2019 Snubscars – My Annual Oscar Nomination Rant

Well, it’s been a ride leading up to the 2019 Oscar nominations announced this morning. With controversial crowd pleasers like Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody leading other award races, it was bound to be a bit of a shit show. And here we have it. I could be really vicious and pick apart the nominations that did come through instead of the ones that are missing, but that would be cruel to the folks who are celebrating today. What is done is done, but I am still not happy about these missing recognitions.

1. No love for Mr. Rogers and other leading documentaries….

The most glaring of snubs would be for Morgan Neville’s beloved Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? We all adored this film. The only explanation I can think of is that everyone thought everyone else was going to vote for it, so they picked an underdog?

Other critical favourites, Three Identical Strangers (which will be played on CNN on Jan 27th at 9pm) and The Silence of Others, also mysteriously missing from the list of documentary feature nominees.

2. Barry Jenkins’ Gorgeous If Beale Street Could Talk Only Got 3 Noms!!!

This is completely outrageous. It was a shoe-in for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography and possibly Production Design. I guess they couldn’t risk him stealing another Best Picture win.


This baffles me. Hello Academy? Anyone home? No one is walking the talk here on inclusion. They had sure fire films here to work with – You Were Never Really Here, Leave No Trace and Can You Ever Forgive Me (which I haven’t seen yet but have on faith is excellent) !! There is no excuse. NO EXCUSE.

4. Ethan Hawke….ETHAN HAWKE!!!!

He wrapped himself in barbed wire for Christ’s sake! It was the performance of a lifetime, anyone’s lifetime. We know people saw the film, because Paul Schrader has a nomination for his screenplay. Unless of course they didn’t see it and are just nominating him because he’s Paul Schrader. But come on. Ethan Hawke brings this complex character study / social commentary to LIFE!! This was not an easy role to play and the win was a lock. Or so I thought.

5. Editing Noms

I think I need to better understand the criteria for the editing award because I honestly thought You Were Never Really Here was one of the most brilliantly edited films I have seen in a while. The way that film was put together I could smell the streets of New York. I’m thinking no one saw the film.

6. Very Little Love for the First Man on the Moon

Every year you’ve got true stories where the truth is debated, yet the one that gets it right is passed over for the ones that arguably didn’t? Not only did this get it right, it’s an incredible film!. I usually hate space movies, but this worked for me. The Musical Score is glorious. Claire Foy was incredible. It should have a Best Picture, Best Actress and Musical Score added to its technical awards.

7. Nothing for Suspiria

Did anyone see this film? No? Didn’t think so. If they did they’d know it’s a crazy good reboot of the original arthouse film. From make up and hair, special effects, cinematography, performances from Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, to Thom Yorke’s score, something should have been nominated. I do not get it.

8. John David Washington

Why no love for this man? He was brilliant in BlacKkKlansman.

I am happy about a few things though, but less usual unfortunately.

1. The Favourite has 10 Nominations

My daughter jokes about how all the critically acclaimed “lesbian films” are practically pornos. Well here we have one that is not. It’s vicious, campy, ridiculous and riotous and impeccably well made. I hope it CLEANS UP!!

2. Roma has 10 Nominations

Not everyone loved this one, but I did. It’s a beautiful film. Happy for Alfonso and hope he wins Best Director and Best Foreign Film.


I really like this guy and I loved BlacKkKlansman. Spike can take best Director from Alfonso. I could handle that.

4. Paul Schrader

First Reformed is a wicked screenplay and happy to see it nominated. There is tough competition here but a nod is worth a lot.

5. Never Look Away has 2 Nominations

I loved this film that no one else has seen. The Foreign Film nom was not surprising but the cinematography was a very pleasant surprise.

6. Paddington 2

One of the best reviewed sequels ever, loved by everyone who took the time to see it, could have easily been nominated for best picture, editing and production design but sadly no. Some say it came out to early. Those of us who saw it didn’t forget it!!

Deep sigh…. Always flawed, corrupt and suspect. And while I am reminded that these awards hold little weight over the years, I guess I can still have some fun waging who the winners will be.

Hooray for Hollywood – 2017 Oscar Predictions


The surplus of excellent films this year, the diversity of subject matter and people represented was, dare I say, tremendous.  While the Academy settled on nine nominees for best picture, they easily could have added a tenth.

Here are my picks for this year’s annual scar contest. Again, voting from my heart. I refuse to vote strategically.

