ST. LOUIS — Every January, at first rise, a couple actors in suits read off the Academy Award nominations. More often than not, they forget names and movies that were highly potent, yet not the voters' particular cup of tea. It happens every single year.
And then there are times like this year's picks, which completely drop the ball in certain areas. I'm talking about a total rebuff; an unsound repulse that causes one to scratch their head. Here are five from this year's Oscars.
READ MORE: Oscars 2019: Full list of nominees
No Bradley Cooper director nod
This is 100 percent egregious. If the silly Golden Globes can get this right and the Oscars messes it up, something is wrong. Ask me what a director should do for a film, and Bradley Cooper's work on 'A Star Is Born' is my first exhibit. The actor-turned-director's hand prints were all over the film, stamping each and every scene. The director's film elicited three acting nominations and a Best Picture slot secured. So, what happened?
Yorgos Lanthimos and Pawel Palikowski happened. 'The Favourite' and 'Cold War' directors, respectively, got in over Cooper, and I just don't get it. The former was an overrated comedic farce bordering on absurd, and the latter was a sleep-enabling experience that I wouldn't say included a deft touch from the director.
Cooper's direction in 'A Star Is Born'—from the way he shot the concert sequences to the gorgeously brave close-ups—were the work of a master. He was the glue that held the film together; a vision that couldn't be perturbed by any outside factors. He took a film that had been done three times and made it seem like the first rendition.
Wow, Academy, wow. In a statement Tuesday, Cooper was thankful for the other nominations, and that's really nice and noble of him. I am not happy. He deserved to be in. You know, if you want to include up to 10 Best Picture nomination slots, why not increase the director spot, since their marks are all over the film?
Where's the love for 'If Beale Street Could Talk'?
A nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress aside, where is the love for Barry Jenkins' film in the top two categories?
Please hand James Baldwin's story to another director and see if they can pull that result. Go ahead. Jenkins' elegant yet potent filmmaking style fit Baldwin's bittersweet tale to a tee, making you feel all the emotions without overpowering you or manipulating you. In a day and age where racial profiling still takes place, this film's timely measure was felt.
It was even better than Jenkins' 'Moonlight', which won Best Picture two years ago. Again, 'The Favourite' picked up spots here that should have went to 'If Beale Street Could Talk'.
Also, the lack of a Best Cinematography nod for Beale Street's James Laxton is a huge miss. The way he took the ball from Jenkins and created darkly poetic visuals for this film was flawless.
With no offense to Sam Rockwell, who cut a great take on George W. Bush in Adam McKay's 'Vice', the best supporting performance in that film belonged to Steve Carell. He made Donald Rumsfeld a larger-than-life yet emotionally vulnerable individual and brought you closer to him, especially near the end of McKay's story.
The actor had a great year, scoring with a restrained yet soulful performance in 'Beautiful Boy' and taking a shot with Ed Zwick's 'Welcome to Marwen'. His work in 'Vice', though, deserved a spot instead of Rockwell, who was great, yet hardly had the kind of role to play with as Carell.
First Man's sound check?
The overall absence of Damien Chazelle's impressive film in the top categories is disheartening, but overlooking Justin Hurwitz's score—arguably the best part of the film—is just about criminal. The moon landing scene (SPOILER ALERT!) was devastatingly well done due to the score composed by Hurwitz, which locked you into your seat and aided the performance of Ryan Gosling. Great scores can elevate a film to greatness, and 'First Man' makes a fair case. Big miss.
'Three Identical Strangers' gone missing
If there is one worse oversight than Cooper's directing, it is this powerful documentary about three brothers who find each other at the age of 19. Tim Wardle's take on the amazing yet sad tale won me over the minute I finished it this past summer. I cried, took a moment to think about my own brother, and was knocked down by it. It's a documentary that plays out like a well-versed thriller that happens to be 100 percent real and relatable.
This should have been a lock.
Look, I get it. Different views can spread out the nominations, and a few of the films involved above got their fair share. However, overlooking work like Cooper, Jenkins and Wardle is too hard to pass up. Look around and you'll see I'm not the only one, but I may be the loudest.
Watch 'A Star Is Born' and tell me Cooper didn't supply that film with a sublime touch. Watch 'Three Identical Strangers' and try not to feel something deep. Go ahead.
The 2019 Academy Awards will be different. There is no host, and the show could go a number of ways due to that fact. The organizers have their own battles to figure out. My aim here is solely aimed at the voters. They messed up more than usual this year.