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Best of the Aughts: A Single Take, #90 – #81

Arguably, the aughts traveled through three or four distinct phases of journalistically notable indie rock trends

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Best of the Aughts: A Single Take, #90 - #81

Editor’s Note: Click here to read the previous installment of this feature.

90. Department of Eagles, “Floating On The Lehigh” (In Ear Park, 2008)
Arguably, the aughts traveled through three or four distinct phases of journalistically notable indie rock trends (read: space-filling pseudo-movements rooted in some truth, but basically the creation of lazy critics). There was the ridiculously clustered-together “garage rock revival” post-millennial phase (something so poorly and simplistically defined that, for a while, people thought maybe The Fiery Furnaces ought to be grouped next to the White Stripes, since they were both [faux-]brother/sister duos). There was the ugly middle period defined by (depending on where your head was at) either DFA and its disco-punk ilk and/or the notion that large groups of people standing around on stage constituted an automatically laudable, Gen-X-cynicism-repudiating ethos of “community,” “togetherness” et al. (Douglas Coupland would be so proud we snapped out of it!). The endgame (now over, apparently) was in thrall to the idea that Sonic Youth should be everyone’s favorite band of all time. There will be much more to say about these dismal mini-zeitgeists on another occasion.

At this particular moment, though, it seems like Grizzly Bear have a chance of making really ornate, multi-harmony vocals that resist automatic Beach Boys sugar very popular and generally The Next Big Thing if anyone can figure out how to rip them off. They’re very sui generis, but I prefer side project Department of Eagles, which concedes just enough to the kind of stuff I already understand; Yellow House aside, Grizzly Bear often stretches beyond what I’m comfortable with in their longeurs. Like Rufus Wainwright at his most Romantic, “Floating On The Lehigh” meanders through six minutes of woodwinds, the occasional operatic swell and non-urgent detours without ever seeming too tenuous. There’s real excitement to be found in music that can sprawl for a long time without losing you when it stops to breathe, which is pretty much always in this case. Downright post-coital.

89. Franz Ferdinand, “Eleanor Put Your Boots On” (You Could Have It So Much Better, 2005)
Franz Ferdinand went really quickly from UK NME heroes—just another group to be hyped up and spat out the next week, the way bands like (three random examples from an infinite number) The Ordinary Boys, The Paddingtons or The Enemy came and went—to honest-to-goodness US chart stars, suggesting to the overexcitable that they were going to be the next Oasis. (Britpop’s got the weirdest criterion for success: You have to conquer America to be fully validated, which apparently either proves that British music isn’t just an insular circle jerk, or that British cultural imperialism can still linger on in some consolation-prize way, or something equally ineffable. It’s a peculiarly one-way phenomenon: You don’t see too many American bands worrying about whether they’re rocking Brighton.) It might be hard for kids twenty years on to hear what exactly was so exciting about Franz Ferdinand. Though they wrote two albums of excellent, impeccable pop, I’m having trouble these days finding something in their music suggesting they were actually so many magnitudes better than any number of other, contemporaneous bands who never got over Talking Heads, aside from their freakish consistency. (There’s basically no filler on their first two albums, which is impressive.)

Still, I enjoyed and enjoy both those two albums in their entirety and it would be dishonest to leave them off; they were a brief moment suggesting the Pitchfork-approved zeitgeist was going to take over the world on a stadium-filling scale (I have no qualms about things I like blowing up; I rather enjoy it). As far as an arbitary representative track, I’ll go with this uncharacteristic piano-based ballad, if only because a) it’s adorable b) Alex Kapranos dated the Fiery Furnaces’ Eleanor Friedberger (hence the title), a ridiculously disparate union of incompatible chart positions and also the kind of nerd indie rock trivia precisely no one but me seems to find interesting. Indie rock power couples! Not since the glory days of Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield etc, etc.

