One Sentence Judgments: Oscar Edition 2019
Last year we celebrated the Oscar nominations by writing one sentence responses to trailers for Oscar nominated films, and we’re back at it again for the 2019 noms! This article includes our gut reactions to trailers for all films nominated for TWO OR MORE Academy Awards (and, as we did with I, Tonya last year, this year we forgot Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography nominee Never Look Away).
BlackKklansman (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Adam Driver, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay)
Matt: Despite some problematic aspects, this is the “Hey, America! Fix your shit!” about race movie in this category.
Shelby: “With the right HWHITE man we can do anything” is the saddest epitaph for the year 2018, but probably the most accurate one.
Brisia: It appears as though Spike Lee was actually passionate about this movie - which shines through in the form of a well-shot, well-acted, and effectively humorous exploration of America's dire social ills.
Black Panther (Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song - “All the Stars”, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing)
Matt: I wouldn’t say this is the best movie of the year, but I wouldn’t shed a single tear if it won.
Shelby: It should have been pretty evident from the trailer alone that Black Panther would somehow end up being the least interesting character in a movie called Black Panther.
Brisia: There is literally nothing about this movie or its trailer that I found remotely significant, and the fact that it was taken by some as a serious avenue for political or cinematic discussion upon its release is disappointing.
Bohemian Rhapsody (Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role - Rami Malek, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing)
Matt: “Alexa! Play ‘Queen - Greatest Hits’ please.”
Shelby: This trailer annoys me by how much it makes me want to watch a movie that I’m otherwise totally disinterested in (on a related note - fuck Bryan Singer).
Brisia: This trailer manages to hype me up every time I watch it, and I truly believe Rami Malek deserves the nomination for his performance.
The Favourite (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role - Olivia Colman, Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Emma Stone & Rachel Weisz, Best Cinematography, Best Costumes, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Original Screenplay)
Matt: Period costume dramas about royalty are generally not my thing, but this looks so weird and dark and creepy and funny that it feels more human and real and lived-in than those usually do.
Shelby: Having spent years working in retail, I’m very familiar with (and not particularly fond of) the species of snarky, privileged white woman this film satirizes, but since it is Yorgos Lanthimos doing a period piece, I’ll probably watch it regardless.
Brisia: This trailer does a good job of conveying the dramatic, eccentric and witty Lanthimos tone which thrives in an interesting new context that successfully deviates from his previous films.
Green Book (Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role - Viggo Mortenson, Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Mahershala Ali, Best Editing, Best Original Screenplay)
Matt: Isn’t it great that racists can stop being racists through the power of music?
Shelby: This is the exact right mixture of white liberalism, racial uplift, and Driving Miss Daisy to appeal to the old headasses who vote on Academy Awards, so it’ll probably win in every category (and the only one it would deserve is for Mahershala Ali as ‘supporting’ actor).
Brisia: I thoroughly enjoyed watching the dynamic between Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali's characters as it was depicted in the trailer, and it seems to demonstrate the versatility in their acting, but I don't feel particularly compelled to see this movie.
Roma (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role - Yalitza Aparicio, Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Marina de Tavira, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Screenplay)
Matt: Legitimately, one of the most cinematic experiences I had all year (despite watching it on my couch).
Shelby: I was probably going to watch this anyway, but the use of Clare Torry’s vocal solo from “The Great Gig in the Sky” really sold it for me.
Brisia: This trailer leaves just as much of a profound impact on me as the film did - with gorgeous cinematography and an incredibly unique atmosphere, Roma is absolutely riveting and every nomination it has received is well-deserved.
A Star is Born (Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role - Lady Gaga, Best Actor in a Leading Role - Bradley Cooper, Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Sam Elliott, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song - “Shallow”, Best Sound Mixing, Best Adapted Screenplay)
Matt: As incredibly well-made as this looks, I still have a hard time getting past the “You’re definitely hot enough to be a pop star” vibe of the trailer.
Shelby: Obviously Lady Gaga is a national treasure, but I’m honestly surprised by how much I want to see what Bradley Cooper is up to in this film (both as an actor AND director).
Brisia: I mean, it's good...but I just can't bring myself to care about it for some reason.
Vice (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role - Christian Bale, Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Amy Adams, Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Sam Rockwell, Best Editing, Best Make-up/Hair, Best Original Screenplay)
Matt: I wish the film the trailer is selling seemed to be more All the President’s Men and indicated that we’d get more than “Cheney was Machiavellian” which, duh.
