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Different Voices: Diversity in The Wire‘s Baltimore



Different Voices: Diversity in The Wire‘s Baltimore

“One of the things that you can’t get away from is the racial aspect of the show. Whereas most shows run from having blacks on the screen, The Wire embraces a large black cast of some of the best drawn, best acted, and most engaging characters on today. Outside of sitcoms, too many teetering on this side of minstrelsy, not since the days of Homicide: Life on the Street have black characters played so many lead roles.”—Maurice Broaddus,

In one of the supplements to the Season 3 DVD of The Wire, the show’s creator, former Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon, notes that Emmy Magazine, the official magazine of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, once published an article about the diversity of African-American characters on television and did not mention either The Wire or Homicide: Life on the Street (which was based on Simon’s nonfiction book). “In some ways I think Hollywood is utterly ill-equipped to address the idea of these voices,” Simon said.

If that’s not true enough, it’s a partial explanation as to why both series didn’t get much Emmy love. While Homicide presented many varied African-Americans, it didn’t come close to the wide range that has been offered in the first three seasons (and the fourth yet to air) of The Wire, which features realistic black characters on both sides of the law and in political office. These characters are portrayed with a depth that resists classification as purely heroic or villainous—and as an ensemble, their diversity is unrivaled. The show grants multiple dimensions to all its characters on both sides of the law—a universe that expands with each season, including the upcoming Season Four, which focuses on four young black teens we haven’t met before.

In another Season 3 DVD supplement, Simon estimates that 70% of the characters on The Wire are African-American, and he posits that as a possible explanation for the show’s low ratings. Simon cites statistics that show white neighborhoods are comfortable when the number of African-American neighbors are a small percentage, but when the numbers climb toward 20%, whites take flight. In one of HBO’s Season Four previews, Sonja Sohn, the half Korean-American, half African-American actress who plays Baltimore police detective and out lesbian Shakima “Kima” Greggs said, “Having such a large number of African-American characters is still daunting.”

I. The Street

“Am I a hypocrite in stating that I am weary of these kind of shows, no matter how well done they are, that feature African-Americans as some kind of colorful {in a negative sense} underclass?” asked Vance Cureton, assessing season one in The Reading Post . “Violent. Hostile to all non-Blacks. Anti-intellectual. Able to survive by virtue of street wits, instead of through education, and doing things the correct way.” In an Alternet article about the series, Anthony Papa, who served time for drug crimes and then became an artist and activist, seconded Cureton’s discomfort. “I don’t think it neutralizes it just because the cops are corrupt,” he said. “Most drug users I know are white. I’ve worked in midtown Manhattan, around Wall Street, where people were using drugs. I never saw the police raid Wall Street.”

Simon acknowledged in a 2003 interview with Eric Deggans of The St. Petersburg Times that those criticisms helped spur the port storyline of Season 2, and its connection to the drug trade. “We were very conscious of the fact that some white viewers may have felt a little bit smug about (the first season’s criminals)…What was historically denied to young black men in Baltimore is now being denied to a certain percentage of the young white population. Now, the drug culture is crossing those (race) boundaries.” Still, even detractors must concede the prismatic array of characters lined up on the criminal side of The Wire. There’s Wallace (Michael B. Jordan) and D’Angelo (Larry Gilliard Jr.), who pay a price for twinges of conscience; the quiet, more old-school drug kingpin Avon (Wood Harris), and the cold-blooded young up-and-comer Marlo (Jamie Hector); the old pro Proposition Joe (Robert F. Chew), who runs his operation out of an electronics shop where he still does repairs. The writers invest even the drug crews’ footsoldiers with humanizing details—notably Bodie (J.D. Williams), one of the few of the Barksdale crew to keep his freedom at the end of Season 3. Those without access to Season 4 screeners have yet to meet Snoop (Felicia Pearson), who works for Marlo—and I’ll leave it at that; you just need to experience her for yourself.

There also are true originals who defy easy categorization, including Omar (Michael K. Williams), who I expounded on in a post earlier this week, and his doppleganger, gun-for-hire Brother Mouzone (Michael Potts), retained by Avon in Season 2. Mouzone dresses like a member of the Nation of Islam, though he’s vague on whether he belongs; he’s exceedingly polite and just as deadly, and he never raises his voice, even when berating an underling for neglecting to fetch him the latest issues of Harper’s and The Atlantic Monthly. (Mouzone describes himself as the white man’s worst nightmare, “a n——- with a library card.”) Then there’s Bubbles (Andre Royo), junkie and snitch supreme, always lurking on the outside of both the legal and illegal sides of the storyline, and former Avon Barksdale employee Cutty (Chad L. Coleman), who left prison intending to pick up where he left off, but instead followed a straight-and-narrow path by opening a boxing gym for Baltimore’s youth.

