It's that time of year again! Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed this year's Oscar nominations in a livestream hosted by 'The Big Sick' star Kumail Nanjiani and 'Black-ish' star Tracee Ellis Ross. As a huge fan of all kinds of films, this time of year is always exciting for me, and I always aim to watch as many of the nominated films before the ceremony itself as possible. In the past, this has sometimes been difficult due to the limited releases of some of the more "out there" films, but this year sees a slight departure from that with many more mainstream films being nominated.
A prime example of this is 'Black Panther', which has become the first superhero blockbuster to be nominated for the coveted 'Best Picture' award. Alongside it, Queen biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody' has also received a nomination in the same category. I, like many, was very surprised to see these films nominated, but I certainly welcome the addition of more accessible films to the line-up. This is something which has been requested by many over the past few years, with mainstream audiences feeling alienated by The Academy's favouring of smaller films, however. The Academy even announced that they would be introducing a "Best Popular Film" category next year, so this made it even more surprising to see these two films nominated. Personally, I don't agree with their choices in this regard. Whilst I enjoyed 'Black Panther', I didn't find it anywhere near as captivating as Marvel's later effort in 'Infinity War', which miraculously cured me of my superhero fatigue. This alone is surely something worthy of an award. 'Bohemian Rhapsody', on the other hand, was perhaps the biggest surprise for me. Whilst I found some of the recreations of Queen's live performances spectacular, I found the rest of the film very tedious and manipulative of Freddie Mercury's story, which was a great shame and a missed opportunity.
My personal picks for these two slots would be Damien Chazelle's 'First Man' and Christopher McQuarrie's 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout'. Both of these were amongst my personal highlights of the year, with both of them showcasing how films can encapsulate their audience and throw them into the story in a way which is accessible and memorable for their audience. Any film which features Tom Cruise galloping across the London skyline and making it look effortlessly cool gets a big thumbs-up from me, as well as a jealous sigh when I find myself out of breath just walking up the stairs to the Novo Wave office.
The Oscars will be presented live at 1am GMT on the 25th February. I'll probably watch the highlights if I'm honest. At 1am I'll be busy dreaming of a nomination for 'First Man'.
Who do you think will win? Who do you think was robbed of a nomination? Will you be awake for the ceremony or do you value sleep? Let us know!
Written by Ewan Tough