Oscar Opinions

Image courtesy of Lauren D’Ambra.

By Lauren D’Ambra

The 94th annual Academy Awards aired back on March 27th and it was certainly an interesting one! I won’t lie, I love watching the Oscars, but I definitely lost a little faith in the ceremony when Cinderella lost Best Costume Design to Mad Max: Fury Road back in 2015 (I will never understand how her blue gown lost to literal rags)  and when Doctor Strange lost Best Achievement in Visual Effects to the Jungle Book in 2016 (how did a beautifully geometric, constantly moving masterpiece lose to a jungle?!/) , and when Avengers: Endgame was literally the movie of the year back in 2019 but didn’t get a single award (how can you be one of the highest grossing movies of the year and not receive a single Oscar?!?!), and- well, hopefully you get the picture. As such, I’ve taken to making my own list of nominees and winners and I always get a laugh over how different my opinion is from the Academy’s. Of course, I’m sure that all of this year’s winners deserve their respective awards, but let’s also acknowledge that some very good films were absolutely snubbed this year (I’m so sorry Tick, Tick … Boom!). So, without further ado, here are my personal picks for this award season. Enjoy! (And don’t fight me on my Black Widow opinions. You will lose.)

Best Picture

What Won: CODA

What Should Have Won: Honestly, Dune didn’t win and that’s all that matters.

Best Director

Who Won: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Who Should Have Won: I’m genuinely torn between Jade Champion and Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) on this one.

Best Actor:

Who Won: Will Smith, King Richard

Who Should Have Won: We can not be friends if you think that Andrew Garfield didn’t deserve the Oscar for his incredible performance in Tick, Tick … Boom!

Best Actress

Who Won: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Who Should have Won: I’m okay with this one actually, but all of the nominees were fantastic. Though, it’s a crime that Scarlett Johansson wasn’t nominated for her role as Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow and no, I do not accept criticism on that.

Best Supporting Actor

Who Won: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Who Should Have Won: Definitely him. Did you know that Troy Kotsur also helped create the Tusken Raider’s sign language in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett?

Best Supporting Actress

Who Won: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Who Should Have Won: No complaints from me, but I do love Judi Dench. Also, Florence Pugh should have been nominated for her role as Yelena in Black Widow  and I still can’t believe she wasn’t.

Best Animated Feature

What Won: Encanto

What Should Have Won: I’m happy that Encanto won, but Luca was such a beautifully done film too.

Best Original Score

Who Won: Dune

Who Should Have Won: Don’t get me wrong, I love Hans Zimmer and the score from Dune was easily the best part of the movie (though, I’d feel better if his work on the No Time to Die soundtrack had been nominated), but you know who should have been nominated AND who definitely should have won? Lorne Balfe and his incredible work on the Black Widow soundtrack.

Best Original Song

What Won: Billie Eilish and Finneas, “No Time to Die,” in No Time to Die

Who Should Have Won: I know everyone wanted  “Dos Oruguitas” from Disney’s Encanto to win, but “No Time to Die” is absolutely fantastic and really sets the tone of the whole movie, so no complaints from me here.

Best Costume Design

Who Won: Cruella

Who Should Have Won: Okay sure, the costumes from Dune and West Side Story were cool, but I will defend the spectacular costumes in Cruella until the day I die, so no complaints from me here either.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Who Won: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Who Should Have Won: If you need evidence to prove that Cruella should have won I will happily sit and rewatch the movie with you.

Best Cinematography

Who Won: Dune

Who Should Have Won: Seriously, how did Dune win this when West Side Story was in the running? And No Time to Die is easily the most beautifully filmed Bond film to date, how was it not even in the running??

Best Production Design

Who Won: Dune

Who Should Have Won: You’re telling me that the dull color palette and muted designs of Dune beat out the bold and brightly colored design of West Side Story? Did we watch the same movie Academy judges?? And what about the production design of Tick, Tick … Boom!, hmm???

Best Adapted Screenplay

What Won: CODA

What Should Have Won: I know I seem very anti Dune, but I would have been okay with them winning this one.

Best Original Screenplay

Who Won: Belfast

Who Should Have Won: No complaints from me, though I’m surprised Licorice Pizza didn’t win with all the hype it was getting.

Best Visual Effects

What won: Dune

Who Should Have Won: Literally any of the other nominees (Spider-Man: No Way Home, Free Guy, No Time To Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, I’m personally partial to Spider-Man) Let *clap* Marvel *clap* movies *clap* win *clap* Oscars *clap* gosh *clap* darn it!!!

Best Film Editing

Who Won: Dune

Who Should Have Won: I’m not that bothered by Dune winning this one, but I would be way happier if Tick, Tick … Boom! got the recognition it deserved.

Best Sound

Who Won: Dune

Who Should Have Won: Sure, Dune was cool and all, but can we talk about the opening scene in No Time to Die when the bomb at the tomb goes off and we spend the next few minutes hearing Bond’s hearing recover? Or the sounds during the fight on the stairs in the bunker that’s all filmed in one shot? Just saying…

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