…And the nominees for the 2019 Best Picture Academy Award are…

This is the first time in nine years I’ve managed to see all the Best Picture nominees before the Academy Awards ceremony. Chasing these films down is always a pleasure, even if some of them fail to live up to the hype.

Every year the same groups of people grumble about the Oscars – that they’re elitist, and that they don’t reflect the tastes of the movie-going public at large. I don’t care. I honestly think that if it weren’t for the Oscars we’d be getting Transformers and Jurassic World movies twelve months of the year instead of only ten.  So I appreciate it when the Oscar nominations come out in the dead of winter, providing me with a tidy list of critically-lauded movies to take in by a set deadline. I feel that without awards season, many of these movies would have a difficult time finding an audience.

Let me point out that I don’t feel these eight films are actually the eight best films to come out in 2018. My personal favourite, Isle of Dogs, is not nominated for Best Picture. Seriously, search for Isle of Dogs. You’ll love it.

Because I’m one of the few people I know who, by now, has seen all eight Best Picture nominees, I am hereby performing a public service and outlining my personal feelings on each film, one by one, beginning with my least favourite and advancing towards the one I most wish to take home the statuette. For organization’s sake, I will rank them from eighth to first.

8. Vice

This movie stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as Dick and Lynn Cheney. It comes from Adam McKay, who also directed The Big Short, The Other Guys, Step Brothers and Anchorman. He loaded it with quirky moments, my favourite being the end credits that show up in the middle of the film before Dick Cheney is even approached by George W. Bush (played by Sam Rockwell). McKay’s playfulness with structure is certainly admirable, and he makes his distaste for Cheney perfectly clear. My problem with this movie is its lack of insight.

I never cared for Cheney, and I can’t say I ever knew that much about him, but I think if I invest time in a biopic about the former vice president of the United States, I should, at the very least, end up knowing more about him leaving the theatre than I did entering. After I saw this movie a few weeks ago, I walked out of the cinema utterly perplexed. What motivated this Dick Cheney character to do the things he did? Was it to hold on to his fragile marriage? Was it to achieve the same power wielded by his mentor Donald Rumsfeld? I’m not sure, even now. The Dick Cheney in Vice doesn’t even seem to have his own set of beliefs. Early on he asks Rumsfeld (played by Steve Carell), “What do we believe?” That question is never answered, inviting us to fill in the blank ourselves. That task, one would think, would be made easier when Bale’s Cheney turns toward the camera and delivers the following monologue directly to our faces:

“I can feel your incriminations and your judgment, and I am fine with that. You want to be loved? Go be a movie star. The world is as you find it. You’ve gotta deal with that reality that there are monsters in this world. We saw 3,000 innocent people burned to death by those monsters, yet you object when I refuse to kiss those monsters on the cheek and say ‘pretty please.’ You answer me this, what terrorist attack would you have let go forward so you wouldn’t seem like a mean and nasty fella? I will not apologize for keeping your family safe. And I will not apologize for doing what needed to be done so that your loved ones could sleep peacefully at night. It has been my honor to be your servant. You chose me. And I did what you asked.”

But wait – he suddenly developed a system of beliefs? When? When, in this movie, did he show concern for anyone who lived outside of his house? Suddenly he’s concerned with doing what needs to be done? Adam McKay, who are you trying to tell me Dick Cheney is? Vice didn’t tell me anything about Dick Cheney that I couldn’t have found out by scanning through his Wikipedia page, and it didn’t even make me want to do that. A movie has to invest you in its main character much more than that.

A lot of the attention this movie has garnered is due to Bale’s prestige as an actor. The physical transformation he underwent to play Cheney is impossible to ignore. He gained 45 pounds, shaved his head, bleached his eyebrows and exercised to thicken his neck. Tragic then that Bale’s latest metabolism-destroying performance is in service to this movie. He speaks his lines mostly in a distant whisper, reminiscent of his first performance as the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins. The result leaves Cheney as shrouded and unknowable as he’s always been.

