Just in case you’re living under a rock, I wanted to let you know that the 2019 Oscar nominations came out today! There are some snubs (wya, First Man and If Beale Street Could Talk?) and some surprises in the lower categories, but I’m here to talk about the main event.
There are eight nominees for Best Picture this year. Each film is deserving of the nomination in its own way, which means pretty much no one will agree on which film should win the award. That’s never truer than when weighing the difference of opinion between the pompous jerk critics (that’s me!) and the fun-loving audience (that’s you!).
So let’s compare and contrast. Below are the Best Picture nominees and how they stack up with the audience vs. what the critics think.
Audience vs. Critics: Ranking Oscars 2019 Best Picture Noms
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 79%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 97%
We start strong, and not just because Marvel happens to own the first spot alphabetically among Best Picture noms.
Here’s the tricky part with Black Panther — the critic score is actually WAY higher than the audience score. There are probably some underlying societal reasons for this, but I’m not about to get political in this post. That said, the critics aren’t going to let a comic book movie win Best Picture. Still one of the best movies of the year and you should make a point to watch it.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 82%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 95%
Another sky-high critic score, this one for Spike Lee‘s most critically acclaimed directing performance to date. BlackKkKlansman has a little bit higher of an audience score to match as well.
The Academy broke stride a bit a few years ago when Moonlight won Best Picture (after not winning for a few minutes), but I’m still not overly optimistic about them rewarding a movie of this subject matter with the year’s highest honor. A Best Director win for Lee is more likely than a Best Picture win. As for the audience, there are other candidates for their favorite film as well for the same reasons.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 62%
I’m not sure how else to put this — Bohemian Rhapsody will not win Best Picture. And it wouldn’t even be nominated if it didn’t win the Golden Globe.
I still think someone switched the envelopes for multiple categories at the Globes and it was just never investigated. That said, the movie is entertaining and has a solid audience score. It wouldn’t win BEST picture with them either, though.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 62%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 93%
Another huge gap between critic score and audience score here and this one makes perfect sense.
The Favourite is twisting, conniving and funny with three stellar acting performances. It’s also really out there, slow at times, and has an odd ending. Sounds like a movie critics might love, while weekend movie-goers not so much right? This one won’t win Best Picture according to the critics or audience but look toward Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz for possible hardware.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 82%
I would consider Green Book the surprise of the bunch when discussing the Best Picture noms. I don’t say that because it’s nominated, but who liked the movie best.
Green Book is an entertaining film. It’s light (somehow while covering the topic of racism in 60s America), funny, and a story of how two lifelong friends came to be that way despite their backgrounds. I expect the audience to like it, but not to the tune of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. That gives it the highest audience score amongst its Best Picture peers.
That said, there have been reports that the “based on a true story” is very loose, and it doesn’t come anywhere close to capturing the legacy of Dr. Shirley. That will likely disqualify it from winning the critics Best Picture, but it has a real chance coming off a Golden Globe win.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 96%
I’m actually surprised that the audience score for Roma is so high. By all accounts, this film is slow, tough to follow, and for some people tough to even get through the whole thing. Personally, I make a note to see all the nominated films every year so I’ll be watching Roma, but I wouldn’t be if it wasn’t nominated.
The upper-90s critic score makes much more sense. It’s a powerful story that is artfully done, driven by strong acting and directing. That is proven, according to the Academy, with 10 total Oscar nominations. That number is tied for the most of any movie (The Favourite is the other).
A Star Is Born
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 81%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 90%
Of all the Best Picture nominees this year, A Star Is Born has probably generated the most buzz from both critics and audience. The critics love the production. The audience loves Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The critics and the audience both love this version of the story.
This film was the betting favorite for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, etc when it first came out. Hands down. Some of that buzz has actually dissipated as we get closer to the awards, which makes me think it won’t go home with Best Picture. The audience will always love it, and it would get a bunch of votes if it was up to them.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 54%
Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 64%
It seems like every year a movie is nominated for Best Picture not because of how good the actual movie is, but because of how good the acting performances are. Enter Vice.
Christian Bale is going to win the Oscar for Best Actor. That’s just the way it is. His portrayal of Dick Cheney is encapsulating, immersive, and gripping. It’s one of the better performances you’ll see in a long time. The only reason Amy Adams isn’t getting more buzz as Lynne Cheney happens to be because Bale is so good. She might also win for Best Supporting Actress.
All that said, somehow the movie itself just isn’t that good. The audience and critic scores show it. This movie itself won’t be getting any hardware.
The Final Verdict
So what do all those numbers and all that blabbering I just did mean? If I had to guess, which is what Pure Fandom is forcing me to do, Roma will go home with the Oscar for Best Picture, confirming the critics love for it.
Green Book has a chance at Best Picture as well, but will likely come up just short. The surprising part is it likely would win Best Picture if it were up to the audience. I also think fans of Black Panther and A Star Is Born would have something to say about that were it put to a vote. Those are the three 2019 Best Picture nominations to see if you’re looking for a night of entertainment.