88. Vampire Weekend, “Oxford Comma” (Vampire Weekend, 2008)
When Vampire Weekend played Pitchfork 2007, Nathan Rabin noted they were greeted with a sarcastic cry of “Keep on rocking! I love The Jonas Brothers!” VW probably objectively set some kind of record for least time elapsed from blog fame to the commercial success (they had a debut within a year-and-a-half of formation that went on to sell 900,000 copies worldwide). Reflexive disowning by the very people who first championed them came pretty much the day their album came out. They’re the poster child for both blog-rock’s upside (it can find good new bands way faster than the past noxious scouting process) and downside (if they’re famous too fast, no one who was an early adopter wants anything to do with them). Vampire Weekend’s biggest sin was being simultaneously poppy and preppy; it’s hard to tell which offended their detractors more. Edgeless? Sure. Bland? Probably. (Contra’s a whole other story though.) The fact that lead singer Ezra Koenig showed up at a 12-hour Fucked Up show and flawlessly screamed two punk chestnuts probably only made people uneasy, pointing out how short the connecting line is between formulaic pop and (by definition somewhat formulaic) purist punk. So I’ll go with one of their earwormiest and most unabashedly “elitist” songs (that title!) just for good measure; this is surely one of the slowest, least urgent songs ever to nonetheless be insanely catchy.

87. Killer Mike, “That’s Life” (single, 2006)
Pretty much one of the favorite 2006 songs of everyone who took hip-hop “seriously” (a designation which always sends up nearly as many warning flags as the recommendations of people who take TV “seriously”), this will probably stand better as a time capsule than the stinging declaration of intent it’s meant as, though it’s plenty vehement. In a little over five minutes, Mike denounces Oprah, “bourgeoisie niggers,” people whose “sick twisted faggot minds” lead them to theorize about why black people wear baggy jeans, and why Kanye was “damn near right” but how W. actually hates “all poor people, be they black or white.” An equal mixture of the mildly alarming and the pretty convincing, it’s about as honest and substantive as most ’00s rap got without being preachy. Mike shows you can be didactic but entertaining; in any case, the way he made his case was far more entrancing than said case. As of this writing, Killer Mike has changed to the name Mike Bigga, which is a damn shame.

86. Soulja Boy Tell ’Em, “Yahhh!” (souljaboytellem.com, 2007)
Diametrically opposite across the hip-hop divide there’s Soulja Boy Tell ’Em, who’s always struck me as a reasonably amusing guy, far from the nadir of rap he was supposed to be. (This will be the only time I impersonate a self-righteous poptimist; there will be no appearances from the Jonas Brothers or, I dunno, Ke$ha further down this list, I swear.) With his first hit, “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” he came up with one of rap’s most annoyingly insistent, catchiest verbal hooks, inspiring many suburban kids to Urban Dictionary the readjusted meanings of “Superman” and “Robocop.” When Ice-T took the sentiments of many critics to the next level and recorded a diss claiming Soulja Boy “singlehandedly killed hip-hop” and telling him to “eat a dick,” Soulja Boy shockingly came out on top by pointing out a) the man who once recorded “Fuck Tha Police” is now on Law And Order b) Soulja Boy’s financial success enabled him to move his family out of the ghetto within a year of breaking (“You should be telling me ’Congratulations young brother, get your money’”) c) if Ice-T really feels hip-hop is dying, he should get back in the studio and try to save it. Soulja Boy understands precisely what his goals are and what rap music’s current commercial paradigm is: It’s to make a great deal of money by being as entertaining as he knows how, and he’s fairly good at it.