Shelby: Okay, I can’t be the *only* person who sees how much Steve Carrell’s Donald Rumsfeld looks like Brick from Anchorman...right?
Brisia: Christian Bale is amazing at transforming himself for different roles, Dick Cheney is evil, and George Bush is a bumbling moron - these are all things that I've gathered prior to watching this trailer, but its excellent editing and song choice lead me to be even more frustrated that I haven't gotten to have fun seeing this movie yet.
Cold War (Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film)
Matt: With this and Roma, I’m enjoying the black-and-white renaissance going on, but didn’t see anything in the trailer to make me feel like I should rush to see this.
Shelby: How can a movie simultaneously look so gorgeous yet so boring?
Brisia: The aesthetically pleasing and atmospheric nature of this film feels less purposeful and left less of an impression on me than ROMA, which I think would deserve to win Best Foreign Language Film more if I had to choose between the two.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Best Actress in a Leading Role - Melissa McCarthy, Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Richard E. Grant, Best Adapted Screenplay)
Matt: I’m really fascinated by the unwitting descent into crime aspect of the story, and McCarthy looks to be giving an interesting and career-changing performance.
Shelby: Finally, a role for Melissa McCarthy where she doesn’t have to do pratfalls or be the ‘funny fat chick’ of an ensemble.
Brisia: Seeing a side of McCarthy other than her typecast comedic role feels like a breath of fresh air, and I also look forward to seeing this film because of its intriguing story.
If Beale Street Could Talk (Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Regina King, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay)
Matt: I watched Moonlight for the first time a couple of months ago and loved it, and James Baldwin is one of my favorite writers, so I have no idea how I haven’t seen this film yet.
Shelby: Nothing snarky to say here - Beale Street looks positively breathtaking.
Brisia: This trailer immaculately portrays the gripping emotional intensity of Beale Street, and I wouldn't be upset if the film won Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Best Costumes, Best Original Song - “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”, Best Adapted Screenplay)
Matt: “Look, it was a simpler time and westerns didn’t always represent Native Americans in the best wa-- Wait, this came out in 2018?”
Shelby: I nominate this trailer for best sound editing - why isn’t there an Oscar’s category for trailers, damn it?!
Brisia: This film is like if 'A Million Ways to Die in the West’ (2014) had masterful storytelling, well-executed humor, and poignant depth - basically it’s nothing like that monstrosity, take the trailer as a mere sliver of the fantastic enjoyment Buster Scruggs has to over and watch it instead.
Mary Poppins Returns (Best Costumes, Best Original Score, Best Original Song - “The Place Where Lost Things Go”, Best Production Design)
Matt: I’ve never seen the original Mary Poppins so I have no nostalgic attachment, but I also have no driving desire to see this one, so points for consistency?
Shelby: At one point I would have thought it sacreligious to try to replace Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, but this looks so sweet and fun that I can’t be mad about it.
Brisia: I'd much rather see Buster Scruggs win Best Original Song, but this movie looks whimsical and cute I guess.
Mary Queen of Scots (Best Costumes, Best Make-up/Hair)
Matt: This is exactly the kind of film I was talking about in regards to The Favourite - period costume dramas about royalty just aren’t my thing.
Shelby: A period drama with TWO of last year’s Academy Award nominees and it only was nominated for costumes and hair? Yiiiiiikes.
Brisia: I really don't find this to be anything outstandingly special; the only thing that struck me as significant was the acting.
Isle of Dogs (Best Animated Film, Best Original Score)
Matt: Is good doggos (and holy crap, that cast)!
Shelby: I love you Wes Anderson, you weird, twee bastard.
Brisia: The beautifully intricate presentation, stunning animation, charming tone and amusing dialogue of this film are perfectly encapsulated by this trailer - in a just world, Isle of Dogs would win Best Animated Film.
RBG (Best Documentary, Best Original Song - “I’ll Fight”)
Matt: As important and fascinating as Justice Ginsburg is, I’m hoping this is more than the standard bio-pic documentary.
Shelby: One cult of personality that I can totally get behind.
Brisia: I have a great deal of respect for Ginsburg and her legacy; I was unaware of this documentary until recently, but I think it'd be a worthwhile watch.
First Man (Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects)
Matt: Ryan Gosling is still criminally-underrated, but nothing jumped out at me that would motivate me to see this.
Shelby: Whitey on the Moon: The Motion Picture
Brisia: I think the trailer of this film alone is quite engrossing, visually because of the stunning cinematography and use of color it showcases and atmospherically because of its sheer tension - Black Panther is probably going to win Best Visual Effects, though, because that's the world we live in.