In a year of on-going contentiousness within Hollywood, the Academy Awards is continuing that trend by being controversial. The “documentary feature” category, which has always been mired in debate, once again missed the mark by not nominating Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a beloved favorite of fans and critics alike. But, even more decisive was the decision to leave out John David Washington as Best Actor in BlackKklansman (which received five total nominations) but to include Adam Driver from the same movie in the Best Supporting Actor category. Washington is black, Driver is white. BlackKklansman also made news, this time for the positive call to nominate filmmaker Spike Lee for Best Director. Even though Lee has an honorary Oscar, he has never even been nominated in the Best Director category before.
Many people call out Bradley Cooper for not getting nominated as Best Director, instead Best Actor only. Well, coming from an 1980s and 1990s-era where actor/directors were winning way too many Oscars while established directors like Martin Scorsese (who finally won in 2007 for The Departed) sat around and waited, I cannot feel bad for Mr. Cooper.
Did Mel Gibson and Kevin Costner really, truly deserve their awards or did they win because their films were popular and well-loved by audiences?
Clint Eastwood has become an exceptional actor-director (Unforgiven is very much worthy of his Best Director honor), but that did not happen overnight for him. He had to earn it.
So, saying that, maybe Bradley Cooper could direct a few more pictures and get a little more credibility under his belt before we shove a Best Director award at him.
But, like morals and sometimes sense, Hollywood often lacks patience.
Best Documentary Feature:
Hale County This Morning This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons
Best Foreign Language Film:
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)