Best Picture – Moonlight

La La Land, Hidden Figures and Hell or High Water made me cheer.  Arrival made me a proud Canadian. Fences, Lion, Hacksaw Ridge and Manchester By the Sea made me weep.  But Moonlight moved me like no film has in a long, long time.

Best Director -Barry Jenkins

Denis Villeneuve – Arrival, Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge, Damien Chazelle – La La Land, Kenneth Longergan – Manchester by the Sea, and Barry Jenkins – Moonlight are all the right nominees.  For this award I am banking on my view of the quality of the nominations versus the quantity each director’s film has received.  While La La might have more, Moonlight’s are heavier weighted and for that reason I’ve picked Barry Jenkins.

Best Actor – Denzel Washington

The actors in the category are fabulous this year. While Casey Affleck may be rumoured to be a jerk in real life, the boy can act. Andrew Garfield delivered a strong “passificist” performance.  Ryan Gosling was dreamy and entertaining. Viggo was brilliant as wilderness dad.  But Denzel directed himself in this incredibly nuanced performance, and so he wins my vote.

Best Actress – Isabelle Huppert

I am not convinced, nor are many others, that the Academy got the nominees for this one right this year. What about Annette Benning and Amy Adams?  I’d say that Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga and Natalie Portman were probably good choices, but Emma Stone dancing  and Meryl Streep screeching were not enough for me.  While I hated Elle the film, I’m putting money on Isabelle Huppert in her portrayal of the victim turned predator. It is quite a performance.

Best Supporting – Actor Mahershala Ali

Sometimes you see a performance, and even though you haven’t seen all the year’s movies yet, you still know that its an award winning performance. Mahershala Ali in Moonlight is one of those performances.  I do think that the Academy made good choices with the other nominees.  Jeff Bridges, Lucas Hedges, Dev Patel and Michael Shannon should not be discouraged by Mahershala’s performance, but it is miles beyond all of theirs put together.

Best Supporting Actress -Viola Davis

The academy didn’t necessarily get the nominees right in the category either, plus they put them in the wrong categories.  And maybe this is reassuring because if you think  it tells us the parts for women are getting stronger.  But no matter because Viola knocks it out of the yard. Naomie Harris, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer and Michelle Williams better practice blubbering snot scenes because that is what it takes these days!

Best Original Screenplay – Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan has won awards for his screenplay already, so I’m going with Manchester by the Sea for this one.  It is a beautiful script.  You forget you are watching a movie. It’s like you are watching peoples lives unfold in front of you. La La Land, The Lobster, Hell or High Water and 20th Century Women shouldn’t be discouraged, this was a brilliant script.

Best Adapted Screenplay – Moonlight

Fences was true to the play, Arrival was cool, Hidden Figures was witty and triumphant, Lion a true story of personal discovery , but Moonlight was a human story with depth and beauty that stayed with me for a long time.

Best Foreign Language – Toni Erdmann

I’ve only seen two of the nominees, The Salesman and Toni Erdmann, and hands down the father-daughter laugh out loud Toni Erdmann is a destined to be a classic. Usually I’ve seen all of the foreign films by now, but with my decision locked in early, I have not been in a rush to see the others. My apologies to Land of Mine (Denmark), A Man Called Ove (Sweden) and Tanna (Australia) as you are not getting fair consideration from me.  Hope you get the attention you deserve from the Academy.

Best Documentary Feature -13th

I really did not enjoy Fire At Sea.  It taught me how to make a slingshot and fold a neat bed, but I didn’t need to lose 2 hrs for that.  This race is between OJ, 13th and I am Not Your Negro.  Given I am a huge Ava DaVernay fan, she is getting my vote.  13th is an eye opening film that hopefully will start a dialogue around a pervasive issue in the US.

Best Animated Feature – Kubo and the Two Strings

I rely on my sixteen year old daughter, who is a budding animator for this category and her favourite was Kubo and the Two Strings.   While the Zootopia might be cute, Kubo is different.  I have not seen The Red Turtle, My Life as a Zucchini or Moana, but I will.

Best Cinematography – Lion

This one is tough.  Can I pick them all?   I am tempted to pick Silence just to show Martin Scorsese some love. Arrival, La La Land and Moonlight were all gorgeous, but I’m going with Lion on this one.

Best Film Editing -Hacksaw Ridge 

I’m going with the film with the most editing for best editing because more probably means they worked harder and deserve an award.

