On Feb. 24, film lovers of all sorts will gather around their televisions to cringe, cry, laugh and cheer during the 91st Academy Awards. For the first time since 1989, the show will be hostless. However, this doesn't mean it won't be entertaining, as the show has already been the center of controversy after officially announcing the nominees. From Black Panther to BlacKKKlansman, to A Star is Born and Green Book, there is much to be said regarding the diverse films up for the golden statuette.
Lake Effect's Audrey Nowakowski and film critic Dave Luhrssen lay everything on the table in their recent interview about the awards. At the forefront of the conversation is the apparent inclusion the 2019 nominations illustrate.
"It had become kind of the old white guys' club after a while and I believe that they [the academy] have done due diligence in trying to address that," Luhrssen says, "Minority groups have been slowly accepted in Hollywood. They have been underrepresented forever and this is beginning to change and the academy is beginning to reflect that. The academy I think is trying, at least, to take more of a leadership role in changing that," Luhrssen emphasizes.
Of the diverse genres, storylines and casts presented this year, which do you think should win the award for overall best picture?
Although Luhrssen thinks the best picture winner is hard to predict this year, he believes there's a formula any outstanding film should follow.
"What makes a best picture? There are so many elements; it could be visual, it could be the screenplay. Really, it should be all of the elements, including the cast, that somehow come together in this scintillating chemical combustion of greatness," Luhrssen says.
When it comes to best lead actor, though, Luhrssen's opinion is more firm.
In response to the possibility of Rami Malek wining best lead actor for Bohemian Rhapsody, Luhrssen says, "I hope so because it's one of my favorite movies, and I think it would be the way that that film, Bohemian Rhapsody, will be acknowledged."
Who do you think should take home the award for best lead actor?
Of the best supporting actress nominees, two actresses representing the same film are in the running: Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz for The Favourite.
However, Luhrssen envisions another actress taking home the top prize for her sixth Oscar nomination.
"I would like to give it to Amy Adams for Vice, because I have a feeling that Vice is going to be shut out of a lot of categories and this could be a way of acknowledging that interesting movie," Lurhssen says.
Who do you think should win the top prize for best supporting actress?
When it comes to best director, Luhrssen believes the award should go to someone who has deserved, yet hasn't received, the award for decades.
"The person who, in a certain sense, should get it would be Spike Lee because he really should be recognized for three decades now of provocative and sometimes really good (movies) and sometimes less so, but whatever. It's been a very long career of doing something that has not been done enough of in Hollywood," Luhrssen says.
Of the nominated directors, who do you think should win?
Notably, Luhrssen was disappointed with a best documentary nomination that, he felt, was missing.
"The prominent one [documentary] that's missing here, and the one thing I find inexcusable about this year's Academy Awards, is Won't You Be My Neighbor?. A great documentary that did find a significant audience was not even nominated," Luhrssen says.
Nonetheless, Luhrssen thinks RBG, the movie documenting Ruth Bader Ginsberg's exceptional story, will most likely win.
Do you agree that RBG should take home the gold, or is there another documentary you think stood out?