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Oscars 2019: What could have been?

89th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage
Hollywood’s biggest night is right around the corner, but it’s time to take a look at what could have been. (Photo courtesy of Radio Times)

With the 91st annual Academy Awards airing Sunday and voting officially closing today, actors and directors everywhere are making last-minute pushes in hopes of propelling their films to victory.

Instead of breaking down what’s likely to happen Sunday night – because we’ve already got that covered over on the Inside The Film Room podcast – it’s time to take a look at what could have been.

After rewatching two of my favorite films from 2018 this week, I’ve become more and more frustrated at this year’s Best Picture nominees. When three of the eight nominees are actively bad movies, it’s easy to be upset that films like “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and “Eighth Grade” were completely ignored.

The Case for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

It may seem easy for the Academy to simply brush this one aside. It’s the sixth film in a franchise, it was a shiny summer blockbuster, it’s an action film packed to the brim with explosions. Doesn’t really sound like the artsy films the Academy tends to go for, does it?

But with all due respect, that’s bullshit. Yes, all of those things are true, but none of them are mutually exclusive with being a prestigious, award-winning film. “Fallout” was without a doubt one of the best action films of the decade – from the expertly choreographed fight scenes to the absolutely insane stunts.

If “Die Hard” can earn four nominations, then “Fallout” should be in the running, too. Now, I’m not saying “Fallout” is anywhere near as revolutionary as the Bruce Willis classic, but in terms of nominations, it should at least have racked up a few technical nods.

On top of all this, it’s more than just a good action movie, it’s a good movie, regardless of genre. Like “The Dark Knight,” another historic snub, is more than just a good superhero movie, “Fallout” stretches far past its genre.

The Case for “Eighth Grade”

Elsie Fisher and Josh Hamilton in “Eighth Grade.” (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

Best Picture. Best Director. Best Actress. Best Original Screenplay.

What do each of these categories have in common? They all made the horrendous decision to leave “Eighth Grade” off their list of nominees.

Bo Burnham’s brutally honest look at middle school in the 21st century was one of the realest films of 2018, yet it received zero recognition from the Academy.

If viewers were hoping to garner any sort of clarity from the award shows leading up the Oscars, all they learned is that everything is still up for grabs, particularly after “Eighth Grade”‘s upset Best Original Screenplay win at last weekend’s Writers’ Guild Awards.

That should tell you something. If the people who actually write screenplays selected it as the year’s best, then it should probably be in the conversation – especially after beating out Oscar favorites “Vice,” “Roma” and “Green Book.”

Instead, a complete and total snub in every single category at Hollywood’s biggest night.

And don’t even get me started on “Hereditary,” “A Quiet Place” and the disregard of the horror genre. We’ll save that for another day…



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Zach Goins View All

Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for

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