7. Bohemian Rhapsody

I know more about the band Queen than I should. Of course, when I was young everyone knew their biggest hits like “We Will Rock You,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Radio Ga Ga.” However, by the mid 80s, Queen had fallen out of favour in North America. They didn’t really get that audience back until after lead singer Freddy Mercury died in 1991, and Wayne’s World returned the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” to prominence the following year. With the release of the Classic Queen compilation in 1992, North America found itself gripped in full-fledged Queen mania. My closest friend became an obsessive Queen fan, repurchasing every album and combing through the band’s history. My boss actually met every member of the band and seems to know every detail about the inner workings of the group. So, going into this movie dramatizing Queen’s career, I was aware that most moviegoers wouldn’t be as well-versed on the history of the band as I am. If you had only casual knowledge of the band then you may really enjoy Bohemian Rhapsody. For those of us who know more, the movie is, at the very least, problematic.

My first inkling that the movie wasn’t going to be 100 percent faithful to the band’s chronology came early. The first song we see the band play is, indeed, their first single “Keep Yourself Alive,” but then they follow it up with “Fat Bottomed Girls,” a hit from their seventh album. That may not seem like such a big deal, and it really isn’t, but it proved to be a harbinger of the movie’s cavalier attitude towards truth.

By the time the movie enters the 80s, the manipulation of events became too much for me to bear. The record label offers Mercury millions of dollars to record two albums away from Queen, and that precipitates the breakup of the band. In reality Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor was the first to record solo material, and the band never broke up. In the movie the band is rallied back together by 1985’s Live Aid concert, and had to struggle to relearn playing together. In reality, Queen released their eleventh album The Works a year before Live Aid, and were touring it within a couple of months preceding that event. In the movie the band were inspired to perform at their utmost level at Live Aid because of Freddy’s AIDS diagnosis. In reality he didn’t receive this diagnosis for another two years.

Obviously the filmmakers felt the need to massage the truth to add weight to the event they chose as the movie’s climax: Live Aid. As someone who knows better, I can’t help but be resentful. The filmmakers should know how to elicit an emotional response from me with the true events at their disposal. The fact that they chose to alter the truth feels manipulative. If they didn’t feel the truth could get the same emotional response, I can’t help but wonder why they chose to tell this story in the first place.

Easily the best thing about Bohemian Rhapsody is Rami Malek’s performance as Freddy Mercury. The real Freddy’s energy and charisma while fronting the band should be impossible to match, but Malek proves to be more than up to the task. With him up front it’s easy to see why Queen was one of the greatest bands ever to experience live in concert.

Puzzlingly, Bohemian Rhapsody did not receive a nomination for hair and make-up, which I think it richly deserves. Just look at the hair on Dermot Murphy who plays Bob Geldof. Perfection!

6. A Star Is Born

By this point in the list, we’re done with movies that found a way to piss me off. A Star Is Born is a genuinely good movie, and is particularly impressive given that it’s Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. I may not understand why he chose to tell a story that’s been told before in three high-profile movies, but we live in a world with Will Smith coloured blue to play the genie in a live-action Aladdin; it’s clearly not for me to understand.

Most of this film’s acclaim has been due to glowing reviews for Lady Gaga’s performance. My taste for Lady Gaga as a performer has varied wildly over the past decade. At first she annoyed me with her seemingly desperate need to shock and titillate. Then she proved to be able to mount these epic dance-pop spectacles. I think the video for “Alejandro” is one of the best demonstrations of modern dance so far this millennium. Yet, the only acting of hers I witnessed prior to A Star Is Born was in the video for “Telephone,” and that convinced me she should stick to song and dance.

Much to my shock, Lady Gaga does give a great performance in A Star Is Born, but I think the movie’s greatest strength is the incredible chemistry shared between her and Cooper. These two seem like a real couple. Just watch how they look at each other as he plays “I’ll Never Love Again” on the piano. You can’t help but be invested in their relationship. These two are too special.

What keeps this movie in sixth place on this list are, admittedly, some personal hang-ups. I have a problem with couples who either get married too quickly, or get married when they should know better not to. So imagine my reaction to the scene when Lady Gaga finds Cooper passed out after an alcoholic binge at Dave Chappelle’s house. She threatens to leave him if he drinks again only to accept his marriage proposal that same day. It really bothered me. I realize people actually do act this stupidly about love. I’ve seen Divorce Court. However, her acceptance of his proposal came at the expense of the toughness she showed earlier. Couldn’t their wedding have come after he demonstrated some sobriety for a period of time?