As a song, “Yaah” isn’t noticeably more advanced than “Crank That,” but it gave birth to my personal nominee for most entertaining rap video of the decade. Soulja Boy’s at home with his friend Arab playing video games, but his management team insists he make an appearance at school. So off he skulks down the sidewalk, accompanied by his little claymation buddy, the “Hater,” who’s popped out from a video game to act as Soulja Boy’s (only marginally more inappropriate) id. When someone gets in your face—be that someone Hilary Clinton or Britney Spears (to Soulja Boy, all white people look the same)—yell “Yaah trick! Yaah!” It’s cathartic. The whole thing ends with a rousing parody of Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s,” with Soulja Boy changing the chorus from a celebration of rims to a demand that his teacher upgrade his F’s to D’s, jovially celebrating his own ignorance. “I’m just playing,” he concludes, “listen to Soulja Boy, stay in school,” but he can’t stop himself from cracking up. I salute Soulja Boy’s absolute lack of hypocrisy if nothing else: He’s no one’s mouthpiece for a school system he dropped out of. He’s a terrible rapper, but a pretty good entertainer.

85. Josh Rouse, “Carolina” (Nashville, 2005)
At one point, Rouse’s website talked up “The soft rock sounds of Josh Rouse.” It takes some nerve to court a label most would try hard to avoid, a perversity I dig (Rouse is on the record as a die-hard Bread fan). This is one of Rouse’s sparklier numbers (and one of his least ‘70s fixated ones, for whatever that’s worth), but it’s sophisticatedly soaring. Rouse’s work is uneven as a whole, but when he’s on he can make awesome little ditties I listen to over and over again even though they’re obviously not necessarily anything more than well-crafted schlock. I think it’s about a hooker.

84. Ada, “Maps” (Blondie, 2004)
“Maps” was a reasonably popular song in its original incarnation—unexpected MTV spins and all—but the Yeah Yeah Yeahs never had their big commercial push to the next R.E.M.-tier level. (I certainly don’t think most normal, radio-listening, Godfearing Americans heard “Maps” until it was added to the Rock Band roster.) I like this synth-pop cover even better; with its glacial pace and calm, cheaply expansive synths, it ditches Karen O’s usual hysterics (effectively reined-in on “Maps,” but she’s really had some horrendously over-the-top moments) for epic detachment and serene resignation. If Karen O sings like someone who momentarily hopes she can actually stop her lover from leaving (“Maps” is the kind of song that demands the use of an overwrought word like “lover”), Ada’s tone transforms the whole thing into the greatest John Hughes prom scene that never was, a slow-dance frozen in time. That I prefer this approach obviously says more about my ingrained preferences than the actual merits of the respective versions, but I get chills from this; the original is just a very good song.

83. Los Campesinos!, “Frontwards” (Sticking Fingers into Sockets EP, 2007)
As of right now, Los Campesinos! are more interesting theoretically than viscerally, striving to combine a comical degree of reverence for Sarah Records and their American indie forefathers with shout-y punk. It’s probably an unrealizable project, but it’s interesting to watch them try to sum up the entire Indie Rock Ethos as they understand it in one band. This gleeful Pavement cover is as close as they’ve gotten thus far, transforming one of the Slanted And Enchanted era’s most haunted songs (only “Here” mopes better) into an unlikely punk-pop cut, complete with solo fiddle. Erudite, WE-LOVE-OBSCURITIES righteousness meets instant pleasure for a few minutes.

82. Girl Talk, “Smash Your Head” (Night Ripper, 2006)
Girl Talk is pretty awesome, but the problem is that I’ve talked to way too many people who feel like they can’t stand mainstream hip-hop in any other context except Gregg Gillis’—i.e., recontextualized against white radio-/indie- friendly hallmarks. When Gillis hijacks a rap vocal hook, it’s not hard to hear that it’s often the instrumentals, not the words, lifted by the juxtaposition, but listeners perceive it oppositely. It’s like, how much imagination does it take to hear the catchiness of the Ying Yang Twins anyway? But “Smash Your Head” admittedly works for everyone regardless of orientation, largely because the nearly minute-long juxtaposition of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” (a ridiculously celebratory rap verse) and Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” (associated in the memory of nearly everyone Gillis’s age or younger with a whole tour bus in Almost Famous breaking out into reconciliatory sing-along) is just way too euphoric. Also, the X-Ray Spex song at the start is as erudite and obscure a reference as Girl Talk’s ever offered, so the best of the populist and elitist worlds in one song.