Best Production Design -La La Land

La La Land was gorgeous, colourful and dreamy, I’ll give it that.

Best Costume Design – Jackie

Jackie took First Lady style to the next level.

Best Original Score – La La Land

La La Land is a musical, and a good one.  Let’s recognize the music.

Best Original Song – City of Stars – La La Land

The only competition I see for La La Land’s City of Stars is The Trolls’ Can’t Stop the Feeling, but my money’s on City of Stars.

Best Visual Effects – Doctor Strange

I did not see Doctor Strange, but all I heard was how amazing the effects were.

Best Make-Up & Hair Styling – Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek is known for its wild and incredible alien transformations.

Best Sound Editing – Hacksaw Ridge 

Say Hacksaw Ridge, it sounds harsh, it was.  Lots of hacking, cracking, shooting and blowing up on that ridge.

Best Sound Mixing – Hacksaw Ridge

As I said, all that action needed mixing.

These next three are pure guesses…..

Best Live Action Short – Sing, 
Best Animated Short – Piper and Best Documentary Short – The White Helmets

As I was saying, possibly the best year for movies in a very long time.

I cannot wait for Sunday. May the speeches be long and appropriately political because while they may be elites, their voices will have a huge audience. It will be tremendous!

88th Annual Academy Awards


People were wondering what to expect from the #OscarSoWhite evening and apparently viewership was down significantly. Anger, frustration and controversy did not ruin the evening, but the issue was not downplayed either. The lack of diversity was addressed meaningfully, tastefully and most of the time with humour. I do hope that when we look back in 10-15 years time, the 88th Annual Academy awards will be perceived as the pivotal year, the year that marked meaningful change to diversify the film industry, the Academy Awards, and end the era of white privilege.

Off my soapbox now…

How did I make out in the annual Oscar Pool? For the second year in a row, I landed in fourth place. Not bad since my votes are far from strategic. Am I disappointed that George Miller did not win Best Director? Absolutely. He was robbed. Should Mad Max: Fury Road have won Best Picture too? Probably, but you have to share the love. And if love is to be shared, I am glad the good people of Spotlight were recognized for bringing this very important story to the screen.

Other disappointments were Best Supporting Actor and Best Song. Sly should have won. Quite frankly, I am wondering if the voters even watched Creed, because if they had, Michael B. Jordan surely would have been nominated. “The Writing’s on the Wall” could have been a great song, but sadly it is not. Voters no doubt realized their terrible mistake after Lady Gaga’s gut wrenching performance.

Enough about the disappointments, what was memorable? Most memorable moments for me were….

When Chris Rock made all the white people cringe-laugh with his intro, and especially when he said that years ago they didn’t have time to be bothered with the Academy because “we had real things to protest” “when your grandmother is swinging from a tree who cares about best documentary short?”

When Stacy Dash came on stage and everyone went like “What?”

When everyone was adjusting themselves in their seats to stand up for Sylvester Stallone’s standing ovation and Patricia Arquette announced Mark Rylance as the winner.

When Lady Gaga blew it out of the Dolby Theatre with her emotional performance of “‘Til It Happens to You” and the young survivors of violence appeared on stage, wounded and united.

When Brie Larson hugged these same survivors as they left the stage after Gaga’s performance.

The hilarious parody video that placed Whoopi Goldberg in Joy, Leslie Jones as the bear mauling Leo in The Revenant, Tracy Morgan as The Danish Girl and Chris Rock on Mars in The Martian.

When Mad Max cleared through all of the technical awards, but particularly when Jenny Beavan marched proudly, in her Mad Max-esq crystal studded leather jacket, from the back of the theatre to receive her well deserved Oscar for Costume Design and the people stared.

When Chris Rock helped the Girl Guides sell $65,000 worth of cookies to the starving stars.

When Brie Larson gave her lovely acceptance speech for her brilliant performance in Lenny Abrahamson’s beautiful Room and she thanked the Toronto International Film Festival.

When Leo got a standing ovation for his six-times-the-charm Academy Award and spoke on behalf of the planet, humanity and people’s children’s and their children’s children, because will probably won’t have any.

When Spotlight was named as Best Picture and some of the nicest people in Hollywood got up on stage, because they were in the movie and the movie was important.

And finally, at the very end when they played “Fight The Power” loudly over the PA system.

Let’s hope the 89th Annual Academy Awards continue to make inroads that make for a more inclusive and rewarding culture of movie making.