My other problem came with the tragic ending. To me it just seemed too easy to avoid. Without giving away too much, Lady Gaga’s manager tells Cooper that he’s an anchor to her career, and he will continue to hold her back unless he leaves her, because she’ll always stay by his side. Cooper doesn’t inform Gaga of the incredibly hurtful thing her manager said. That seems like a reasonable conversation to have. Yet, the filmmakers chose to not have this conversation. I suppose that’s their choice. It leads to a tragedy, and by the movie’s end we never find out if Gaga is aware of her manager’s awful words.

A Star Is Born is a very strong movie with universally great performances. I completely understand if other people don’t share my objections, but, in my view, those problems keep this movie from being truly great.

5. BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee has directed films that moved me, infuriated me and annoyed me. Do the Right Thing deserves its status as a classic. I think Bamboozled was an incredibly gutsy film for him to make and serves as a scathing look inside black entertainment. On the other hand, misfires like Summer of Sam often make his career a chore to follow. That’s why his first nomination for Best Director this year is such a pleasant development.

BlacKkKlansman is easily Lee’s biggest hit since Inside Man 13 years ago. As is usually the case with “Spike Lee joints,” BlacKkKlansman takes on heavy subject matter, but this movie manages to have fun with its swinging 70s style. It’s a loose adaptation of Ron Stallworth’s book detailing his infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan, which is very impressive considering he was an African-American cop.

While the story is firmly set in the 70s, Lee makes sure that the movie’s themes of racial conflict are tied to present-day events. Lee dedicated this movie to Heather Heyer, the woman who died when violence broke out between neo-Nazis and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. At the end of the movie Lee pulls no punches by showing footage of James Alex Fields plowing his Dodge Charger into a crowd of protesters. It’s no doubt a bold ending to the movie, and is followed by audio of Prince singing “Mary Don’t You Weep” over the end credits.

While I admire Lee as a filmmaker, I wish he had more use for subtlety. I’m sure many of his fans love the way he so overtly states his message in his movies. I can see how that may help his fans feel like they know him. I, on the other hand, feel like I’m being smacked over the head. In BlacKkKlansman, we have numerous allusions to Donald Drumpf. We see David Duke (surprisingly played by Topher Grace) talking about making America great again and shouting “America first!” Characters scoff at the notion that someone like David Duke could ever be elected president. Yes Spike, I see what you’re doing, but your characters are all living in 1972. These quick pokes of modern commentary momentarily lift me out of the reality you so carefully constructed. Also, if you let me arrive at your point at my own pace rather than shoving in these somewhat ham-handed references, I might digest your message more easily.

I enjoyed almost all the performances in BlacKkKlansman, but I must comment on a couple of characters named Felix and Connie Kendrickson, played by Jasper Pääkönen and Ashlie Atkinson. They may be the most racist characters in a movie in a movie that includes David Duke. Pääkönen does a good job showing how frightening Felix can be, but when he’s with his wife the two of them become absurdly cartoonish. I’m not asking that they be depicted sympathetically. They are, after all, racist, but I just don’t want them to detract from the realism that’s been set up from the rest of the movie.

BlacKkKlansman’s greatest strength is the character of Ron Stallworth himself and the journey he takes throughout the movie. John David Washington plays Stallworth with a generous mix of humour and intensity. At the beginning he joins the Colorado Springs Police Force as their first black officer, and is quickly relegated to work the file room. He repeatedly endures disrespect and racist taunts from his colleagues, but mercifully gets moved to the investigative unit. One of his earliest assignments involves going undercover to a Black Panther rally on a college campus, because his superiors want someone on the inside to gauge if the keynote speaker is inciting violence. At the rally, Ron sparks an instant attraction with Patrice (played by Laura Harrier), the head of the student union, and watches as she introduces Kwame Ture (played by Corey Hawkins). Ture delivers a passionate message of black pride, and you can see in Washington’s eyes that these are words Ron Stallworth has long needed to hear. Following the rally Ron conceals his occupation from Patrice due to her animosity towards the police. We actually see her get sexually assaulted by one of Ron’s fellow officers.