81. The Streets, “Don’t Mug Yourself” (Original Pirate Material, 2002)
For a brief moment I actually remember (but which probably would seem ridiculous to anyone even, say, three years younger), generally level-headed music critics and amateur over-enthusiasts really thought the commercial rap landscape of 2002—settling into one of its periodic torpors, where semi-novelty singles broke out but new artists with obvious staying power were missing—could possibly be taken over by a British guy whose sense of rhythm and meter was at best cheerfully indifferent and at worst actively incompetent. If anything, Mike Skinner’s odd first album sounds even better now than when it came out; I was dreading a follow-up phalanx of slacker Brits lazily offering aggressively lower-class vernacular as a goal in itself, but instead he was just the one guy (one who got a lot worse when he got too wealthy to remember what he was rapping about in the first place, though he’s had his moments ever since: We Survivors Of The Swine-Flu must all gather together one day to snicker over this).

Shortly thereafter, grime took over the UK rap scene and I never could get into it, no matter how gleefully eccentric and aggressive Dizzee Rascal’s pronunciations were; it just seemed like all the violence and pissed-off-ness of American rap, but with less fun (“progressive”) beats. Most of Original Pirate Material is gold; this unrepentantly male-centric song is as good as any. I’m hesitant to dutifully label it misogynistic, since it’s clearly presented as a bunch of dudes sitting around the-morning-after shooting the shit after a hard night of clubbing, halfway between stoned skit and vérité report. Among the cliched but quite possibly true advice—she’ll like you more if you don’t call her!—are terrific moments of dudes cockily saying things like “Stop me if I’m wrong! Stop me if I’m wrong!” and the sounds of friends cracking up over cheap silverware; British Apatow without the punchlines. But yeah, there was no way in the entire world this was ever going to take over American hip-hop. Are you kidding?

Vadim Rizov is a New York-based freelance writer. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Onion A.V. Club and Paste Magazine, among others.

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Who Killed My Father Is Heartbreaking but Prone to Pat Sociological Analysis

Édouard Louis’s latest is strong as a portrait of a family unable to communicate through anything but volatile, toxic outbursts.

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Who Killed My Father

Author Édouard Louis’s father has been an important figure in each of his previous works, even when he’s never seen or mostly at the periphery (as in The History of Violence). With his latest, Who Killed My Father, Louis finally turns to directly examining his most important, damaged relationship. Both in his previous books and interviews, Louis has repeatedly acknowledged this broken relationship, largely stemming from the author’s open homosexuality. Alongside this, Louis’s prior works have circled around a number of themes to which he returns here: the French political and working classes, the small-town prejudices that surrounded his upbringing and drove a closeted homosexual boy to escape to more cosmopolitan Paris, and the role of state power in producing social and physical illness.

With Who Killed My Father, Louis invites inevitable comparisons to Abdellah Taïa, another talented French writer who’s also gay and largely estranged from his place of origin, and also primarily an autobiographical novelist. Like Louis, Taïa incorporates his complicated relationship with a parent into several of his books. Taïa also connects that relationship, his writing, and his experience with the society he left behind in Morocco and the one he found in France. But what distinguishes his writing in, for example, Infidels or Salvation Army from that of Édouard Louis in Who Killed My Father is a strong sense of meaning. Taïa incorporates his relationship with his mother, M’Barka, to convey something more meaningful and developed.

Louis begins down this same road before clumsily inserting a political tract at the end of Who Killed My Father that doesn’t knit as effortlessly with parts one and two. The book situates Louis’s relationship with his father front and center as compared to his previous work. It’s clear that he’s exposing the painfulness of their relationship for the purpose of speaking about political power and its physical and social toll on those who don’t possess it, but Who Killed My Father stumbles in conveying its message adequately.

