Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot #1: A director who stans BlacKkKlansman & Spike Lee

76th Annual Golden Globe Awards - 2019 Backstage

Every year, I say this and this year is no different: I love the Hollywood Reporter’s Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot series. Every year, someone from THR sits down with an Oscar voter who remains anonymous – THR will note their sex and which branch they belong to and that’s it – and the people allow THR to publish their unfiltered thoughts as they talk while they fill out their Oscar ballots. I always learn so much about the various guilds and what the “consensus” views are on certain films or actors, and there’s always a ton of shady sh-t and gossip in these pieces. Sometimes, the anonymous voters comes across like total a–holes, and you can clearly see why the Academy ends up rewarding a dumb performance like Gary Oldman’s terrible Churchill drag – because almost all of these voters are terrible old farts who vote for their equally terrible “friends.” Ballot #1 comes from a man who belongs to the Directors Guild. He had a lot of thoughts. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

He isn’t even going to watch the hostless Oscars this year: “I’m not going to watch the Oscars this year. I’m just anticipating a very boring show. One of the best things about the show is the opening monologue, which is usually pretty good — it’s what happens after that that’s not great.”

On Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born: “[They] are films whose adulation I can’t even begin to fathom — I found them to be ordinary. Bohemian Rhapsody is a standard-issue biopic with a really nice last 10 minutes; had it been a great film, I probably still wouldn’t have voted for it, because I don’t want to do anything to reward Bryan Singer, who is a pariah now and needs to stay that way. A Star Is Born is a fourth remake with nothing new to say — it was massively overhyped.

Roma is indulgent: “It’s beautifully crafted and looks fantastic, but ultimately, I was wondering where the entertainment or even intellectual value is in this movie. To me, it’s a very slow and rather indulgent film — the most expensive home movie ever made…”

His top three films: “No. 3 is Black Panther. Look, it’s a Marvel comic book movie, and it’s not much better than any of the others, but you have to applaud it for its massive social impact and the pride it has given to so many people. I know that’s not a reason to vote for a movie, so that’s why it’s in third place rather than second or first. For those spots, I was torn between The Favourite and BlacKkKlansman. The Favourite is an unbelievably delicious film, and I was completely entertained from beginning to end — its humor and sexuality turned me on. It’s a better movie than BlacKkKlansman, but I have no idea what it was trying to say. I prefer to reward a movie that is solid and has something of social importance to say, like BlacKkKlansman. The Charlottesville footage at the end of it sealed the deal for me — it reminds us that things really haven’t gotten better.

This guy is all in on Spike Lee: “Everyone expects [Roma’s Alfonso] Cuarón to win, and that’s likely to happen because people have an appreciation for the sweat and emotional equity that he put into this film. But the greatest wrong in the history of the Oscars was Spike Lee not being nominated for Do the Right Thing, and BlacKkKlansman is like the other end of Do the Right Thing. I’ve admired this guy’s work so much over the years. Until now, the Academy has almost completely ignored this genius, and it’s about f–king time to correct that. I don’t know that it’s the best directing job of the year — I think that [The Favourite’s] Yorgos Lanthimos’ decisions were more creative, interesting and daring — but I don’t know that I’ll have another opportunity to vote for Spike, so I’m going to take this one.

He’s voting for Christian Bale for Best Actor: “… Bradley Cooper is doing an impersonation of either Kris Kristofferson or Sam Elliott, I can’t quite figure it out, but I’m just not a fan of A Star Is Born. There’s a general feeling that some people have it all, and you don’t want to give them more, and that is going to affect Bradley Cooper for a long time, just like it affected Leo DiCaprio… [Bohemian Rhapsody’s] Rami Malek is going to win — everywhere I’ve gone, Rami Malek was there; he’s a very charming fellow. I’ve now spent more time with him than I have with my dog. I’ve not seen [Vice’s] Christian Bale anywhere, but that is the performance of the year. His playing Dick Cheney, it’s not just an impersonation; it’s a channeling. If you dumped Dick Cheney into the movie, you couldn’t tell the difference between the two. I think he reached into this guy’s humanity, or lack thereof.

He’s voting for Olivia Colman for Best Actress: “I’m going to tell you something that’s going to shock you: Many people vote for their friends. I have worked with [The Favourite’s] Olivia Colman and had a wonderful experience with her — I remember saying to her, “At some point, you’re going to be up on a stage accepting an Academy Award,” and I want to help make that happen…. I just don’t see it with [A Star Is Born’s] Lady Gaga — I mean, she shines like a goddess when she’s onstage and singing, but I don’t think I bought her in a single moment beyond that. Glenn Close is fantastic in The Wife, and I think she’s going to win easily — I personally don’t know anybody who’s not voting for her.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

In the supporting categories, he goes with Emma Stone and Richard E. Grant. He notes that he thinks Regina King is one of the best actresses out there, but he just didn’t think her performance in Beale Street was all that. I sort of agree with his take on Richard E. Grant though – he makes a good case for why Mahershala Ali shouldn’t win and why Richard E. Grant is more deserving because he was truly playing a supporting role. And I would love it if Christian Bale ended up winning Best Actor, but I do think it’s going to Rami. Also: I would LOVE it if Spike Lee won Best Director.