It’s clear to me that Ron was somewhat ashamed of spying on the Black Panthers, and I think he was motivated to direct policing in service of the African-American community by starting this investigation into the Klan. Lee doesn’t actually spell this out, so let this serve as proof that he is capable of subtlety. BlacKkKlansman is a powerful film about a fascinating character with a compelling arc.

4. Green Book

Here we have another entry dealing with racism, but this one is set ten years before BlacKkKlansman, and was directed by Peter Farrelly, who previously brought us some of the biggest comedies of the past 25 years, including There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin and Shallow Hal – not the filmography you’d expect from someone who just guided a movie to five Oscar nominations.

This movie has taken some guff from people dismissing it as Driving Miss Daisy in reverse, but I don’t think that’s accurate or fair. Green Book is the story of a single 2-month concert tour by Don Shirley, a very successful and accomplished pianist, composer and arranger played here by Mahershala Ali. This tour is headed into the deep south, and Shirley knows he needs to be accompanied by someone who can handle themselves in rough situations. Enter Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, played in an astounding performance by Viggo Mortenson. From the very beginning of the movie, Tony is shown to be a graceless, gluttonous hustler who is willing to screw over his employer if there is some extra dough in it for him. On top of it all he’s a racist, which was a common character flaw in European-Americans in 1962. As his family faces a financial crunch, he has no choice but to take the driving job with Shirley.

I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for stories where prejudiced characters reach a deeper understanding of the world. My hope for the betterment of the human race gets affirmed by such stories. Cynics may find such tales hard to ingest, but not me. As the tour goes deeper and deeper into the south, Tony witnesses more and more of the persecution black people suffer. Over the course of the movie Tony more readily leaps to Shirley’s defence.

Not enough can be said about the two performances at this movie’s centre. Ali carries himself with a quiet dignity throughout the movie. Don Shirley is always the most intelligent man in any scene he’s in. Ali even maintains this dignity at his character’s breaking point. As Tony sits in the driver’s seat, he lectures Shirley through the rear-view mirror, claiming to understand black people more than him. Shirley commands Tony to pull over the car and steps out into a torrential rainstorm. Thick-headed Tony yells at Shirley demanding to know why he got out of the car. Dripping with rain, he barks back, “So if I’m not black enough, and if I’m not white enough, then tell me, Tony, what am I?” I wouldn’t be surprised if Ali, who already won his first Oscar two years ago for Moonlight, gets his second for this.

As for Mortenson, I continue to be amazed by his range. It’s unbelievable to me, watching Green Book, that this is the same actor who played Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies and Nikolai in Eastern Promises. It’s not just the twenty pounds he gained for the role; it’s all the mannerisms and his stance and his posture. He completely disappears into the character of Tony “Lip.” It’s a credit to Mortenson’s talent and skill that someone so unlikeable at the story’s start becomes someone we warm up to as the movie continues.

Is Green Book’s story overly simplistic? I can understand those who answer yes, but I feel, more than ever, we need more movies like BlacKkKlansman and Green Book, which pull the veil off of the ugliness of intolerance. Also, with Farrelly at the helm, Green Book has moments that are surprisingly funny, which makes serious messages easier to hear. Green Book is deserving of all the praise it’s received, and its cast may take home some statuettes, but it’s not the one I think should get the big prize.

3. Roma

As if we needed any more evidence after Gravity, Children of Men and Y Tu Mamá También, Roma confirms Alfonso Cuarón’s status as a modern master of cinema.

Coincidentally enough, Roma is set at roughly the exact same period of history as BlacKkKlansman, but obviously life was much different in Mexico City than it was in Colorado Springs. Instead of race, Roma focuses more on class. Cleo (played by Yalitza Aparicio) is a maid working for an upper-class family that lives in an opulent mansion. To get to her living quarters, Cleo has to climb a fire escape leading to her tiny apartment she shares with her sister. Cleo is often seen sweeping dog turds off the terracotta tiles of the family’s driveway. It seems that no matter how quickly she sweeps and mops, more dog dung magically shows up.

Cleo has been seeing a young man named Fermín. When she tells him that she may be pregnant, he abandons her. She manages to track him down at a military training exercise where he threatens to beat her if she doesn’t leave him alone.