Louis’s account of his father’s suffering and violence toward those around him is both painful and sharp. Who Killed My Father is strongest when Louis is demonstrating his father’s most private acts of kindness, as when the father gives Louis a copy of Titanic for his birthday after trying to convince him to ask for a more “masculine” gift. After Louis realizes that his carefully planned tribute to the pop band Aqua at a family dinner has embarrassed his father, the man reassures Louis that “it’s nothing.” In the book’s first and strongest part, Louis expounds not only on the relationship with his father, but also excavates what might have made his father the man he grew up with. At one point, he recounts finding a photograph of his father in women’s clothes—undoubtedly some adolescent joke, but also inconceivable from the man who insisted to his son that men should never act like girls.

Regrettably, part one ends with a trite conclusion that says everything and nothing at the same time. In part two, the story attempts to braid together all the malignant threads of Louis’s family narrative. Louis recalls igniting a violent outburst between his father and older brother as a result of his mother shaming him for acting too much like a girl (“faggot” is what some others in the neighborhood more precisely call him). The insinuation hurts and angers him so much that he betrays his mother’s confidence on another family secret, setting loose a new wave of violence. Part two is short and important to moving Who Killed My Father toward some wider evaluation of the questions Louis begins the book with, but it ultimately fails to find its footing by pivoting in part three to an unearned polemic against the political classes.

Who Killed My Father is strong as a portrait of a family unable to communicate (except in brief moments of tenderness) through anything but volatile, toxic outbursts, but the book at its weakest when trying to ham-handedly force this narrative into some broad theorizing about power and society and structural violence. Part one aligned beautifully with a narrative of meaning more comparable to Taïa at his best. Unfortunately, the story quickly falls apart when Jacques Chirac is indicted for destroying Louis’s father’s body through changes in health care coverage. It’s not that the questions Louis ends with aren’t necessary and important ones; it’s that there’s so little threading the narrative together into anything cohesive. What was the point of the first two-thirds of the book? His father was cruel, occasionally loving, but never mind because the state is killing him? The life of the poor is one of abject powerlessness against an unremittingly powerful and callous “ruling class”?

Louis deserves credit for the attempt to tie it all together into some grander commentary on the political class and its ambivalence, but the conclusion is simultaneously glib and condescending. Perhaps Louis didn’t intend it, but the book’s conclusion drains away responsibility for the cruelty and bigotry of those like his father, and patronizes them as with a quick How could we expect any better of the noble, working poor? Is it the state’s or the ruling class’s subjugation of his father’s body that’s somehow also responsible for his inability to sympathize with gays or immigrants? Of course, the poor are subjugated by the rich and Louis has written more meaningfully about the implications of that relationship elsewhere. But in Who Killed My Father, he inadvertently demonstrates that the answer isn’t to sanctify them any more than it is to demonize them.

Édouard Louis’s Who Killed My Father is now available from New Directions.

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Through the Years: Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” at 30

To celebrate this sacred anniversary, we’re taking a look back at the single’s evolution over the last three decades.

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Through the Years: Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” at 25

This week Madonna’s iconic hit “Like a Prayer” turns 30. The song is, by all accounts, her most broadly beloved contribution to the pop-music canon, landing at #7 on our list of the Best Singles of the 1980s. Even the singer’s most ardent critics can’t help but bow at the altar of this gospel-infused conflation of spiritual and sexual ecstasy, a song that helped transform Madge from ‘80s pop tart to bona fide icon. To celebrate this sacred anniversary, we’re taking a look back at the single’s evolution over the last three decades.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 3, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x2z_rY1Fjk

Pepsi Commercial

Following a teaser that aired during the 31st Annual Grammy Awards in January of 1989, Madonna premiered “Like a Prayer” in a Pepsi commercial during The Cosby Show, the #1 rated series on U.S. television at the time. Part of a $5 million sponsorship deal with the soft-drink company, the ad, titled “Make a Wish,” was an innocuous bit of nostalgia that would soon be eclipsed by the scandal surrounding the single’s forthcoming music video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79fzeNUqQbQ