In a 2002 article, Darnell M. Hunt, a sociology professor and director of UCLA’s Department of African-American studies, found the approach that The Wire took to both sides of the drug trade quite unusual and compelling. “It’s rare to see African-American characters portrayed across the spectrum like that—in terms of sexuality, motivations,” he said. “I’m not one who typically likes these kinds of shows, but I am struck by the nuanced, very interesting portrayals. Even the quote-unquote bad characters are humanized in ways you don’t usually see on television. This show just strikes me as being the most balanced and realistic portrayal of people involved in the drug culture. In one episode, we saw one of the (drug syndicate) lieutenants in the organization going off to a junior college to take a business management course. It was to get better at managing his drug business, but it was an unexpected twist, there was a feeling of reality about it.” Hunt was referring to the late lamented Stringer Bell, played so well by Idris Elba, an actor that I didn’t even realize was British until I started listening to the DVD commentaries and watching the extras. Stringer’s journey not toward redemption, but toward efficient business practices and legal legitimacy, mirrored Michael Corleone’s arc in The Godfather films. He didn’t pull off the transformation any better than Michael, but at least Michael managed to die of natural causes.

Producer Ed Burns, who served both as a homicide detective in the real Baltimore police department and as a teacher in the city’s public schools, points out that street characters’ predicaments often parallel those of the cops. “I think guys like Bodie and Prop Joe and Slim Charles and Marlo are very compelling,” Burns said. “They’re a group of people you don’t get to see, and by giving them humanity, and a bureaucracy, you start to like them. You feel sorry for the Bodies of the world when Avon is screwing up on top, and for the Lester Freamons, when Burrell is screwing up at the top.”

II. The Law

Varied as the street characters are, their African-American counterparts in the police department are just as individualized, from the sharp-dressed, philandering detective Bunk Moreland (Wendell Pierce) to stoic Cedric Daniels (Lance Reddick), who may have corruption in his past, but has parlayed his fine work heading the Major Case Unit into a Season 4 job running the Western District, to Sgt. Ellis Carver (Seth Gilliam), working the streets while questioning many of his orders. Daniels’ new post comes as a result of the hastened retirement of Bunny Colvin (Robert Wisdom) who failed in his attempt to create a drug-free zone as a way to cut the crime rate and to deal with his own frustration for feeling he’d accomplished nothing in his many years on the force. Colvin does return in Season 4, this time in the public school system, which provides the new season’s major themes.

The working cops include the aforementioned Detective Lester Freamon (Clarke Peters), a man sentenced to years in bureaucratic limbo for questioning authority before he stopped concentrating on building his models and found renewed purpose in police work. Unfortunately, the old obstructions are still in place, along with some new ones; as Season 4 begins, we see Lester and Kima trying to circumvent the bosses to pursue justice that their bosses may not want pursued this close to an election. Standing above them all is acting Commissioner Ervin Burrell (Frankie Faison), the most political of creatures and, in many ways, the closest the show gets to a villain. He’s not a killer, he’s not corrupt—he’s just someone who cares more about himself than his department, his city or stopping crime.

III. The Government

Speaking of the political, African-Americans represent a large portion of the elected officials that The Wire began to portray in Season 3 and continues to observe in Season 4. Among them: slimy state Sen. Clay Davis (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), who pulled the wool over Stringer Bell’s eyes last year; Mayor Clarence Royce (Glynn Turman), who is in the midst of a re-election battle; and Royce’s opponents, African-American Councilman Anthony Gray (Christopher Mann) and Italian-American Councilman Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen). Interestingly, for such a multicultural drama, the mayoral race is the place where racial issues most often crop up. The subject is seldom mentioned elsewhere, but it’s a constant current in the political storyline. As Carcetti comments in the upcoming season, seeing grim electoral prospects in poll numbers, “I still wake up white in a city that ain’t.”

The Wire never depicts these conflicting forces monolithically; it shows that groups are comprised of individuals with their own histories and idiosyncrasies, even their own way of speaking. Novelist George Pellecanos, who became a producer and writer on The Wire last season, said on the HBO special: “When you sit down as a writer, you never say, ’I’m writing a black guy. He’s gonna talk this way.’ It’s more about who is the person and remembering that everybody has a different voice. If you’re in a room with 20 black people and you close your eyes, you aren’t going to hear one voice, you are going to hear 20 different people with 20 different voices.”

IV. Diversity Beyond Race

The diversity of The Wire extends beyond race, as mentioned before, and gays and lesbians have cheered the creation of characters such as Kima Greggs and Omar Little, whose sexuality is really irrelevant to the nature of their characters’ work. Being a lesbian doesn’t diminish Kima’s skills as a detective and being gay doesn’t make Omar any less dangerous to those who cross him or who get in the way of his career as a rip-and-run artist.

On the Terrence Says blog, Terrence wrote: “Black gays and those portraying black gays are gaining visibility on prime time television like never before, and contrary to what some might believe, breakthroughs like this allow black diversity to be showcased and nurtured. Long and largely ignored by the heterosexual black and mainstream gay communities, Black Gay Pride is bursting on the scene [with] a kamikaze-like vengeance.” I can’t wait to see what the show does with the secret life of super asshole Deputy Commissioner Rawls (John Doman), who was glimpsed at a gay bar in Season 3.

The last word on this subject goes to Jason Toney of the blog Negro Please: [The Wire is] literature as television (or is it television as literature?) and is the best thing going, and maybe the best fictional representation of the diversity of black folks ever.”

Edward Copeland is a contributor to The House Next Door and the publisher of Edward Copeland on Film and the political blog Copeland Institute for Lower Learning. The above is part of Wire Week at The House, with a new article each day leading up to the HBO drama’s fourth season premiere on Sunday, Sept. 10. For more, see “On The Wire” in the sidebar at right.



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.



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.



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.



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.

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book (WINNER)
A Star Is Born

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

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

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)

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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