Cleo sees Fermín one last time when she is shopping for a crib in a furniture store. This is a breathtaking scene which Cuarón has set during what is known as the Corpus Christi Massacre of 1971. After Cleo picks out a crib, the camera calmly pans throughout the shop as we hear a commotion from the street grow in volume. As the camera pans across the store window we see a student protest devolving into violent chaos. Some students run into the store shouting, “They’re killing us!” Gunmen enter after, shooting the students in cold blood. One of the gunmen is Fermín, who trains his weapon on Cleo. These gunmen are CIA-trained Mexican soldiers assigned to crush the student protest. The stress of the moment sends Cleo into labour. The rest of the movie deals with the fallout from Cleo’s pregnancy and the upheaval of the family for whom she works.

Roma is probably the most unique of the Best Picture nominees. All of its dialogue is in a foreign language. It is shot in black and white. It is the most slow and contemplative out of the eight nominees. I have seen people online criticize Roma on that basis, but in many ways the movie hearkens back to masterpieces from the sixties and seventies like Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger. That’s a movie that completely altered the way I view the medium of film. Modern audiences aren’t used to lingering in a setting for a prolonged period of time, simply developing a sense of place.

Roma is the most organic and pure of all the films nominated for Best Picture. It is the one that most closely represents the singular vision of an artist. Film students will likely be studying Roma for decades to come. Should it win the big prize, I will understand why, but I suspect current movie-going tastes will send the statuette elsewhere.

2. The Favourite

I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’d never heard of Yorgos Lanthimos until this nomination. I’ve heard his 2015 film, The Lobster, spoken of both reverently and with disdain. But this is another reason why I love the Oscars. If not for them, I likely would not have discovered this film, which is loaded with Lanthimos’ many personal touches and quirks.

Of the eight Best Picture nominees, The Favourite is set the furthest back in time, all the way to the beginning of the 18th century. Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) sits on the throne of England. As always, England is at war against France, and Parliament is divided as to the war’s merits. Anne is temperamental and frail, and matters of governance seem well beyond her grasp. She is incredibly reliant on her close friend and attendant Lady Sarah (played by Rachel Weisz), who essentially governs the country in Anne’s stead. Sarah is skilled at swaying the dim-witted Anne over to her positions, which includes doubling the tax the citizens have to pay for the next phase in the war.

There is a new girl of low social standing working in the palace. She is named Abigail and is played by Emma Stone. She is bullied by the other staff and risks her employment to treat the Queen’s gout. Abigail sure seems swell, doesn’t she?

The Favourite plays havoc with our first impressions of the three female characters. Sarah, at first, seems cruel, manipulative and drunk with power. Abigail seems plucky, resourceful and so deserving of a break in life. Queen Anne seems to be an object of ridicule. But nothing is as it seems. Colman, Weisz and Stone work so well together, and Lanthimos packs each frame with style. At first this may look like a stuffy period drama, but that assumption is also dead wrong.

Olivia Colman is both hilarious and heart-breaking as Queen Anne. She is the only one out of The Favourite’s three main actresses to be nominated for a lead actress Oscar, but I don’t think she’s the film’s main character. The story hangs on Abigail’s journey. This is probably the finest performance I’ve ever seen from Emma Stone, and she is wonderful in her power play with Rachel Weisz. As they struggle against each other, Anne, drowning under the weight of her crown, is pulled and tugged in every direction, and devolves into an object of pity.

Since I was unfamiliar with Lanthimos’ work, I was at first thrown by his stylistic choices. Chief among them is the fisheye lens, making hallways, ballrooms and bedchambers seem more cavernous than they are. Often the only light in a scene is a single candle. Thankfully Lanthimos maintains these choices throughout the film’s run-time, giving The Favourite a cohesive feel. He may prove to be as masterful a figure in cinema as Alfonso Cuarón. Director of photography Robbie Ryan also deserves major recognition for the swooping trails his camera blazes throughout Hampton Court Palace

The screenplay by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara is particularly praise-worthy. It is so intricately constructed, with shifting power dynamics and witticisms peppered throughout. When you give such a rock solid screenplay to a great director like Lanthimos, who hires actresses the calibre of Colman, Stone and Weisz, along with top-notch production and costume designers, you end up with an absolutely wonderful film which will likely be remembered as a classic.

