road to the Oscars
February 3, 2020

Joaquin Phoenix didn't let the British Academy Film Awards off the hook for the lack of diversity among its nominees.

The Joker star on Sunday won the BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role, in his acceptance speech saying he feels "conflicted" doing so. After all, this came as the BAFTAs this year was widely criticized for nominating only white actors, including two nominations for Margot Robbie in the same category.

"I think that we send a very clear message to people of color that you're not welcome here," Phoenix said in his speech. "I think that's the message that we're sending to people who have contributed so much to our medium and our industry in ways that we benefit from."

Phoenix went on to admit that he's "part of the problem" because "I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive," but he went on to say that "we have to really do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism." He concluded, "I think that it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones to dismantle it. So that's on us."

The lack of diversity in the BAFTA acting nominees had previously been criticized by the organization itself, which promised to "review all aspects of our voting process." Brendan Morrow

January 13, 2020

And the 2020 Oscar nominations are ... full of some major shockers. Here are the most surprising snubs from this year's line-up.

1. Jennifer Lopez - Jennifer Lopez was quite recently thought to be a major contender to win Best Supporting Actress for Hustlers, competing alongside Laura Dern. But in the end, Lopez wasn't even nominated.

2. Frozen 2 - The Academy has historically loved Disney films in the Best Animated Feature Film category, and although Toy Story 4 did make it in, Frozen 2 shockingly wasn't nominated. It did pick up an original song nod, however.

3. Taron Egerton - The lead actor race was particularly brutal this year, leading to stars from Robert De Niro to Eddie Murphy being snubbed. But especially notable was Rocketman's Taron Egerton being left out, even though pundits thought he would squeeze in after a Golden Globes victory.

4. Awkwafina - Similarly, after Awkwafina picked up the Golden Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy, she didn't make it to the Oscars. As a result, The Farewell was completely shut out.

5. Beyoncé - Favored to pick up a Best Original Song nomination for The Lion King, Beyoncé was left out in the cold.

6. Apollo 11 - Going into the nominations, Apollo 11 was favored on Gold Derby to not only score a nomination for Best Documentary Feature, but actually win the award. Somehow, though, it wasn't even nominated.

7. Ruth Carter - After winning the Best Costume Design Oscar last year for Black Panther, Ruth Carter wasn't nominated this time for Dolemite Is My Name.

8. Greta Gerwig - Though pundits were bracing for it based on how the season had been shaking out, Greta Gerwig was left out of the Best Director category for Little Women, resulting in yet another year of all-male directing nominees. Brendan Morrow

February 22, 2019

After months of endless confusion and controversy, the 2019 Oscars is nearly here. Here's what to expect from what could be the most bizarre Academy Awards in years:

1. Roma wins Best Picture: Netflix's film is the heavy favorite, although the Academy has never chosen a foreign-language Best Picture, so don't count out Green Book. In fact, nearly all of the nominees have a shot — yes, even Bohemian Rhapsody. Roma's Alfonso Cuarón should also take Best Director.

2. Rami Malek, Glenn Close, Mahershala Ali, and Regina King win: The four acting prizes look essentially locked up, although there could potentially be an upset win for Rachel Weisz over King.

3. No host, but plenty of presenters: The Academy is proceeding without a host for the first time in three decades, and the show is expected to rely on presenters to keep the night moving — including some from outside of Hollywood like Serena Williams and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). The last host-less Oscars was an infamous disaster, so is another train wreck in store?

4. Musical performances: The songs are back on after the Academy briefly considered cutting all but two, although Black Panther's Kendrick Lamar and SZA won't be coming. Still, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will sing "Shallow," and Jennifer Hudson, Bette Midler, and Queen + Adam Lambert will also perform.

5. The Academy put on blast? Almost everyone had a reason to be mad at the Academy's leadership over the past six months due to a variety of since-rescinded changes, including a proposal to not give out all the awards live. After the most contentious Oscars rollout ever, don't be surprised to see a rogue presenter — Frances McDormand, anyone? — call out the producers and speak against similarly awful tweaks to 2020's show.

6. So much for three hours: Remember when the Academy vowed to rein the show into a tight three hours? Well, they've since given up, so expect another late night. Brendan Morrow

February 11, 2019

Ahead of the 2019 Oscars, is Best Picture Roma's to lose?

The Netflix film on Sunday took Best Film at the 2019 British Academy Film Awards, the British equivalent of the Oscars and the last major awards show before the Academy Awards, per The Wrap. Roma's Alfonso Cuarón also took home Best Director. BAFTA's track record of predicting the Best Picture Oscar has been a bit mixed, with the organization incorrectly picking Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in 2018, La La Land in 2017, and The Revenant in 2016. But the BAFTAs and the Oscars did line up consistently from 2009 through 2014.

Roma's BAFTA win comes after it already took home the top prizes at the Critics Choice Awards and the Directors Guild of America Awards, although Green Book is a strong Oscar contender as well, having won at the Golden Globe Awards and the Producers Guild of America Awards. Many pundits felt the BAFTAs would go for the British film The Favourite, so the fact that Roma reigned puts it in an even stronger position ahead of the Oscars, voting for which begins on Feb. 12.

That's not to say BAFTA didn't love The Favourite, though, as the film picked up seven awards, including Best Actress in a Leading Role for Olivia Colman and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Rachel Weisz. But Oscar frontrunners Glenn Close and Regina King don't necessarily need to panic. Gold Derby points out a number of instances in which British actors have had the advantage at the BAFTAs over the eventual Oscar winner, such as when Dev Patel defeated Mahershala Ali in 2017, but Ali won the Oscar.

Speaking of Ali, he took Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the BAFTAs, while Rami Malek took Best Actor in a Leading Role as both actors look to have their respective Oscars locked up. Read the full BAFTA results at The Wrap. Brendan Morrow

December 4, 2018

In the latest preview of the 2019 Oscars, a list of the best films of the year that often forecasts the Academy's Best Picture choices has just been unveiled.

The American Film Institute on Tuesday released its picks for the ten best films of 2018: BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Eighth Grade, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Favorite, First Reformed, Green Book, Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place, and A Star Is Born. At the end of a year in which the Academy briefly discussed introducing an award for "popular film," it's worth noting that nearly half the movies on this list would easily qualify. Black Panther, A Quiet Place and A Star Is Born were all box office hits, and Mary Poppins Returns looks set to join those ranks when it opens on Dec. 19.

The AFI's list often has a fair amount in common with the Oscars, although it never lines up exactly. Last year, seven out of the 10 films on the AFI's top 10 list went on to receive a Best Picture nomination, but The Big Sick, The Florida Project, and Wonder Woman didn't make it. Gold Derby points out that since 2010, the AFI has predicted 65 of 73 Best Picture nominees, not counting films made outside of the United States since those aren't eligible for the AFI's list.

One notable snub here is First Man, Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong biopic that has been gunning for a Best Picture nomination but was a box office bomb and was previously snubbed by the National Board of Review. Adam McKay's Dick Cheney biopic Vice was also left out in the cold, as was Widows, Steve McQueen's heist thriller starring Viola Davis. Netflix's Roma, a Best Picture frontrunner, isn't included either, but that's just because it wasn't eligible. Instead, it received a special award. Brendan Morrow

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