Music Video

Madonna dances in front of burning crosses and kisses a black saint in a church pew in this modern morality tale about racial profiling and pious guilt, prompting both the religious right and cultural critics, like bell hooks, to cry foul. Eventually, the mounting outrage caused Pepsi to pull out of their multi-million dollar deal with the Queen of Pop. The singer’s response was coyly defiant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xvjnay4kS8

Blond Ambition Tour

Madonna’s first live incarnation of “Like a Prayer” was also her best. Sure, her voice was raw and unrefined (“Life is a misstaree, eve’one mus stan alone,” she heaves), but her 1990 tour performances of the song displayed a rapturous, almost possessed quality that she’s never been able to recapture.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4vSbVWm6F8

Mad’House Cover

Dutch Eurotrash group Mad’House’s claim to fame is their blasphemous take on “Like a Prayer” from 2002. The glorified Madonna cover band’s version is stripped of the original’s nuance and soul, a tacky, mechanical shell of a dance track. Regrettably, this is the version you’re most likely to hear on Top 40 radio today. (Only slightly less heretical, the cast of Glee’s rendition of the song peaked at #27 in 2010.)


MTV On Stage & On the Record

Then notorious for forsaking her older material, Madonna dusted off “Like a Prayer” in 2003 during the promotion of her album American Life. Thirteen years after her last live performance of the song, even Madonna’s comparatively reedier voice and noticeably more limited range couldn’t diminish its enduring magic.


Sticky & Sweet Tour

After performing crowd-pleasing but relatively anemic versions of “Like a Prayer” during her Re-Invention Tour in 2004 and Live 8 in 2005, Madonna reinvented the song for her Sticky & Sweet Tour in 2008, using elements of Mack’s “Feels Like Home” for an amped-up techno mash-up.


Super Bowl XLVI

Madonna closed her record-breaking Super Bowl XLVI halftime show in 2012 with “Like a Prayer,” and though she wasn’t singing live, it was the closest she’s ever gotten to her ecstatic Blond Ambition performances. (For those lamenting the lip-synching, she would go on to reprise this version of the song, completely live, during her MDNA Tour later that year.) And if there were any doubt, a stadium of nearly 70,000 football fans waving flashlights and singing along is a testament to the song’s transcendent, all-encompassing appeal. The performance’s final message of “World Peace” seemed attainable, if only for a brief moment.


Met Gala 2018

Last year, Madonna dusted off her old chestnut for an epic performance at Vogue magazine’s annual Met Gala. The event’s theme was “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” which seemed tailor-made for both the Queen of Pop and “Like a Prayer.” Madonna slowly descended the steps of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in a shroud, flanked on both sides by a choir of monks, as she sang a Gregorian-inspired rendition of the pop classic. The performance also featured a portion of a new song, “Beautiful Game,” and a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

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Oscars 2019: Complete Winners List

The 91st Academy Awards are now behind us, and the telecast told us just about nothing that we don’t already know about AMPAS.

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Green Book
Photo: Universal Pictures

The 91st Academy Awards are now behind us, and the telecast told us just about nothing that we don’t already know about AMPAS. Which isn’t to say that the ceremony wasn’t without its surprises. For one, whoever decided to capture Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s performance of “Shallow” from A Star Is Born in one single take that would end with the pair sitting side by side, rapt in each other and framed in Bergman-esque repose, should hereby be responsible for every Oscar ceremony moving forward.

For some, though not us, Green Book’s victory for best picture came as surprise. As our own Eric Henderson put it in his prediction: “Those attacking the film from every conceivable angle have also ignored the one that matters to most people: the pleasure principle. Can anyone blame Hollywood for getting its back up on behalf of a laughably old-fashioned but seamlessly mounted road movie-cum-buddy pic that reassures people that the world they’re leaving is better than the one they found? That’s, as they say, the future that liberals and Oscar want.”

