With the Oscars in just one week, The Daily Gamecock sat down with two employees at the Nickelodeon Theatre in preparation for the big night. Programming coordinator Omme-Salma Rahemtullah and marketing manager Amanda Windsor talk about their favorite films of 2018 and predict the biggest winners of the awards show.
TDG: As a result of the infamous Kevin Hart situation, the Oscars are without a host. Are you guys looking forward to the change in pace of the ceremony, or do you think the Academy could have found another alternative?
Amanda Windsor: I think not having a host cuts down on time and it's painfully long already, so that makes sense I guess, but I'm partial to hosts ... There's a lot of female comedians right now that are doing really incredible things. I would love to see any of them host it.
Omme-Salma Rahemtullah: I always feel like the hosts are super uncomfortable. Their jokes half the time fall flat, so I'm kind of like, whatever. It just removes the uncomfortableness, and for us here, we're hosting a Oscar party, and we have a host and a mystery host. So we'll just fill in the gaps for the lack of the Academy's ability to find a host. It gives us more time for our hosts to be silly.
TDG: What are some of the biggest snubs that upset you guys the most?
AW: There's not one that stood out in particular. I feel like the group of nominations is strong, but I think we all know that's not going to end up with wins. And like "BlacKkKlansman" for example, Spike Lee has never won for Best Picture even though he's been making groundbreaking, acclaimed films for years and years and years, and there's lots of reasons for that, but I think like I would be more curious to see what the snubs are. I think some of the snubs happen when they don't win. When you get nominations and it feels like lip service like it's like, 'oh see, we nominated you,' but they never win.
What nominations were you guys pleasantly surprised with?
OSR: "Roma." Everything "Roma," definitely pleasantly surprised. The Best Actress [nominee] is indigenous Mexican which is just, I can't even say how important that is. So definitely, "Roma" was like a teeny tiny budget to make, but has such a big impact. There is a caveat. Netflix just hit the ground running with their Oscar drive.
AW: It wasn't a surprise, but I'm happy about all "The Favourite" nominations, that was one of my favorite films of 2018. So "The Favourite," I don't think this is a phrase, but it fails the reverse Bechdel test. So there's never a moment where two men are talking to each other on screen unless they're talking about a woman, one of the main characters ... the scenes where two men are talking to each other are like there's three and they're very short and they're always talking about the main female characters.
TDG: Who deserves to take Best Actor?
OSR: I want Rami Malek to win because I think it would make an interesting political statement. I think Bradley Cooper is going to win because that's the buzz I've been hearing, but I really think Christian Bale should get it. "Vice" was so good, and he was just incredibly good in it.
AW: Yeah, also, Christian Bale, Rami Malek and Willem Dafoe all did character transformations. They are nominated for roles in which they transformed into these very famous figures. And I'd be happy if any of the three of them won because I think they did a really incredible job with it.
Who deserves to take Best Actress?
OSR: I think Yalitza Aparicio definitely deserves it.
AW: She'd never acted before, she accidentally got that role.
OSR: It's just wild, and I think it would send a good message. I also really want Melissa McCarthy to win because she was just so good. I think someone like ridiculous like Lady Gaga or Glenn Close are gonna win. I haven't seen "A Star is Born." Glenn Close acts the same in every movie she's in.
AW: Has she ever won?
OSR: If she's never won she might win.
AW: She might win because she's in her golden years, she's almost done so they might give it to her.
TDG: Who deserves to take Best Supporting Actor?
OSR: Mashershala Ali, because he's beautiful. I haven't seen "Green Book," but you know, like Issa Rae says, 'I'm voting for everybody black [sic].'
TDG: Who deserves to take Best Supporting Actress?
AW: Regina King. She's like a parallel, but very different reasons like Glenn Close. She's been making movies for years and years and never, as I'm assuming Glenn Close has never won anything, never won anything, so it'd be cool.
OSR: Regina King, I think she deserves it and she should get it and it's like one of the only "Beale Street" nominations.
AW: "Beale Street" should take some stuff home, so we'll see. But we all know I'm partial to "The Favourite" girls too. They're both nominated, which just shows how strong that trio was.
TDG: Now, for the coveted title of Best Picture, who deserves to take biggest award of the night?
OSR: I think "Black Panther" should get it, just because it's a pop movie, like a popular movie. It's a black movie, and it would send a really interesting message about the snobbery of the Academy. I think there was a lot of pressure to nominate "Black Panther." Remember that they wanted to have a new category that they proposed that they were going to do, and that they withdrew about having the popular fiction or popular film category that they retracted because all of the backlash. Just because of all of that and that their clear racism about nominating "Black Panther," I would just like to see it come on top.
AW: Yeah, I feel like "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Black Panther" are both pop films. "Black Panther"'s better to me. I'd like to see that too. It feels a little bit like the popular vote versus the electoral college.
OSR: I think "Roma'"s going to get it. Like just again, that campaign was just so tight for Netflix and that's what a lot of these cinephile-y critics are saying right now.
Editor's note: This interview has been condensed for time.
The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24.