The Academy Awards! Where Hollywood’s finest gather to highlight their incredible accomplishments and remarkable achievements…

…and do their very best not to acknowledge the super hero-sized elephant in the room that the movie industry is hanging on by the strengths of the strongest Marvel, DC and Star Wars efforts.

Pretty much.

The box office owes their life to the blockbuster movies —like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War which brought in over $4 billion dollars by themselves!— but there are still plenty of lower-budget, “artsy” films —like A Star Is born and BlacKkKlansman— worth celebrating.

So, without a host, here are my 2019 Oscar selections from both the Academy’s esteemed field and mine.

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Actor

Academy: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

CinemAce: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

While the story took some odd factual liberties, there is no denying the spunk and energy Malek brings to the front of Queen, perfectly embodying the jive moves of Sir Freddie Mercury.

Actress

Academy: Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

CinemAce: Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Actor/Director Bradley Cooper is great, but Lady Gaga shines brightest (lame pun) and A Star Is Born belongs to her.

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Supporting Actor

Academy: Sam Rockwell, Vice

CinemAce: Josh Brolin, Avengers: Infinity War

Rockwell is one of the more underrated actors of this generation, with charismatic credits like Iron Man 2, The Way, Way Back and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. As for Brolin, I challenge you to make a giant purple alien with a nut sack for a chin feel human.

Supporting Actress

Academy: Emma Stone, The Favourite

CinemAce: Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place

The Gwen Stacy rebirth is real and Blunt is brilliant in A Quiet Place. If you haven’t seen her in Edge of Tomorrow, consider this a recommendation.

Documentary

Academy: Free Solo

CinemAce: Free Solo

Originally thought this was a really quick turnaround documentary to defend the recently released Star Wars movie.

Animated Film

Academy: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

CinemAce: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 

The animation feels just like the comic books that Spider-Verse is born out of. Stellar voice acting and a happening soundtrack make this an easy choice for me.

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Cinematography

Academy: A Star Is Born

CinemAce: Avengers: Infinity War

Visual Effects

Academy: Avengers: Infinity War

CinemAce: Avengers: Infinity War

As far as cinematography, visual effects, production design, sound mixing and all those “little” categories the ordinary viewer doesn’t truly appreciate, Infinity War is deserving of pretty much all of them. I say that not as a super-nerd, but someone who can objectively, critically realize the incredible cinematic achievement that the third Avengers film is.

Original Score

Academy: Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther

CinemAce: Alan Silvestri, Avengers: Infinity War

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU for those scoring at home) has a treasure chest of themes, and Göransson’s African, Lion King’y beats for Black Panther add yet another to the trove. If I could pick, I would nominate Alan Silvestri’s Infinity War score. It’s his first Avengers theme on steroids and, to me, is the John Williams Star Wars of our generation.

(Edit: the “scoring” at home is also a pun!)

Original Song

Academy: “All The Stars,” Black Panther

CinemAce: “All The Stars,” Black Panther

I like music, too. “Shallow” from A Star Is Born also in the running and the non-nominated “Sunflower” from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse would be my silver medal winner.

Costume Design

Academy: Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther

CinemAce: Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther

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Production Design

Academy: Hannah Beachler, Black Panther

CinemAce: Hannah Beachler, Black Panther

There’s not much debate here for me amongst the nominees. The only way Black Panther’s Carter and Beachler won’t win is due to the underlying hatred among Hollywood’s elite for the superhero film. (Or I suppose the budgetary riches they were granted compared to smaller films.)

Original Screenplay

Academy: Adam McKay, Vice

CinemAce: Mark Perez, Game Night

McKay has traded in his comedy boots (Anchorman, Step Brothers) in recent years and still goes strong. Game Night was one of the more unexpected A+’ers for me in recent memory.

Best Director

Academy: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman 

CinemAce: Anthony and Joe Russo, Avengers: Infinity War

Jordan Peele, director and writer of Get Out and a producer on BlacKkKlansman, said it best when he said movies are a perfect way to have to societal conversations we aren’t “woke” enough to have in person. Spike Lee’s 2018 film has that conversation with the viewer that we need to be having.

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Best Picture

Academy: Black Panther

CinemAce: Avengers: Infinity War

Is this a year a superhero movie wins?!?!?!?!?!??!

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The Stan Lee tribute will be the highlight of the night, fitting as he takes home numerous awards that only exist at all because of his own imagination.

Thank you for your consideration.

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