In the end, the awards went down more or less as expected, with the only real shock of the evening being Oliva Colman’s stunning upset over Glenn Close in the best actress race. (Glenn, we hope you are on the phone right now trying to get that Sunset Boulevard remake to finally happen.) Black Panther proved more indomitable than expected, winning in three categories (none of which we predicted), and Free Solo pulling a victory over RBG that was the first big sign of the evening that, then and now, AMPAS members vote above all else with their guts.

See below for the full list of winners from the 2019 Oscars.

Picture
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book (WINNER)
Roma
A Star Is Born
Vice

Director
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma (WINNER)
Adam McKay, Vice

Actor
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (WINNER)
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Actress
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite (WINNER)
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Green Book (WINNER)
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (WINNER)
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Adapted Screenplay
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee (WINNER)
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins
A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters

Original Screenplay
The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
First Reformed, Paul Schrader
Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly (WINNER)
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
Vice, Adam McKay

Foreign Language Film
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico) (WINNER)
Shoplifters (Japan)

Documentary Feature
Free Solo, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (WINNER)
Hale County This Morning, This Evening, RaMell Ross
Minding the Gap, Bing Liu
Of Fathers and Sons, Talal Derki
RBG, Betsy West and Julie Cohen

Animated Feature
Incredibles 2, Brad Bird
Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson
Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda
Ralph Breaks the Internet, Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman (WINNER)

Cinematography
Cold War, Lukasz Zal
The Favourite, Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón (WINNER)
A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique

Film Editing
BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Ottman (WINNER)
Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito
The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Vice, Hank Corwin

Production Design
Black Panther, Hannah Beachler (WINNER)
First Man, Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas
The Favourite, Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton
Mary Poppins Returns, John Myhre and Gordon Sim
Roma, Eugenio Caballero and Bárbara Enrı́quez

Original Score
BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard
Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson (WINNER)
If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman

Original Song
All The Stars from Black Panther by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
I’ll Fight from RBG by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
The Place Where Lost Things Go from Mary Poppins Returns by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
Shallow from A Star Is Born by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice (WINNER)
When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Costume Design
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Mary Zophres
Black Panther, Ruth E. Carter (WINNER)
The Favourite, Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots, Alexandra Byrne

Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity War, Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, and Daniel Sudick
Christopher Robin, Chris Lawrence, Mike Eames, Theo Jones, and Chris Corbould
First Man, Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, and J.D. Schwalm (WINNER)
Ready Player One, Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler, and David Shirk
Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, and Dominic Tuohy

Sound Mixing
Black Panther, Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor, and Peter Devlin
Bohemian Rhapsody, Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin, and John Casali (WINNER)
First Man, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee, and Mary H. Ellis
Roma, Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan, and José Antonio García
A Star Is Born, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder, and Steve Morrow

Sound Editing
Black Panther, Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Warhurst (WINNER)
First Man, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
A Quiet Place, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
Roma, Sergio Diaz and Skip Lievsay

Makeup and Hairstyling
Border, Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer
Mary Queen of Scots, Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher, and Jessica Brooks
Vice, Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, and Patricia Dehaney (WINNER)

Live Action Short Film
Detainment, Vincent Lambe
Fauve, Jeremy Comte
Marguerite, Marianne Farley
Mother, Rodrigo Sorogoyen
Skin, Guy Nattiv (WINNER)

Documentary Short Subject
Black Sheep, Ed Perkins
End Game, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Lifeboat, Skye Fitzgerald
A Night at the Garden, Marshall Curry
Period. End of Sentence., Rayka Zehtabchi (WINNER)

Animated Short
Animal Behaviour, Alison Snowden and David Fine
Bao, Domee Shi (WINNER)
Late Afternoon, Louise Bagnall
One Small Step, Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas
Weekends, Trevor Jimenez

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