Comedy

Critics Choice Awards – Best Hair and Makeup

Other Oscar Nominations:

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Original Screenplay

Best Achievement in Film Editing

What Our Critic Said: (see our review here)

“It can feel like a music video at times, but is an entertaining story that shows Cheney’s rise to power behind Bush.”

Overall Critic Consensus:

Metacritic: 61%

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%

IMDB:7.1/10

Cinelinx: 3.2 / 5.0

Interesting Fact: The cast filmed a musical sequence, but it was cut in editing after McKay decided to shift to a more serious tone.


Check back next week for Part 2 of our Oscar Previews!