And Dimetre would give the Oscar to… Black Panther.

I know people who are likely throwing whatever device they’re reading this on across the room. I really tried not to pick this movie as the one most deserving the statuette. It’s a really difficult to compare Black Panther to the other movies nominated for Best Picture. Comparing a big budget superhero movie to a deeply personal black and white arthouse flick or a tightly-budgeted royal drama set more than 300 years ago is a ridiculous task. For many, because of its pedigree under the Marvel banner, it’s easy to dismiss Black Panther as just another popcorn flick, or my decision to place it atop this list as bias on my part. (Perhaps you’ve read my previous entry discussing Avengers: Infinity War. If not, here it is: https://dimetrealexiou.com/2018/08/26/avenger-infinity-war-vs-the-thanos-quest/)B

So how do I justify Black Panther’s position on top of this list? Well, I gave it a fresh third viewing recently and all of its virtues became impossible to ignore.

Forget, if you will, that it’s about a superhero. If you can manage that you’ll see that it’s about a son of a recently murdered king who is ready to assume the throne, and takes the duties of the crown very seriously. Soon after becoming king he uncovers his father’s misdeeds, which causes him to question the traditions of his people. The fruit of his father’s failure strips him of his crown and threatens the very survival of the kingdom. Can our hero regain control and save the day?

It’s a story not unlike a Shakespearean epic. That it’s written as an Afro-futurist tale as well as a superhero adventure makes it more impressive, not less.

Black Panther is loaded with themes that serve as topical social commentary. Wakanda’s comfort in enjoying the gifts of its natural resources while watching the rest of the world suffer without them is is clearly alluding to the gap between first- and third world countries, or the gap between the ultra-rich and those eking by in poor neighbourhoods.

While Black Panther is a thrilling adventure with flips, kicks and mind-blowing technology, it is rooted in very human drama. T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) is so determined to live up to his father’s legacy that he doesn’t question the value of trying to do so until it’s too late. Daniel Kaluuya plays W’Kabi, who has been so frustrated by T’Challa and his father for failing to bring a criminal to justice, when someone new on the scene finally does it, W’Kabi blindly throws all his support behind him. (Yes, you can see the parallel towards Drumpf supporters.) This new arrival, played by Michael B. Jordan, is Eric Killmonger, the son of a Wakandan spy assigned to America. Killmonger’s father disobeyed the old king’s orders and was executed, and the son was left to grow up in a slum far away from Wakanda’s opulence. Now he’s all grown up, and he’s ready to challenge for the throne and take control of Wakanda’s resources to turn the world on its head.

Killmonger is a fascinating antagonist because he’s correct in that he was horribly wronged. That allows audiences to empathize with him. Where he goes off the rails is with his solution. To T’Challa’s credit he agrees that Killmonger was wronged, but nothing he offers Killmonger is enough to stop him from violently usurping the throne.

Black Panther does a marvelous job raising the stakes to the highest level, and plunging its darkest moments to the lowest depths. When things are at their worst, T’Challa’s true love Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o) seeks out Wakanda’s top general Okoyé (Danai Gurira). Nakia asks her to turn against Killmonger, but Okoyé feels duty-bound to him. She instructs Nakia to serve her country, but she replies, “No. I will save my country.” That was a particularly powerful line upon this latest viewing. It speaks to the value of dissent and questioning power structures.

Both T’Challa and Killmonger swallow a heart-shaped herb at times throughout this movie, resulting in surreal scenes where they interact with their dead fathers. Scenes of such poignancy are rare in blockbusters which normally placate their audiences with explosions and gunfire. The crew behind Black Panther were truly attempting something different.

Black Panther should have received more nominations than it has. Michael B. Jordan should have been nominated for supporting actor for his turn as Killmonger, and Ryan Coogler should have been recognized for realizing his enormous vision as director.

More than BlacKkKlansman, more than Green Book, Black Panther feels, to me, like the movie we most need in this day and age. It seeks not only to thrill, but to empower our least powerful, and it has a bold message if you’re willing to hear it. It shouldn’t be penalized for being an enormous hit, for being massive, or for its genre. To me, Black Panther, out of all the nominees, represents the biggest achievement, and that’s why I would give it the top prize.

Not that anyone asked for my opinion.