The 91st annual Academy Awards air Sunday, February 24, on ABC.
Part I: Shorts, Documentaries, Animated, Foreign Language!
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
A Night at the Garden
Period. End of Sentence
Kelly: I haven’t seen any of these, but I’ll go with Lifeboat based on the Academy’s history of using this category to spotlight a giant political issue- and given the recent government shutdown and wall talk, this should provide a good platform to the filmmakers to shed light on their film’s subject.
John: Each of these film’s deal with incredibly visceral and relevant subject matter. If I had to guess most likely it will go to Lifeboat, seeing as how the refugee crisis is super topical in political discourse.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
One Small Step
Kelly: This was quite a year for Asian Americans in film, not just with Crazy Rich Asians, but also with Bao, which apparently was very confusing for anyone who wasn’t first or second generation American. Before the two of those, I haven’t really had a personal connection with a movie regarding that bit of my identity. I think Bao very eloquently hit on the struggles of assimilation between the different generations as well as the emotional ranges that come with those situations.
John: The animation cynic in me pretty much guesses the Pixar produced short always takes it, but that doesn’t at all take away the quality of Bao. It is the first Pixar animated short to be directed by an Asian woman and it clearly is a work that is deeply rooted in her personal upbringing.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Kelly: Well, I can tell you what won’t win- Detainment. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s an adaptation of a real-life kidnapping and murder of a toddler and the mother has written to the Academy begging to take away the nomination. There’s even a petition. They kept the nomination, but to have it win would be (I think) incredibly controversial. I don’t think they would want to give this piece the admiration or spotlight that comes with this award.
John: Yup. Making a movie about a child’s murder without the approval of said child’s family is gross. The Academy should do the right thing and pick a more deserving film.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons
Kelly: I’d like for Free Solo to win. I remember watching Alex Honnold on Discovery’s Elevation Weekend and it’s just such a fascinating subject that deserved this kind of platform. Climbing is a big hobby out here in LA, so it has a stronger chance than people would think. I think Minding the Gap should win, but the Academy might still be afraid of streaming services. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if RBG walked away with this one, considering the politically charged climate, her overall badassery, as well as Felicity Jones’ On the Basis of Sex, which went nomination-less despite being major Oscar bait.
John: I see one film that’s shockingly missing from this category! Where is the love for Won’t You Be My Neighbor? With the amount of critical acclaim and the cultural mark Mr. Rogers has left on the culture, you would think that it would have this one in the bag! It is disappointing but I’m sure the nominees are of equal quality to the snubbed film. Of the nominees, it will either go to RBG or Free Solo. The former for the political climate, the former for it’s bold and frankly jaw-dropping subject matter.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Kelly: This is a toss-up between Roma and Cold War, both which are also nominated for Best Director. I’m inclined to say that Roma won’t win Best Picture, so it will most likely win here- which is a little disappointing since this category shouldn’t be a “consolation prize.”
John: Roma is the clear winner here. Not particularly for its quality but for the hype it has received among the movie press. It’s placed among the Best Picture category so of course, it will take this category.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Kelly: Readers, you should have seen this coming: If anything but Spider-Verse wins, I will riot. Aside from the technical aspects as well as the excellent animation execution and style- the crafting of Spider-verse, including the story, the characters, the twists, the jokes, the callbacks… This was a better movie than some, if not most, of the ones in the talks for Best Picture.
John: I will also partake in the Spider-riot if Into the Spider-Verse doesn’t take the best Animation prize. Clearly, Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best-animated film of the year. It not only pushes the limits of what visual effect technology can do in a film, it also is one of the more well edited and engaging films of the year. I would have easily put this in the Best Picture category. As for the other films, I must speak highly of Mirai and Isle of Dogs. Both films are excellent in their own ways. As for Ralph and Incredibles, I would consider these both placeholders if anything else. It wouldn’t be the animation category if the Walt Disney Company wasn’t undeservedly represented.
We tackle the Sound, Visual Effects, Make-Up, Costumes, Song, and Music in our next round! Stay tuned!