Photos courtesy of IMDB.

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35 Responses to “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot #1: A director who stans BlacKkKlansman & Spike Lee”

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  1. Char says:

    He is spot on about Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born. Both are shallow, to say the least.

    • FuefinaWG says:

      What I never understood about all the ASiB remakes is, why don’t they get an unknown with major star potential to play the GaGa, Streisand, Garland role? We all know that at the time the movies were made, these women were/are super-stars. Where’s the wonder in that? We know going in exactly what is going to happen and how it’s going to end. And I agree with the GaGa note: she was not believable when she was talking in the film.

    • Carol says:

      Amen to that @Char. I also hated the movie Vice but I was riveted by Christian Bale’s and Amy Adams performances. I wish these two would win but they won’t this year:(

  2. Case says:

    I completely agree that The Favourite and Blackkklansman were the best films of the year. I enjoyed The Favourite a bit more than Blackkklansman, although I do understand what he’s saying about having something important to say is more interesting. The Charlottesville footage brought me to tears.

    I also agree that Roma was SUPER indulgent. I didn’t get it. It was just a slice-of-life flick, which is fine, but I didn’t get the hype around it. It was beautifully shot, but nothing else about it felt remarkable to me.

    • Kitten says:

      My BF and I both cried like babies during the Charlottesville footage. The whole movie was great though.

      • Lightpurple says:

        I first saw it on the anniversary of Charlottesville. Everyone in the theater was crying and I don’t cry at movies. Sobbing. Until that point, I was laughing because the movie is actually hilarious. Adam Driver’s slow turn and facial expression when he first hears Washington’s Stallworth on the phone with the Klan is priceless.

    • Aims says:

      Blackkklansmen was the best I had ever seen, period. It was funny, smart and important. The last moments of the film were so important and searing. It needed to be shown and talked about. The movie left an impression for a few days. Those who made the movie should be proud.

  3. Lightpurple says:

    I pretty much agree with him on everything he says about Black Klansman. It is my favorite of the nominated films. And yes on Richard E. Grant.

  4. Ann says:

    These interviews are my favorite part of the Oscars. And I’m laughing that this guy likes the only two nominated movies I saw this year (Vice and BlacKKKlansman). I have no interest in seeing Bohemian Rhapsody or A Star Is Born and I love seeing that this guy is flat out not giving any celebration to BR because of Bryan Singer. I honestly hope the movie gets shut out of everything both because of Singer and because everything I’ve read about the movie makes it seem so generic, which Freddie Mercury was anything but, so I’ll wait for another, better biopic. I got my fingers crossed for Spike Lee too!

    • minx says:

      Can you judge BR if you haven’t actually seen it? Just playing devil’s advocate here. Reading about a movie isn’t the same thing.

  5. Darla says:

    I am rooting for Blackkklansman too. I loved that film, it was amazing.

  6. Lynnie says:

    If BlackkKlansman doesn’t win for Best Picture Spike should at least win for best director. That movie was brilliant cinematography wise.

  7. Becks1 says:

    We just saw Blackkklansman and I thought it was excellent. A little long (that’s my big complaint with most movies), but well done. We watched Bohemian Rhapsody the next night and it just didn’t even compare. Have not seen the Favourite yet.

  8. Sassbr says:

    Finally someone explains sound editing and mixing properly-it’s actually really simple. I always tell people to look to Bladerunner 2049 or Arrival if they want to see stellar sound.

  9. Sparker says:

    SO weird when someone who matters says exactly what you’re thinking and suddenly it’s meaningful.

  10. lucy2 says:

    I like this anonymous voter – I still haven’t seen most of the films, but their assessment seems to make sense to me, and they’re talking about merit, talent, and actual film making, rather than the nonsense most of them talk about in this interviews.
    And at least they appear to have watched the actual films, until people like Goopy Paltrow.

  11. Cindy says:

    I can’t get tired of saying this: Bryan Singer aside, BR was simply NOT a good movie. It was such a mediocre and corny biopic.

  12. Werq says:

    So he basically said Rami’s winning the Oscar because he’s thirsty, oh well

  13. Susannah says:

    I understand there are a lot of different motivations for voting but if he truly believes that “Yorgos Lanthimos’ decisions were more creative, interesting and daring” than Spike Lee’s but is voting for Spike because he may never get another chance, that seems unfair to Lanthimos. What if he never gets another nomination?

    I see that with people saying they prefer Olivia Coleman in Best Actress but Glenn Close deserves one finally. When does Olivia Coleman deserve one? After 3 or 4 nominations? Then this guy seems to be voting for Olivia because they’re friends and she was great to work with! What if you’re really talented but a bitch? I guess you’re screwed!

