If I Had an Oscar Ballot Part 5: AJ’s Ballot For the 91st Academy Awards (With the Current Nominees)

With less than 48 hours until the actual 91st Academy Awards, the Oscars are set to take over the night in entertainment. With that in mind, I’ve talked about what I would do differently as a member of the Academy. However, if I had an actual ballot with this lineup, who would I be voting for? Well, let’s find out now. I’ll rank everything in each category, but other than Best Picture, those rankings would not matter. Don’t worry about too much analysis, this will just explain my winner quickly. Le’ts dive in!

91st Oscar Nominations

Best Picture:

  1. BlacKkKlansman
  2. Black Panther
  3. The Favourite
  4. Roma
  5. A Star Is Born
  6. Vice
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody
  8. Green Book

BlacKkKlansman speaks to a much larger cultural divide than any of the other films in the competition. I believe its a movie that captures this moment in America, and also rewards Spike Lee for his incredible career.

Director

  1. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
  2. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
  3. Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
  4. Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
  5. Adam McKay, Vice

Spike deserves this after a career of being ignored. I also happen to think this movie doesn’t work with his ability to manage the tone or bring in some great craftsman.

Lead Actor

  1. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
  2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
  3. Christian Bale, Vice
  4. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
  5. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

I hate this lineup. But Dafoe is actually great. Cooper gets my 2, and I can’t stand the other three performances.

Lead Actress

  1. Olivia Colman, The Favourite
  2. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
  3. Glenn Close, The Wife
  4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  5. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

I think Olivia Colman gives the best beat by beat performance by far. It’s no contest in my eyes. I feel bad for Close, but I don’t think her work transcends career-defining work by Colman.

Supporting Actor

  1. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  2. Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
  3. Mahershala Ali, Green Book
  4. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
  5. Sam Rockwell, Vice

I don’t think Mahershala is a supporting actor (the movie literally cannot happen without him). However, Richard E. Grant delivers in spades. He’s my winner, with Elliott also coming close.

Supporting Actress

  1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
  2. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
  3. Marina de Tavira, Roma
  4. Emma Stone, The Favourite
  5. Amy Adams, Vice

Weisz is the only Favourite woman I can buy in Supporting, and she’s a powerhouse performer. However, King is also great. Slight edge to King for not being a borderline lead.

Original Screenplay

  1. The Favourite written by Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
  2. First Reformed written by Paul Schrader
  3. Roma written by Alfonso Cuarón
  4. Vice written by Adam McKay
  5. Green Book written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

The Favourite, a Marianas Trench, and then everything else.

Adapted Screenplay

  1. BlacKkKlansman written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
  2. If Beale Street Could Talk written by Barry Jenkins
  3. Can You Ever Forgive Me? written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
  4. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs written by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  5. A Star Is Born written by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Spike serves as the biggest of the four writers on BlacKkKlansman, and the work is close enough to If Beale Street Could Talk, I would give him a slight edge. Jenkins will be back and already has an Oscar for this category.

Animated Feature

  1. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
  2. “Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
  3. “Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
  4. “Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
  5. “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston

Spider-Man and nothing else really matters. However, I really believe the Disney films are the weakest films here.

Best Documentary Feature

  1. “Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
  2. “Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
  3. “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
  4. “Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
  5. “RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen

The physical of filming Free Solo makes this an easy call. But Minding the Gap and Hale County are really impressive.

Best Foreign Language Film:

  1. “Shoplifters” (Japan)
  2. “Cold War” (Poland)
  3. “Roma” (Mexico)
  4. “Capernaum” (Lebanon)
  5. “Never Look Away” (Germany)

While none of these films made my Top 10, four were in my Top 30. Slight edge to Shoplifters, followed by Cold War and Roma.

Original Song

  1. “All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
  2. “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by Willie Watson, Tim Blake Nelson
  3. “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice
  4. “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
  5. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Riding in on my principal’s horse, I’m sticking with “All the Stars,” and then going with Cowboy. I actually listen to two of these songs.

Original Score

  1. “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell
  2. “Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson
  3. “BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard
  4. “Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
  5. “Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

No feat in filmmaking during 2018 struck a chord with me like Nicholas Brittell‘s score. What a great piece of composition.

Production Design

  1. “Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler
  2. “First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
  3. “The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
  4. “Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez
  5. “Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim

Wakanda Forever! Give me Black Panther.

Cinematography

  1. “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
  2. “Cold War,” Lukasz Zal
  3. “The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan
  4. “Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel
  5. “A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

Don’t worry, I’m not blanking Roma. It really deserves a win here.

Visual Effects

  1. “Avengers: Infinity War”
  2. “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
  3. “First Man”
  4. “Christopher Robin”
  5. “Ready Player One”

I believe that Thanos and Infinity War work better than anything else here. Close second to First Man though.

Costume Design

  1. “Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter
  2. “The Favourite,” Sandy Powell
  3. “Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
  4. “Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell
  5. “Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne

One more time, with feeling, this has to go to Ruth E. Carter. What a fantastic use of color and African history. We’ve never seen anything like it.

Film Editing

  1. “BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
  2. “The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
  3. “Vice,” Hank Corwin
  4. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman
  5. “Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito

BlacKkKlansman controls the pace well and has some really standout scenes I can’t ignore. The Favourite was close, because comedic timing is hard to edit in a period piece. It’s structure ultimately hurt my feelings towards the edit.

Makeup and Hair

  1. “Border”
  2. “Mary Queen of Scots”
  3. “Vice”

Border is objectively the best work. Mary Queen of Scots gets the 2. Vice can’t get credit for transforming its characters AND give Bale credit for being a transformative actor.

Sound Mixing

  • “First Man”
  • “Roma”
  • “Black Panther”
  • “A Star Is Born”
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody”

First Man uses the sound mix to completely disorient you, plus the use of the score is perfect.

Sound Editing

  • “A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
  • “First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
  • “Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
  • “Roma,” Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst

A Quiet Place is about sound first and foremost. Recording silence is much more difficult than one might guess.

Animated Short

  1. “Weekends,” Trevor Jimenez
  2. “One Small Step,” Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
  3. “Bao,” Domee Shi
  4. “Animal Behaviour,” Alison Snowden, David Fine
  5. “Late Afternoon,” Louise Bagnall

Weekends is the artistic achievement and everything else goes straight for the feels. But Weekends has got feels too.

Best Documentary Short

  1. “Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi
  2. “Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
  3. “A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
  4. “End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
  5. “Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald

Period. End of Sentence is the story that makes the biggest difference in the real world. Black Sheep was close because it’s bonkers.

Best Live Action Short Film

  1. “Marguerite,” Marianne Farley
  2. “Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
  3. “Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
  4. “Detainment,” Vincent Lambe
  5. “Skin,” Guy Nattiv

I’m gonna jump off a bridge. Marguerite is the only one I can stand.

Who do you think will at the Oscars this Sunday? Let us hear your thoughts below.

Check out Aaron and I discussing our Oscar picks on We Bought a Pod! Read AJ’s picks here! 

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