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Oscar nominations lightning reaction

by on March 15, 2021

LaKeith Stanfield is an Oscar nominee!!

Can’t begin to say how pleased I am. I’ve been a huge fan of Stanfield’s work since I first saw him in “Short Term 12,” and watched his career grow and blossom. He’s mostly been in supporting roles in big films like “Get Out” or leading roles in small movies such as “Sorry to Bother You” or “The Photograph.” Always doing fine work.

His performance in “Judas and the Black Messiah” was terrific though it’s a rather understated one that’s been overshadowed by his costar Daniel Kaluuya in the awards race. In fact, Stanfield’s nominations was a complete surprise because I don’t believe he’s turned up as a nominee in any of the major awards thus far.

The only thing that’s strange about Stanfield’s nod is that it’s in the supporting actor category, so he’ll be competing against Kaluuya. It’s puzzling, since Stanfield plays the main character the film. I guess that movie had no lead then?

People are likely going to say that Stanfield’s nominations came at the expense of Chadwick Boseman, who was talked up as being a double nominee. But you could easily say that about any of the other four nominees — such as Sacha Baron Cohen for the lackluster “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”

I think Boseman has a better shot of winning in the lead actor category, which is rather weak this year, and he’s terrific in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Also, “Da 5 Bloods” sucks.

A few notable surprises and snubs. I’m stunned that “Ma Rainey,” my favorite film of the year, did not score a Best Picture nod or a screenplay nomination. “One Night in Miami” got a screenplay nomination but not Best Picture. Along with no best pic nomination for “Da 5 Bloods,” that’s going to start a heated conversation about Black film being overlooked again this year, though overall the nominees are fairly diverse.

Also, “Da 5 Bloods” sucked.

Only eight films were nominated for best picture out of a possible 10, so there’s going to be a lot of talk about which ones were snubbed. Personally I don’t like this newish system of having somewhere between five to 10 nominees, depending on weighted voting. Just make it 10, I say.

That means you’ll have more films in the field with no chance of winning, but getting a best pic nod is a career-changing event. Plus, it would eclipse some of the griping we’re bound to see.

Paul Raci was a surprise supporting actor nominee for “The Sound of Metal,” though he’s turned up in a few other awards. It’s fine work, though casting a hearing actor in a deaf role has proved somewhat controversial. (Though it shouldn’t.)

The directing nominees were a bit of a shock too. I don’t think anyone was expecting Thomas Vinterberg to get in for “Another Round.” He hasn’t really even been in the conversation. People will say his spot belonged Regina King for “One Night in Miami,” a fine debut for the actress behind the camera.

“Borat” also picked up a screenplay nod and supporting actress for Maria Bakalova, which I just don’t get. It’s strange that the Academy, which has historically failed to recognize comedies, suddenly likes this subpar one.

The rest of the acting categories weren’t terribly surprising. Vanessa Kirby and Andra Day both snuck in for Best Actress, though I think Frances McDormand has got one locked up, with Carey Mulligan as the stalking horse. Gary Oldman didn make it for Best Actor, which was looking like it was on the bubble there for awhile as that film’s luster faded.

It’s weird. If you’d asked me four or five months ago what film would be the runaway favorite, I’d have said “Mank.” But it just got a wide range of reactions that I wasn’t expecting. It has all the marks of the classic Best Picture pedigree: name actors and filmmaker, historical piece, about Hollywood, terrific cinematography, costumes and production values.

A lot of people just plain didn’t like it, though.

Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the film, I’m glad to see “Promising Young Woman” get some love in the major categories. The Academy has rightfully been accused over the years of favoring comforting films over challenging ones — and this certainly falls into the latter category.

Stay tuned as myself and some other members of the Film Yap crew will gather for a video cast that’ll be out later today.



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