    I don’t know why I’m looking for integrity in voting for Oscars when we can’t get anything near that in voting for politicians in this country but still, I feel bad for the people who gave incredible performances but because they’re not friends with voters or people feel it’s ” It’s not their time”, they’re not going to get an award.

  14. h3Rh1GHN3SS says:

    black genius is often buried or stolen, depending on the black person the art comes from. so many of my ancestors had to give up, water down or have their work appropriated or face severe consequences. I hope spike wins, enough black people have dies without recognition.

  15. Svea says:

    As a story I actually preferred Green Book despite the complaints of whitewashing. Actually those complaints upset me because what I saw was a white man getting quite the education from a black man and from what he witnessed on that trip. And I consider the white savior accusations to be completely off base. Dr Shirley hired Tony Lip as a bodyguard. That was his job so we see him act as a bodyguard a number of times in the movie. What? Was Dr Shirley expected to fight his own fights? I know a number of classical pianists and you know the lengths they go to to protect their hands???? As a historical drama the film portrays the evils of white supremacy as the backdrop of a body movie. Without the movie I would not have known about Dr Shirley so as aways it prompted me to learn more. This even though I followed the story of all those artists being kicked out by Carnegie Hall. Finally Dr Shirley’s family is critical because the film showed Shirley as isolated and without family. I don’t know a single historical fiction movie that doesn’t change the facts for the sake of story. Otherwise they would be documentaries. Finally I don’t hear the family of Queen Anne complaining about the portrayal of her various lesbian affairs with her ladies in waiting (The Favourite), which have no basis in fact in the historical record. But once you get the label of white washing or white savior movie, that is that.

    • Alyse says:

      The family of Queen Anne are very much dead.

      • pottymouth pup says:

        not only that but I don’t get @Svea’s assertion that the lesbian liaisons have no basis in fact when there’s always been conjecture & commentary that her relationships with the Duchess of Marlborough & Baroness Masham transcending the boundaries of acceptable romantic friendship, which is what the movie is, for all intents & purposes, based on

    • Svea says:

      As much as I love Spike and I want him to get his due, BlackKKlansman just ended too abruptly for me. Plus I found the portrayal of white supremacy to be more effective in Green Book. In BlackKKlansmen, the klansmen seemed like a bunch of really stupid rednecks, as though they are outliers. In Green Book you see the White Supremacists at every level of society from the rednecks in the bar to the shopkeeper to the very wealthy “cultured” whites. You really felt the unrelenting weight of the oppression that this gentle man endured.

    • GirlMonday says:

      Even if the movie is about a white person getting an education from a Black man, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t whitewashed. A white man was made the protagonist in a Black Man’s story, and the movie used the Black experience (the Green Book) and the backdrop for this white person’s emotional journey. That is whitewashing. It is not redeemed because Viggo Mortenson’s character decided Dr. Shirley could be his friend.

      • Svea says:

        Am not seeing how a white man was made a protangonist in a black man’s story when the son never set out tell Dr Shirley’s story. The son set out to tell his father’s story of evolution, the influence of Dr Shirley and the trip and how he came back from this small period in both their lives a changed man. And since both men were on the trip I don’t see how it was exclusively Dr Shirley’s story. The film exclusively shows what Tony Lip witnessed. There were no scenes apart from that. If you are saying Dr Shirley’s bio was used then we must protest all biopics, which may be true (am not thrilled about Bohemian rhapsody.)
        Is it supposed to be flipped with Dr Shirley’s point of view as primary? Wouldn’t that engender more criticism if the son/writer told the story that way? Now that would be coopting. And how could he anyway? He only had his father’s perspective. Thanks for the conversation.

    • Rosalee says:

      Two years ago we received a box of donations among the items was an framed autographed photo of Dr. Shirley in mint condition. I was not aware of who he was so I googled away. I tried to contact his family but struck out. But discovered he studied at the Catholic University of America. So I sent off an email requesting information on where or who I could send the photo, I received a quick response informing me they would be delighted to accept it. I mailed it off the same day. Had I known anything about Greenbook we would have had an autographed photo of Dr. Shirley in the Food Bank waiting room.

  16. Meg says:

    I still really hate that while he says christian bale had the better performance from the better film, rami will get it because he went to more parties with Oscar voters
    Him admitting that shows the power structure & the politics involved in this. ‘will you kiss up to me, schmooze with me at a party? No, then no vote for you’

  17. bobslaw says:

    I’m surprised at his response to Cold War. I saw it at the TIFF Lightbox this past weekend and was blown away.

    I am also so surprised that First Man’s original score was not nominated. The scene where Aldrin and Armstrong are trying to land the LEM on the moon and the alarms are blaring and the score builds like crazy was tense as shit.

  18. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    “Coming back to my “rule,” End Game, which is a Netflix film, is good, but I’m not going to vote for it, no way. Also ‘Period. End of Sentence’ – it’s well done, but it’s about women getting their period, and I don’t think any man is voting for this film because it’s just icky for men.”


  19. Alyse says:

    Am I the secret director??

    Agreed 100% with everything he said